The Healing of America – Carl Townsend

Healing of America - Carl Townsend

When growing up, I remember my mother reading Bible stories to me as I sat in her lap by the fire. I loved them. One hero after another. One story, in particular, continues to amaze me today – the story of Nehemiah. Nehemiah’s friends had spiritually mapped Jerusalem and the story starts with those friends (one of them his brother) reporting to him what they found [1] the report showed a spiritual lethargy, a cold-hearted indifference to God. They found in Jerusalem there was no vision, no passion. There was no leader. These friends found apathy and discouragement. For those in Israel, there was no security, no walls. It was an economic disaster. Wow! Sounds just like America today. (See ongoing reports from PEW and Barna Research) I pray daily for a healing of America.

As Nehemiah and his friends examined the Jerusalem report, both Nehemiah and his friends saw the same data. But look at the difference with Nehemiah! His friends they saw objective data from which to make decisions. To Nehemiah, it became a burden, a burden of the heart.

The amazing thing is that Nehemiah went in, and with the Lord’s (Yahweh’s[2]) help, turned the nation around in only 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15-16). How did he pull that off? I have a friend – mentor, really – that said the book of Nehemiah should be named Management 101. There is a lot of truth in that. Here is the Nehemiah strategy.

  1. First, identify the burden. I remember praying with a lady that was trying to decide whether to go to Haiti to do some mission work. She had some people telling her to go to Haiti, others telling her not to go. I asked her one question: Where is your burden? I ask you now as the reader now: Where is your personal burden?
  2. Pray. Nehemiah spent four months in prayer and fasting before taking any step. Read Chapter 1. There’s no mention there of a wall he will soon be helping them build. What was he praying for? What was his burden that he is bringing before the LORD (Yahweh)? There is confession and repentance there – both corporate and personal. Then Nehemiah reminds God of the covenant God made with Moses and claims authority on that covenant. Wow! God will never give up on His part of a covenant. What covenant has God made with you? It will be in term of the burden He has given you.
  3. Third, Act. In Chapter 2, we see his vision of building the wall around Jerusalem begin to take shape. As each family rebuilds the wall near their house, they will want to make the part of the wall there as strong as possible. Families will be networking with each other and working together to share information, resources, and tools. Community will emerge. Nehemiah doesn’t tell the king this. He tells the king that this outlying part of his kingdom (including Jerusalem) is not protected and needs a wall. Notice he brings his vision to the king in terms of the king’s vision – not his own. The king is going to actually help him. How?

Read though the book and see the story. Circle each time Nehemiah prayed in the entire story. In each case identify what he was praying for.

Identify the outward battle he faced and how he dealt with it. Then identify the inward battle he faced with the Israelites and how he dealt with that. What battles (outward and inward) do you personally face in the healing of America?
What aspects of servant leadership do you see here? What does servant leadership mean to you?

  1. Fourth, Celebrate. Nehemiah’s primary objective was NOT the building of the wall but the restoration of the Law. The celebration lasted many days with many complex and legal ceremonies, including the confession of sins and the dedication of the wall. Most of this was led by Ezra, the high priest.

What parallels do you see with America and where we are today?

What does all this mean for the ekklesia (Church, The called out) today? At the beginning of World War II, there were two churches in Germany: the cultural church and the confessional church. The cultural church compromised with Hitler and the Nazi forces. The confessional church, which was much smaller, did not compromise. What happened? Is there a growing parallel today? There have been several spiritual wakenings in the history of America. Who led each of these and what is their history?

Order the books from Amazon

Breaking Light: Birth of a Hero (PB)- $9.90 by Carl Townsend More information
Fictional story of a small church committed to turning America back to God. This is book 1 in a novel series.

Beyond Illusion: Leading from Reality – $18.86 by Carl Townsend (PB)
Carl in this book tells the story of Nehemiah. The nation was without vision, passion, or security. Sounds like America today! He turned the nation completely around in 52 days. At the same time he faced internal and external warfare. Non-fiction.

Notes:

  1. Jerusalem was 1000 miles away. It would have taken four months for the researchers to reach Nehemiah. The book of Malachi describes the state of Israel.
  2. The word used in most Bibles is LORD (see 1:5), which translates from Yahweh, implying a personal, covenant-keeping God.

Speak Your Mind

*