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Principles of Leadership

Nehemiah 2:11-16


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He was by far one of the best leaders in all of history.  And anyone who is willing to follow the principles put forth in this book can also become a great leader.  Nehemiah had walls to build, and we have a church to build, a family to build, a business, a marriage, etc.  Bro. Jerry has a youth group to build, and he has assistant leaders who want to be the best that they can be at leading.  And there are many other leaders in the church and many of you are future leaders which we are wanting to begin developing.


Not only do we have all the above things to build, but all of us have a life to build.  We are parents building little lives.  And we are all either leading people to heaven or leading them to hell.  They are in our workplace, at our school, and in our circles of life.  These leadership principles apply to all of us!


Nehemiah was a Jewish man living hundreds of miles away from his home of Jerusalem in captivity in Persia.  He heard about the walls of Jerusalem lying in waste.  He was devastated.  He prays and weeps and plans, and now sees a miracle happen as the king actually breaks his own law and gives him permission to go home and start rebuilding.  The king gives him protection in the form of an armed guard with him.  And then he gives him all the provisions he will need.  After 120 long days of praying and planning, Nehemiah gets everything he needs from the king in one 10 minute conversation!


When God opens a door no man can shut it, and when God closes the door on a deal no man can kick it down!  Nehemiah goes from being the cupbearer to being the contractor, and God's anointed leader of His people. 


Principles of Leadership:

1.     Leaders understand the value of solitude.

Leaders spend lots of time alone.

v. 11-16   This is a picture of solitude.  This is a guy who is awake while others are sleeping.  Most of us don't like to be alone.  We are used to constant conversation and companionship.  We are used to the noise.  Be honest, even when you are in the car alone, you can't stand it and you turn on the radio.  Teens post on the FB page, "Bored, it's been over 5 minutes since I heard from [hit the cell!]"  If you are at home alone the TV has to be on, even if you are vacuuming and cannot possibly hear it!  And if your computer dies or the power goes off, then maybe you'll talk to God, you know, since there's nothing better to do.


Leaders understand that times of quiet are vital in life.

       In the quiet we receive a clear vision from God. 

He wants to speak to us if He can get a word in edgewise.  He WILL speak to us if He can cut thru the noise!  Nehemiah needed 3 days to hear from God.  Before he begins the work he wants to pause and make sure he does it God's way, not his own way.  Otherwise he will be wasting time and money.  Some would look at him and say, what a waste of time, he could have been 3 days down the road on this project.  But it is never a waste of time to get alone w/ God!  Later it was proven that Nehemiah was miles ahead...because of the time he sat still!  This multi year project was accomplished in 52 days ... unbelievable! 

"Time spent in prayer and planning is always recovered in performance."  So don't rush in to your day, take time to pray. 


I got up early one morning,

And rushed right into the day;

I had so much to accomplish,

I didnít have time to pray.


Troubles just tumbled about me,

And heavier came each task.

"Why doesnít God help me?" I wondered.

He answered, "You didnít ask."


I tried to come into Godís presence;

I used all my keys at the lock.

God gently and lovingly chided,

"Why, child, you didnít knock."


I wanted to see joy and beauty,

But the day toiled on gray and bleak.

I wondered why God didnít show me.

He said, "You didnít seek."


So I woke up early this morning,

And paused before entering the day.

I had so much to accomplish

That I had to take time to pray.

By Regine Anne Baldomar


You can't out give God.  Give Him time each day and He'll give you more back.  Give Him 3 services a week and you'll have more free time than those who lay out of church!


ill.--Elijah found himself discouraged, needing God.  He got alone w/ God on a high mountain.  It was there that he heard a mighty wind.  But God was not in the wind.  And a great earthquake rumbled w/ powerful noise.  But God was not in the earthquake.  Then a fierce fire swept thru.  But God was not in the fire.  And then there came a still small was the voice of God!


       In the quiet we receive the power of God.

Isaiah 40:31
31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Nehemiah knew this undertaking was impossible w/out the power of God.  And at GBC I think we've seen what we can do, but I'm thirsty to see what God can do! 

How did Moses prepare for his ministry?  40 years alone in the desert!

How did the Apostle Paul prepare?  3 years in the Arabian desert!  He entered the desert w/ a knapsack and came out w/ the book of Romans!

Jesus spent 40 days in solitude in the wilderness fasting and praying to defeat the devil and yield not to His temptations.  If Christ needed solitude, how much more do you and I?

Mark 1:35
35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Luke 4:42
42 And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place:

Luke 5:16
16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

Matthew 14:22
22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.

John 6:15
15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

Luke 22:41
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

John 12:36
36 These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

We will never have the vision and the power amidst the noise and clatter of this world ... we must get alone w/ God!


