Service Video Message Video Message Audio %} Lakeside Christian Church · Hope for the Broken | Unbroken episode 02 Scripture Verses Nehemiah 1:5-11; John 3:16-17; 1 John 1:9 Worship Playlist House of the Lord by Vertical WorshipSpirit of God by New Life WorshipHoly Spirit by Jesus CultureHis Mercy Is More by Matt Boswell Study Questions 1. Who is your default emergency contact on a waiver form?2. Why is Nehemiah's address to God in Nehemiah 1:5 so important as a model for us? What often keeps us from turning to God first?3. Read Luke 15:11-32. How is the father's attitude toward his returning son like God's attitude toward us? How does it make you feel knowing that God runs-arms wide open-to receive you?4. What are some key attitudes of a repentant person returning to God? After hearing his prayer, what do you learn of Nehemiah's character?5. What are the specific concerns Nehemiah mentions and how is he part of the solution?6. Where do you see these four postures in Nehemiah's prayer (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Asking)? Using the same four prayer postures, write your own short prayer. Downloads & Resources Hope for the Broken Dr. Jon Morrissette - 9/11/2022 Everyone in this room, who is of age, remembers exactly where they were, and what they were doing, at about this same time, 21 years ago. I was getting ready for the day when Lara called me from work. She said, “Jon, turn on the news, something really strange is happening.” She had a tiny portable TV at her desk, and all her coworkers crowded around, watching in disbelief as the north, then the south Twin Towers, and then even the Pentagon was attacked. Do you remember how numb you felt, how sickened? The catastrophic loss of life. The frantic cries, the untold suffering and loss. The flames, the smoke, the mushroom cloud of dust, the burned-out ruins. Two of our nation’s greatest symbols (the World Trade Center symbolizing our economic might, and the Pentagon symbolizing our military might) lay in ruin. Do you remember that sense of dread, as you tried to ascertain just how much trouble we were in? Do you remember that sense of disgrace, the utter humiliation, knowing that the enemy got the best of us, using 5-dollar box cutters? Do you remember the rage, the thirst for vengeance, that swept over you? Do you remember your prayers from that day? “Why Lord? How much more? Lord have mercy.” That night we had a prayer service at Lakeside. That first Sunday churches experienced record attendance. Nehemiah 1:2-3, “Hanani, one of my brothers, arrived with men from Judah, and I questioned them about Jerusalem and the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile. They said to me, ‘The remnant in the province, who survived the exile, are in great trouble and disgrace. Jerusalem’s wall has been broken down, and its gates have been burned.’” If you think your pride as an American was bruised on 911, what about the pride of the Jewish people in the days of the Babylonian captivity. The Jewish people would have had a sense of invincibility. Our God is the God of Israel. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God Moses, who delivered us out of Egypt, who delivered our enemies to us, who brought us into this great land flowing with milk and honey. Jerusalem is the great City of God. The Great God of Heaven and Earth dwells in our Temple. If God is for us, who can be against us? Our God will uphold our cause! He will fight for us! Imagine the shock of watching your leaders, the royal court, rounded up, being killed, hauled off to a distant land, or slaughtered before your eyes. Imagine the symbols of your great nation—the Temple of the Living God, the walls of God’s City—burning, then collapsing into ruin. It was like a 9/11. It was like Pearl Harbor. But unlike 9/11 or Pearl Harbor… Jerusalem continually lay in ruins. Nehemiah 1:4, “When I heard these words, I sat down and wept. I mourned for a number of days, fasting and praying before the God of the heavens.” Calamity can certainly happen on a national, or even an international level. But calamity can also happen on a personal level. I remember the morning I got a phone call that my dad had passed away. I remember the day a dear friend died in a collision. I can replay dozens of conversations through my years of ministry when a dear brother or sister in Christ shared bad news about a personal loss, a medical diagnosis, a terminal condition, a family crisis, an accident, an infidelity, a divorce. Life inevitably brings us to our knees, if not for one reason, then another. Who is this God whom we cry out to? Where is he? What in the world is he doing? What is his purpose and plan? Is God even aware? Is God even listening? Is he even real—or a figment of my imagination? I want to say this tenderly, humbly, carefully—maybe a lack of prayer isn’t our biggest problem. What babe doesn’t cry out when he or she is in pain? Pain can bring the most stubborn atheist to his or her knees. A bigger problem than prayer is our lack of knowledge. Just who is this God I’m crying out to in the dark? Where is he? What in the world is he doing? What is his purpose and plan? Is God aware? Is he listening? Is he even real? I doubly grieve for those who, though yes, they pray, lack knowledge of God. Here in this incredible account of Nehemiah, we find a vivid picture of what it looks like to pray in full knowledge! Maybe our prayers are ineffective—not because they lack sincerity—not because they lack intensity—not because they lack desperation, anguish, pain, distress. What if our prayers are ineffective because they are void of any true knowledge of the God who is there? How might true knowledge of God not only inform your prayer, but unleash prayers power? Let’s unpack Nehemiah’s prayer. First, Nehemiah knew God as Creator. Nehemiah 1:5, he addresses God as “Lord, God of the heavens…” I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about the creation account in Genesis 1-2. A few years ago, I started a list of all the unexplainable, supernatural things, scientifically inexplicable things, that had to occur for life to be what