How to Make a Plan and Follow Through

No vision will magically come to fruition, and the vision God has for your life needs a plan to make it happen. This year you need a solid plan and the tools to execute it. Come learn how to make that a reality this year.

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    - I have a dream that one day:
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    - Hey, welcome to Crossroads and a special welcome
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    to anyone who is joining us for the first time.
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    I'm Sean, a community coach for Crossroads Anywhere,
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    which means I'm here to help you build community
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    wherever you are.
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    Now Crossroads is a church of people meeting in person
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    and digitally all over the country,
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    and we're so glad that you joined us today.
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    You're joining us for our second week
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    in the book of Nehemiah, where we're talking about
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    bridging the gap between the vision of our life
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    and how to make it real.
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    But before we dive into that,
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    we're going to spend some time in worship through song.
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    We call it our prayers set to music,
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    and this is a way to put our attention towards God
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    and to tell Him that we want more of Him
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    and what He wants to do in our lives.
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    So turn up the volume, go full screen,
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    and let's get started.
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    - Following the Lord, we're following Jesus.
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    He is real. He is present.
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    He is with us, even right here in this moment.
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    I want you to sing this with me right here.
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    You're more than a story.
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    - Hey, I don't know if this is true for you,
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    but for me, I think it's weird to sing about someone's blood.
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    Like, unless it's a T Swift breakup song,
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    it's pretty weird, right?
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    But here's why we embrace the weird.
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    Because we believe something miraculous
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    and mysterious happens because of the blood of Jesus.
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    Think of it like this.
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    Blood represents life.
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    It represents power, inheritance, sacrifice.
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    We believe there's something miraculous done
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    by Jesus giving of His own blood,
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    by laying down His life.
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    Like, we actually believe these words of this verse,
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    written -- Let me do face ID. Got it.
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    Now it's got my face.
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    These words, written after Jesus died on a Cross,
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    rose again, and the writer says this:
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    In Jesus we have redemption through His blood,
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    the forgiveness of our trespasses,
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    according to the riches of His grace,
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    which he lavished upon us.
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    Everybody do what I do, I have my kids do
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    when we read this verse, say lavished.
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    Come on, say it better. Say lavished.
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    If singing about blood wasn't weird,
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    maybe it's weird for you to say lavished like that.
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    Embrace the weird, because love and blood
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    go hand in hand with this King.
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    It's what He laid down for you to give us life.
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    Sing about that freedom.
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    - That's what his blood did for us.
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    [crying]
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    - She's beautiful, guys.
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    - Oh, it is so good to see you.
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    - We don't want more friends, we want real friends.
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    Friends who make us feel like we belong.
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    Imagine being able to be yourself
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    and still be accepted. No judgments. No fine print.
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    Groups are a safe space to be who we are
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    and grow together.
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    Life is better together. Join a group.
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    - Well, hey, I've got a few things
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    I want to put on your radar today.
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    And they're all around community,
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    which is something I am super passionate about.
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    First off is the Connect Event
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    special for a Crossroads Anywhere community
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    on Sunday, January 14th from 12 to 1 p.m..
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    You know, Crossroads is a movement of people
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    meeting in person and digitally all over the country,
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    and this event is meant for you to meet others
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    in our community digitally and learn more about
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    how you might be able to meet
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    and connect with others in your physical area.
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    Plus, we'll even hook you up with a free gift card
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    for just attending, so don't miss it!
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    Join us on Sunday, January 14th from 12 to 1
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    and RSVP at Crossroads.net/anywhere.
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    Now, if you can't make it to the connect event,
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    there are still other ways
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    to get connected to community around here.
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    One of the best ways is to find a group to be a part of.
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    Whether you're simply looking to connect
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    with others in a similar life stage,
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    seeking spiritual growth,
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    or deep healing in an area of your life,
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    we have options for you.
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    We have hundreds of groups waiting for you
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    in person and digitally, and you can find out
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    more information by going to crossroads.net/groups.
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    Now, one of my favorite weekends of the year
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    is coming up just around the corner.
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    It's Super Bowl Sunday and at Crossroad,
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    it's not just about the football.
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    You know, many years ago we took the weekend
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    when nobody went to church
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    and we turned it into an experience.
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    It became our highest attended weekend of the year.
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    It will be loud, it will be unpredictable,
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    and it probably should have gotten us shut down years ago.
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    It's the Super Bowl of Preaching,
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    and there's going to be a great experience for you
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    beyond watching the crazy thing online.
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    Now, if you're a part of our Anywhere community,
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    you can sign up to receive a kit from us
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    that will help you host your own experience at home.
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    If you want to host friends to stream the service with you,
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    use it for that.
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    Or if you'd rather just watch the actual Super Bowl
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    and throw a party with your friends,
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    we'd love to help make that happen.
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    We have 50 kits available
