From Pastor Johnny

A Dedication Celebration Sermon Blog Day 4

Nehemiah 12:44-47

         And at the same time some were appointed over the rooms of the storehouse for the offerings, the firstfruits, and the tithes, to gather into them from the fields of the cities the portions specified by the Law for the priests and Levites; for Judah rejoiced over the priests and Levites who ministered. Both the singers and the gatekeepers kept the charge of their God and the charge of the purification, according to the command of David and Solomon his son. For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chiefs of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. In the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah all Israel gave the portions for the singers and the gatekeepers, a portion for each day. They also consecrated holy things for the Levites, and the Levites consecrated them for the children of Aaron. 

           The provision here is an offering given by God’s people that will go toward maintaining the spiritual leadership of the temple.  The singers and gatekeepers would give their lives and ministries toward the lifting of praise and worship in an ongoing basis. The worshipers of God in this context had generous giving as a part of their worship. In fact, no true worshiper is not also a true giver. 

          If you find that you are not consistently and intentionally setting a portion of your income to giving back to the work of God, then you are not truly a worshiper. Real worshipers will also be givers to support the work of God. 

 Final Thoughts 

          A project accomplished by God’s people is a project dedicated to the praise and glory of God. God’s people, in order to truly celebrate and dedicate what God has done, can have lives that express this reality.  

          Author Leo Buscaglia was a professor at USC in California, and he wrote multiple books on love and motivation. He was one of the most popular speakers on PBS much of his life. He taught that hugs were critical for human success, and that 5/day for survival, 8/day for maintenance, 12/day for growth. 

          He often told a story about his mother and their “misery dinner.” It was the night after his father came home and said it looked as if he would have to go into bankruptcy because his partner had absconded with their firm’s funds. His mother went out and sold some jewelry to buy food for a sumptuous feast. Other members of the family scolded her for it. But she told them that “the time for joy is now, when we need it most, not next week.” Her courageous act rallied the family.  

          Beginning with a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, may you be a child of God who knows of celebrating and dedicating daily victories to Christ!  


A Dedication Celebration Sermon Blog Day 2

Nehemiah 12:31-39

"So I brought the leaders of Judah up on the wall, and appointed two large thanksgiving choirs. One went to the right hand on the wall toward the Refuse Gate. After them went Hoshaiah and half of the leaders of Judah, and Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, Jeremiah, and some of the priests’ sons with trumpets—Zechariah the son of Jonathan, the son of Shemaiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Michaiah, the son of Zaccur, the son of Asaph, and his brethren, Shemaiah, AzarelMilalaiGilalaiMaaiNethanel, Judah, and Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God. And Ezra the scribe went before them.  By the Fountain Gate, in front of them, they went up the stairs of the City of David, on the stairway of the wall, beyond the house of David, as far as the Water Gate eastward. 

The other thanksgiving choir went the opposite way, and I was behind them with half of the people on the wall, going past the Tower of the Ovens as far as the Broad Wall, and above the Gate of Ephraim, above the Old Gate, above the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hananel, the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Sheep Gate; and they stopped by the Gate of the Prison." 

           This celebration included the thanksgiving choirs. These choirs had as their primary function the thanksgiving and praise of God. In addition to the thanksgiving choirs, Ezra the Scribe (who served as the teacher and preacher) “went before them.” Praise and dedication must include praise and the Word of God.  

          The longest book in the Bible is Psalms which is a book of songs. The longest chapter of the Bible is Psalm 119, which mentions God’s Word in almost every single verse of its 176 verses. This means that the longest chapter of the Bible (about God’s Word)is contained in the longest book of the Bible, that is primarily what praise and adoration of God is all about. Dedicating and celebrating what God has done will always include praise and His Word. 

A Dedication Celebration Sermon Blog Step 1

          Each summer this nation views a massive collection of fireworks, picnics,  parades, flag waving, and concerts for the purpose of dedicating and celebrating the  founding of this nation. When I was a little boy in White Pine, Tennessee, the biggest celebration all year was the Piney Festival, and it was for Independence Day.  We would have booths, food, a parade, fireworks, and concerts.   

          I spent much of my life and adult years in Warner Robins, Georgia which is a town of about 75,000 with an Air Force Base that employees approximately 20,000.  The biggest event all year is at McConell-Talbert Stadium, and it is to celebrate Independence Day.   

          We celebrate the coming into existence of our nation.  This is a dedication of sorts that we in America do every year.  Things that are of  critical and important nature are celebrated and dedicated by us with ceremony and big events.   

          Dedicating and celebrating are elements we see in biblical times as well especially through the Old Testament. Crossing of the Red Sea was a celebration with a song written and sung by Miriam, the sister of Moses. Building the tent of meeting for Israel was celebrated and dedicated. The re-entry into Israel under David for the Ark of the Covenant saw a celebration and dance party by King David himself. The final construction of the Temple for Israel saw a massive dedication with King Solomon. The re-establishing of the temple worship under King Josiah led to a worship service and dedication.  The rebuilding of the temple with Ezra warranted a dedication. And now, the rebuilding of the walls under Nehemiah. 

          God’s people can learn some steps about celebration and dedication from the celebration of this wall rebuilding. A project accomplished by God’s people is a project dedicated to the praise and glory of God. Consider five steps we might  take to dedicate and celebrate God’s work for His glory and praise?  

           Nehemiah was the cup bearer to the king and was powerful, influential, and wealthy. When we met Nehemiah in chapter 1, he was a lover of God and of God’s city Jerusalem. He learned of the destroyed walls. He requested a leave of absence from King Artaxerxes, who was the ruler of Persia 

          Nehemiah traveled to Jerusalem with a team of his, and in a matter of 52 weeks, he led a rebuilding of the wall. By the time we arrive at Nehemiah 8, the post rebuild ceremonies are taking place including – the Feast of Tabernacles in chapter 8 and the worship service of Scripture and repentance in chapters 9-10 

          By chapter 11, the residents inside the city walls were few & it was discouraging and dangerous to the people. For that reason, 1 of every 10 Jews living outside were chosen to move inside the city. By 12:27 the Jerusalem residents were chosen, Levites were brought into the city to lead a dedication service, and the dedication service for the wall began. 

          It is in this dedication service that God’s people today can learn some things about dedicating and celebrating our accomplishments to the glory and praise of God. Whether it is a large project, raising children, gathering for Sunday worship, or going to work, this passage can teach a few thoughts about effectively living life to dedicate and celebrate our victories to our Savior.

Step 1: An Intentional Planning of Worship:12:27-30   

 Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings and singing, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps. And the sons of the singers gathered together from the countryside around Jerusalem, from the villages of the Netophathites, from the house of Gilgal, and from the fields of Geba and Azmaveth; for the singers had built themselves villages all around Jerusalem. Then the priests and Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, the gates, and the wall. 

          When we are filled with the Holy Spirit of God, worship is something that should be consistent and spontaneous. Oftentimes, worship can be spontaneous when we gather with other believers. Yet, most times, to be serious about seeing God magnified and praised in a corporate worship setting, we want to plan and be very intentional about it. Intentional planning of worship is NOT failure to depend on the Holy Spirit but it is passion to see God clearly magnified. 

          While worship is often spontaneous, I have found that my spontaneous worship is more powerful when I have consistently and intentionally planned to worship as well. What have you done to plan to worship this coming week – Monday through next Sunday? What is your plan for daily worship in prayer & God’s Word? Is it 20 minutes earlier to bed, or maybe 20 minutes up earlier? What is your plan for being sure your family is in worship with other believers this coming week?