Sorry to have missed talking with you last weekend. Hurricane Irma made things a little busy around here last Sunday and Monday. Not since Hurricane Charley in 2004 have we had to hunker down like we did seven days ago.

Good news on the other side of it. The church building sustained damage to the roof and an exterior wall but nothing beyond repair or that made the building unusable. While we were unable to do worship services last Sunday, we weren’t without things to do. Aside from picking up the debris in our own backyards, we were involved in cleanups at local schools, assisting the elderly and single moms left without power for days, and even distributing sack lunches to utility and tree service companies from around the nation working in our community. It was an awesome time to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

This morning I preached the first message in a new sermon series at our church entitled, “Nehemiah: Building for the Future.” How “ironic” that we had planned months ago to learn from Nehemiah the principles of rebuilding a people by focusing them on rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem; and here we are preaching the first sermon a week after Hurricane Irma as we find ourselves quite literally involved in rebuilding our community and state.

Here is one of the points from today’s message on “God Honoring Prayer” and it has application to all of us. Most of the first chapter of Nehemiah is a very specific prayer. Praying was the first thing Nehemiah did as he pondered his part in rebuilding the Jerusalem walls. In that prayer Nehemiah made one simple request, which I paraphrase like this: “Awesome God, the task is way too big. I have no resources whatsoever to contribute. In fact, the best thing I can come up with is a crazy plan that may cost me my job, even my life. But if I can be used to help fulfill your promise, here I am. Please show me favor with the king.”

We all have problems of some kind and some intensity. Perhaps physical in nature or emotional or spiritual. They appear, in the moment, to be way too big and totally beyond our resources physically or emotionally or spiritually. However, this may be the exact moment to be like Nehemiah by acknowledging the problem; going in prayer to the Almighty God who has no limits; owning our own part in our mess and confessing our sin; reminding our Heavenly Father of his promise to never abandon us; and then making ourselves available to whatever “crazy” plan he may have to rebuild and restore our lives.

To God be the Glory!

Pastor Jim