Episode 1
5 January 2022

Uncharted | God’s Vision Map

When we’re venturing into uncharted territory, it’s easy to feel lost and confused. We don’t have to feel that way. Let’s seek God’s direction.

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well let me just be one of the first
people to say welcome to 2022 you know i
also want to take a moment and welcome
those of you who are joining us online
also in saginaw and monroe you know when
it comes to this brand new year there's
a lot of things that we can be anxious
for as we look at the year to come
there's a lot that we can be sad about
when we look at the year behind us but i
think one of the things that we can all
be glad and celebrate is that we made it
through another year so can we start off
by just celebrating the fact that we
made it through another year
now here's what i know i know that for
some of you when you watch the ball drop
at 1201 on friday night going into
saturday morning you felt excited and
maybe you celebrated with a big group of
friends or maybe you celebrated with a
small group of people and as you watch
the countdown 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 and
happy new year you were so excited you
turned to the person next to you and
said hey you don't have covert right
okay no good and then you kiss that
person you said happy new year and the
reason you felt that way is because
that's how you feel about this new year
you feel happy
feel motivated
but here's what i also know that there's
others of us and when the new year
rolled around we looked at our watch and
we said hey i guess it's the new year
because you don't feel new you don't
feel like your circumstances are new you
feel like the date has changed but your
direction to life is not any different
and that's really what i want to talk to
you about
what do you do when you find yourself in
a situation where everything around you
is different as far as the world but you
don't feel like you're different you
don't feel any kind of hope or
anticipation or direction
you know
three or four years ago
i could almost tell you what every
church in america was preaching about
if you would go to any church in america
what they would be preaching about is
something about like how you can do
self-improvement how you can be a better
version of yourself now they might have
a different title or different hook but
the reason that people were doing that
is because the assumption was the world
hasn't really changed the way people do
business the way people do relationships
but what do you do when the world around
us is radically different
here's what i know every single one of
us in some way in some form we find
ourselves in uncharted territory
what do you do when you don't know how
to figure out it and nobody before you
can say how do you deal with this how do
you do business in this kind of world
how do you do relationships with people
who are getting towards the end of their
life without risking their life we're
all in uncharted territory but here's
the good news and here's the bad news
the bad news is that for a lot of us we
don't feel like there's anybody who can
show us how to figure this out but the
good news is that we're not the first
generation so if you've got a bible or
bible app this morning i want to invite
you to get to nehemiah chapter one
nehemiah chapter 1.
in the book of nehemiah we're going to
meet a guy who finds himself in
uncharted territory here's good news
about nehemiah nehemiah is an ordinary
everyday guy he's he's not a prophet
he's not a pastor he's not a spiritually
elite guy he's just an everyday guy who
finds himself in the midst of this
uncharted territory that he wasn't
prepared for
so while you're getting to nehemiah
chapter one though i just want to start
off by saying i'm hoping that every one
of you had a safe and a happy christmas
holiday i certainly did me and my family
so this is how our holidays started off
on december 24th i preached all of our
christmas eve services at our livonia
campus then i jumped in my car with my
four kids so two teenagers and then a
seven and a nine year old and we drove
16 hours down to louisiana now i just
want to say this if any of you are
praying for patience
the very first thing i would say is stop
doing that because
if you're praying for patience what
might happen is god might lead you to
drive for 16 hours with two teenagers
and a seven and a nine year old and i
don't know how many times on our drive i
heard are we there yet give me my ipad
back dad blah blah blah blah blah and
i'm just like guys
this is christmas what are you guys
we drive to louisiana and soon as i
drive into the city of baton rouge all
of a sudden i could turn the gps off
because i knew where i was and so i
started showing my my kids hey that's
why i went to
church as a kid and that's where daddy
had his first kiss have you ever got to
a point where you tell your kids too
much of the truth and then you're
thinking to yourself oh what did i just
do there and then i'm kind of like
they're like hey your first kiss to
mommy i'm like uh sure yeah whatever
anyway but
but so i'm showing them around and then
and then i would go hey you know you see
that walgreens right there that used to
be a blockbuster which at that point my
seven-year-old is like dad what's a
and i'm like well it was a place where