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    and they're first come, first serve.
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    Now head on over to Crossroads.net/anywhere
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    to sign up for your kit, and we'll mail it to you
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    wherever you are.
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    Now, if you're wondering about who funds this place,
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    the Connect events, this online experience,
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    let's be clear on who is not.
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    There are no corporate sponsors
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    or franchise affiliations.
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    It's simply the generosity of everyday people
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    in our community that fuels live change
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    that we experience around here.
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    You can be a part of that generosity,
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    or if you just want to learn more
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    about what we believe about it,
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    you can go to crossroads.net/give.
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    Now, today we're continuing to talk about vision.
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    Let's dive in as Chuck Mingo talks about
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    having a plan and how to get the tools to execute it.
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    - I know, like you want --
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    Good news, Chuck is speaking tonight.
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    - We love Brian.
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    - I know, but I know they like you
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    better than they like me. You say that all the time.
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    I understand, I understand, but he is speaking.
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    He's got a good talk tonight.
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    I'm looking forward to hearing it myself. Excuse me.
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    I should've say something different there.
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    - Okay.
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    Because this is, uh, this is going to go to all sites.
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    So I should have said this.
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    Actually, it's Thursday night.
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    This is very fun, isn't it? - It is.
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    - What if we just start over? - We could just read it.
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    - Because I said tonight
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    and I should be saying today because
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    they're going to be watching this on Sunday.
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    See how good you are Thursday, first time.
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    - Yes.
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    - You get the raw, you get the raw Crossroads
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    and everybody else gets like this. [indiscernible]
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    - Here's here's a good news. Good news is this,
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    good news is this, Chuck is actually speaking today.
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    He's speaking today.
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    I know you like him more than me.
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    You tell me that all the time. I know that.
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    So he's speaking today,
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    and we're going to let him do his thing.
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    But first, before he does that,
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    I got really good stuff that's going on
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    I want to make everyone aware of.
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    Chuck was on staff for full time staff for how long?
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    - 15, 15 years? - 15 years.
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    And then how long did you go into on to part time staff?
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    - It's been about 2 years now, a little bit over.
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    - So two years ago he's on part time staff.
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    He teaches here, does some other things.
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    But he is the leader, the director for --
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    - Yeah, for Undivided. So Undivided is a -- yes.
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    Got some Undivided love in the house.
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    And Undivided is a ministry that really is enabling
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    the church to love and lead well on race.
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    That's what we're doing.
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    We've been doing it in churches
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    and also in organizations across the country.
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    - So good news on that is that people have noticed
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    in the publishing industry across the country,
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    like, yeah, this guy's got a voice,
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    him and a buddy of his
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    who's also part of our church, Troy Jackson.
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    They said, would you write a book
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    on this whole race thing?
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    And they have and they've included me in the editing.
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    I didn't write anything but ran some drafts by me
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    and stuff like that. It's really cool.
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    And that book is available.
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    It's really, really solid.
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    It's just really, it's really cool that our church
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    gets to be a part of that, especially, you know,
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    we've taken our lumps on race around here.
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    - Oh, yeah. - You know, all of our country
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    has take our lumps on race,
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    on both sides, not talking about it right.
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    It's not talking about not enough times.
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    It's not whatever it is. And we've been in that.
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    But it's also a tension we choose to stay in
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    because God wants all people to be undivided and to be one.
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    And so we're thankful to be on that journey
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    here at Crossroads and thankful for you
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    that you've done this book. Dude, well done.
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    - Thank you. - Fantastic.
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    - Thank you. - How's it feel to be an author?
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    - It's amazing. It's been a surreal week
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    and I'm just so grateful. I've been --
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    My two words have been gladness and gratitude.
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    And I have a lot of it, particularly
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    for our community here at Crossroads. Yeah.
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    - Well, and you're also going to bless us
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    because you got a special deal for us
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    in case we should happen to read that book.
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    - Absolutely. Yeah. You know, I want
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    the friends and family discount
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    for my friends and family at Crossroads, right?
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    So Baker Publishing has said that effective,
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    I think February -- not February, through February 29th
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    they're going to give you, Crossroads,
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    40% off of however many books you want to buy.
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    So you can go to Baker Books. I think we've got a QR code.
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    There's a little code there, CROSSROADS24.
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    If that's a blessing to you or someone in your life,
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    want you to definitely not have to pay full price
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    because your friends and family. So there you go.
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    - Well, you have, been a fantastic friend to me,
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    fantastic leader around here, communicator around here.
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    We're thankful that we get to be in ministry with you,
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    and we're ecstatic to see how God's using you
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    in ways that are beyond the Crossroads hemisphere.
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    So well done, good and faithful servant.
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    - Thank you so much. Thank you.
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    - Love you. - Love you, man.
