A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

The first chapter of Nehemiah closes with this simple statement from Nehemiah: “I was cupbearer to the king” (Nehemiah 1:11). The walls of Jerusalem had been reduced to rubble, but God did not call a construction worker or an engineer to rebuild them. He called a cupbearer.

When we consider the broken walls in our own lives, it may be tempting to think, What can I do? I’m only one person. We’re only one family. I’m a small business owner or a full-time parent or a retired professional. I’m aware of what’s going on around me, but what can I do? Just as He did with Nehemiah, God can raise up a leader from anywhere.

Read Nehemiah 2. Nehemiah was a competent and capable leader because he was, first and foremost, a servant of God and of people. There were many reasons why Nehemiah might have chosen not to take the posture of a servant. After all, it was Nehemiah who had risked his position, his standing before the king, and even his life when he asked for permission to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. It was also Nehemiah who had been given authority to lead the project. He could have believed the lie that it was for him to give orders and for others to serve.

Nehemiah knew the Truth, though: When God calls people to lead, He also calls them to serve. So, as a servant of God, Nehemiah went before the king. When he came to Jerusalem, Nehemiah surveyed the damage to the walls. He wanted to see the challenge he was facing with his own eyes before speaking to God’s people.

Finally, when it came time to reveal to the people what God had laid upon his heart, he said, “Let us start rebuilding” (Nehemiah 2:18, emphasis added). Nehemiah was inviting the people of Israel into the work God had given him. He was promising to join in the work himself, not merely as a supervisor. He was ready to get his hands dirty.

Just as our heavenly Father leads by joining with us in our work, God calls each one of us to lead as a servant who comes alongside others in the tasks He has placed before us. It does not matter if you have an official leadership position or not. Great leaders are the ones who are following closely after God.

Prayer: Lord, show me where You are calling me to serve, and give me the courage to get to work, as Nehemiah did. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem” (Nehemiah 2:17).

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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