you ran movies like why didn't you just
get it on netflix
like hey it was different in our day but
anyway so i'm showing them around
and then i get to the church that i used
to go to here's a picture of the church
from the outside that i used to go to is
a really large church and we built these
crosses and then here's a picture of my
brother who's actually still on staff
at that church he's one of the teaching
pastors one of the executive pastors
and i got to tell you
there was something refreshing about
while i'm on vacation visiting back home
now here's why i tell you that because
when we read the book of nehemiah
nehemiah is going to get a visit from
if you're there with me let's look at
this in nehemiah chapter one we're going
to start right there in verse one
it says it's the words of nehemiah the
son of hekaliah
in the month of keslev in the 20th year
while i was in the citadel of sousa hen
and i one of my brothers came from judah
with some other men and i questioned
them about the jewish remnant who had
survived the exile and also about
jerusalem so nehemiah is about a
thousand miles from home he's in persia
and he's on vacation
i assume he's on vacation because
he says in the month of kislev now that
would be equivalent to november december
during our time
he gets his visit from his brothers he's
excited to see him there they come from
a thousand miles away and he's like hey
how's the homeland everything's going
good man it's going great and they're
laughing they're catching up and then he
tell me about the rebuild
tell me about how it's going down there
and here's how they respond in verse
three he said they said to me those who
survived the exile are back in the
providence and are in great trouble and
the wall of jerusalem is broken down and
its gates have been burned
with fire
when we read the next verse
we're going to see this response from
nehemiah we're going to see this emotion
that he's going to give out and you
would almost assume
that this is new news
but here's what you need to know this
news is negative but it's not new to
let me just give you two dates to help
you understand what's going on in the
book of nehemiah in
roughly about 586 bc what's gonna happen
is the babylonians are gonna come into
jerusalem they're going to demolish the
wall tear down the temple and ransack
the city
roughly about 140 years later in 444 bc
nehemiah is going to get this visit
when he gets his visit this is not new
news to him
but here's what is new to him
is how long
the rebuilding is taking
this would sort of be like you know i
told you i'm from louisiana
this would be like me going back home
or or somebody coming to visit me and i
said hey how's the rebuilding going from
now that happened almost 16 years ago
and if one of my brothers say hey keith
i just got to tell you
the city of new orleans is still
people can't find food to eat their
lives are torn apart people can't even
survive it's a desperate desperate
situation that's the scenario that's
going on
now i want you to see how nehemiah is
going to respond in verse 4 he says this
in verse 4 he says when i heard these
things i sat down and i wept and for
some days i mourned
fasted and prayed before the god of
this news
hits him like a gut punch
have you ever gotten news like that
that that you're hoping for the best
you're hoping things are getting better
you're hoping things are taking a turn
for the best
you get really negative news
that's what nehemiah gets and then
here's what he's going to do is he's
going to pray he says i prayed before
the god of heaven and said lord
god of heaven great and awesome god who
keeps his covenant of love to those who
love him and keep his commandments let
your ear be attentive and your eyes be
open to the prayer of your servant who's
praying before you day and night for
your servants and for 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 your commands your
laws and decrees that you gave to your
servant moses remember the instruction
that you gave to your servant moses
saying if you were in faithful i will
scatter you among the nations but if you
return and obey me
even your exiled people from the
horizon i will gather from there and
bring them back to the place that i've
chosen they are your servants whom
you've redeemed by your great strength
and your mighty hand lord let your ear
be attentive to the prayer of this your
who's revering your name
give your servant success and then he
says this i was cup bearer
to the king
now nehemiah is in this terrible
where he's a thousand miles away from
home and he's succeeding that's why he's
he's in the capital of the persian
empire and he's cut bearer to the king
which that was a trusted position
because the cupbearer is right before
the king would drink his wine the
cupbearer would
taste it and make sure that there was
nothing in it
so this was a guy who was high on
security i mean in our day and time it
could be like he was the the captain of
the secret service or the director of
homeland security i mean he's in this
trusted position he's got status he's
and now he's in uncharted territory
he's been pulled in two different
i've got this comfortable job this
comfortable scenario i'm thriving
but my people
my people back home are hurting
they're not
they're in pain they're in distress and
while he's in this situation
nehemiah is going to do some things that