It was in the eerie solitude of Bethel that Jacob was granted visions from God.  It was when Moses was alone in the desert that he saw the burning bush.  It was when Joshua walked unattended under the stars at Jericho that the Captain of the Lord's host spoke to him.  It was while Isaiah was alone in the temple that a live coal touched his lips and changed his life forever.  It was when Mary was alone that the angel brought the message of the Lord.  It was when Elisha was plowing his lonely furrow that the prophet's mantle fell upon his shoulders.  Abraham wandered and worshipped alone.  Daniel dined and prayed alone.  Jesus lived and died alone!


A leader sees more in the night than others see in the light.


Leaders understand the importance of solitude.


2.     Leaders patiently gather all the facts.

v. 13-14       Nehemiah is on a reconnaissance mission.  He is carefully surveying the situation close up and first hand.  Leaders don't rush into a project ill prepared.

Before you can lead you have to learn.  Leaders make a mess of things when they try to lead w/out doing their homework.


Nobody seems to have the time to do it right, but everybody finds the time to do it over.  "Measure twice, cut once!"


Nehemiah starts by the gate of the valley...that's on the SW wall of Jerusalem.  Then he moves to the dung port, the SE wall.  Then he moves to the gate of the fountain on the northern wall.  He is obviously making a round of it all, making notes.  He's saying, "we're gonna need a craftsman on this gate, those hinges are unusable.  We'll need a carpenter over here where these gates were burned.  We'll need stonemasons over here to build up the wall in this spot."  He's making notes of the manpower, materials, and money that are going to be needed.


"Luck is where preparation meets opportunity."  Nehemiah wasn't lucky, he was prepared!  Most of us would be shocked if we realized how many opportunities passed us by just this week.  We didn't even recognize the opportunity, much less seize it!  Because we weren't prepared.  We would rather pray for a miracle than prepare.  We would rather sit around and hope for a miracle in our finances than take a few minutes to budget and do wise financial planning.  We would rather ask others to pray for our kids to straighten out their life than to set ground rules of discipline and get off the couch and enforce it!


God will only do what He can do after we do what we can do!


ill.--When Lazarus died Jesus came and told the people to roll the stone away from the tomb.  Once they did He raised him from the dead.  Well if Jesus is that powerful why didn't He just wave his hand and roll the stone Himself?  Because He wanted the people to do what they could do before He would do what ONLY HE can do!


ill.--in Bible college I wanted to preach ... now!  I wanted opportunities to be in the ministry.  I sat and waited for the phone to ring w/ my invitation to preach.  It never rang!  I thought, maybe someone from the Billy Graham Association would come by campus and say, Billy's sick today, can you come fill in for him?  But God used a wise teacher of mine to say, come w/ me to this halfway house for alcoholics and just talk to somebody about Jesus.  And then I heard about an apartment complex that needed a Bible Club and God told me to go start it and preach to those kids.  For years God wanted me to be willing to do what I COULD do and today He is showing me things only HE can do ... and I love it!


Some think I'm a lucky guy.  I would agree, except for the fact that the Bible says I'm a blessed guy, and it's in large part because I prepared!


3.         Leaders keep their eye on the big picture.

v. 15    "by the brook"  -  This is the brook Kidron...located on the Mt. of Olives.  Nehemiah has left his close up tour of the walls and climbed the closest mountain to step back and see the big picture.  Jesus sat on the same mountain overlooking Jerusalem and wept over it. 


Nehemiah has an overview of the ruins, and also a vision of what it will look like when he is done with it!  Leaders do this or else they won't be able to see the forest for the trees!  Leaders plan out the details, but don't get bogged down in the details and minutia.  He keeps his eye on the big picture.  Now he has to delegate and trust others w/ the details while he made sure the main project was on track.


Some of you are amazed at how you can ask me questions about things in the church and I don't know the answers...but I always know who WILL know, so they can go ask them.  "Who did the new roof?"  "What did the materials cost?"  "How did they fix the portions that were damaged?"  I answer, "Some good guys did it for a good price and I can tell you this, it doesn't leak anymore!"


Micromanagers and control freaks wear out and break down quickly!


4.         Leaders carefully choose their words.

v. 16    They don't speak until it's time.  They don't run off at the mouth until they know what they are talking about.  I used to think I had to share every thought that popped into my mind.  "Here's everything I know on that subject!"  And as I spouted off I revealed that I often don't know what I'm talking about!  I thought I was impressing folks w/ my knowledge but they were rolling their eyes saying, "There he goes again!" 


"It's better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."


Share all the details too soon, before people are ready to receive them, and you can start a groundswell of discouragement before you ever start, because human nature is for us to think of reasons it can't be done.  Remember, this same project was attempted a few years before and it was shut down.  And Nehemiah knows that the #1 thing he's gonna hear once he shares the details w/ his workers is, "We tried that before, it won't work!"


v. 12    You don't jump up and tell everything you know immediately.  You wait for God's time and place like Nehemiah did.


I promise you folks, God has really big plans for this place.  It's why He has kept us around.  I can't tell you all the details, and I don't have it all crystal clear myself, but if I did share what I know it might just scare you, or overly excite you to where you couldn't focus on what God has for us to do now!


We'll continue w/ more principles of leadership tonite.  Part 2


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