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    - All right, so I got a question, though.
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    Here's my question: is it too late into January
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    to say Happy New Year?
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    - No. - Okay, well, happy new year.
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    Happy New Year, everybody.
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    It's really great to be here.
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    And I love how we're kicking this year off
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    with this series that's based on one of
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    my favorite, favorite characters in the Bible,
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    the character of Nehemiah.
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    And we're going to get into that.
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    But I want you to know, today we're talking about
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    the spiritual practice of planning.
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    Yes, you heard me correctly.
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    I believe that planning is a spiritual discipline,
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    that it is a practice that we see modeled in the Bible,
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    we see modeled in the life of Jesus,
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    we see modeled in the character of God.
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    Now some of you are super excited.
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    Who's planners in the house?
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    Planners in the house are like, you know what?
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    I wish you'd have told me that because I would have
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    planned to have somebody here who needs to hear this message.
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    I know that because that's how the planners think.
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    How many of you are on the other side of the equation,
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    you're just not into planning?
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    In fact, I'm going to have you raise your hand,
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    but you're a little bit annoyed
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    because you're planning to do something.
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    It's like, "Chuck, that's not spontaneous enough."
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    Who are the non planners in the house?
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    How many of those do we have?
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    All right. So yeah, you know we can be
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    on different extremes when it comes to planning.
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    I know for me I am a planner, I am a planner.
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    And obviously I'm not alone, especially at this time of year.
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    Planners, journals, calendars is a $1 billion industry.
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    So somebody's making a whole lot of money
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    on people who want to plan.
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    In fact, I came across this quote. It said:
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    Anybody guilty of that? Yes. Okay. Right.
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    Yeah, yeah. Just keeping it real.
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    And, you know, yet all of us may have some struggle
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    with this concept of planning.
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    I actually am a planner. I love to plan.
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    I go through a whole process at the end of the year
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    to do this kind of planning thing and set goals.
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    I'm not a resolutions person, but I am a goals person.
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    Like, I like a goals with a spreadsheet kind of person.
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    That's who I am and I love the plan.
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    But here's the thing, with me I realize
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    there's two ditches that I can fall into
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    as it relates to planning.
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    The one side of that ditch is I can actually
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    really get upset when things don't go according to my plan.
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    So that's one of the things that I can fall into the ditch.
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    But here's the other one. I told you, I have spreadsheets.
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    I have those kind of strategic plans.
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    I can get enamored with what's on the spreadsheet
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    more than I'm enamored with taking what's in the spreadsheet
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    and waking up every day
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    and doing the hard work of making it a reality.
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    And so maybe you're a planner.
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    Maybe you're not a planner.
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    But all of us have something, a vision
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    that we want to bring about to reality.
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    A God given vision.
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    You see, we got vision over here kind of reflected
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    as part of the journey.
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    And then we've got over here reality.
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    And what is in between? The messy middle.
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    What is up with this wall?
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    This is clearly unfinished.
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    This isn't anything that we would say is complete.
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    And in the middle of your vision and reality
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    is exactly where we need a plan.
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    Now, here's the thing.
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    I believe, because planning is a spiritual discipline,
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    that you have a spiritual enemy
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    that wants to come against your planning.
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    Look at what Jesus says in John 10:10. He says:
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    I believe that one of the things the enemy
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    wants to steal, kill, and destroy
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    are visions that God has given you.
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    I think there are people who are here today
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    that have God sized vision,
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    something that God has put in your heart.
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    Maybe it's a personal vision.
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    Maybe it's a family vision.
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    Maybe it's an organizational vision.
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    Maybe it's a vision for your community.
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    Maybe it's a vision for your street,
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    your block, whatever it is, God has put it there
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    and yet it will be opposed.
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    We don't plan in a vacuum, right?
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    Life is difficult.
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    Anybody realize that life is difficult?
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    Life is hard. Life is difficult.
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    And so we'll spend a lot of time in the messy middle.
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    But the big idea today is this:
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    The only way to fill the gap between vision and reality
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    is with a God given plan.
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    We need a plan, and we see that God
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    has in His character this idea and passion for planning.
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    One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11, which says:
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    And I believe these words are some of the ideas
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    that Nehemiah, this character in the Bible,
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    had to hold on to in his messy middle.
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    Nehemiah was a historical character in the Bible
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    whose homeland was Israel and his hometown,
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    if you were, the most important city in that area,
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    was the city of Jerusalem.
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    But when we come to Nehemiah's story,
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    he's not in Jerusalem because Jerusalem had been sacked.
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    It had been conquered by another king.
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    And he's actually a servant to that other king.
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    But every now and then there were some people
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    who had left behind in Jerusalem,
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    but they weren't doing really well.
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    The walls were broken down.
