Praying? Don't Be Shy!

Nehemiah 1:3-7 They said to me, "Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire."

4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. 5 Then I said, "O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps His covenant of unfailing love with those who love Him and obey His commands, 6 listen to my prayer!

Look down and see me praying night and day for Your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against You. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! 7 We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that You gave us through Your servant Moses.

I have been in church all of my life and I have never seen anyone pray the way God's people did in the Bible. In the Bible there is a forceful passion without any messing around these people pray what they feel. It makes me wonder how we can see their prayers and the results that they achieved and yet we don't follow their example?

"Hey God, it's me again, I know you are busy and you have other more important things. I know you already know this but let me just ask this one thing if it's your will... Sorry to bother you."

That's not the kind of prayer that Nehemiah prayed! Nehemiah spoke to God with passion, he wasn't afraid to say "Listen to my prayer!" God wants to hear the emotion, he wants to hear how we really feel, he can handle it! Nehemiah wasn't being disrespectful, he showed that he revered God. He began by saying "O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God."

We don't dare pray with an exclamation mark! It seems too demanding and rude we come to God all shy and timid, afraid to make a request. We know that God knows everything and he has a plan and a purpose for everything so we think that maybe we shouldn't bother God with our little problem.

God's children should be able to talk to their heavenly Father boldly! I pray that you will speak to him freely and with passion.

Digging Into God's Word

Psalms 19:7-11 The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the LORD is pure, lasting forever.

The laws of the LORD are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning to Your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.

Psalms 119:72 Your instructions are more valuable to me than millions in gold and silver.

Psalms 119:162 I rejoice in Your word like one who discovers a great treasure.

The word's "Bible study" don't sound like very much fun to most people, mention the word "Bible" and they think of a big boring book, mention the word "study" and most of us think of doing something difficult like a final exam. Both of those words sound a lot like the word "work."

Work is what it will probably be for you if you are just beginning to develop the spiritual discipline of reading the Bible. If you view work as something that should be avoided then you will probably never dig in and discover the treasure in the Bible. Just because it takes some work doesn't mean that the Bible should sit on the shelf.

Most of us spend a lot of time working at something so that we will be successful. It could be a career or a hobby that motivates us to labor towards a goal. Those who desire to find the treasures in God's word must dig for them.

This is a long term commitment to digging, it is similar to a miner digging for treasure hidden in the earth, if you dig for a short time then you may not get any jewels. It may take a while to get a payday and you may begin to think that the hard work isn't worth it.

Over and over again God's word proves that it is valuable, useful and beneficial. Here is a short list I found of some of the benefits that we can receive from Bible study:

✔  Revives the soul ✔  Makes us wise and gives us insight ✔  Brings joy to the heart ✔  Show us the glory of God

With benefits like that we shouldn't mind picking up the shovel and getting busy.


Matthew 13:44 "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. The person that bought the field knew that he had found something that was valuable enough that he should get rid of everything else that he owned so that he could buy the land and obtain the rights to the treasure that was hidden from everybody else.

In this parable Jesus tells us about the excitement that a man had when he found a hidden treasure. In his excitement he immediately made some quick decisions to help him acquire what was really important to him. The new found treasure was worth more to him that the old stuff that he used to think was valuable. Will you give up something valuable for the greater treasure that God promises for us in His word?

We pursue what we perceive as being valuable. The problem is that we tend to value the things that the world tells us to value and ignore the things that really matter. We need to have a different perspective and we need to upgrade the value of this investment and throw away the world's garbage. (Matthew 6:19-21, Philippians 3:8)

Read The Owners Manual!

It isn't very often that we pull something new out of the box and stop to read the manual, in our excitement to play with our new toy we think that we already understand what it is and how to use it, usually we do know about it but sometimes we are surprised to learn something good from the owners manual.

People that know about the product the most wrote some things down for you so that you would understand it as well and get a full understanding of the product. We like to get on with life so we toss that information aside.

That's the way we treat God and the Bible. We know about God and church, we know who Jesus is and that we need him for our sin but how much time do you spend REALLY getting to know God? Who are we to think that we have the knowledge that we need to get us through life? Someone that is infinity smarter than ourselves has written a manual to help us and we ignore it.

There cannot be a better author of a "how to" book for how to live than the book that God has written for us. Some of the benefits of reading the Bible:

✔ Our patience in difficult times would be maintained (Acts 20:32; Ephesians 4:1-3)

✔ Our contentment would increase (1 Timothy 6:6, Philippians 3:8, 4:11)

✔ Our relationships will improve (Matthew 22:37–39, Philippians 2:3–4, 1 Corinthians 13:4–8)

✔ Our peace would multiply (Philippians 4:6-9; Psalm 85:8)

✔ Our love would be stirred as well as our joy (Hebrews 10:24; Galatians 5:22-23)

✔ We can desire more for our Creator (Psalm 31:23; Psalm 73:25; Deuteronomy 6:5-9)

✔ We can learn what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 3:3-4, 5:17)

✔ We can learn how to change our destiny after life on earth is through. (John 3:16, 1John 5:13-15 )

✔ We can live with purpose (Proverbs 19:21, Colossians 1:20, Jeremiah 29:11, 1 John 2:17)

✔ We get equipped for doing good things (2 Timothy 3:14-17, 1 Peter 2:2; Ephesians 3:3-5, 16, 17)

✔ The Bible equips us to be competent counselors (Romans 15:14; 2 Timothy 3:16)

We need to be digging the word everyday so that God's book can have a meaningful effect on our lives.

