Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.

Awakened by Tragedy

Nehemiah’s heart was awakened one morning.  It was not because a beautiful sunrise that came up over the fortress of Susa, or from a passage of scripture he came across while reading the Torah.  Nehemiah’s heart was awakened by tragedy.

He heard of the condition his people were living in while in Jerusalem.  He heard of the susceptibility to danger they had to endure because of the broken down city walls.  He heard of the disgrace they felt for having to live in the shadow of their former glory.

It was sadness that awoke Nehemiah’s heart.  As he observed the culture that was near to his heart God began to stir up a desire for action.  The action began in prayer and fasting, continued as God granted favor with those who could help bring change, and was fulfilled through a building project.  He allowed sadness to lead him strait into the will of God.

As you observe the culture around you, what stands out to you?  What is the injustice that stirs your soul in the most uncomfortable way?  That divine irritation may be the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Let that sadness be the seedbed you plant prayer and fasting into.  Let God write the blueprints of His next endeavors on your heart and grace you with favor beyond your own expectations.  Let sadness break you so that redemption can flow through you.

Vision is often born as discontentment moves through our soul.  Allow yourself to feel.  Allow God to speak through your sadness.  Let it move you closer to the culture God wants you to extend his Kingdom into.  Don’t resist the uncomfortable seasons between sadness and restoration.  Pray.  Fast.  Dream.  Plan.  Talk to people about.  Watch as God moves through you in amazing ways.

There is injustice that God wants to make right through you.  Turn inward and see where he’s leading you and what He would have for you to do, then take a risk and do it.


  1. Cara Tapken on July 2, 2017 at 10:30 am

    35 yrs of being in and out of churches, youth groups, youth group camps. I put myself in church in the 4th grade and that was the Foursquare in Bend(Where I first met Pastor Ken) then later Baptized in the Bend West Side Church by Pastor Ken) and it took me until a month ago before I finally got it. Before I finally understood, before I finally felt what everyone else has felt. Today 7/2/17 will be my first day in Church in 11 years. My 2nd real day in church ever. My Baptism being the first…but now my faith is very different and very much more real.

    I’ve never fallen to the ground and cried for God. I’ve never thought of God and cried Happy tears. I’ve never prayed like I do now. The first two I do now also. I have never lifted my hands up with tears coming down and I do now.

    In the last week I have written two long personal letters re: my faith, the past and now and also have written 92 additional pages on my walks to and away from God, the path I’ve tread to get me here, the exact moment of when my life changed and the two people that I feel were sent for that moment.

    In the last week I have sat down and searched out phone numbers to those in the church who did make an impact and I have bawled, laughed, joked and cried with them. I have let them know of their impact, how my walk really has been and what brought me to the point I am in my life. I thanked them. I let them know how fulfilled I finally felt and how happy I am.

    One group of these people were of the church and coffee shop ministry that catered to us vagabond kids and today I am the only one left. We have spoken minimally over the 30 yrs in which they have known me. It was just last night I sat and called them, crying in happiness and fervor. The call prior was to Pastor Ken, only to find he was retired, but I spoke with Gwen from West Side in Bend and I cried with her, we prayed and we cyber hugged.

    I called West Side because they are the ones who baptized me and that is where I felt home was when it came to churches. I called because I didn’t understand why my faith would change under the circumstances it did.It was freaking me out lol.

    In coming home one day a few weeks ago I picked up the computer and read the book of Job…Then Jeremiah, John, Numbers. My bible has been packed for 3 years and still sits in La Pine. It was given to me years ago so my studies will be on the computer until I retrieve it or until I find one that speaks to me. A Bible might be a Bible but to me, they can be as impersonal as the computer and I don’t want impersonal…I want something with life.

    Upon recommendation of Gwen I will be attending your church this morning. I will be seeking Pastor Fehlen to introduce myself. I will be honest and say that I don’t know if I will remain at this church, only time will tell. I am looking for a church family. I do not live in Salem but do work in Salem.

    God Bless and see you soon.

  2. John Fehlen on August 11, 2017 at 8:27 pm


    I’m just reading this. I’m so sorry for the delay, somehow I must have missed it on our website blog. Wow, thank you for writing what you did and being so transparent. I’ve also looked at the photos on your blog – amazing. So good.

    Have you visited us yet? If you came on July 2nd, then you would have heard my wife Denise speak. We would love to meet you. Drop me a note at or better yet, come find me at a service. Love to connect a face to the photos and writings.

    Again, thank you for sharing your story.


  3. Cara Tapken on August 12, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Pastor Fehlen,

    Yes I did attend. Yes Denise was the one who did that days service. I did introduce myself in the foyer, before service. I was the one who brought up the connection, in verbal conversation, of Bend’s West Side Church, you affirmed that you had spoken there in the past. During our brief conversation, I mistakenly thought at one time you were a member there.

    Thank you for taking the time to peruse my website. I hope that my testimony of faith was present when you did read my writings. I have new material being posted this weekend I suspect.

    I have since also enquired about seminary studies at Corban but am unable to take on any more student loans if I expect to try and purchase a home as I am a single person/single wage earner.

    I am still in a very good spot with my faith. I talk to God every day on my way to work and pray often. I still cry at the loss of my daughter as I do miss her greatly but I am ok and good within and without.

    I am fortunate to work daily, with those of Christian Faith and am hoping in a few years to go on a mission trip…we will see how the future unfolds.

    Hebrews 11:1

    God Bless,