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    It was not a good situation.
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    They were under oppression, and they were not able
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    to live fully into the identity
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    that God had for them as a people,
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    and certainly the vision that God had
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    for the city of Jerusalem.
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    And so this comes to Nehemiah, and it breaks his heart.
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    And Brian talked last week about what happens
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    from that point is Nehemiah gets a vision,
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    and his vision is, "I want to go to Jerusalem
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    and I want to rebuild that wall.
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    I want to actually make a difference
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    in the lives of the people of God."
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    He wants to go from vision to reality.
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    And what we're going to look at today
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    is how does Nehemiah walk out that plan?
  • 00:28:08
    And I want to say this, like,
  • 00:28:10
    hearing as you're in captivity that there is
  • 00:28:12
    a city miles away that needs to be rebuilt
  • 00:28:16
    is what is called a BHAG.
  • 00:28:18
    Does anybody know what that means?
  • 00:28:20
    It is a big, hairy, audacious goal.
  • 00:28:25
    A big, hairy, audacious goal.
  • 00:28:27
    And I'm guessing that if we were to get together
  • 00:28:29
    and connect, maybe there's something stirring in you.
  • 00:28:32
    And one of the reasons you don't even want to claim it
  • 00:28:34
    is because it's a BHAG.
  • 00:28:36
    It's a big, hairy, audacious goal.
  • 00:28:39
    And yet it may be the very thing
  • 00:28:41
    that God is calling you to.
  • 00:28:43
    If that's true, then I want you to lean,
  • 00:28:45
    I want to help you lean into the four essentials
  • 00:28:48
    of the spiritual discipline of planning,
  • 00:28:50
    things we see in the story of Nehemiah.
  • 00:28:52
    And the first is you have to confront reality.
  • 00:28:56
    You have to confront reality.
  • 00:28:58
    Look at what it says in Nehemiah 2:12:
  • 00:29:12
    So Nehemiah is doing this at night.
  • 00:29:14
    He's doing it with a small group of people.
  • 00:29:15
    He's really trying to be low key. What is he doing? He says:
  • 00:29:25
    He's walking around and he's seeing these broken down walls,
  • 00:29:27
    and he's looking at all of the things that would need to happen
  • 00:29:30
    for this place to be strengthened. He said:
  • 00:30:01
    So the first thing Nehemiah does is
  • 00:30:03
    he confronts reality and what is his reality?
  • 00:30:07
    It's broken down walls. It's broken down walls.
  • 00:30:10
    One of the books that has inspired me
  • 00:30:12
    as it relates to planning is called
  • 00:30:14
    The Redemptive Nonprofit, and it's from
  • 00:30:16
    an organization called Praxis Labs.
  • 00:30:17
    And this is one of the things they talk about
  • 00:30:19
    when they talk about planning. They say:
  • 00:30:34
    They're talking about the spiritual discipline
  • 00:30:36
    of planning and the need to confront reality.
  • 00:30:39
    And I'm drawn to this three fold illustration
  • 00:30:42
    of reality: dignity, tragedy, and possibility.
  • 00:30:48
    What does it mean to confront the dignity of your reality?
  • 00:30:52
    It means this: that we are not failures.
  • 00:30:55
    We are image bearers.
  • 00:30:57
    That we are literally created with the capacity
  • 00:30:59
    to make and create things that serve people and honor God.
  • 00:31:04
    So one of the things that you have to ask yourself is,
  • 00:31:06
    is my vision rooted in the dignity of other people
  • 00:31:10
    or am I in this for myself?
  • 00:31:12
    Is my vision actually something
  • 00:31:14
    that's going to degrade other people,
  • 00:31:16
    or is it going to build people up?
  • 00:31:18
    We have to confront the reality
  • 00:31:19
    that God is not going to bless your vision
  • 00:31:21
    if the vision is selfish and actually harms other people.
  • 00:31:24
    God is not going to bless that.
  • 00:31:25
    But if there is something God has put in your heart
  • 00:31:28
    that recognizes and elevates the dignity of the individual,
  • 00:31:31
    even if it's you, hey, I want to get my life different.
  • 00:31:33
    I want to grow, I want to change, I want to heal.
  • 00:31:35
    That's something that taps into the dignity
  • 00:31:38
    that is essential for any Godly plan.
  • 00:31:41
    But here's the second thing we have to confront the tragedy.
  • 00:31:45
    And what is the tragedy?
  • 00:31:46
    The tragedy is because of
  • 00:31:49
    something called the sinful nature,
  • 00:31:50
    everything that we do in this world is tainted
  • 00:31:54
    by the impact and the effect of sin.
  • 00:31:57
    So even some of my best ideas
  • 00:31:59
    aren't going to be great ideas
  • 00:32:01
    because they're tainted and impacted.
  • 00:32:03
    And I have to be willing to confront that reality.
  • 00:32:06
    In fact, I've got some bricks up here
  • 00:32:08
    to just help us kind of lock in the things
  • 00:32:10
    that must be true if we're going to build this plan.
  • 00:32:13
    As you confront reality, one of the things
  • 00:32:17
    that you have to be willing to do is reflect.
  • 00:32:18
    I, like I told you, I've got spreadsheets. I love the plan.
  • 00:32:21
    And so it was doing that work over the Christmas break.
  • 00:32:25
    Nd usually I'm really excited to get to the,
  • 00:32:27
    okay, what's my word for the year?
  • 00:32:29
    What are the 3 or 4 things I'm going to go after?
  • 00:32:31
    And I did that, but that was way, way less time
  • 00:32:35
    than the time I spent really reflecting in 2023.
  • 00:32:38
    I went through five areas of my life,
  • 00:32:40
    went through my spiritual life, my relationships,
  • 00:32:43
    my intellectual life, my physical life
  • 00:32:46
    and my financial life.
  • 00:32:47
    And I just asked some really good and honest questions.
  • 00:32:50
    First, what's good in these areas?
  • 00:32:52
    Where is God blessing? What is God doing?
  • 00:32:54
    And then I asked the question,
  • 00:32:56
    what's broken in these areas?
  • 00:32:58
    And I sat in some of the disappointments of 2023.
  • 00:33:02
    I sat in some of the ways that I didn't do
  • 00:33:04
    what I said I was going to do in 2023,
  • 00:33:06
    and I sat in that honestly with God.
  • 00:33:09
    And I want to tell you, I didn't need as much time
  • 00:33:12
    to set goals because sitting in that reality,
  • 00:33:15
    reckoning with the tragedy was enough for me
  • 00:33:18
    to know very clearly, "Here is where God is calling me to go."
  • 00:33:22
    It was a powerful way to reflect on the year,
  • 00:33:25
    but thankfully we don't have to stay stuck in the tragedy.
  • 00:33:29
    Yes, there's probably things you started and didn't finish.
  • 00:33:31
    Yes, there may be plans that
  • 00:33:33
    you don't know how you're going to achieve,
  • 00:33:34
    but I love Nehemiah's hope in the midst of the tragedy.
  • 00:33:38
    Yes, he inspects the walls.
  • 00:33:39
    He sees all that's broken.
  • 00:33:41
    But this is what he says when he finally goes public
  • 00:33:44
    in Nehemiah 2:17, he says:
  • 00:33:48
    You all see it. You see the broken down walls.
  • 00:33:50
    And we have these in our lives, our broken down walls.
  • 00:33:52
    But listen to what he says. He says:
  • 00:34:00
    What I love about Nehemiah's vision is that
  • 00:34:02
    it was never really just about the wall,
  • 00:34:05
    but what he understood was the rebuilding of the wall
  • 00:34:08
    was going to be the catalyst
  • 00:34:09
    for God to do the work of rebuilding people.
  • 00:34:12
    Every plan that is worthwhile, ultimately, is about people.
  • 00:34:17
    It's about building up people who God loves
  • 00:34:20
    and cares about, including you.
  • 00:34:23
    God has plans for your life because
  • 00:34:25
    He wants to build you up.
  • 00:34:26
    He is not content with you staying with
  • 00:34:28
    the broken down walls in your life.
  • 00:34:30
    He wants to build you up.
  • 00:34:31
    Our God is in the redemption business.
  • 00:34:33
    He's in the reconstruction business, if you will.
  • 00:34:36
    You can trust that that is what He wants to do in your life.
  • 00:34:39
    But we have to be willing to confront reality.
  • 00:34:42
    Now, what is the other thing that Nehemiah needs?
  • 00:34:44
    After he confronts reality, he recognizes
  • 00:34:46
    he needs to lean into relationships.
  • 00:34:49
    When you read the book of Nehemiah,
  • 00:34:51
    you will read a bunch of names.
  • 00:34:53
    In fact, a lot of us are doing this right now.
  • 00:34:54
    We have a Bible challenge
  • 00:34:56
    and you can join us in the Crossroads App.
  • 00:34:57
    There's a daily reading we're all doing.
  • 00:34:59
    We're reading through this book together.
  • 00:35:01
    And you'll notice a lot of names in Nehemiah.
  • 00:35:04
    It was important for him to recognize
  • 00:35:07
    the relationships and the interconnectedness
  • 00:35:09
    that he had with other people.
  • 00:35:11
    You know, this weekend, as we remember
  • 00:35:13
    the legacy of Doctor Martin Luther King,
  • 00:35:14
    one of the interesting insights about his life
  • 00:35:17
    was highlighted in an interview that
  • 00:35:19
    me and Troy Jackson, my coauthor, did with Brian
  • 00:35:21
    on his Aggressive Life podcast.
  • 00:35:22
    It's coming out on MLK day, and it's this idea
  • 00:35:26
    that we often think about King as kind of
  • 00:35:28
    this self-made leader, right?
  • 00:35:29
    Like, you know, heard a calling from God
  • 00:35:31
    on the mountaintop and begin to lead the people.
  • 00:35:33
    But that's actually not the story.
  • 00:35:35
    When Martin Luther King was in Montgomery, Alabama,
  • 00:35:37
    it was actually the people around him
  • 00:35:39
    who were already organizing around
  • 00:35:42
    the Montgomery bus boycott, already training people
  • 00:35:45
    on nonviolent resistance, already enabling people
  • 00:35:48
    like Rosa Parks to be ready for a moment
  • 00:35:50
    when it was time to take this campaign into action.
  • 00:35:53
    And in many ways, that group of leaders,
  • 00:35:55
    everyday people, shaped Martin Luther King.
  • 00:35:58
    Troy, my co-founder, also had his PhD,
  • 00:36:01
    he did a PhD on King and made it a book called Becoming King.
  • 00:36:04
    And I love what he says here. He says:
  • 00:36:16
    You know, I will honestly say the book
  • 00:36:19
    that Troy and I wrote would not exist
  • 00:36:21
    had it not been for our relationship.
  • 00:36:23
    Because in 2014 I met Troy in the Oakley Atrium
  • 00:36:27
    by the fireplace for the very first time.
