When I hear the phrase “Rise Up and Build,” my mind automatically pictures a construction site. And it’s fitting, because in this sermon series we are going to be taking a closer look at the book of Nehemiah which tells us how Nehemiah rallied the people of Jerusalem to rebuild the walls around the city in just 52 days – certainly a large construction project! Now, I am not an architect or a carpenter, and I have very little ability when it comes to using tools. In fact, when I want to hang a picture on the wall, my tools of choice are 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips or hooks!

While I may not have a great deal of construction know-how, I do know that just about anything well-built has a solid plan behind it. I can relate to the fact that Nehemiah came up with a plan for rebuilding the wall because I love a good plan and knowing what’s next. (I’ve been known to create backup plans just in case my original plans don’t work out!)

All good plans have one key component – a strong foundation. You could have the greatest, most architecturally interesting building on the planet, but without a firm foundation you run the risk of it crumbling to the ground at any moment. The same is true of our lives – what foundation is your life built on? Jesus talked about this in Matthew 7:24-27 when he shared the story of the wise and foolish builders. He said that anyone who lives their lives according to His words is like a wise man who built a house on a rock. When the rain and the wind (in other words, the battles of life) came, that house stood firm. He juxtaposes this scenario with a man who built his house on the sand. When the storm/battle came, the house fell. While we may not all be builders, we are all called to help build the kingdom of God, and the foundation that we all need to have underneath us is the Bible and prayer. We can do all kinds of things in our own power, but if what we’re doing doesn’t line up with God’s word and doesn’t have the power of prayer behind it, we’re limiting the change we can make in the world around us.

Speaking of change, sometimes the way that God leads us into building His kingdom is by giving us a “holy discontent.” Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church defines holy discontent as something you have a difficult time seeing, hearing, or feeling without doing something about it. Is there a cause you’re passionate about? Something or someone that you feel a burden for? It can be so easy to look at a cause or a problem that seems so much bigger than yourself and think, “What could I possibly do to make a difference?” The truth is, maybe you can’t make a difference on your own, but when you come together with fellow believers and have God on your side, amazing things can happen!

Start with prayer – never minimize what prayer can do! Follow that up with giving. Giving doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary, though it certainly can be. Do you have time that you can give as a volunteer? Can you help to organize an event? Even just spending time with someone in need can make a difference. No matter what it is, we can all do something to further God’s kingdom and make an impact in the lives of others. So make sure you’re building on the right foundation and pray that God would help you discover what it is that you can and should do next!

Nehemiah 1 & 2
Matthew 7:24-27
Matthew 5:13-16
1 Timothy 6:18-19

What is your “holy discontent” right now?
What is happening in the world or in your own neighborhood that you can pray specifically for?
What gifts or talents do you have that God could use to help make a difference?
What next step will you take?

God, I thank you that you choose to use us, imperfect people, to build Your kingdom. With all of the stuff that’s going on in the world around me, help me to have open eyes and an open heart to follow your leading. Guide me in discovering what I can do to make a difference. In Jesus’ name, amen.