It is Monday morning as I write this. The sound of the dreaded Monday morning alarm still rings in my ear. As I wake and stumble around I think to myself how much I hate that alarm clock. Oh to be able to press that snooze button one more time and go back into my slumber. The alarm clock is both a blessing and sometimes I consider it a curse. The blessing is that it wakes me up. It says to me as I sleep that it’s time to wake up! God has ordained for you a new day. A new day to make much of Him. A new day to accomplish the tasks that He has planned for me. A new day to make an impact in this world and in God’s kingdom. A new day. Isn’t that so sweet to hear? A new day. Think about it. The God of the universe has chosen to give us a new day. And yet we so often look at the alarm clock with a sense of dread. We have a dread of waking up. We have a dread to face whatever Monday and a new week, and in a few days a new month will bring us. A lot of times the alarm clock fills us with dread instead of a sense of expectation and instead of rising with excitement that we have a new day, we hit the snooze button. Or at least I do. I think that this is what the American church has done for far too long. Instead of rising to face a new day and embrace the new challenges that we face as a church, we instead hit the snooze button and go back to sleep because we would rather stay asleep where its safe and we can pretend that the world is alright, that the American church isn’t in chaos. We would rather do that than to admit that everything is not alright. We would rather sleep and dream, than to wake up and fight the good fight that God has called us to fight.
Church it is time to wake up!
My favorite book in the Bible is Nehemiah. I believe that Nehemiah is one of the greatest leaders that has ever lived. Over the next few weeks I am going to write articles about Nehemiah because I believe we can learn so much from him. One thing that I have noticed about Nehemiah, is that he; like the American Church was once asleep. He was asleep to the reality that everything was not ok. He was asleep until he had an alarm to wake him up. This is the wake up call that Nehemiah got in chapter 1: 1-3
“The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah.” Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the Citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down. And its gates are destroyed by fire.”
Nehemiah had a high office job in Susa the Citadel working for King Artaxerxes. Nehemiah was off living his life doing his own thing until an alarm clock in the form of Hanani came to wake him up. I have said in the past as I have studied this book that I believe this wasn’t new information for Nehemiah. I believe that he knew what was going on in Jerusalem. I just believe that like the American church he was asleep until God chose to wake him up through Hanani. If it wasn’t for Hanani and the other men from Judah, Nehemiah would have remained asleep and Jerusalem would have remained in chaos. After Nehemiah got this wake up call he had two options. He could have hit the snooze button. He could have ignored the problem and hoped that someone else took charge. Or he could take charge, not back down, and go do what God was calling him to do. We will see in the following chapters that Nehemiah took the wake up call seriously and he took action. Here is a spoiler alert if you are not familiar with Nehemiah. The walls of Jerusalem were in ruins for upwards of 141 years. Nehemiah and his team rebuilt the walls in 52 days. All because Nehemiah woke up and faced the facts that all was not alright in the world.
Nehemiah needed Hanani to wake him up. What will be our Hanani? Perhaps Hanani has already showed up and we just choose to hit the snooze button and sleep. America is broken. The American Church is broken. Everywhere we look there are problems that need to be addressed. There are people that are hurting. There is a gospel that needs to be preached. And there is a darkness in this world that is getting even darker. It is time for us as the Church to stop hitting the snooze button. It is time for us to stop pretending that things are ok. It is time for us to be the light in this world that Jesus has called us to be. It is time for us to wake up!