  • 00:36:29
    Actually, Brian introduced us to each other.
  • 00:36:31
    And Troy, at that time, had the ability to call me up
  • 00:36:36
    and call me in to God's heart
  • 00:36:39
    for racial healing and justice,
  • 00:36:40
    and it sparked something in me
  • 00:36:42
    that God took and continued to grow.
  • 00:36:45
    It was a seed that began to germinate.
  • 00:36:47
    I put it this way: Troy has the blackest name
  • 00:36:50
    you could think of, but Troy is a 53 year old white guy.
  • 00:36:53
    So if you were thinking about Troy as a black guy,
  • 00:36:56
    he is not. We couldn't be more different.
  • 00:36:58
    He's from Anderson, Indiana.
  • 00:36:59
    I'm from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • 00:37:00
    We have very different musical styles.
  • 00:37:02
    Let's just say that, people that were interested in,
  • 00:37:04
    his favorite songs are songs I don't know.
  • 00:37:06
    And many of mine are songs that he doesn't know.
  • 00:37:08
    But anyway, yes, you're right.
  • 00:37:10
    So that relationship, that cross-cultural relationship
  • 00:37:12
    really became the fuel and the crucible that was
  • 00:37:15
    growing me into the leader God had called me to be.
  • 00:37:18
    And I think about that, and I think about
  • 00:37:20
    the plans that you have, the visions you have,
  • 00:37:22
    and I think you need three kinds of people.
  • 00:37:25
    I think you need counsel in your life.
  • 00:37:28
    Organizations have a board of directors.
  • 00:37:30
    Here at Crossroads we have a spiritual board, CEO,
  • 00:37:32
    you know, organizations all over the world have counsel.
  • 00:37:35
    People who are really guiding your journey.
  • 00:37:38
    I think we all need counsel.
  • 00:37:39
    But here's the other thing. We need constituencies.
  • 00:37:42
    What do I mean when I say that?
  • 00:37:43
    Well, think about it in terms of the political context.
  • 00:37:46
    If you're a representative, you're representing
  • 00:37:48
    the people who voted for you.
  • 00:37:50
    And so your goal is to represent their interests.
  • 00:37:53
    And I think about it this way.
  • 00:37:54
    When it comes to plans in our lives,
  • 00:37:57
    who are we accountable to?
  • 00:37:59
    Who are the people who have the right to say,
  • 00:38:02
    "You committed to this, and I want that for you
  • 00:38:04
    and maybe even need that from you."
  • 00:38:06
    We need a constituency.
  • 00:38:08
    I think about in my life, when I've had
  • 00:38:10
    the most success at weight loss and being healthy,
  • 00:38:13
    it wasn't because I really wanted to look good
  • 00:38:16
    in clothing up on a stage, that didn't do it.
  • 00:38:18
    That wasn't enough motivation.
  • 00:38:19
    But when I envisioned my three kids having kids
  • 00:38:22
    and I envisioned being a grandfather
  • 00:38:24
    who can actually still get on a bike
  • 00:38:26
    and ride with his grandchildren.
  • 00:38:27
    When I envisioned being a grandfather
  • 00:38:29
    who could be present for the next generation of Mingos,
  • 00:38:31
    if God chooses to bring more Mingos into the world,
  • 00:38:34
    that's been the motivation.
  • 00:38:35
    My kids, my wife were the constituency
  • 00:38:38
    that motivated me to follow through with my plans.
  • 00:38:40
    Who's your constituency as you think about
  • 00:38:43
    the plans that God has in your life?
  • 00:38:44
    But then you also need collaborators.
  • 00:38:47
    You need people who are going to roll up their sleeves
  • 00:38:49
    and get in the trenches with you.
  • 00:38:50
    In Nehemiah's story we hear a lot,
  • 00:38:52
    and you'll hear a lot about the people he collaborated with.
  • 00:38:55
    And it's one of the reasons why
  • 00:38:57
    we do groups at Crossroads, because we want
  • 00:38:59
    you to have people in your life
  • 00:39:01
    who will roll up their sleeves and do life with you.
  • 00:39:04
    So I'm excited that one of the groups
  • 00:39:06
    that we're doing as we launch groups in this season
  • 00:39:08
    is based on the book Living Undivided.
  • 00:39:10
    And if you want to go to Crossroads.net/Bookstudy,
  • 00:39:12
    you can learn more about that.
  • 00:39:14
    The groups are starting in the week of January 22nd.
  • 00:39:16
    I'm going to be leading a group.
  • 00:39:17
    Others are going to be leading groups all across the city,
  • 00:39:20
    all across the region, and even across states.
  • 00:39:21
    There's going to be people
  • 00:39:23
    who are rolling up their sleeves and saying, "Hey,
  • 00:39:25
    this is a vision God has for the church.
  • 00:39:26
    How can we lean into it?"
  • 00:39:28
    And I'm excited about that, because I know
  • 00:39:30
    what happens when you get into groups.
  • 00:39:32
    When you get around collaborators,
  • 00:39:34
    there's the possibility of change
  • 00:39:35
    that isn't possible any other kind of way.
  • 00:39:38
    So, you know, we talked about it earlier.
  • 00:39:40
    If you want to do a group, go to that site so we know,
  • 00:39:43
    so we can support you and resource you.
  • 00:39:45
    There's going to be video teachings
  • 00:39:46
    that Troy and I have done, ten minute teachings
  • 00:39:48
    that will be a part of every week of the group.
  • 00:39:50
    That's the way you'll access those.
  • 00:39:52
    And if that's not good enough, we're throwing a party
  • 00:39:54
    for everybody who does the book study at the end,
  • 00:39:56
    and we want to invite you to that.
  • 00:39:58
    And that's the way you'll get plugged into that as well,
  • 00:40:00
    because we're hoping this is the beginning of a journey
  • 00:40:02
    that we can continue to be on as a community together.
  • 00:40:05
    So I want to encourage you to think about that.
  • 00:40:07
    Now, maybe Living Undivided is not the group for you.
  • 00:40:09
    We have a lot of other groups.
  • 00:40:11
    We have men's groups and women's groups.
  • 00:40:13
    We have mom's groups and dad's groups.
  • 00:40:15
    And maybe that's not where you are in your life,
  • 00:40:17
    but you need healing.
  • 00:40:18
    We have amazing healing groups.
  • 00:40:20
    There are healing groups like Divorce and Beyond
  • 00:40:22
    for people who have experienced divorce.
  • 00:40:24
    I know for some of us there's a grieving that happened.
  • 00:40:26
    Maybe you lost someone in your life.
  • 00:40:28
    We've got groups for that.
  • 00:40:29
    I want you to have collaborators.
  • 00:40:31
    God wants you to have collaborators.
  • 00:40:33
    These are people who help you stick to the plan
  • 00:40:36
    that God has for your life.
  • 00:40:37
    And the other thing that groups give you,
  • 00:40:39
    what you need and what Nehemiah needed was resilience.
  • 00:40:44
    Resilience.
  • 00:40:45
    Any plan that's going to succeed has to have
  • 00:40:49
    an element of resilience because
  • 00:40:51
    you know what life will do?
  • 00:40:53
    You know what life will do?
  • 00:40:54
    Life will mess up your plans. Life will.
  • 00:40:57
    Life will take you off schedule, right?
  • 00:40:59
    Things will happen that you couldn't anticipate.
  • 00:41:02
    And when that happens, the only way that
  • 00:41:05
    you're going to be able to continue with
  • 00:41:07
    what God has for you is if you have
  • 00:41:09
    a measure of resilience.
  • 00:41:11
    I mean, think about this. I think about, like,
  • 00:41:13
    what are great plans that have happened in the world?
  • 00:41:16
    Amazing plans.
  • 00:41:17
    I think it's hard to argue that a plan
  • 00:41:20
    that actually intended to take men to space, the moon,
  • 00:41:25
    and bring them back in one piece was a pretty elegant plan.
  • 00:41:28
    Would you agree with that?
  • 00:41:30
    That that was a pretty elegant plan.
  • 00:41:31
    And yet, even with the elegance of that plan,
  • 00:41:34
    even with the full weight and power of the government,
  • 00:41:37
    even with the best engineers on that plan and mission,
  • 00:41:41
    one of those missions led to this famous line,
  • 00:41:44
    "Houston, we've had a problem." Right?
  • 00:41:48
    And you got to believe at that point,
  • 00:41:50
    the only -- one of the -- one of the reasons,
  • 00:41:51
    I mean, I think there was a lot of divine intervention there.
  • 00:41:54
    But one of the reasons they were able to get these,
  • 00:41:56
    I mean, think about it,
  • 00:41:57
    they were 200,000 miles away from Earth.
  • 00:42:00
    They were literally living on six ounces of water a day,
  • 00:42:05
    which is one fifth of what a human needs.
  • 00:42:07
    And they were in basically a small refrigerator
  • 00:42:09
    because the temperature wouldn't go above 37 degrees.
  • 00:42:13
    So when you think about all that had to happen
  • 00:42:15
    to solve that problem, it took a ton of resilience.
  • 00:42:19
    And I want to tell you, part of the resilience
  • 00:42:21
    was there because they had done the planning process,
  • 00:42:24
    because they could name what had gone wrong,
  • 00:42:27
    and they could start to think about contingency plans
  • 00:42:29
    to make a difference.
  • 00:42:30
    And the fact that in a narrow window,
  • 00:42:32
    they actually returned those men home is a miracle.
  • 00:42:35
    It really is a miracle.
  • 00:42:38
    And yet it was because of the resilience
  • 00:42:40
    of those engineers, it was because of
  • 00:42:42
    the resilience of the astronauts
  • 00:42:43
    that they were actually able to do that.
  • 00:42:45
    One of the things that Troy and I experienced
  • 00:42:47
    in the writing process was a setback,
  • 00:42:50
    a significant setback.
  • 00:42:51
    Actually, the book was going to launch
  • 00:42:53
    this time last year, and it was at the printer already.
  • 00:42:58
    And while it was at the printer, we got some feedback
  • 00:43:01
    that was really challenging.
  • 00:43:03
    Feedback that said, "Hey, I don't know
  • 00:43:05
    if this is the tone you want for this book.
  • 00:43:07
    And I think there's some missing pieces
  • 00:43:08
    and elements of this book."
  • 00:43:10
    And let me just tell you, at the point
  • 00:43:11
    where your book is at the printer,
  • 00:43:13
    that's the wrong time to hear that kind of feedback.
  • 00:43:15
    And we had to make a choice.
  • 00:43:17
    And one of the choices that was a legitimate choice
  • 00:43:19
    is we could have ignored that feedback and said,
  • 00:43:22
    "We're pressing on ahead."
  • 00:43:23
    But here's what we both knew.
  • 00:43:25
    We both knew that the people who were giving us
  • 00:43:27
    that feedback were what the Bible calls,
  • 00:43:30
    it was wounds from a friend.
  • 00:43:31
    And the Bible says wounds from a friend can be trusted.
  • 00:43:35
    And so the question became, would we have the humility
  • 00:43:38
    to receive this corrective feedback?
  • 00:43:41
    And then would we have the courage
  • 00:43:43
    to actually trust God and despite the cost
  • 00:43:45
    of pulling the book off the printer and all of that
  • 00:43:47
    and all the things that we had planned that
  • 00:43:49
    then had to shift for another year,
  • 00:43:51
    would we be willing to trust God and press in?
