by Pastor E.A. Deckard
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times
“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” ~ Cesar Chavez
Forward Thinkers too much given much is expected.
Nehemiah 2:2-5 (NIV)
2 so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”
I was very much afraid, 3 but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
4 The king said to me, “What is it you want?”
Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”
REBUILDING OUR COMMUNITIES
Forward Thinkers, Nehemiah realized and accepted the reality he had a call on his life to rebuild his community.
Forward Thinkers, Nehemiah was a high official in the Persian court, he served as the king’s cupbearer (Nehemiah 1:11), which evidently put him in a position to speak to the king and request favors from him. Forward Thinkers, after hearing about the sad state of affairs in Judah, Nehemiah acquired the king’s permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city.
Forward Thinkers, as Governor, Nehemiah said that he didn’t take advantage of food and land allotments that were allowed to him due to his office; because, there was already such a great burden on the people of his community (Nehemiah 5:14–19). He also made the other nobles and officials forgive all outstanding debts and ordered them to return all land and money that had been taken as taxes so the people would be able to feed themselves and their families.
Forward Thinkers Nehemiah fought for the underdog to have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
The Call Birthed In Negative Conditions
Forward Thinkers, when God calls you, it is to meet the needs of others; not to fulfill your own needs. That’s why history records in the worst of times, “great leaders rise up”.
Forward Thinkers, God didn’t call you to chase the cash but to chase the call. Remember Moses was called to set his people free from bondage and never bowed down to Pharaoh or sold out for his own personal gain.
Forward Thinkers, remember Dr. Martin L King Jr. was called to bring justice for his people during the dark days of racial injustice in America and never got caught up seeking his own personal agenda. Many see the needs; many see the negative conditions but they refuse to answer the call because they are not willing to sacrifice their own personal goals for the betterment of mankind.
Forward Thinkers I believe I am called to guide the underdog, the broken, and the forgotten into their full potential just like Nehemiah.
Forward Thinkers do you remember Jonah heard the call to meet the needs of others but his selfish desires caused him to run from the call only to end up in the belly of a great big nasty fish.
Forward Thinkers when we refuse to answer the call it will have a negative effect on our lives and the lives of those we are called to lead into their full potential.
The Walls Were Down – meaning the community was daily at risk
Forward Thinkers, if you watch the local news you can see the walls are down in our communities and we are at risk daily. Crime, drugs, gangs, race issues, police brutality, money problems are all results and signs the walls are down in our communities.
Forward Thinkers, broken families, broken school systems, broken lives, and broken dreams are all produced by broken Communities. The walls are falling down as a result of losing a war. Forward Thinkers, wake up; we are at war and right now it appears we are losing because our walls are down.
Forward Thinkers, its time Fathers answered the call, teachers answer the call, churches answer the call and accepted our responsibility to rebuild our communities.
Forward Thinkers, even if it takes one brick at a time we must answer the call and rebuild our communities.
“I realized if you can change a classroom, you can change a community, and if you change enough communities you can change the world.” ~ Erin Gruwell
Nehemiah Answered the Call
Forward Thinkers the call will drive you; the call will drive your activities, your calendar, your agenda and what you answer Yes and No to.
Forward Thinkers, understand the call will keep you up at night; maybe that’s why Dr. King had a dream the call kept him up at night.
Forward Thinkers, “the call will also push the best out of you”.
Forward Thinkers, I must also warn you that the call will also bring challenges and critics into your life. Forward Thinkers the call will have people who have never accomplished anything worthwhile calling you out. God is waiting to pour out the FOG favor of God on all those who are willing to answer the call.
In conclusion let’s remember our dear sister Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross). Forward Thinkers Harriet Tubman was born into slavery. Forward Thinkers Tubman escaped and subsequently made about thirteen mission trips back into slave territory to rescue approximately seventy enslaved families using the Underground Railroad. Forward Thinkers she answered the call and saved the lives of many.
Forward Thinkers, we must answer the call like Nehemiah and Harriet and become our neighbor’s keeper.
YES I’M MY NEIGHBOR’S KEEPER
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with your entire mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denariiand gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise”.
Forward Thinkers today, I’m challenging you to also go and do likewise.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church now located, in both Houston, Texas, and the Woodlands, Texas. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him firstname.lastname@example.org or the church website www.ghic.net