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29 August, 2021Pastor Mark SchultzRoad to Recovery

It’s called a “rip” – short for rip current. Surfers/beachgoers know to beware of these strong, focussed currents of water moving directly away from the shore. They pull you away from solid footing, away from safety & into dangerous water…often while you don’t fully notice what’s happening.

Sin is a perpetual “rip” humans have to guard & fight against. Part of the fabric of our lives is an inborn tendency to pull back from God & toward our own wants, wishes, & desires…away from solid footing, away from safety & into dangerous territory…sometimes so reflexively we don’t even notice that we are entering a rip zone. That’s where we need each other to hold us accountable, to point out the danger, to guard us from being pulled out and away from God through the powerful rip and grip of sin. Today Nehemiah calls God’s people to swim between the flags of God’s Word; between God's promises to his people and his call to a faithful daily living of his holy purposes here and now. Today, as we dive into the ocean of our daily lives with confidence; his Word written in our hearts, his Spirit watching over us and working within us, and with brothers and sisters beside us for support and safety. For every word true for God’s people then, is true for us today.

#7 in series: Road to Recovery


Nehemiah  9:1-8; 16-18, 38, 10:28-29

On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. 2 Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the Lord their God. 4 Standing on the stairs of the Levites were Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani and Kenani. They cried out with loud voices to the Lord their God. 5 And the Levites—Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah—said: “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting."

“Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. 6 You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.

7 “You are the Lord God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham. 8 You found his heart faithful to you, and you made a covenant with him to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites and Girgashites. You have kept your promise because you are righteous.

16 “But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. 17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, 18 even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies.

28 “But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time. 38 “In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it.”

10:28 “The rest of the people—priests, Levites, gatekeepers, musicians, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples for the sake of the Law of God, together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand— 29 all these now join their fellow Israelites the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the Lord our Lord. 

But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them…

Nehemiah 9:17b

There is no undercurrent of life that can drag you away from fullness of life when you swim between the flags of God's faithfulness and grace. 

  1. Have you ever repeatedly made the same mistake? Mistake you make over & over again...word you can never spell right - someone’s name you just can’t remember... How does that feel? What do you do? 
  2. What is one rip of sin that you seem to get caught up in over and over again?
  3. Who is the one person in your church community that helps you swim safely between the flags – is willing to warn you when you are entering a rip zone, is there to support and help you when you get caught up in a rip you haven’t seen? If you don’t have a person to swim with, who is someone you think you could ask?

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