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Church and Community

Church and Community

09 October 2019

Church and Community
Jim Stephens

Reading: Nehemiah 1-2; Psalm 133; Luke 22

10 “We are your servants, the people you rescued by your great power and might. 11 O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success now as I go to ask the king for a great favor. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.” In those days I was the king’s cup-bearer. (Nehemiah 1:10-11 NLT)

Thirteen years after Ezra the priest returned to Jerusalem with a commission and provision from King Artaxerxes to rebuild God’s Temple, Nehemiah got word from Jerusalem that though the Temple had been rebuilt, the city walls were broken down and the city was completely defenseless. Nehemiah was a business and government kind of guy and the well-being of the city, its people, and its economy, meant as much to him as getting the Temple operating and offering the daily sacrifices.

Nehemiah gave up his very responsible and rewarding job to take on a seemingly impossible project nearly a thousand miles away. He saw a need, and he was passionate to do something about it, but Nehemiah went to Jerusalem as a city-builder. He left the Temple stuff to Ezra.

I believe that in the many-membered body of Christ, there are different gifts, different passions, and different ways to fulfill the purpose of God for not only his church, but for the communities in which the church lives.

As we influence and develop the next generation of Christian leaders,
let’s think about, then call out and challenge, both the Ezra’s who are passionate to serve in building up the Temple (Church and its ministries), and the Nehemiah’s whose passion is to rebuild the City (Our communities, our government, and our economy).

There are challenges ahead as we move yet again from traditional thinking and practice into the mostly uncharted territory of the Kingdom of God. Holy Spirit please be our guide!

Prayer:

Father, Please help us raise up leaders with a heart for both the Church and the Community. Give us courage to innovate and wisdom to not go too far too fast. Let us develop both leaders in your kingdom and shepherds for the flock—Church and Community. Amen.

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