5/22/16 – When you’re getting close to completing the mission… – Nehemiah 6:1-14

When you’re getting close to completing the mission…


John Stange

Nehemiah 6:1-14

I. Identify distractions (v. 1-4)

Matthew 28:19-20 – 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

II. Confront deception (v. 5-9)

Revelation 12:10 – And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

Matthew 26:64-68 – Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, 68 saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”

III. Discern sabotage (v. 10-14)

James 1:5-6 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

5/15/16 – Inspired to be Generous – Nehemiah 5:14-19

Inspired to be Generous


John Stange

Nehemiah 5:14-19

I. Generosity doesn’t cause others to suffer (v. 14-15)

II. Generosity isn’t consumed with what you “get” (v. 16-17)

Revelation 19:6-9 – Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God

the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult

and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,

and his Bride has made herself ready; 8 it was granted her to clothe herself

with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me,“These are the true words of God.”

Revelation 3:20 – Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

III. Generosity is willing to pay a price to bless others (v. 18-19)

Ephesians 1:7-9 – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ.

5/8/16 – Showing Mercy to Those in Need – Nehemiah 5:1-13

Showing Mercy to Those in Need


John Stange

Nehemiah 5:1-13

I. What are we electing to become slaves to? (v. 1-5)

Romans 6:16 – Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Romans 6:17-18 – But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and,having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

II. Don’t take advantage of your brother when he’s down (v. 6-10)

Ephesians 4:26-27 – Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.

Mark 5:25-28 – And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.”

III. Be good to others without seeking anything in return (v. 11-13)

Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

5/1/16 – Returning to the Work God Has Given You – Nehemiah 4:15-23

Returning to the Work God Has Given You


John Stange

Nehemiah 4:15-23

I. God frustrates the plans of those who oppose Him (v. 15-18)

1 Peter 5:5 – Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

II. God fights for His people (v. 19-20)

1 Corinthians 15:54-57 –
54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?”
56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

III. God has equipped us with the weapon we need most (v. 21-23)

1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT – So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

Ephesians 6:17 – Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

4/24/16 – Praying for God’s Sustaining Presence – Nehemiah 4:1-14

Praying for God’s Sustaining Presence


John Stange

Nehemiah 4:1-14

I. Turn back their taunts (v. 1-5)

Romans 12:17-21, NLT –
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;
I will pay them back,” says the Lord.

20 Instead,

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.”

21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

II. Set a guard as protection (v. 6-9)

Proverbs 4:23-27, NLT – Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life. 24 Avoid all perverse talk;
stay away from corrupt speech. 25 Look straight ahead,
and fix your eyes on what lies before you. 26 Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path. 27 Don’t get sidetracked;
keep your feet from following evil.

III. Remember the Lord in the midst of your fight (v. 10-14)

Ephesians 6:12, NLT – For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

4/17/16 – The Side of Leadership We Rarely Notice – Nehemiah 2:9-20

The Side of Leadership We Rarely Notice


John Stange

Nehemiah 2:9-20

I. Expect opposition (v. 9-10)

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 – But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?

II. Know what you’re talking about before you speak (v. 11-16)

Ecclesiastes 6:11, NLT – The more words you speak, the less they mean. So what good are they?

Matt. 7:24, 28-29 – “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.”

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.

III. Consider the motives of those who jeer you before you internalize their words (v. 17- 20)

Mark 15:29-30, NLT – 29 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. 30 Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

4/10/16 – The Good Hand of God at Work in Your Life – Nehemiah 2:1-8

The Good Hand of God at Work in Your Life


John Stange

Nehemiah 2:1-8

I. Your fear might be evidence of faith in use (v. 1-3)

Hebrews 11:1-3, NLT – Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. 3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

II. Your prayers don’t have to be long to be genuine (v. 4-5)

Mark 12:38-40 – Jesus also taught: “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces.39 And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets.40 Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be more severely punished.”

III. Your faithfulness can be used by God to accomplish great things (v. 6-8)

Daniel 9:25-26a – Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, despite the perilous times.

26 “After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing,

4/3/16 – Getting Fired Up to Take Action – Nehemiah 1:1-11

Getting Fired Up to Take Action


John Stange

Nehemiah 1:1-11

I. Receiving news that breaks your heart (v. 1-3)

Luke 19:41-42 – And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

Ephesians 4:30 – And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

II. Placing your burden before the Lord (v. 4-7)

Proverbs 12:25, NLT – Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.

