Sermon: Time to get Plugged-In/Expository Message Series in the Book of Nehemiah Part 1 of 9

“Being Equipped and Energized for Your New Future!”


Expository Message Series in the Book of Nehemiah

Time to Plug –In

Nehemiah 1:1-11


Introductory Questions:

What was your life like 10 years ago?

Where would you like your life to be ten years from now?

Was is the one thing you would do if you knew that you

could not fail?


A God-Size Vision Will Always Require Change!

Whatever got you to where you are at today will not take you into your new tomorrow

  1. A Good Thing…or a God Thing?

1 Cor 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price (Lutroo to buy Back-Slave Market)[1]. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

  • Since We Belong to God and Not Ourselves, So Do Our Dreams!
  • We no longer have the right to live our own lives. We have been bought with a price.
  • We were created (and recreated) with His purposes in mind.

Eph 2:10

10 For we are God’s handiwork (Poimo’[2] A Piece of Art That has never been Created), created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

  • In other words, we are the products of God’s Vision.

Background & Theme: for the Book of Nehemiah 


“But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” Nehemiah 4:10

Major Theme

Chapters 1–7 describe Nehemiah’s restoration of the walls of Jerusalem. Chapters 8–13 record Ezra’s and Nehemiah’s reforms. Nehemiah fully trusted in God as he prayed and planned for the rebuilding of the walls. Even facing opposition, his faith did not waver.

Background and Purpose

The book of Nehemiah, which serves as a natural sequel to the book of Ezra, shows how God’s providential hand re-established his people in their homeland after their exile. Without walls Jerusalem could not be thought of as a city at all. So Nehemiah’s first priority was to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah constantly reveals his dependence on God in his frequent prayers. The book of Nehemiah fills in the background to the three prophetic books of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

nehemiah-map Outline of the Book of Nehemiah


The book opens with the words, “The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah” (1:1). The book of Nehemiah is the only Old Testament first-person narrative written by an important Jewish leader.


The fifth century bc, approximately 430 bc, sometime after the 32nd year of Artaterxes, king of Persia.

Christ in Nehemiah


  • Nehemiah portrays Jesus in Jesus’ work of restoration.[1]



  1. A Vision Begins as a Concern


The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:  In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 

A Passion for A God-Size Vision begins when one’s heart breaks over the things that breaks God’s heart!

He didn’t leave.  He didn’t get distracted.  Instead, he did the hardest thing.    He waited.

III. A Vision Does Not Require Immediate Action

It’s not that God isn’t ready.  It’s not that action isn’t needed.

It’s that WE’RE not ready.


Philippians 2:13-14

13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing,


The problem: Our reality doesn’t match the vision right away.


The solution:  There is a correlation between the preparation time and the magnitude of the task to which God calls us.


Waiting on God is a proactive process that requires engagement.  It is not a passive process.


Nehemiah 1

Then I said:  “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’

10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cupbearer to the king.

Lessons from Nehemiah about Plugging- In:

  • Plug-In to a daily connection with Christ. (Consecration)
  • Plug-In to relationships. (Community)
  • Plug-In to a place to serve. (Commitment)
  • Plug-In to a place of touching others as God’s Masterpiece (Contagious)


Recreates Plan for next 6 months:

  • Develop a Culture of Affirmation, Expectation, and Honor!
  • Reach every kid possible in the community at Recreate!
  • Create a Team Covenant of how we are going to do leadership and Service together.
  • This Christmas be postured to have an incredible services for Christmas Eve.
  • Be Able to embrace God’s genius of the “and” by Reaching Wide-Teaching Deep- Unleashing Compassion!
  1. Ask for God’s Favor….but for the Purpose of Influence

The enemy is real….and very efficient.

He would rather see us not try than to try and fail…makes his job easier.


Romans 5:3-4 (Msg)

“There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.”

God-Size Favor & Breakthrough often happens in the position of greatest risk! “I was the cupbearer of the king.”

If you any feedback or questions to today’s message please email Al Soto at You can also read Al’s blog at



[1] Mark Water, The Books of the Bible Made Easy, The Made Easy Series (Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishing, 2001), 16.


[1] Rick Renner, Sparkling Gems from the Greek: 365 Greek Word Studies for Every Day of the Year to Sharpen Your Understanding of God’s Word (Tulsa, Oaklahoma: Harrison House, January 2007).

[2] Mainz Herbert Braun, “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament,” ed. Gerhard Kittel & Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids Michigan: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1968).




Herbert Braun, Mainz. “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.” Translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley. edited by Gerhard Kittel & Gerhard Friedrich. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 458-84. Grand Rapids Michigan: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1968.


Mark Water, The Books of the Bible Made Easy, The Made Easy Series (Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishing, 2001)


Renner, Rick. Sparkling Gems from the Greek: 365 Greek Word Studies for Every Day of the Year to Sharpen Your Understanding of God’s Word.  Tulsa, Oaklahoma: Harrison House, January 2007.









About PastorAl

Al Soto has been married to his incredible wife Valerie for 30 years and they have five sons and one grandson. Al has been in Local Church Ministry for 35 years as both as a Lead Pastor, Associate Pastor, and for five years as a Regional Overseer for his denomination. He has a BA degree from LIFE Pacific College and is currently completing an MA in Leadership & Spiritual Formation from Vanguard University. He currently resides in Lincoln, CA where he is the new Lead Pastor for one of the Campus locations for Bayside Church. He continues to coach High School Football for the Lincoln Fighting Zebras for the Junior Varsity Program and is facilitating Leadership training and coaching as well as facilitating Spiritual Retreats. His hobbies include Golfing and Scuba Diving as well as he is a veracious reader. His Life Statement is “Real Success is Helping others to Succeed!”
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