  • 00:43:54
    And I will tell you, I am so glad that we did,
  • 00:43:56
    because there is no doubt it's a better book.
  • 00:43:59
    It's a better book because we had the resilience
  • 00:44:01
    to work through that.
  • 00:44:03
    You know, we got feedback.
  • 00:44:04
    Nehemiah got pushback.
  • 00:44:07
    There were literally people who wanted to kill him
  • 00:44:09
    and end his work.
  • 00:44:11
    At one point, it says Nehemiah and his workers
  • 00:44:13
    were working with a hammer in one hand
  • 00:44:15
    and swords in the other.
  • 00:44:18
    That's some pushback.
  • 00:44:20
    I don't know about your plan, but my guess is
  • 00:44:22
    you're not out there trying to lose weight
  • 00:44:24
    with, like, you know, a treadmill in one hand
  • 00:44:26
    and a shotgun in the other. I hope you're not doing that.
  • 00:44:29
    I hope things haven't gotten that bad for you.
  • 00:44:31
    I hope people aren't opposing your weight loss that bad.
  • 00:44:34
    I hope people aren't opposing your new business that bad.
  • 00:44:36
    I hope people aren't opposing
  • 00:44:37
    you being in a healthy relationship that bad.
  • 00:44:39
    But here's what I know.
  • 00:44:40
    I know for Nehemiah, he had the resilience
  • 00:44:43
    to withstand even that level of pushback. You know why?
  • 00:44:46
    Because he was able to lean into relationships.
  • 00:44:49
    He leaned into relationships with other people,
  • 00:44:51
    but he also leaned into relationship with God.
  • 00:44:53
    See, his confidence in the completion of his plan
  • 00:44:55
    had way less to do with the people,
  • 00:44:57
    and it had way more to do with the God of heaven.
  • 00:45:00
    This is what he says to that pushback
  • 00:45:01
    in Nehemiah 2:20. He says:
  • 00:45:08
    So here's what I know, all of us are going to have
  • 00:45:11
    a Houston, we've had a problem moment.
  • 00:45:13
    Whatever your plan is, there's going to be
  • 00:45:15
    a Houston, we've had a problem moment.
  • 00:45:17
    It reminds me one of the best quotes
  • 00:45:18
    I think Mike Tyson ever said, which is that
  • 00:45:20
    everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.
  • 00:45:22
    Have you ever been punched in the mouth?
  • 00:45:24
    Some of us are like,
  • 00:45:25
    "Yeah, I physically have been punched in the mouth."
  • 00:45:27
    That's a whole different story.
  • 00:45:29
    I mean, have you been punched in the mouth
  • 00:45:30
    as it relates to something you want to go after?
  • 00:45:33
    Have you experienced that kind of setback,
  • 00:45:35
    maybe that kind of pushback?
  • 00:45:37
    Here's the interesting thing.
  • 00:45:39
    Apollo 13 astronauts said this:
  • 00:45:51
    I think sometimes right when we get to the point
  • 00:45:54
    where God is beginning to take new ground,
  • 00:45:57
    right when we're at the point
  • 00:45:59
    where we're going to start to see fruit
  • 00:46:01
    from the long, hard work that God has called us to,
  • 00:46:04
    that's the very point where the pushback
  • 00:46:06
    gets the most extreme, and we're tempted to retreat.
  • 00:46:10
    And I just want to say to you, hey,
  • 00:46:11
    what if that is the very place where God
  • 00:46:14
    wants to begin a miraculous recovery in your life?
  • 00:46:17
    What if that is the very moment that God wants
  • 00:46:20
    to do something in you that you never thought possible?
  • 00:46:23
    What if you're right at the point of breakthrough?
  • 00:46:26
    What if you're right at the point of change?
  • 00:46:28
    What if you're right at the point of growth, of healing,
  • 00:46:31
    of experiencing God's powerful work in your life?
  • 00:46:33
    And what you need to do is have enough resilience
  • 00:46:36
    to trust that the God of heaven will bring victory,
  • 00:46:40
    even when it seems like all you see is defeat.
  • 00:46:44
    I want to encourage you to lean in this year
  • 00:46:47
    to having that kind of resilience.
  • 00:46:50
    And let me tell you one way you can have it.
  • 00:46:52
    One way you can have it is by really making
  • 00:46:55
    this idea of planning something different
  • 00:46:58
    than if you don't have God involved,
  • 00:46:59
    because I think that one of the key pieces
  • 00:47:02
    of a godly spiritual practice of planning is rejoicing.
  • 00:47:06
    And I don't mean rejoicing when you cross the finish line.
  • 00:47:09
    See, the Bible says, rejoice in the Lord always.
  • 00:47:13
    And again I say rejoice.
  • 00:47:14
    The Bible tells us that we don't have to wait
  • 00:47:17
    for the victory to begin to rejoice in God.
  • 00:47:20
    It's really interesting what happens
  • 00:47:22
    after Nehemiah rebuilds the wall.
  • 00:47:24
    Remember, it was never just about the wall,
  • 00:47:26
    it was about rebuilding people.
  • 00:47:28
    And so as they have rebuilt the wall,
  • 00:47:30
    they were able to do something because
  • 00:47:31
    of the safety and protection they now had
  • 00:47:34
    that they hadn't done in many, many years.
  • 00:47:36
    They were able to hear God's Word read to them.
  • 00:47:40
    They were able to have a public reading of the Bible.
  • 00:47:43
    And Ezra, who has a whole story dedicated to him
  • 00:47:46
    about the rebuilding of the temple,
  • 00:47:47
    he was a contemporary of Nehemiah.
  • 00:47:49
    Ezra gets together and he begins to read the law to the people.
  • 00:47:54
    And as he's reading the law,
  • 00:47:56
    it's a really striking thing because
  • 00:47:58
    as he's reading the law, the people are reminded
  • 00:48:00
    about the goodness of God.
  • 00:48:02
    They're reminded about God's covenant relationship
  • 00:48:05
    with them as a nation.
  • 00:48:06
    They're reminded about all the promises of God.
  • 00:48:09
    But here's the other thing.
  • 00:48:10
    They're reminded of all the ways they fall short.
  • 00:48:14
    Have you ever actually gotten success
  • 00:48:18
    only to realize that that success
  • 00:48:20
    was just the beginning of the journey?
  • 00:48:22
    Like, you thought that first level of success would be it.
  • 00:48:25
    And then when you get there you realize
  • 00:48:27
    how woefully inadequate you are.
  • 00:48:29
    Like, you really wanted to get married,
  • 00:48:30
    you got married, and now you're realizing
  • 00:48:33
    how woefully, inadequately prepared you are for marriage.
  • 00:48:36
    You know, you really wanted to start something new.
  • 00:48:38
    You started something new, and now you're realizing
  • 00:48:41
    how woefully inadequate you are as a leader
  • 00:48:43
    and God is stretching you in your leadership.
  • 00:48:45
    You know, you really wanted to break an addiction,
  • 00:48:47
    and now you've actually gotten
  • 00:48:48
    some victory over that addiction.
  • 00:48:50
    But you're recognizing all the friends in my life
  • 00:48:52
    were people that were formed by the addiction,
  • 00:48:54
    and I got to go in a different direction relationally
  • 00:48:56
    if I'm going to continue in this journey.
  • 00:48:58
    What do you do when that's the place that you are?
  • 00:49:01
    Here's what the people did.
  • 00:49:02
    They begin to weep. They begin to weep.
  • 00:49:05
    They were heartbroken because they recognized
  • 00:49:07
    there is no way we can live into who God wants us to be.
  • 00:49:11
    There is no way.
  • 00:49:13
    I know we rebuilt the wall and that's wonderful.
  • 00:49:15
    But God, how are you going to rebuild us?
  • 00:49:18
    We are so broken. We are so in need.
  • 00:49:20
    We need help. And they begin to weep.
  • 00:49:24
    And you would think that Nehemiah as a leader
  • 00:49:27
    would say to the people, "Hey, remember the vision,
  • 00:49:29
    remember the vision."
  • 00:49:31
    But that's actually not what he says.
  • 00:49:32
    You know what Nehemiah does?
  • 00:49:34
    As people are weeping,
  • 00:49:35
    as they're realizing their inadequacy,
  • 00:49:37
    he calls time out and he says, "Guys, let me tell you,
  • 00:49:40
    you know what we're going to do?
  • 00:49:41
    We're going to throw a party."
  • 00:49:43
    What? We're going to throw a party?
  • 00:49:44
    That's exactly what he says.
  • 00:49:46
    Here's what he says in Nehemiah 8:10. He says:
  • 00:50:01
    I want to say that a couple times together.
  • 00:50:02
    The joy of the Lord is our strength.
  • 00:50:04
    Let's say that together.
  • 00:50:06
    The joy of the Lord is our strength.
  • 00:50:08
    Let's say it again, the joy of the Lord is our strength.
  • 00:50:11
    Now why would Nehemiah say that,
  • 00:50:14
    go and celebrate, go have a party?
  • 00:50:16
    It's because Nehemiah knew what all of us need to know
  • 00:50:20
    about any change and any plan
  • 00:50:22
    that God is working in our lives.
  • 00:50:23
    And it's this: God is involved in the process,
  • 00:50:29
    and sometimes the process is the point.
  • 00:50:32
    Let me say it again.
  • 00:50:33
    God is involved in the process
  • 00:50:36
    and sometimes the process is the point.
  • 00:50:39
    I'm not saying that God won't get you to a new reality,
  • 00:50:42
    but you know what God wants to do?
  • 00:50:43
    He wants to make you a new person
  • 00:50:45
    by the time you get to that reality.
  • 00:50:47
    He wants to give you something that will help you
  • 00:50:50
    climb the next mountain that He has for you,
  • 00:50:52
    that will help you continue to experience
  • 00:50:55
    the ways that he wants to change and grow you.
  • 00:50:57
    I came across a teaching
  • 00:50:58
    and it's from Christina Patterson, and she said this
  • 00:51:01
    about why would they weep and why can they have joy? She said:
  • 00:51:15
    Friends, that's good news.
  • 00:51:17
    That is really good news to know that
  • 00:51:19
    where you feel inadequate right now
  • 00:51:21
    is the very place God is affirming and confirming.
  • 00:51:25
    He's going to give you the wisdom, the discernment,
  • 00:51:27
    and the strength to actually change.
  • 00:51:31
    So stay resilient.
  • 00:51:32
    Keep working the plan and recognize that, friends,
  • 00:51:35
    you can rejoice when your plan succeeds,
  • 00:51:38
    but you can also rejoice when your plans go awry.
  • 00:51:42
    Look at what it says in the New Testament.
  • 00:51:43
    James chapter one says:
  • 00:51:50
    Who celebrates a trial?
  • 00:51:52
    Who does backflips when the thing gets hard?
  • 00:51:55
    Yeah. Me neither, but that's what the Bible says to do. Why?
  • 00:52:09
    Let me tell you, you can rejoice in the trial
  • 00:52:12
    because the God who gave you the vision
  • 00:52:14
    is the God who will give you the victory.
  • 00:52:17
    You can rejoice because you can have
  • 00:52:19
    the same words be your prayer
  • 00:52:20
    that was Nehemiah's prayer in 2:20.
  • 00:52:22
    The God of heaven will make us prosper.
  • 00:52:24
    God will make you prosper when you don't want to prosper.
  • 00:52:27
    He will make you prosper when you're resisting
  • 00:52:28
    the prosperity He wants to bring into your life.
  • 00:52:30
    God will make us prosper and we,
  • 00:52:33
    his servants, will arise and build.
  • 00:52:34
    You can celebrate because our God uses setbacks
