In the Middle // Pushing Past Opposition // Kate Murphy

This week we dive into the story of Nehemiah and how he began to rebuild the city walls. Even while facing opposition and insult, he prayed and continued to persevere. This was no easy mission. For the people, it seemed impossible and even pointless to build the walls—they were tired, their strength from all the labor was giving out, and they began to believe the insults of their enemies. For them, it seemed easier to just let things stay the way they were.

Often times, we go through life feeling like this, too. We become used to the way things are and indifferent to the real effort and sacrifice required of every generation to renew and repair what is sacred. And friends, everything that we are called to restore and rebuild is as holy and essential as the work of rebuilding the temple, and even the city walls.

Listen in and be encouraged as we discover that all work done to the glory of God is holy work.

In the Middle // Rebuilding // Kate Murphy

We are midway through this year, and being in the middle can be a difficult place to be. Grand beginnings are exciting and carry their own kind of energy and promise (hello, new year’s resolutions) and happy endings are, obviously, satisfying. The trouble is getting from one to the other. The trouble is being in the middle—when the initial excitement has long since disappeared. This is when work feels tedious, the mind and body have worn out, and progress appears minimal. The middle is when the crowd has moved on, the money has run out, unanticipated challenges have sprung up like weeds, and carrying on seems delusional. When you are in the middle, you can barely hear anything over the voices saying, “You’ll never finish,” “You’re wasting your time,” “You’re not enough.”

This Sunday, we’ll worship in the middle—and we’ll listen to the voice of Nehemiah who was called by God to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah knew the despair and danger of the middle, and his story will inspire and encourage us all as we find ourselves in the middle of our own journeys.

Pentecost Sunday // Being Filled With What Matters // Kate Murphy

It’s Pentecost. The day that God opened up the heavens and, for the first time, poured out the Holy Spirit—the Spirit that indwelled and empowered Jesus—into the open and waiting hearts of all disciples. It’s the day when holiness was unleashed and altars became unnecessary.  It’s the day Moses’ wish came true. It’s the day the curse of Eden was reversed.

But even though God was sharing with us the greatest gift imaginable—God’s own Spirit—we don’t always actually want it. Sometimes we look to God only to fill our physical needs and ignore the much greater spiritual gifts that are right before us. The Israelites, our spiritual predecessors, often were the same way. So this Pentecost we look back to a story in the Book of Numbers, from the Hebrew Scriptures, about how the Israelites misunderstood God’s gifts much as we do and suffered the consequences.