This past Saturday, we all spent time remembering where we were "when the world stopped turning" 20 years ago when 9-11 happened. Sure - we could tell you exactly where we were when we first heard what was happening, but what have we learned since then?!? At the time, I was pastoring a church in Columbus, Ohio, and was sitting in my office when I got the call from someone telling me to turn on the TV. I quickly turned it on and watched in horror as plane crash after plane crash invaded us and put us all on the edge of our seats.
As I reflected on what I saw on the screen, I also remember what was going in my life:
My wife and I were expecting our third child, Extra Credit (Nathan). That week brought some really scary complications - we actually were worried she might miscarry him. Thankfully, though, the baby turned out healthy and is now a college Sophomore that is 6'5" and is studying for Ministry.
I was preparing a new series for our church through the book of Nehemiah. We had just come through a very tumultuous time for a congregation. Lots of backbiting and devouring each other was eventually replaced by a time of confession, restoration, and renewal. The Holy Spirit was moving in people's lives and it was time to rebuild. I had been looking for some type of visual of what it means to see a nation in ruins to help this truth sink in. Little did I know that we would only need to look at the TV to see it.
What we saw on TV scared us all. How had our nation gotten to this point? Where would we go from here?
It's hard to believe, but we are still asking those questions 20 years later. Maybe we need to "Repent, Renew, Rebuild", just like I shared with our church. Maybe the best thing we could do is get before God again and ask Him to show us what we should learn from this. Maybe we should return to Nehemiah and let him show us how to do this.
"The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.' When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of Heaven. Then I said..." (Nehemiah 1:4-5)
What if we approached our world the same way?!? We should look around at our world and the things occurring within it and want to see it get better. That all starts with us doing what Nehemiah did. We need to recognize that the world is broken, and needs repairing. Then, we should follow that up with humbling ourselves and weeping before God. I don't think we do enough of that anymore. When is the last time you were in the presence of God and got so overwhelmed that you wept?!? If it has been a while for you, you're not the only one! But don't just stay there - lift up your eyes to the Hills, where your Help comes from (Psalm 121).
Nehemiah wasn't content to just sit there and feel sorry for himself and His people...he got up and did something about it. What did he do? He did what we should all do - he mourned and fasted and prayed for God to do something about it. And then he was prepared for God to use him to help do something about it.
I think that's where we need to end up now. We need to get before God and confess the sins we have committed against Him. We need to remember what God told us and then ask Him to hear us and grant us success and favor - as we carry out His work in a fallen world. That's what the world needs. It needs Jesus, and they can only hear about Him and choose to follow Him when His followers get serious about doing what He told us to do.
Wouldn't it be amazing if, 20 years from now, people could look back and see where Christians prayed more and were more active in carrying His lite to a dark world?!? What would happen if they could say our world changed on 9-11-2021, because the Church of God got serious about doing what God told us to do?!?
Here at HighPoint Church, let's be people that commit to praying about what God wants to say before we start saying things. And then when He does, let's be people that go out and do what He tells us. If we will do that, I am willing to bet our world will be different/better because of it. Will you pray like this with us?