would help us now if you're in a
scenario where you feel like you're kind
of in this uncharted territory you're
not sure what the direction to go in
you're not sure how to handle this
situation you feel like you're being
pulled in two different directions i
want you to notice what nehemiah does
here's a very first thing he does is
what most of us do when we find
ourselves in a situation that's
overwhelming that's defeating is the
first thing he does is he gets emotional
he gets emotional
he says i sat down
and i wept
for days
i i don't cry a lot but
there are certain things that hit you
and when it hits you there are some
things that hit you that you go oh man
too bad
and then there are some things that hit
you in a way where it hits you so hard
that you've got to stop and and just
kind of sit down and touch your breath
that's what nehemiah is feeling
he's so heartbroken about what's going
on in the nation
of judah that he just starts to cry he
just says
why is it taking so long
god i thought you were faithful god i
thought you were good i thought you were
going to rebuild the city but it's taken
a long time
can i ask you this question
if you're in a place right now where
there's something in your life that you
feel overwhelmed by you feel like it's
hitting you really hard when was the
last time that you slowed down and you
really felt that problem
here's why i asked you that question
because here's what most of us do when
we're feeling a problem is we don't like
to feel pain
we don't like to feel sad we don't like
to feel this this disappointment we
don't like to feel rejection so
oftentimes what we try to do is we try
to numb our pain
we try to drink it away
we try to party it away
but here's what nehemiah is going to do
he's going to take a moment and he's
just going to
feel it
if you're taking notes i want you to
write this down it's not going to come
up on the screen but i want you to write
down this thought
oftentimes we don't fix problems we
don't feel
we don't fix problems we don't feel
and so what nehemiah is going to do is
he's going to take a moment to just feel
the weight of what's going on in his
and as he does it basically what
nehemiah has proven to us is this idea
right here is that it's okay to not be
it's okay to not be okay
you know
i played basketball and i had this coach
and i won't say his name but
this one coach that i had he was always
about being tough
so if i'm
playing basketball and i get fouled he'd
go brown get up
go out there and give it back to him and
i'm like okay i'll go out there and do
it again and and i had this coach
basically his idea was this
if you ever fall down
what you need to do is toughen up
and many of us were raised and we and we
grew up with scenarios like don't feel
don't feel sad don't feel depressed
don't feel hurt
but what nehemiah is going to do he's
going to do the exact opposite he's
going to take a moment and he's just
going to
feel it
i love that he says he sat
which means that he slowed down the pace
of his life to really discover what's
going on with me
let me ask you another question
when was the last time you slowed down
long enough to really take time to feel
what was going on in your mental health
and your emotions
when was the last time you slowed down
long enough if you're dating to really
kind of realize like why do i feel this
tension in my relationship
for those of you who are married when
was the last time you slowed down long
enough to say
what's going on here
he stops and he feels it but then here's
the next thing he's going to do in verse
4. if you got your bible i want you to
look back in verse 4 he says i wept
and i'm mourned for days and then i
fasted and i prayed
here's the second thing that nehemiah is
going to do is he's going to get
he gets spiritual
see here's what i found often times in
most of our lives
the first thing that nehemiah does is
natural it's what we all do we feel
emotional to some degree about stuff in
our lives that that we feel like we
can't control but some of us don't take
the next step to actually get spiritual
to really see god
so oftentimes when we feel something we
do something
so i've met many times single people who
when they feel lonely
what they do is they do something they
they they go get in a relationship they
go get married because why because they
felt lonely i i've met married people
who oftentimes when they feel unhappy
they feel like hey i just feel this and
i don't feel love anymore so what i'm
gonna do is i'm gonna get out of this
relationship instead of taking time
to why you're feeling
to get spiritual
see nehemiah when he's feeling
emotionally defeated what he's going to
do is he's going to get spiritually
he's going to fast
and he's going to pray
let me just say something
sometimes i think god allows problems in
our lives
to get us to a point where we realize
that we can't do it by herself
some of my hardest days
some of my most overwhelming days were
the moments where i said god i
can't do this
so god i'm looking to you i need your
help in this moment
i need your help with this teenager i
need your your help with with how i'm
trying to process the situation in
he is going to get spiritual he's going
to pray
he's going to seek god
and then he says
that he
fasted he fasted
what nehemiah is going to do when he
gets spiritual he's going to engage in
