“God is in the restoration business. Nehemiah was just a subcontractor. He calls you and I to do the same. What walls are you rebuilding?” Jeremy Risner, said Sunday morning, May 5, at Christian Chapel, Columbia. Sunday evening Risner was elected as the church’s new lead pastor.

The surrounding wall of the old city of Jerusalem.

The surrounding wall of the old city of Jerusalem.

In Risner’s message, Rebuild the Walls, he discussed how God many times calls people who seem unqualified and elevates them with His power. He empowers them to carry out the job.

Nehemiah was a cup-bearer, someone who tasted the king’s wine and food before he drank and ate. He becomes a sub-contractor of walls and city-building.

He hears that the walls of Jerusalem have been broken down and he wept. The safety, security, salvation of Jerusalem was in ruins. He moves past emotion to action. The result was the walls were rebuilt and the city filled with inhabitants.

“There are many broken walls in our cities, our churches and our lives.  God’s people are in spiritual ruins: families, marriages, sexuality. Lives are broken down by abuse, neglect, addiction, habits. Gates have been burned down by divorce, hurts, broken promises and patterns of our culture. It is a code-blue situation. Nehemiah was responding to an urgent need.”

Risner continued to explain that the church needs to respond to brokenness.  “We are called to rebuild the cities of lives that have been torn down. God can rebuild your life despite your bad choices and others’ bad choices. He can rebuild your city even though it may have long laid in waste or in ruins.

“Forgive us for not having the heart of Nehemiah who sits and weeps for the brokenness all around us. Let us be a church that says, we do generous. We do honest and transparent. We do relationships. We do uncomfortable. We push. We try. We grow. We change. We do missional, not religion.

“We value people over programs. We do creative. We risk. We do second chances. We do thirds and fourths. We do fun and laughter. We do messy, imperfect and broken. God is the God of messiness He can take the chaotic and messy life, He just doesn’t want it to say that way.”

Risner said he reads Jeremiah 29:31 like this, “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, now quit messing around.”

In closing, he asked, “Will you follow Him? I’m gonna follow, I’m gonna chase Jesus and I’m gonna chase the lost and broken people of this world.”

Questions from the message
What does the story of David and Goliath teach us about what kind of people God chooses to accomplish His tasks?

Nehemiah 1:2-7, 11 Why did Nehemiah want to go and rebuild the walls?
What did Nehemiah do about the situation? What were some of the steps involved?  Do you think he had any training in building walls?

Why did Nehemiah repent and what did he repent of?

Name some sins, even though they might not be major, that you believe the church today needs to repent of.

Nehemiah 2:17-20 What was the invitation Nehemiah offered to the people? Where their responses? How did he respond?

Why is Nehemiah 3 significant?

Nehemiah 4:6 What was the attitude of the people as they worked?

Nehemiah 4:16-21 When trouble came what was Nehemiah’s response? What did the people do?

Nehemiah 6:15-16 How long did it take for the walls to be built and why?

Nehemiah 7:1, 73 When the walls were finished the city needed to be occupied. How does this relate to us today

Micah 7:7 What does it mean to watch in hope? Is it just wishful thinking? How does one watch in hope?

Micah 7:11 How do we rebuild our walls? What would that look like?

What walls are you supposed to rebuild? What are you passionate about?

What would it look like for your boundaries to be extended?

What would it look like for the church’s boundaries to be extended?

Are you bold enough to pray, Lord, break my heart for the things that break Your heart? What are the things you know break God’s heart.

Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. Her other books include: "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy", "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, both available under the weight loss tab. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking tab on her website. Also check out her blog and Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast under the tabs by those names.