Parkland First Baptist Church
January 9, 2022
      • 1 Corinthians 3:16ESV

      • Download

        Jordan Meyers

        January 28, 2022 - 8:00 AM - 8:00 AM
      • Esther 6–10ESV

      • Ezra 7–10ESV

      • Nehemiah 1–5ESV

      • Nehemiah 6–7ESV

      • Nehemiah 8–10ESV

  • Where To Now?

    Now that we are in 2022, what are our plans as a church?
    I want to take some time today dreaming about our future and what I believe God wants us to accomplish.
    Isaiah 43:16–21 CSB
    16 This is what the Lord says— who makes a way in the sea, and a path through raging water, 17 who brings out the chariot and horse, the army and the mighty one together (they lie down, they do not rise again; they are extinguished, put out like a wick)— 18 “Do not remember the past events; pay no attention to things of old. 19 Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. 20 Wild animals— jackals and ostriches—will honor me, because I provide water in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people. 21 The people I formed for myself will declare my praise.
    I wanted to start by going back to this passage I read last week as our call to worship.
    The background for the book by Isaiah includes the recent fall of Israel to the Assyrians.
    Judah was living in a state of idolatry.
    They political situation was fraught with rise of nations fighting for territory that Israel was right in the middle.
    Isaiah prophesied the fall to Babylon due to Hezekiah sending the Temple treasures to them as a way to appease them.
    But He also predicted the restoration of God’s people under Cyrus II and the fall of Babylon.
    That includes the restoration of the nation and the future it’s blessing.
    The latter part of the book includes many prophesies of the restoration by the Messiah.
    Which is what we see here this morning.
    Isaiah’s last section though speaking to Israel also points to the our redeemer, Jesus Christ.
    As Israel was redeemed out of Babylon to go back to their land and restore their nation.
    One the Messiah will come and restore God’s kingdom with His people the church made up of Jews and Gentiles.

    God’s Witness To The World

    Israel is God’s servant in the world and also God’s witness to the world.
    In this passage God is showing them how idols cannot reveal themselves or help them at all.
    Yet, He is the Lord God of Israel, who redeemed them out of Egypt and brought them to the land with a promise of blessings if they obeyed.
    He also told them that if they disobeyed, He would bring curses upon them.
    He was going to bring them out of Babylon, give them their freedom, allow them to be a witness of who God is for the world.
    In our focus passage, the Lord calls to their remembrance the mighty deliverance he worked over Egypt at the Red Sea (v. 17).
    But then God commands them to forget the former things (v. 18) as he unveils amazing news with the word “Look” (v. 19).
    He is going to work a far greater salvation in the future, something that will cause the exodus to shrink in memory.
    We see that when God forgives and restores His people, He wants them to forget the failures of the past, witness for Him in the present, and claim His promises for the future.
    Why should we remember that which God has forgotten?
    He forgave them, not because they brought Him sacrifices, since they couldn’t in Babylon without an altar.
    He forgave them purely because of His mercy and Grace.

    What Does That Have To Do With Us?

    Good Question!
    This coming March will be my 10th anniversary as your pastor.
    During that time, God has done a lot for in our church.
    And we’ve seen some downs in that time.
    Then throw in the pandemic and everything we knew as normal was thrown out the window.
    We started implementing a strategy to lead us to health, but it seems that every turn, something happens to disrupt us.
    I heard a saying that seems to fit: Make a plan, implement the plan, expect the plan to go off the rails, throw the plan out.
    Plan, prepare, flexecute
    Improvise, overcome, and adapt, the unofficial Marine motto
    But for us in the church we must stay close to God, follow Him, and obey Him.
    The biggest obstacle is spiritual and we need to be ready.
    I look back and I see that we’ve been beat up, but we are still here fighting for God.
    I still feel like I did when I came that God has great things in store for us as are obedient in following Him.
    I feel like we have been in exile like Israel, but God has promised to bring us back from exile.

    Three Year Plan

    As you know, I have been interested in Church Revitalization for several years.
    One thing that I’ve learned is that it is hard work.
    I’ve been to several workshops to become a better revitalizing pastor.
    But one thing I discovered is that it takes at least 1,000 days to turn a church from unhealthy to health.
    In my study, I was asked a question, “Where is your church?”
    In the wilderness
    At the Jordan
    Conquering the land
    In Exile
    My answer was in exile.
    We have a great history of growth and ministry in our community,
    I felt we were like Israel who was once in the land then went into exile
    That we have declined since out heights in the 70’s
    I began to study how Israel wound up in exile and how did returned to Jerusalem.
    They were judged by God for being disobedient to His commands and turning to idols.
    He used the Assyrians and Babylonians to carry out His judgement on Israel and then Judah.
    When you think about our church and its history.
    There was a time in the wilderness as they formed the church and got it off the ground.
    Then came a time of expanding ministry - at the Jordan and into the land.
    Then there was a time a great ministry.
    Then the church began a slow descent in health and numbers.
    Did God send the church into exile?
    I’ve thought about that and prayed about it and I’ve to believe that He did.
    The reason was we turned from completely obeying the mandate we have been given as a church among other things.
    Churches decline for two main reasons — both having to do with a shift in priorities .
    First , they lose passion for the Great Commission and the Great Commandment .
    Second , as a result , they no longer give God glory .
    When a church no longer pushes outward with the gospel , the people will no longer look upward to God’s glory.
    A church lacking both an outward and upward perspective will inevitably move in the other two directions : inward and downward .