these three spiritual disciplines number
one is fasting
is he's going to take a moment and he's
going to say god this thing is so
serious that i'm going to push my plate
away and i'm going to spend time on my
knees before you say god i need to hear
from you
let me just say this to anybody who's
feeling overwhelmed with the situation
sometimes that situation grabs you
so much that what you need to do is you
need to push some other things away in
your life and say hey god i'm going to
dig into you
because i got i got to get some clarity
i got to get some clarity in this
situation that's that's what fasting is
is i push other things away so that i
can focus more on god
you know i was reading some stories
recently about some people who
when they said that they took some time
to slow down and fast breakthrough
happened in their life
you know that got me thinking too when i
was in louisiana so our church used to
do this 21 day fast every year
and i remember one year as we were doing
this 21 day fast our pastor is driving
by the capitol the state capitol and as
he's driving out of state capitol he
used to have this little tv show
where early in the morning at like one
o'clock in the morning he'd do a little
devotional well as he's driving by he
gets his sense from god to pray for the
state capitol
he starts to pray for the state capitol
and he just said this is his worst he
said i got the sense that i just saw
this open door
know what that meant didn't know what
that was all about but i i just kept on
and then what happened the next day the
governor of our state
is at one o'clock in the morning
watching his little tv show
and the governor says
i need to learn the bible
i need to know more about the scripture
so what he's going to do is he's going
to get his staff to reach out to our
pastor he reaches out to our pastor and
our pastor then comes in and he says
look take about seven weeks and teach me
the bible so our pastor shows up teaches
in the bible in seven weeks in the past
and the governor says you know something
would you want to keep on doing this
he said sure
for the seven years that our governor
was in office our pastor every single
week would go and teach in the bible
and all of that breakthrough started
while he was praying and he was fast and
he was seeking god god opened the door
i i i think for some of us
what god might want to do in your life
what he might want to do in your
finances as you take some time and you
say okay god i'm going to push some
other things away and i'm going to
really focus in on you god may put an
idea in your mind
he may lead you to do something to take
a risk that that's a little scary and
and you might just say hey call
joe amidi
call joe amini sit down and meet with
him you're having a financial problem
joe is loaded with money he might give
you a hundred thousand dollars i don't
know what god's gonna say
all right nobody thought that was funny
everybody know you ain't got no money
joe so
that can't be god but here's my belief
is when you fast and pray god will give
you a breakthrough
here's the second thing that nehemiah is
going to do
is he said i confessed
the sins
that i committed
and the nation committed
the second discipline that nehemiah is
going to do is confession
if you grew up in church
if you think about the word confession
it might kind of feel like a dirty word
because confession is all often what you
do when you get caught
it's kind of that thing that i confess
my deep my darkest sins and and it makes
me feel kind of like i'm just this
horrible terrible human being
but here's what confession really is
it's agreeing with god
while nehemiah is in this crisis that he
can't fix he's a thousand miles away
from home
he just says god
i don't know what went wrong
i i know that you said in your word
that you would rebuild i know that you
said in your word that one day that
there would be a temple that would
glorify you
but god we've gotten off track
and in this moment of crisis what i'm
not going to do is i'm not going to let
this moment of crisis not be an
opportunity for me to reflect on my own
and he confesses his sins
you know
in moments of
in moments of pain
it's often an opportunity for you and
now to look deeper
i don't think most bad things that
happen is god punishing us or sending
bad into our life
but i think sometimes god allows it for
us to take a moment and really say
what track am i on
where am i going
to confess to say god if i'm going to
need your help i need to be going in
your direction because if you're going
to lead me i don't want to be pulling in
the wrong direction as you are and so
he's going to confess
and then here's the last thing he's
going to do is he's going to start to
get into scripture
the reason that i know that he's
studying the scripture is because he's
going to directly quote the book of
where god says if my people are
scattered to the father's horizon then
you are going to bring them back he
starts getting in the word of god
you know something for this new year
if you're looking for direction
one of the things that god may start you
in is to get more disciplined
here's how a lot of people want to read
the bible they want to do this they want
to say god i need you to speak anything
open up and say boom all right there it
this is what you want me to do but
that's normally not how god speaks as
