On a New Year Mission

Greetings UCOC and Happy New Year!


When I watch a TV show about snakes, I’ll usually wind up dreaming about them when I go to bed later that night.  Maybe I have a little of the condition “Ophidiophobia” or fear of snakes.  Fortunately for me, I live in a place where it is highly unusual that I would have an encounter with a snake.

However, another fear that I have is much more difficult to avoid.  That is my fear of failure.  My fear of failure is not so great that it debilitates me but it does cause me to look at some situations or problems and say that this is “too big for me” or “where do I even start?”… There’s no way I can do this or at least I can’t do it up to my own expectations.

Nehemiah knew that he had to do something about the walls of Jerusalem.  He didn’t try to avoid the situation or hope that someone else would take on the responsibility.  He took on the burden.  As we looked at a few weeks ago, the burden caused him to weep.  The bible does not elaborate on Nehemiah’s talents and skills.  What qualified him to take on this enormous rebuilding project and take on the governorship of this newly renovated city?

As a leader in the church, I often feel unqualified for the responsibility I have been given.  At times I feel overwhelmed by the responsibility and the challenges I face. From the story of Nehemiah, I find encouragement in the fact that although he faced a much larger trial than I am facing he didn’t run from the difficulty or try to avoid it.  He stood up and “volunteered”; allowing himself to be used by God!

As a leader in the church, I can also learn from Nehemiah’s devotion to prayer.  He began with prayer and continued with prayer all through the challenges he faced. Nehemiah didn’t see prayer as a formality he saw it as a privilege and an opportunity to go before the Lord of Creation to seek guidance and strength!

Finally, as a leader in the church, I see where this rebuilding project was truly a “team” or unified effort in every way imaginable.  To me, the biggest part of Nehemiah being a great leader was his ability to rally the people together for the common goal of rebuilding the walls and re-establishing their city.   Nehemiah didn’t rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, all of the people did!

I hope that we can all find encouragement and inspiration from the account of Nehemiah… in our private lives, in our jobs, in our church.  I strongly encourage you to take time to read (or re-read) the book of Nehemiah.  We all have faced challenges over this past year… some greater than others.  However, each challenge is real and tests our faith and develops our character.  It is my prayer that with each challenge you face this year that you know that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you… that God is always accessible through prayer and that your church family is there to help you.  May you and your family have a blessed 2015!


In Christ,