Nehemiah: Rebuild & Restore // Fallen Hero // Kate Murphy

Nehemiah, our “hero” says and does some unsavory things. What are we supposed to do with that? We Christians like to put people into categories. Hero/villain. Good guy/bad guy. Positive example/negative example. But, these last chapters of Nehemiah’s autobiography really complicate things.

The truth is—Nehemiah isn’t a good guy or a bad guy. He’s a typical human mixture of both. Church—only comic books have heroes. The Bible, however, has saints and a savior. And, Nehemiah might be the former, but he’s certainly not the latter. 

And he doesn’t need to be.

Jesus is our savior—the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. When we look to him, we see how to have right expectations of other people, even the ones we meet in scripture.

Nehemiah: Rebuild & Restore // After Rebuilding // Kate Murphy

This Sunday, we continue the wisdom-soaked story of Nehemiah rebuilding the city of Jerusalem.  Surprisingly, the construction work is completed in chapter 6, but the process of rebuilding and restoring the city isn’t. 

Nehemiah leads the people in a time of celebration and rejoicing, which makes perfect sense to us. But, what he does next is shocking. It’s the last thing we ever want to do—but this part we would avoid is the most crucial part of the rebuild. 

Nehemiah: Rebuild & Restore // Facing Resistance // Cedric Lundy

This Sunday we welcome Pastor Cedric Lundy to the pulpit. Cedric is a StreetLeader Director at UrbanPromise Charlotte, and a Teaching Pastor at Watershed Church. Previously, he has served Charlotte churches in roles such as Pastor of Mission and Justice, and Pastor of Middle School Ministry. Cedric’s faith is characterized by his passion for justice, his heart for young people, and his zeal for the Lord. He and his wife, Emma (a native of Scotland), share a daughter, Isla. In his free time, he co-hosts a wonderful the podcast, Token Confessions, runs a small coffee-roasting business, and enjoys making pasta and bread from scratch.

Preaching from the first half of Nehemiah 4, Cedric will be sharing Nehemiah’s strategic response to the opposition and resistance that he encountered as he fulfilled his call to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. As believers, we, too, are called to join God in the work of renewal and redemption. And, since we have a call like Nehemiah’s, we should not be surprised if and when we experience the same painful backlash and hostility that Nehemiah faced. But, also like Nehemiah, we can learn how to remain steadfast in this work.

Nehemiah: Rebuild & Restore // A Shared Calling // Kate Murphy

We are spending this month learning about rebuilding and renewal from the book of Nehemiah, an ancient autobiography that sits right in the center of scripture. 

Last week we met Nehemiah and learned that he rebuilt the city of Jerusalem, but not because he had superior engineering skills, relevant experience, or exceptional spiritual gifting.  It’s really much simpler and more challenging than any of that. 

God used Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem because when Nehemiah heard the city was in desperate need of renewal, he chose to go and let God use him. 

For most of us, when we hear something tragic, is not to go but to wait–to wait for a perfect leader to follow, to wait for a gilded invitation, to wait for a sign from the Lord.  But Nehemiah knew he wanted to be part of God’s good work.  He was an ordinary guy who understood that God uses ordinary people.  He knew it wasn’t his call to wait–he knew it was his call to go.

And this Sunday we are looking at the next chunk of Nehemiah’s story and marveling at the next remarkable thing about Nehemiah.  Nehemiah knew it was his call to be part of the rebuilding.  But he also knew it wasn’t only his call.  

So often when we are brave and foolish enough to believe that God has called us to be part of something–we make the mistake of believing that God has only called us.  Nehemiah avoided that trap.  He began his work by inviting others in.  We must do the same.

I hope you will listen in as we learn from Nehemiah that the first step of living out our calling is sharing it with others.

Nehemiah: Rebuild & Restore // An Opportune Time // Kate Murphy

This Sunday we begin a new worship series on the book of Nehemiah.  Buried in the middle of the Old Testament, it is a record of the struggle to rebuild the city of Jerusalem after a long period of forced absence.  For more than a generation, tragedy separated God’s people from their sacred city.  For more than a generation, the people had been praying and crying and dreaming of returning.  When the time to return finally came–it was bittersweet and unexpectedly difficult.  Is it possible for scripture to be too relevant?

As we begin to prepare to return to our campus–to one another, to the sacred space we love and the rituals we have missed so terribly–we too will have the work of rebuilding and repair to do.  And like our ancestors, we will discover that while we can come back to the place, we can not return to who we were before we left.  We can learn so much for Nehemiah about the challenges we will face and how to walk with great hope, vibrant faith, and the right expectations in this season.