Monday, July 6, 2020


This week I have been reflecting on several things.  Last Wednesday John Riley spoke on Nehemiah and how Nehemiah rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem in 52 days ... pretty impressive!  In a time when we must restore and rebuild some important stuff, how can we learn from Nehemiah's example?  What are the traits of a nation that allow us to survive and even thrive amid centuries of strife?  What things, in our Church, allow us to grow stronger, better and even more effective in the midst of these same issues?

I will spend the next few weeks talking about the traits of a nation and a Church that has endured through all the things life has sent our way.  The first of the traits is the ability to adapt.

Last week I left Abbeville on Thursday so I could get up at the crack of dawn and fish.  When I periodically make this trip to Florida, there are always things that are in flux.  I have lawn work and chores, so I need to make sure I take the time to get those things done.  Sometimes Lee has things she has planned, so those plans go into the mix.  Weather, especially in the summer, is a moving target with rain, wind and heat.  If I plan to fish, I need to get live bait, and it isn't always available at the bait store ... sometimes I have to catch my own bait.  If I plan to get some down time and make use of my work time, I need to be willing to adapt.

In Nehemiah's day, he entered Jerusalem by the King's permission.  He didn't know what to expect.  He found enemies, stubborn Jews, and other obstacles that blocked him in accomplishing what looked like an impossible task.  This, unfortunately, is more the norm than smooth sailing.  In nature and in life we are often forced to change and adapt to things that happen.  Bad people do bad things.  Good people fail.  We are in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Something happens in Asia and we find ourselves scrambling to adapt.  At our best, we do what Nehemiah did ... we seek God, we follow God and we shine our light at the darkest moments.

What did Nehemiah do?  He prayed for success.  He planned for the work ahead.  He assessed the work in real time.  He expected opposition and was prepared.  He persisted in spite of obstacles.  He 'got er done!'

As I thought about Nehemiah's ability to adapt, I thought of how many people have found new and effective ways of doing their work in the midst of a pandemic.  Many are working from home and have found it efficient, cheaper than the alternative, much better for the environment and often better for their employer.  They adapted.

I hope each of you will help me do a better job of adapting to our current situation.  While I have received advice ranging from the extreme of business as usual to total closure, we, as a congregation, have chosen to adapt.  We prayed.  We planned.  We assessed what needed to be done and made some changes.  We expected opposition and got what we expected.  We hope we have persisted.  We pray we have and will continue to 'get er done.'

I received a note from one of our people about 2nd service resuming last week.  The person was grateful for the resumption of 2nd service and complimented the music and the service.  I am thankful for all who were part of this restart.  I know we will need to be ready to tweak what we are doing and adapt to the situation on the ground.  But if we pray, plan, assess, expect, persist and proceed, I believe God will bless our actions.  And, of course, nothing ever happens like you plan it ... so you adapt!  Randy

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