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 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?  

 

 

 

 

Set Apart Sermon Blog Day 4

The Participation in Worship: Nehemiah 10:38-39

“And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse. For the children of Israel and the children of Levi shall bring the offering of the grain, of the new wine and the oil, to the storerooms where the articles of the sanctuary are, where the priests who minister and the gatekeepers and the singers are; and we will not neglect the house of our God.”

            Note that, as all the tithes and offerings are received, they are then gathered at the temple storehouse to be sued for the things of God. They would be gathered at the temple, so that worship and service connected to the temple would be supported.

            Setting apart time, tithes, and efforts for public and corporate worship is a distinctive characteristic of the followers of Jesus Christ. True believers will prioritize setting apart time and energy for worshipping together with other believers.

            In today’s church community, post-COVID-19 shutdown, many have stayed away from corporate worship. Some of those staying away must do it because of health, but others have simply chosen not to return to corporate worship. In reality, true followers of Jesus Christ will be distinctively set apart by the priority of corporate worship.

FINAL THOUGHTS

          God’s people should live lives that are directed by Him and set apart from the world. When we walk in love with Christ, we will live set apart lives that are apparent to the people around us.

          Noted business & corporate speaker Halford Lucock said, "I was impressed several years ago when I read that Eugene Ormandy dislocated a shoulder while directing the Philadelphia Orchestra. I do not know what they were playing, but he was giving all of himself to it! And I have asked myself sadly, 'Did I ever dislocate anything, even a necktie?'"

          Does your life reflect passion and a set apart distinctive because of love for Christ? Have you ever truly given your life to Christ and been born-again? If so, then you will live set apart.

 

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