Beyond Our Plans
Life is filled with the unexpected. Sometimes our plans exceed our expectations and other times we fall short as we trip and stumble along the journey. We need to leave room for both successes and failures. Our plans must always create space for God to work in ways we never could have planned. God will often show up in circumstances we didn’t anticipate. He alone is able to help us as we go beyond our plans.
We’ve seen from our Beyond series that Nehemiah made deliberate plans to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and he was enormously successful. What kinds of things are you likely to plan? And when might you forfeit planning in favor of spontaneity? Can you think of examples?
After the wall was completed, it was time to celebrate. Read Nehemiah 12:27-43. Describe some of the details of the dedication of the completed construction project. Why is it important to celebrate monumental accomplishments?
The project to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall was a success. But God’s work in our lives often challenges our definition of success. What is success in life for you? Can you know if someone else is successful? Why or why not?
After the dedication of the wall, Nehemiah returned to Persia (13:6). The moral and religious climate began to deteriorate in Nehemiah’s absence. Read 13:4-27. Can you find four violations of the law of God highlighted in these verses?
The people had planned to be faithful to God but after the wall was completed they failed miserably. Why do you think this happened? In what ways are you most likely to disappoint God and others?
As the sermon title suggests God often takes us beyond our plans. Why is it important to hold our plans loosely and still trust God? What role does the Holy Spirit play in the planning process as well as when your plans take a detour?
Beyond Our Comfort
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Beyond Our Failure
We’ve all failed. From minor mistakes to persistent sins, failure has marked our lives. The best place to turn in times of failure is to God. But sometimes turning to God about our sins just seems to magnify our moral crisis. Thus, we’d prefer to keep our distance...
Beyond Our Assumptions
If you think about it, we make a lot of choices and decisions based on assumptions. We assume we know what someone meant; that we have all the information; that we know the outcome. The problem is that our assumptions often turn out to be completely wrong and this can...
Beyond Our Indifference
Some problems in life are so big they are overwhelming. At the beginning of the book of Nehemiah, the walls of Jerusalem lay in ruins. The people living there had grown accustomed and indifferent to the ruin around them, but Nehemiah’s heart was broken by it. He was...
Beyond Our Doubt
It’s not unusual to find people paralyzed by doubt. But with God’s help we can go beyond where we are to where we could be. And that means our doubt can get replaced with confidence and faith. Nehemiah led the people of Jerusalem in a rebuilding project that was met...
Beyond Our Reach
It’s usually a good sign when we’re reaching for things that require God’s help. If we could make progress without God, then maybe we should reconsider the goal. The story of Nehemiah and the Jewish people is one of remarkable accomplishment. It all began with an...