Let’s be honest, New Castle seems hopeless. We can look at all the terrible things happening in New Castle; drugs, gangs, robberies, stealing, stabbings, shootings, poverty, sexual immorality and the list goes on. Sometimes, when we look at all these terrible circumstances, we want to give up on the city and just sit by and let those things continue to happen. “The problem is TOO big”, “I can’t make a difference”, “There’s no hope.” If you have said any of these things, this article is for YOU!
First, none of these terrible things that are happening in New Castle have caught God off guard. He is well aware of the despair of this city. This is nothing new under the sun and their have been cities in broken hopelessness before. However, God looks at New Castle from a different vantage point. He sees the gold in every person, every city, every state, every country and every nation. When He looks at New Castle He sees what it should look like. But, how do we get from the city of despair to a city that is beautiful, full of hope, a city of peace, a city where the people worship and honor Him? Hopefully, the following article will challenge you to be a part of the solution to rebuilding the city of New Castle. May we be encouraged to be the Nehemiah’s of New Castle. May we have the heart of Nehemiah who wanted the city of his ancestors to come alive again with worship of the one true God.
Nehemiah had heard about the city of his ancestors. Jerusalem’s walls were broken down and the gates had been burned down for many, many years. Those walls and gates represented power, protection and beauty. They ensured continuity of worship and protected the temple. The temple built by Solomon represented God’s presence. Nehemiah was not only just concerned about the actual structure of the city but was very concerned about his fellow Jews that were living in Jerusalem. The news was bad! The people were in great distress, disorganized and disillusioned. What despair for the city and people of Jerusalem! Sound hopeless? This is where Nehemiah could have played the blame game, the victim card and given up but instead let’s see how Nehemiah responded.
In Nehemiah 1:4-11 it says that “He wept and mourned for many a day and fasted and prayed before the God of Heaven.” In his effective prayer he:
- Prayed a Specific request
- Made a commitment
Nehemiah also reminded God that “He would preserve His covenant and His loving kindness for those: 1.Who love Him, 2.Those who keep His commandments.” (Nehemiah 1: 5). He continued to pray for his city of Jerusalem on a daily basis. He wasn’t a 911 emergency prayer type of person. Nehemiah had an in depth prayer life which forged a strong relationship with God.
Nehemiah left his wealthy, comfortable position as the Jewish cupbearer for King Artaxerxes and traveled 3 months to get to the fractured city of Jerusalem, the home of his ancestors. Upon arrival he used His God given talent of leadership and began organizing the plan to rebuild the gates and walls of the city and to rebuild hope and worship in the lives of the Jews. Of course Nehemiah was not exempt from opposition. As a matter of fact not just once but multiple times. At one time, his very life was threatened all because he wanted his city restored to a place of honor, worship, beauty, and power. Sounds like that is what we all want for our beloved city of New Castle. However, Nehemiah did not let the opposition stop him. He continued in his leadership of perseverance, prayer, hard work, planning, teamwork, courage, trustworthiness, listening to direction from God, the ability to stand up against adversity, the ability to stand up under praise (staying humble), serving, keeping God’s commandments,…I think you get the point lol!
Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem rebuilt the walls, gates and restored worship in just 52 days. Nehemiah didn’t stop now that his job was done. Nehemiah continued to lead the land of Judah for the next 12 yrs. Follow through after a project is completed is as vital as the project itself.
Nehemiah used the discouragement of the condition of his homeland to propel him to rise above the discouragement. Instead of blaming others and giving up he used his God given talents and began the process of rebuilding the city of Jerusalem which belonged to his ancestors. He was an example of how one can use their present position to serve God. When the scoffers say, “It can’t be done, the job is too big, the problems are too great” we can read the book of Nehemiah and see a beautiful example of when God’s men and women pray and join together and where “NO one is lagging behind” (prophetic word 2015 from Dennis Kramer) we can solve huge problems and accomplish God goals. So volunteer in an area of church, visit the sick, make a meal for someone in need, or when the next outreach for the city of New Castle is mentioned ask how you can help. These are just a few ways to be the Nehemiah’s of New Castle.
Children’s Ministry Director