"Let us rebuild -- and end this disgrace." (Neh. 2:17)
Reading: Nehemiah Chapter 2.
Pray that the Lord will remove the disgrace from His bride and become known for selfless love.
Pray for Church leaders and Pastors that God would remove worldly blinders from them and seek after Jesus for personal renewal and refreshing from the Holy Spirit.
Ask for the grace that is available for Pastors, para-church leaders and strategic Boards to pause and listen in this Nehemiah moment for direction from Jesus the Master Builder.
Ask for wisdom and favour for kingdom-building partners.
Reflection on Nehemiah 2.
There are two predominant thoughts that come to me from this chapter. The first is the Church's need to partner with kingdom builders. The second is what has the Church become known for?
Nehemiah had a God-given kingdom vision to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. He was also wise and shrewd. He knew how the world system worked and knew that he needed help to get the vision completed. That is why he stayed in prayer asking God for His favour and waiting for God's timing to ask the King for papers to start the work and a Royal requisition for the materials.
When God gives a big vision, will we be wise enough to recognize those that God gives us favour with, even though they come from the most unlikely sources? The kingdom of God will not be built by Pastors and Bible teachers alone. We need business leaders, entrepreneurs, marketplace and government professionals, who know how things work. We need kingdom builders to partner with the Nehemiah's that have the God-given vision.
The Church is the Bride of Christ. She should be glorious, the jewel in the crown, the greatest beauty in all of creation. When the bride walks down the aisle, the guests catch their breath as they see her beauty. This is the bride Jesus is coming for.
How different is that picture from the one the world sees in the light of Kamloops? We are already known more for what we stand against than what we stand for. We have been entrusted with the most precious message and gift to give to the world, but we are in disgrace. Who will wash her face and clean the blood off her dress?
I understand the need for an attractional church. Every angler knows you need a lure to catch a fish. Good music, excellence in service, relevant messages are all good aspirations, but is this all we have become known for? Have we spent too much time and money on the packaging when there is nothing of beauty inside?
A truly attractional church is the church that binds the wounds of the hurting, feeds the hungry, advocates for the marginalized and looks after the widow and the orphan. This is the kind of beauty that removes disgrace; a bride without spot or blemish that makes angels catch their breath.