you read the bible consistently over
time all of a sudden what will start to
is you'll start having these light bulb
and you're like okay all right
okay if this is what it means to be wise
i'm going to make this little change i'm
going to make this little change and
then over time as you consistently
change the way god wants you to change
all of a sudden you start moving in the
right direction and you start saying
okay now life is getting clearer
because the bible says that the word of
god will be a lamp unto your feet
and a light into your path now i want
you to think about that a lamp unto your
feet and the light unto your path
a lamp until my feet which means i've
got enough light to take the next step
most of us when we're in uncharted
i want to know what the end of this is
going to be like
god what's going to happen
am i going to make it through the
sickness is my child going to make it
through this problem i want to know the
end but here's what god does as you
begin to read the word he gives you a
lamp until you're feeding you can take
that step
and then you take the next step and then
you take the next step and then all of a
sudden it starts to get clearer and one
day you find yourself you go
i'm in a whole different situation
because god's word gave me clarity but
then here's the last thing that nehemiah
is going to do
is he's going to get
practical he's going to get practical
if you were to go over to the second
chapter of nehemiah
what nehemiah is going to do is he's
going to go to the king now this is
risky he's the cup bearer to the king
this is a high security position
and he says
to the king
king i got to go back home
i've got this pool i know it's a
sacrifice i i i know that you might not
be excited but but there's something
over here that's calling me that i've
got to go and fix
and here's what's going to happen
and you can read it in your own time but
the king is going to start asking him
some questions he's going to say how
long is it going to take
when are you going to be back
what are you going to need and as
nehemiah has taken the time to pray to
seek god what started to happen is
clarity is start to come to him and as
he has that clarity now he's going back
and he's moving in
faith let me tell you something about
uncharted territory
most time it's going to take god's word
but it's going to take faith
you to act in faith
for some of you the act of faith that
god might be calling you to is to start
into a new career
there's something inside of you that
you're just feeling like man i i've been
doing this for 10 years for five years
and i just feel like there's a
restlessness on the inside of me and
what god might call you to do is do
something really practical like enroll
in school
you might like i don't have time to do
that i got time to get a degree i don't
have time to do that but as you take
that step of faith clarity will start to
for nehemiah he takes this step of faith
and he's going to go to the king and
he's going to start with some really
practical stuff like the first thing
that nehemiah is going to have is a very
clear end goal
he says to the king
i got to go rebuild that wall
and as i was praying as i was seeking
god what i realized is i'm good in
i have that in my background
this is a need over here that my people
need if i take my security skills i
bring it to this situation i can make it
so he has this very clear end goal but
but the king's gonna ask him how long is
it gonna take here's what he starts to
do the next thing he has is a timeline
he says okay it's going to take me this
amount of time
and this is what i'm going to need
as you begin to move towards what god's
calling you to he'll give you number one
faith to take a risk but then what he'll
also do is start giving you some
milestones some some some things that
you start kind of charging out okay all
right if i'm gonna get out of debt
then i've got a goal that i'm gonna get
out of debt but i'm gonna set up some
some timeline i'm gonna start making
some payments i'm gonna start moving in
faith but as i'm moving in faith i'm
moving on a timeline
but then here's the last one
and this is one that you maybe hope that
i wouldn't say
is that
any time
you're in uncharted territory
anytime you feel like god's calling you
to to get out of that to take another
step it's always going to require
a sacrifice
nehemiah is sitting in comfort in the
but his people
are desperate
now i i don't know what this story was
like i imagine they didn't have pictures
but but i imagine as
nehemiah listens to the story
of his brother
and he says there's there's once this
the sweet little lady and because the
wall is broken down these thieves broke
into her house and took everything
and as nehemiah is sitting there in
he starts thinking to himself
i can do something about that and the
more he listens and the more he listens
the more he realizes to in order to make
a difference he's got to make a
and i guess what i want to tell you is
god has a path
and a plan out of the uncharted
but oftentimes it's going to require
sacrifice on our part
it's going to require us to say okay god
in order to achieve something better i
got to give up something
and i guess for some of you
what god might be saying to you right
now is you want to know the end goal god
where are you going to put me where is
this relationship going