Jesus Disciples Share The Gospel


 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9

The majority to Christ followers talk about the gospel among other believers instead of sharing it to apathetic, even skeptical, unbelievers. We need to share the good news with those that haven't heard the good news and don't know anything about it.

For many people, evangelism does not come naturally, we sense the social awkwardness of talking about spiritual things. It is okay to be an introvert, Pastor Buff can share the gospel in ways that your personality may not allow but at the same time we cannot allow Satan to use our fear to silence us.

A believer is accountable only to say yes to God’s call. It is the Lord’s responsibility to equip the chosen for the work He’s assigned. A personal plan has been mapped for each believer’s life, and God provides the personality and temperament that suits. Then He adds skills that can be developed and the spiritual gifts necessary to fulfill His mission.

God makes His call with wisdom and discernment. He knows why He created you and what you’re capable of accomplishing in His strength.

-Charles Stanley

You can easily begin by building a relationship with the people that you share with. Show them love, show them that you care, then they will be interested in hearing your story. God will give you opportunity and he will give you the words.

We must evaluate whether we spend most of our time talking about the Gospel with believers or telling the Gospel to unbelievers.

God's Fame

For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen.

Romans 11:36

The reason for doing evangelism is the very same reason for our existence. It is all for bringing glory to God.

What is glory? Perhaps the best way to think of glory is our word “fame.” We live to declare the wonders of God, or to make Him famous. When we love others with God’s love, or give Him thanks in all things, we are singing His praises– making Him famous. When we choose not to sin, we declare to the world that God is more satisfying than sin.

People Are Lost

Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

2 Corinthians 4:4

This is the tragic, but accurate, depiction of the state of people apart from Christ. Satan is holding them hostage, keeping them in prison, and blinding them to the Gospel.

We Are Ambassadors

So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

2 Corinthians 5:18-20

God has entrusted us with the responsibility of being His ambassadors. We are his representatives in this foreign land.

When we proclaim the good news, we grow as Christ’s disciples. Evangelism opens us up to the adventure of obeying God and collaborating with him in ways that strengthen our faith and transform our thinking.

Jesus Disciples Are Not Working Alone

The Holy Spirit changes us and gives us power to live for God.


Matthew 28:20  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

John 14:16-18  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn't looking for Him and doesn't recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans, I will come to you.

Yes we live in a gospel community doing life together and helping each other but I want to talk about a much better helper that we cannot be without if we are going to grow as a disciple or if we are going to make new disciples.

The work of the Holy Spirit is a part of the process of becoming more like Jesus, his work starts with giving us life when we were spiritually dead and he helps us to move through all of the stages of spiritual growth from infants all the way to a spiritual adult.

Of all the gifts given to man by God, there is none greater than the presence of the Holy Spirit, He has many functions, roles, and activities so we will only take a look at a few of them:

The Holy Spirit guarantees my salvation.

Ephesians 1:13-14 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

God grants to us His Holy Spirit as the certain pledge that we are His forever and shall be saved in the last day. He has saved us and given us His Spirit to renew us and cleanse us from the desires of the flesh. He produces in our hearts the evidence that we are accepted by God, that we are regarded as His adopted children, that our hope is genuine and that our salvation is sure.

The Holy Spirit gives me power to live for God.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.

The proof of the Spirit’s presence is the work that He is doing in my heart. The cold indifferent and unloving heart will become tender and compassionate and we will respond to God's commands and conform to His will for our lives.

My character will look a lot more like God's character. (Ephesians 4:21-24, John 16:7-11) The power that He provides will help me to live with the fruit of the Spirit. My life will have "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23)

The Holy Spirit helps me tell my story to people that don't know the gospel.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere--in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Jesus disciples were appointed to tell what they had seen and what they had heard. They saw his life, his character, his suffering and his teaching. They saw His life, death and resurrection and they were about to see him ascend to heaven. Jesus had changed their lives dramatically and he wanted them to tell their story. (Acts 4:33)

Jesus also wants us to tell our story and he has given us the Holy Spirit to help us have the words, the timing for our words and the power to go and share the good news. The more we tell our story and talk about how God has intervened in our life, the more people will begin to realize that God is for real, miracles do happen, and they will see that He can change their life too.

I am not able to live the life that God wants me to live without the Holy Spirit's power, I need to remember that I don't have to be more like Jesus in my own strength, the power to be who he wants me to be can only come from Him.

Help me Lord to be serious about my mission here on earth and help me to rely on the Holy Spirit to change me and then help me spread the good news about what you have done.

Jesus Disciples Serve

The greatest leader we have ever known was also the greatest servant.


I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many."

(John 13:15-17)

One of the greatest challenges for a disciple is to put aside our agenda and our pride and take the time to put others first. We are saturated with ourselves and our own ambitions and we have very little time to offer to others.

Jesus wants his disciples to serve and as a great teacher he gave us a very vivid lesson on how he wants us to behave. Imagine the awkward moment when Jesus stooped down at the dirty, smelly feet of his disciples, everyone in the upper room knew that Jesus was the greatest among them. Far greater in every way, He was a great Teacher, He performed miracles, and by that time, most of them were convinced He was the Messiah.

It would have been unheard of for the most important person at the table to wash everybody's feet. But Jesus came to change our way of thinking and to teach us how to value things that are opposite from the world’s ways.

But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many."

(Matthew 20:26-28)

Jesus redefined how his disciples should measure greatness. The world defines greatness in terms of power, possessions, prestige, and position. If you can demand service from somebody else then you have arrived. God wants us to out do each other in serving and meeting the needs of the people around us.

As disciples we are to look for ways to serve the hurting world around us so that others will be drawn to Jesus by our love.