It all started with Nehemiah hearing about the distress of his spiritual family back in Jerusalem. He prayed about their plight and God gave Nehemiah a vision of restoration. God opened the King’s heart and many other avenues to launch Nehemiah with faith and confidence on the journey toward vision fulfillment.
In God’s timing, I am writing this article on Nehemiah 8 during the week after Easter. Easter was a special day of worship in the company of faith-filled people. This Easter was extra special for me because I was blessed to worship with one of South Georgia’s newer congregations, The Waterfront Church in Richmond Hill.
Nehemiah 6 begins with Nehemiah’s chief opposition receiving a report that the construction project is nearly completed. The walls of Jerusalem are fully built and security measures around the gates are on the final “punch list” (verse 1).
Nehemiah received a God-inspired vision to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The vision was cast and widely received by the people. An enthusiastic group was repairing the walls.
As we left the third chapter of Nehemiah, the reader could have the impression that everyone is busily working to reconstruct Jerusalem’s walls and that everyone is thrilled. Or as Phil Robertson from the television show “Duck Dynasty” would say, everyone is, “Happy, Happy, Happy!"
Reading Nehemiah 3 feels as though we have entered the footnote zone. Footnotes are something important the writer wants you to know, but footnotes are not known as the most invigorating reading. Reading this chapter calls forth the same low level of warm-fuzzy feelings you experience when reading the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew. It is important information, but not very exciting.
Sometimes we read the Bible without full appreciation of the timeline of events because we are unfamiliar with the calendar of the day. The transition to Nehemiah 2 is a perfect example. The first words give us a time stamp that is important to the story for several reasons.
Bishop King recently asked the laity and clergy of the South Georgia Annual Conference to enter into a period of reading and reflection around the book of Nehemiah. Over the next few months, I will use this article space to invite you to join in this spiritual journey.
It is a scene that has been played out many times in local churches during a governing body meeting. The finance committee has just reported the struggle and strain it is having in paying all the church bills. Then some well-meaning soul offers the obvious remedy: we need to get more members!
Churches all across South Georgia are in a preparation period for Charge Conference. Charge Conference is similar to the annual meeting of an organization where leadership is elected and important decisions are ratified.
I believe; help my unbelief. These words from the father of the sick boy found in Mark 9 sum up the spiritual life for many of us.
Recently, I surfed the Apple App Store and found something that sounded like just the tool I needed to further enhance the use of my iPad for work related projects. I purchased, downloaded and began exploring the app.
Disciples are formed in up-close relationships and experiences. God works directly with the individual and God works through human beings in the holy encounters with others.
Whether we like it or not, we all live a public life. Someone is always watching us. Often many people are watching us simultaneously. The reality is that our witness is always showing!
Rev. Gene Cariker, a retired United Methodist pastor now living on St. Simons Island, was one of my early mentors in ministry. Gene often used gardening terms when describing the process of forming disciples. “Cultivating” was one of his favorite terms, or at least it is the word that has had the most influence on my ministry.
Most congregations and spiritual leaders have the first stage of offering instruction down to a science. We proclaim the gospel through word, song, visual image, PowerPoint, DVDs, and repeated explanation. We offer this instruction in classrooms, in sanctuaries, in fellowship halls, in homes, on the Internet, and in just about any place a person can receive it.
Advent has been a much-welcomed season for me. My soul longs for the interruption these weeks of spiritual preparation provide.
Have you noticed how many television programs use slow motion to take a subject that is complicated to the uninitiated and simplify it so you can understand it and perhaps replicate it?
One of my regular routes for traveling on conference business carries me by a lumber mill on the edge of Baxley. I have seen this lumber mill hundreds of times over the years, but only recently have I seen this plant as presenting a lesson for local churches.
We church folks are notorious for using words that we think everyone understands. This is not a new phenomenon.