well where is this marriage going
and what god might be revealing to you
is not where he's taking you but what
he's calling you to give up
and he might be calling you give up a
bad habit
a bad temper
he might be calling you to make a
investment a significant sacrifice of
money to go to counseling
he's calling you to give up something
to achieve something so much better
and so if you read the story the way
that you know it ends is nehemiah is
going to take that thousand-mile journey
he's going to survey the wall he's going
to start to bring the people together
and then in 52 days this wall
that was torn down listen to me this
wall that was torn down for 140
years in 52 days it gets rebuilt
and then while it gets rebuilt nehemiah
realizes that the wall is not just the
there there's issues with the people and
how they relate to each other and then
he finds a new calling he becomes the
governor of the city and he rebuilds it
and his whole life trajectory starts
with a crisis
as i bring this message to a close i
want you to think about
what's the uncharted territory you're in
right now
i imagine it's different for all of us
some of us it's a relational situation
for many of you it might be a health
for some of you it might be a business
situation and right now you're feeling
stressed and you're feeling worried and
maybe you're tempted to do something
just to do something
but what god might be calling you to
is to trust him and to go through this
process of slow change with that let's
god today i pray for the folks who are
here this morning i pray for the folks
who are watching me online and at
saginaw and monroe
and god i pray that you would begin to
give us
so much more clarity in our lives and i
understand that god clarity is not
something that's quick and easy it comes
to our process but god i pray that you
would help us to move from the emotional
to the spiritual and the practical
in jesus name and everyone said
at this time we're going to move into a
time around here that we call encounter
what encounter is all about it's all
about giving you an opportunity to take
a next step
see when we're in uncharted territory
we often want to know what's the last
what's the last step out of this
but what god often will do is he will
reveal to us
the next step here 242 we believe that
every single person has a next step
and for some of you your next step
really is your first step
your first step towards god is to say
god i can't do this by myself
i i've tried to break this addiction
i've tried to fix this marriage i've
tried to help this teenager i've tried
to to be a better person but i just
can't do it by myself i need you in my
if you're in here and you would say you
know on this
very first sunday of january i want to
start a relationship with jesus
if you want to do that we will have
somebody from our next step team to my
right your left
they'd love to talk to you about what
does it mean to follow jesus
then around here the way people express
that publicly is through baptism
in baptism what we do is we bury our old
life under the water so we can rise to a
new life in christ
you know if i hadn't said this one time
i've said it a thousand times i've often
told people if you don't like your old
how about you bury that old life under
the water
and get a new life in jesus so if that
is your next step or your first step if
you will go talk to my friend to to my
right your left i'd love to talk to you
about that
there's others of us who are here
and we just need some prayer
right now we just feel alone
we feel alone in our mess alone in our
drama alone in our scenario if you need
prayer if you will during this next time
in our service if you will walk back to
the tables in the back there's lights at
those tables there are people who would
love to pray with you about whatever
you're walking through
here's the other thing that we always do
during this time is we receive communion
when you came in you had the opportunity
to receive those communion elements
these are this is for those of us who
are already followers of christ
it's for us to remember jesus
you know one of the things i love about
communion is that while jesus is is
sharing the very first communion with
his disciples they're in very uncharted
jesus their messiah the one they've been
following is talking about giving us his
but but the hope and the good news is
jesus this is my body which is given for
this cup represents my blood which is
poured out as often as you do this
you're remembering me
who who did the ultimate who went into
the ultimate uncharted territory so that
we could have so much clarity in our
relationship hope in him
here's the last thing i would say
you know for some of you
the next step that god is calling you to
might be to just start reading this book
the one of the easiest ways to do that
is to get
download an app called youversion
and there's all kinds of different bible
plans and just start reading your bible
here's what i will promise you if you
will read this book god will speak to
it might not happen immediately you
might not have the light bulb moment
immediately but as you consistently
begin to read the bible and pray god
will begin to speak to you
i don't know what your next step is but
i want to invite you to take it during
this time that we call encounter

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