we experience to be every day. In the beginning nothing became something. The invisible spawned what’s visible. The material emerged from the immaterial. Mass emerged from non-mass. Existence from non-existence. Order from non-order. Energy from non-energy. Motion, functionality, and purpose from non-motion, non-functionality, and non-purpose. Things moved from non-sustaining to self-sustaining, from non-perpetuating to self-perpetuating. In the beginning light emerged from non-life. Cosmos from non-cosmos. Earth, moon, stars from non-earth, moon, stars. Life emerged from non-life. The biological emerged from non-biological inert matter. The animal emerged from non-animal. Six amazing sensory capacities emerged from non-sense (non-sensory existence). Gender emerged from non-gender. Sexual from the non-sexual. Living things developed capacity not just to exist, but to reproduce and multiply. Non-consciousness gave rise to complete consciousness, even self-consciousness. Pain emerged from non-pain. The personal emerged from the impersonal. Human from non-human. Time from non-time. Lingual from non-lingual. Conscience from non-conscience. Memory from non-memory. Moral from amoral to non-moral. From people to things bound by immutable laws of nature, determined by cosmic processes, suddenly broke their script, began acting freely, and with self-agency. The deeper they peer into space… the further they break down and study fundamental elements of reality… the more improbable all this becomes! Take the wildest miracles of Scripture. A cosmic flood. Parting of the Red Sea. Manna from Heaven. Jonah swallowed by a whale. The blind seeing, the lame restored, deaf hearing, a dead man rising from a grave. No miracle of Scripture is improbable for the God who brings forth water from non-water. Who makes flour even be a thing in this universe. If God can form living man out of the dust of the earth, he can certain breath life back into a corpse. We are praying to the Lord, the God of the heavens! Creator. Nothing is impossible for him. Just look at all the impossible things he’s already done! Second, Nehemiah Knew the Greatness of God. Nehemiah 1:5, “Lord, the God of the heavens, the great and awe-inspiring God…” Creation itself declares the greatness of God. His divine power is evident everywhere. But the Holy Scriptures also declare the awe-inspiring greatness of God. Later in Nehemiah 9, Nehemiah gives a master-class summation of God’s awe-inspiring works in history from the beginning right up to the present. What is God’s reputation? What is God capable of? What has God done? What might God do again? The answers are found in history, right in Scriptures. Third, Nehemiah Knew the Goodness of God. Nehemiah 1:5, “Lord, the God of the heavens, the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps his gracious covenant with those who love him and keep his commands.” Covenant! What covenant? Love? What love? Grace! What grace? Commands! What commands? We all have expectations of God, but what are they based upon? Does God also have expectations of us? We all want to have a relationship with God… but who determines the basis of that relationship? Do we? Does God? Does loving God mean what I want it to mean… or does it mean what God wants it to mean? Fourth, Nehemiah Knew the Heart of God. Nehemiah 1:6 he says, “let your eyes be open and your ears be attentive to hear your servant’s prayer that I now pray to you day and night for your servants, the Israelites…” This was one of the most scandalous aspects of Jesus teaching… that the God of the Universe is like a Father. He is like a Father, who despite all the sin and wrongdoing that’s been committed by his children… who no matter how estranged and destitute they’ve become as prodigals in the far country… God is a Father who scans the horizon for the first signs his children are returning. His eyes are continually open, his ears attentive to any of his servants who might call out to him day or night. God is really there, he is really watching and listening. He sees us. Fifth, Nehemiah Knew the Mercy of God. Nehemiah 1:6-7, “… I confess the sins we have committed against you. Both I and my father’s family have sinned. We have acted corruptly toward you and have not kept the commands, statutes, and ordinances you gave your servant Moses.” We sometimes imagine God wants to hold us captive to our past sins. We imagine God wants to continually condemn, punish us. The reality is that God wants to release us from our sin by his own mercy and grace. John 3:16-17 says, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Sixth, Nehemiah Knew the Faithfulness and Glory of God. Nehemiah 1:8-11, “Please remember what you commanded your servant Moses: “If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples. 9 But if you return to me and carefully observe my commands, even though your exiles were banished to the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I chose to have my name dwell.” 10 They are your servants and your people. You redeemed them by your great power and strong hand. 11 Please, Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant and to that of your servants who delight to revere your name. Give your servant success today, and grant him compassion in the presence of this man. At the time, I was the king’s cupbearer.” It’s a gutsy prayer, I’ll certainly give it to Nehemiah. But he prays, “God, the whole world is watching. You promised. You have staked your glory, your name, your reputation on our well-being as your people. God you promised if we’d repent and return to you, you’d gather us, you’d redeem us, you’d restore us, you’d rebuild our broken city, walls, lives, marriages, families, nation. God what a delight it is to know you, to revere your name, to pray to you!” I suppose some prayer, even ignorant prayer, is better than non-prayer. But how exponentially more powerful it is to pray in knowledge, in the light and glory of a God we know to be true Creator, Great and Mighty God, Good God, Merciful God, Holy God, Faithful God… vested in his own glory, eager to act and honor his covenant of love.