    So how do you restore, renew, and revitalize a church?

    A study of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, and some of the other prophets we can find our answer.
    Coming out of the pandemic, one thing is true for churches: what was normal is not normal now.
    We will need to rethink how we do church in 2022 and beyond.

    Rebuild the Temple

    First from Ezra we learn the first thing to do is to rebuild the Temple.
    Cyrus learns about Isaiah’s prophecy that he would allow the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple and Jerusalem.
    So after 70 years of exile, Zerubabbel led the first group back from Babylon to the land given to them by God.
    The first thing they did was to rebuild the altar and then the temple.
    After laying the foundation stones and the work stopped.
    They didn’t finish the temple due to outside and inside conflict.
    20 years after their return they were able to finish the temple.
    Applying this to us, I see that the first thing we need to do in our revitalization is to rebuild the temple.
    Not that we need a new building, but Israel first built the altar.
    After building it they could worship God as He prescribed them to them.
    We began this in 2020, but the pandemic hit and like Israel the construction stopped.
    So this year, I would like us to focus on rebuilding our worship.
    Like I said last week, the first priority is to have 52 weeks of quality worship.
    We need to discover true worship where we give God glory and praise, not just on Sunday but every day of the week.
    Therefore, we will learn how to truly worship God.
    Why? Look at verse 21, “So the people I formed for myself will declare my praise.”
    Prior to the exile, the Israel were worshiping idols.
    Once they returned from the exile, Israel has been a monotheistic nation.
    Never returned to idols.
    What are our idols that we worship?
    Career, comfort, politics, good looks, whatever is stopping us from putting God first, what is your idol.
    Anything that pushes God our of being your top priority is an idol and you to confess it and return to God.
    Praising God not just because He is good, but because He is the only goodness anyone will ever experience.
    When we worship that way, we become a witness to the world.

    Renew the People

    After the temple was rebuilt, it need the Levites and priest to do the work of serving God and leading in worship.
    Ezra leads that group back from Babylon
    He learns shortly after arrival of sin in the ranks, so, He goes to God in prayer confessing sin on behalf of the nation.
    He points out their sin, their to repent of and make right.
    He begins to read the law to them and they make a covenant with God to follow Him.
    This will be our focus next year - renewing the people.
    Discipleship will be the focus.
    Developing followers of Christ who can make disciples themselves.

    Rebuild the Walls

    The third year, we will focus on rebuilding the walls.
    Not a new building, but our identity in the community.
    I want people in our community to know we are here and how we have helped them.
    We should seek to make an impact on the community, so when we are raptured they will want to know where are we.
    Nehemiah led the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.
    There are many principles in that book that we can use in our effort.

    Prayer

    Part of worship and rebuilding the temple means that prayer is important.
    Daniel after reading Jeremiah discovered that 70 years was the length of the exile.
    He prayed and confess the sins of the nation - the door was opened for God to use Cyrus.
    Ezra prayed for the nation’s sins and renewal.
    Nehemiah prayed for wisdom to rebuild the walls.
    Prayer should be one of our focuses.
    Everything we do needs to be bathed in prayer.
    So, we’ll provide prayer opportunities to you this year.
    Prayer meetings, continued use of prayer lists, and possibly prayer summits/retreats.
    Koreans put us to shame.
    They are here every morning praying at 4:00 AM.
    If we learn one thing from them is the need for prayer.
    Prayer also is a great way for us to worship God.

    Outreach

    The mandate that Jesus gave us as a church is to make disciples found in Matthew 28:19-20, the great commission.
    We need to intentional about our witness.
    Who do you know that needs to come to church?
    Would you pray about that one and invite them to church?
    What does this have to do with rebuilding our worship.
    The more we have coming to church the more people can praise and glorify God.
    Let’s make Easter a big day with a high attendance goal of 60.
    We can do that.
    Where do you start?
    Bless Every Home
    Who’s your one?
    Pray for them
    One revitalized church pastor whose church went from a dozen or so to 125 in 3 years was asked, “Why has God provided such success?
    The pastor gave a simple answer : “ We pray for softballs — people ready to receive Christ . God sends them to us and we are ready to share Jesus .”
    Can we pray like that?
    Do we have God will bring people to us?
    Are you open to inviting people to church?
    Let’s see what God can do when we get serious being obedient.

    Final Thoughts

    I want out church to grow so we can honor God through our worship and ministry to our community.
    We can do it!
    It will be hard work and will take all of us to be a part.
    Are you willing to commit to reaching these goals.
    Pray
    Worship
    Invite
    If you would like to help in the process, let me know or I’ll come asking.
    So let’s pray for softballs and expectantly see what God will do!
    Upward + Outward=Onward
      • Isaiah 43:16–21CSB

Let us get to know you!

Please take a moment to send us your information so that we may stay connected with you. Your information is carefully managed and protected.
I am a:
Age:
How did you hear about us?