III. Taking action in line with God’s will (v. 8-11)

3/27/16 – Peace Be With You – John 20:19-31

Peace Be With You


John Stange

John 20:19-31

I. We find peace in the presence of Christ (v. 19-23)

II. We find peace through faith in Christ (v. 24-29)

Revelation 5:6a – And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain.

III. We find life in the name of Christ (v. 30-31)

Acts 4:11-12 – This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

3/20/16 – Don’t Let Hatred Hold You Back – John 15:18-27

Don’t Let Hatred Hold You Back


John Stange

John 15:18-27

I. Does this world love Christ or His people? (v. 18-21)

II. Does this world have an excuse? (v. 22-25)

John 10:27-30 – My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

III. Does this excuse us from making Christ known to this world? (v. 26-27)


3/13/16 – Living a Fruitful and Meaningful Life – John 15:1-17

Living a Fruitful and Meaningful Life


John Stange

John 15:1-17

I. God’s long-term goal for your life is fruitful (v. 1-3)

Isaiah 5:3-4 – And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,

judge between me and my vineyard.
4 What more was there to do for my vineyard,

that I have not done in it?
When I looked for it to yield grapes,

why did it yield wild grapes?

II. Abide in Christ and you will be fruitful (v. 4-11)

III. Keep loving one another with Christ’s love (v. 12-17)

Matthew 22:34-40 – 34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him,“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

3/6/16 – Your Helper Forever – John 14:15-31

Your Helper Forever


John Stange

John 14:15-31

I. He dwells with you and in you (v. 15-17)

Acts 2:1-4 – When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

II. He will never orphan you (v. 18-24)

III. He will reveal truth to your mind (v. 25-31)

2/28/16 – Someday, You’ll Understand – John 13:1-20

Someday, You’ll Understand


John Stange

John 13:1-20

I. Understanding the endless nature of His love (v. 1-5)

Luke 22:24 – A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.

II. Understanding our continual relationship (v. 6-11)

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

III. Understanding His example (v. 12-20)

2/21/16 – The Process of Getting Unstuck – Ezra 10:6-17

The Process of Getting Unstuck


John Stange

Ezra 10:6-17

I. Trembling with godly sorrow (v. 6-9)

II. Confronting the presence of sin (v. 10-11)

2 Peter 1:4 – And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

III. Admitting personal fault (v. 12-13)

Romans 5:8 – But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

IV. Taking positive action motivated by faith (v. 14-17)

2/14/16 – Finding Strength to Make the Harder Choice

Finding Strength to Make the Harder Choice


John Stange

Ezra 10:1-5

I. Godly sorrow produces repentance (v. 1)

2 Corinthians 7:10 – For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

II. Remaining hopeful in your lowest seasons (v. 2)

III. Heeding counsel that’s faithful to God’s Word (v. 3-5)

2/7/16 – Realizing what we actually deserve

Realizing what we actually deserve


John Stange

Ezra 9:10-15

I. What have we done with God’s commandments? (v. 10-11)

Romans 5:20-21 – God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. 21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
II. What do we welcome into our family life? (v. 12-14)

1 Corinthians 7:39 – A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but only if he loves the Lord.

III. How can we possibly stand before our Creator? (v. 15)

Ephesians 5:25-27 – For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.

1/31/16 – The release of heart-felt confession

The release of heart-felt confession

John Stange

Ezra 9:6-9

I. Admitting our guilt instead of holding on to it (v. 6-7)

1 Corinthians 12:26 – If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

James 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

II. Welcoming God’s action of “brightening our eyes” (v. 8)

John 10:9-10 – 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

III. Remembering that God does not forsake His children (v. 9)

Hebrews 13:5b – “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

1/17/16 – Are we taking God’s goodness for granted?

Are we taking God’s goodness for granted?

John Stange

Ezra 9:1-5

I. The desire to embrace the world’s values (v. 1)

Ephesians 5:15-16 – 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

1 John 4:4 – Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

II. The devaluation of God’s high standard for marriage (v. 2)

III. The solution is God’s intervention in our lives (v. 3-5)

James 5:13-16 – 13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working