Posted by: pastortomvabeach | March 19, 2014

Thought for the Week March 23, 2014

I was privileged to attend gathering at Regent University on Tuesday, called Back To Basics, Pentecostal Theological Education – by the Church & for the Church. The agenda included many of the professors and heads of departments of Regent’s School of Divinity, who discussed how the Holy Spirit impacts and is vital to our theological learning and practical ministry.

One of the speakers, Dr. Antipas Harris, Assistant Professor of Practical Ministry shared a thought from Jeremiah that immediately caught my attention and stirred my heart. In his position teaching practical ministry, he helps students answer the question, “What difference does the Spirit make in the way we live and the way we carry out ministry.” That question ought to be one every Christian pays very close attention to.

Within the framework of his ministry he is involved in ministries aimed at bringing the influence of Christ into America’s cities so that it changes people which is very practical ministry. In his discussion he said that individual churches will not impact our cities but “the church” working together has the potential to make a huge difference. This requires that Christians from all denominations find ways to work together to change their cities for the good.

As he talked about changing cities he mentioned Jeremiah 29:7, Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (English Standard Version). The King James says “peace” rather than “welfare” but either word makes the same point. The point is that as we seek the Lord for the good of our cities, as we pray for our cities, and as our cities prosper and enjoy peace and welfare, it is good for us!

Think about this. God is talking to Jeremiah and the Jews who have been captured and carried into exile in Babylon. They are in a foreign land, dominated by pagan rulers, and subjected to slavery-like conditions. The logical (to them and us) thing to do would be to seek the overthrow and demise of the cities in which they lived and the regimes that ruled over them. But God says don’t do what’s logical. Seek the welfare, the good, of your cities and when the city is blessed, you will be blessed!

We often look around and think, if the unbelievers around us would just come to our church so that our church would prosper, then our city would be blessed. It seems as if God has pointed us in a different direction. Do what’s right and good for our local areas, pray for the leaders and policies of our cities, seek prosperity, and it will be good for us. This is not to say we stop evangelizing because I believe that is something that is for the welfare of the city. I think He is reminding us to avoid being hostile in our approach and look to Him to lift the city out of any plans, policies, or activities that bring the city down or promote what is ungodly. Instead pray for good to come, for righteousness to be exalted, for our leaders to submit to His direction. Wouldn’t that make a difference and be good for the church in our city?

Anyway, I felt as if the Lord was reminding me to find ways to better our city as an individual and through our church and, most of all, to make it a point to fervently pray for our city regularly, to call on the Lord to prosper the city where our church is located and the cities in which our people live. Will you join me in this? Let’s trust God to make our cities better so we have a better place to live and serve and a better venue from which to evangelize the lost. Just my thoughts.

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