stone wall

God has been, is, and always will be restoring the cosmos to Himself. Astonishingly, he allows all of us–the humans he created–to participate in His eternal work of redemption. For Standing Stone shepherds, that sometimes means helping ministry leaders rebuild the walls of their lives. Here’s a glimpse of what that looks like from one of our husband-wife shepherding teams…

My wife and I met Paul at a pastors’ conference a couple years ago. I had been invited to speak and didn’t anticipate participating in any additional ways. As He often does,
God had bigger plans.

Paul is a national leader with many pastors under His care. After we were introduced, we talked about the work my wife and I do as Standing Stone shepherds. God must have moved in Paul’s heart during that conversation because he later approached us and asked if we would partner with him in caring for his team of pastors. We’ve been in a shepherding relationship for two years now.

Paul recently wrote us a message: “I see you two as modern-day Nehemiahs. The walls of our pastors’ lives have been broken down, and you’re being used by God to rebuild them.”
I read the words and, immediately, doubt flooded my mind.
I’m no Nehemiah!

The Holy Spirit’s voice sounded different from the voice of doubt. He showed me the encouragement this leader intended to give us. He wanted me to receive, not reject these words. God also wanted me to see the ways being a Standing Stone shepherd reflects His reputation for restoration.

No, I wasn’t Nehemiah. I was me. And, by God’s grace, I get to carry the torch of restoration in a long line of people who said, “Yes” to whatever God asked them to do.
Being a Standing Stone shepherd does mean helping pastors who have watched the walls of their lives crumble, whether from the attack of the enemy or through their own poor choices. Being a shepherd to ministry leaders also means helping shore up the protective measures that keep a ministry leader healthy. That’s our preventative work.

My wife and I are going to continue saying, “Yes” to the restorative work God has called us to do in the lives of ministry leaders. God is the one with a reputation for restoration. Like countless faithful men and women of God (including Nehemiah!), I’m eternally grateful that we get to join Him in His work.

Weekly Encouragement

Nehemiah served as a cupbearer to the Persian king, Artaxerxes. One of Jewish exiles captured by the Babylonians many years prior, Nehemiah remembered the remnant who survived the destruction of Jerusalem. When one of those survivors brought word from Judah, describing the ruin of his homeland, Nehemiah’s heart broke. The Bible tells us that Nehemiah fasts and prays, acknowledging the sins of his people, pleading for God’s mercy, and asking God to give him favor with the Persian king. God answers, and Artaxerxes allows Nehemiah, along with a contingency of Jewish families and the priest, Ezra, back to Jerusalem. Their purpose: rebuild what’s been broken and burned.
In other words, do the work of restoration.

Nehemiah arrives in the city and approaches the local leaders.
“You see the trouble we are in,” Nehemiah declares. “Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.
They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work.

Nehemiah 2:17-18

So they began this good work. A simple statement, one you might overlook to get on to the rest of the story. But let’s pause here for a moment.
This was good work, the work of restoration. It was work that needed to begin. It had a starting point and–spoiler alert, here–it also had an end. In Nehemiah’s case, the work of restoring the walls of Jerusalem was complete in a remarkable 52 days!

As followers of Jesus, each of us is called to participate in the good work of redemption. In today’s story, you read what that looks like for Standing Stone shepherds. We participate in the good work of restoration in the lives, minds, and hearts of ministry leaders.

I wonder…What good work has God called you to do? If you don’t yet know or feel discouraged in your call, how can you begin–even today–to partner with God to restore and redeem within your sphere of influence? That may mean acting as a faithful steward of the employees under your management. It may mean stepping out in faith to serve in a ministry outside your comfort zone. It may include physical labor, spiritual warfare, or wading into a mental health crisis with someone who needs to hear about God’s reputation for restoration. Please take a moment as you finish reading and ask God, “What good work do you want me to begin or continue today?”


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