  • 00:52:38
    to stage amazing comebacks. It is what He does.
  • 00:52:42
    So when things look like they're at their bleakest,
  • 00:52:44
    when it seems like nothing's going to change,
  • 00:52:46
    that's the very moment where God starts to show off
  • 00:52:49
    and starts to do things that only God can do.
  • 00:52:52
    I love this verse. Proverbs 24:16 says:
  • 00:52:58
    Think about that, seven times of failure,
  • 00:53:02
    seven times where you didn't get it right,
  • 00:53:04
    seven times where once again you fell into that trap.
  • 00:53:07
    And yet, because of the goodness and grace of God,
  • 00:53:10
    you can rise again.
  • 00:53:11
    This is not the end of your story.
  • 00:53:14
    See, here's the good news.
  • 00:53:15
    Joy becomes a weapon in our plan.
  • 00:53:18
    Because Joy says to us, it says to others,
  • 00:53:21
    and it says to the enemy,
  • 00:53:22
    God is not done with my story.
  • 00:53:24
    And so joy becomes a weapon that fuels us
  • 00:53:28
    and continues to move us forward.
  • 00:53:29
    God is a planner.
  • 00:53:30
    The beautiful thing about God, though, is
  • 00:53:32
    He is a planner who always finishes what He starts.
  • 00:53:36
    And God wants to invite you into relationship with Him
  • 00:53:40
    for the things He wants to do in your life.
  • 00:53:42
    I think sometimes we want to say, "God,
  • 00:53:44
    would you come and bless my plan?"
  • 00:53:45
    God is saying, "My plan for you is so much better.
  • 00:53:49
    Would you come and be a part of
  • 00:53:50
    what I have envisioned for your life?"
  • 00:53:53
    And thankfully, He's resilient.
  • 00:53:55
    God is not going to give up on you.
  • 00:53:58
    He has grace for you, upon grace for you,
  • 00:54:00
    upon grace for you. God is patient with you.
  • 00:54:03
    He knows the weaknesses that we have.
  • 00:54:05
    He knows our limitations, and He is so committed
  • 00:54:08
    to your change and growth that He says,
  • 00:54:10
    "I'll never leave you and I will never forsake you."
  • 00:54:15
    If we want to receive that, then we don't have
  • 00:54:18
    to sweat the messy middle because we know
  • 00:54:20
    that God is with us.
  • 00:54:22
    Proverbs 21:31 says this:
  • 00:54:28
    God wants to bring victory into your life.
  • 00:54:31
    If you'll embrace the spiritual practice of planning,
  • 00:54:34
    you'll experience that kind of victory.
  • 00:54:36
    As you face reality, as you strengthen relationships,
  • 00:54:40
    as you stand resiliently, and as you rejoice,
  • 00:54:43
    not at the end, but on the way to the end
  • 00:54:46
    because of God's goodness.
  • 00:54:48
    So when you came in, you got a Lego piece.
  • 00:54:51
    I want you to go ahead and take that Lego piece out.
  • 00:54:53
    I love Legos. Anybody else love Legos?
  • 00:54:56
    Legos are so awesome!
  • 00:54:57
    I love that my kids still play with Legos.
  • 00:55:02
    These bricks, we're going to use these as a symbol
  • 00:55:06
    of a plan that God may be calling you to in your life.
  • 00:55:09
    So here's what I want you to do.
  • 00:55:11
    I want you to think for a moment about
  • 00:55:13
    a place in your life this year where you need
  • 00:55:16
    to practice the spiritual practice of planning.
  • 00:55:19
    Maybe this is the year where you said, you know what?
  • 00:55:22
    I need to change my financial situation.
  • 00:55:25
    I need to be more intentional about saving.
  • 00:55:27
    I need to be more intentional about being generous,
  • 00:55:29
    whatever that is.
  • 00:55:30
    Maybe this is a year where you said
  • 00:55:32
    I really need to work on a specific relationship.
  • 00:55:36
    Maybe it's a friendship,
  • 00:55:37
    maybe it's a relationship with one of your children.
  • 00:55:39
    Maybe it's a relationship with your parent
  • 00:55:41
    if you are the child. I don't know.
  • 00:55:43
    Maybe this is the year where you're like,
  • 00:55:45
    I need to learn this skill.
  • 00:55:46
    I know I've been putting it off, but I need to lean into this.
  • 00:55:48
    I want you to think about just one plan,
  • 00:55:51
    one thing in your life.
  • 00:55:53
    And if you have a Lego the size of mine,
  • 00:55:55
    you may not be able to write the full word,
  • 00:55:57
    but you can use initials,
  • 00:55:59
    or you can use one letter to symbolize.
  • 00:56:01
    But if you have a full Lego,
  • 00:56:02
    maybe you're going to write a word
  • 00:56:04
    that symbolizes that plan.
  • 00:56:10
    Just write it on your Lego brick.
  • 00:56:12
    My mind is T R, which stands for Take Risks.
  • 00:56:19
    One of the things that I reflected on
  • 00:56:21
    over the last year was that it's easy for me
  • 00:56:24
    21 years into a marriage to not take as many risks
  • 00:56:28
    of vulnerably pursuing my wife's heart.
  • 00:56:32
    And God kind of elevated that for me and said,
  • 00:56:34
    this is a year where I want you to aggressively pursue
  • 00:56:36
    Maria like you did before you were married.
  • 00:56:40
    And I'll just be honest with you,
  • 00:56:41
    22 years almost into a marriage, that can be risky.
  • 00:56:45
    But I feel like God is calling me to that.
  • 00:56:47
    So this is mine. Mine is take risks.
  • 00:56:49
    And so here's what I want you to do.
  • 00:56:50
    Once you have that Lego kind of filled out.
  • 00:56:53
    Again, this is just a symbol of the plan
  • 00:56:55
    that maybe God is calling you to.
  • 00:56:56
    First thing I want you to do is I want you to put it down.
  • 00:56:59
    Maybe you're going to put it on your chair.
  • 00:57:01
    Maybe you're going to put it on your lap.
  • 00:57:03
    Maybe you're going to put on the floor.
  • 00:57:06
    Because here's what I believe.
  • 00:57:08
    I know that I come to this with
  • 00:57:10
    my own thoughts, my own ideas,
  • 00:57:12
    the way that I think this is going to play out
  • 00:57:14
    for me and Maria this year.
  • 00:57:16
    And one of the first things that I think
  • 00:57:17
    God wants us to do is lay down those plans.
  • 00:57:21
    Surrender them to Him.
  • 00:57:25
    And so just as a symbol of that,
  • 00:57:26
    as you release that plan, I want you to just think
  • 00:57:28
    about, like, God, I want to surrender
  • 00:57:30
    what I think this is going to look like.
  • 00:57:32
    I want to be open to what it is You want to do in my life.
  • 00:57:38
    Now that you've laid it down, I want you to pick it back up.
  • 00:57:42
    But I want you to pick it up
  • 00:57:43
    and put it in to open palms like this.
  • 00:57:51
    Because I believe that God wants to pour
  • 00:57:53
    into this area of your life.
  • 00:57:58
    And so, so many times I realize that my vision
  • 00:58:01
    is so small compared to what God has in mind.
  • 00:58:05
    So in this posture with your palms open,
  • 00:58:07
    I just want you to say a quick prayer to God.
  • 00:58:09
    God, I want to receive what You have for me this year.
  • 00:58:14
    In this area I want to receive, God, what you have
  • 00:58:18
    for the ways that I vulnerably pursue
  • 00:58:20
    Maria's heart this year.
  • 00:58:25
    I want to leave you with this reflection.
  • 00:58:28
    Jeremiah 29:11, as I said, is one of my favorite verses.
  • 00:58:30
    I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord,
  • 00:58:32
    plans to prosper you, not to harm you,
  • 00:58:34
    plans to give you hope and a future.
  • 00:58:35
    I have that verse written down all over my life.
  • 00:58:38
    It's in journals. It's on --
  • 00:58:39
    I just love that word.
  • 00:58:40
    But I want to share with you what God says right after that.
  • 00:58:45
    In Jeremiah 12:13, God says:
  • 00:58:57
    I want to submit to you that the first step
  • 00:59:00
    when it comes to the plans God has for your life,
  • 00:59:03
    is not the plan, it's connecting with God personally.
  • 00:59:08
    It's seeking Him and finding Him
  • 00:59:10
    and desiring Him with all your heart.
  • 00:59:13
    The thing that we need most is not to fulfill this plan.
  • 00:59:16
    We need to encounter a loving God who cares for us,
  • 00:59:21
    who wants good for us.
  • 00:59:24
    And man, if we will open ourselves up to that,
  • 00:59:26
    then we will see that He has good plans for us.
  • 00:59:29
    We will experience His provision.
  • 00:59:31
    We will experience all the ways in which God will show up
  • 00:59:34
    that are far beyond what you can imagine,
  • 00:59:37
    and it will help us to close the gap
  • 00:59:38
    from the vision God has given us
  • 00:59:41
    to the reality that He has in mind for us.
  • 00:59:45
    I want to invite you to stand wherever you are,
  • 00:59:47
    and I just want to pray over you.
  • 00:59:48
    I want to pray over your year.
  • 00:59:50
    I want to pray over the things that God is calling you to
  • 00:59:53
    as we close this time today.
  • 00:59:55
    God, I thank You so much that if I look around
  • 00:59:59
    just the room that I'm in, but if I think about
  • 01:00:01
    all the rooms where people are, including their own homes.
  • 01:00:04
    God, you have good plans for each and every person
  • 01:00:07
    under the sound of my voice.
  • 01:00:09
    God, would we seek You this year first?
  • 01:00:13
    Would we seek Your face as we sing sometimes around here
  • 01:00:16
    and not Your hand?
  • 01:00:18
    And know that as we connect with You,
  • 01:00:21
    You will give us every step we need
  • 01:00:25
    to close the gap between vision and reality.
  • 01:00:27
    God, I believe there are going to be breakthroughs
  • 01:00:29
    and things that happen in our lives this year
  • 01:00:31
    that would blow us away if we knew this day in January
  • 01:00:36
    what you're going to do in just these 12 months,
  • 01:00:39
    let alone over the entire lives that we have left.
  • 01:00:42
    God, we trust You, we thank You, and we are Yours.
  • 01:00:45
    I pray this in Jesus's name, Amen.
  • 01:00:49
    - Hey, thanks for watching.
  • 01:00:51
    Since you stuck around, I wanted to give you
  • 01:00:53
    a challenge that will bring you closer to God
  • 01:00:54
    and help you get more out of the message.
  • 01:00:56
    You know, around Crossroads,
  • 01:00:57
    we call ourselves Spiritual Outfitters,
  • 01:00:59
    and that's exactly what we want to help you
  • 01:01:01
    with this year,
  • 01:01:02
    outfitting you on your spiritual journey.
  • 01:01:03
    A great place to start is
  • 01:01:05
    in the Crossroads Anywhere app
  • 01:01:07
    where you can check out daily scripture,
  • 01:01:09
    engage in the Bible challenge,
  • 01:01:11
    connect with community, and read articles
  • 01:01:13
    that cover all sorts of topics and what God's Word
  • 01:01:16
    might be in areas like singleness, dating,
  • 01:01:19
    marriage, sports, anxiety, Taylor Swift,
  • 01:01:22
    New Year's resolutions, and so many more.
  • 01:01:25
    We also have podcast versions of these articles
  • 01:01:27
    that you can listen to on your drive.
  • 01:01:29
    You can get these articles sent directly to your inbox
  • 01:01:32
    each Monday too.
  • 01:01:33
    Check out the Crossroads app for all the details.
  • 01:01:36
    Thanks for joining and we'll see you back next week.

Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...

Welcome to the Weekend-Follow Up! This is the group part of the Bible Challenge, so your questions are based on specific Bible passages from the weekend message. Each week, your group will discover what God might be saying to you, and how you can respond through a group discussion.

  1. What’s the craziest or hardest or funniest thing you’ve ever done in pursuit of a vision?

  2. What stood out to you most from the message?

  3. What’s your “messy middle” (the gap between your vision becoming a reality) look like right now? Are you willing to face the reality of that mess?

  4. Where have you seen the benefits of planning in your life?

  5. In what area(s) of your life do you suffer from the lack of a plan? What are some obstacles (either internal or external) that make it difficult for you to make or carry out a plan?

  6. How do your plans build up (or tear down) the relationships in your life?

  7. Read Nehemiah 2:17-18. What would a God-inspired plan for your life look like?

  8. What’s one way you can take a step towards planning a way through your “messy middle” this week?

  9. Let’s end with prayer. You can say something like, “God, thank you for letting us be a part of building your Kingdom. Thank you for not leaving us to plan all alone. Help us hear your direction. Please inspire our plans. Give us your courage and resilience in our pursuit of the plans you give us. Amen.”

More from the Weekend

Bonus Questions! Check these out if you’re on a roll and want to go a little deeper.

  • What are the motivations behind your plans? Are your plans about elevating yourself or the people around you?
  • Who are the people pursuing your plan alongside you?
  • How would your life look different if you decided to rejoice in the “messy middle”?

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(This stuff helps us figure out how many fruitcakes to make come December)

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Got it! Enjoy your discussion.


Jan 13, 2024

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