“You are the light of the world.
A city set on a hill cannot be hidden”
~ Jesus, Mat 5:14
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of church and the city the church is in, and the more I think and pray about it, the more I think of the unique impacts the gospel made upon distinct cities in the book of Acts – from Jerusalem to Samaria to Corinth to Ephesus to Rome to many others. Each city was changed in different ways by the gospel and those preaching and living the gospel.
I wonder what God has for us in Claremont. I wonder what the needs are in Claremont. I wonder what the Lord will embed in our hearts and our DNA as a church that is specifically needed for Claremont and from Claremont, the San Gabriel Valley; and from there, our part in spreading the gospel to the uttermost parts of the world (btw – i deeply believe in global missions!)
In the City, Of the City, Against the City – or FOR THE CITY?
I was reading this preview of Darrin Patrick’s book “For the City, Proclaiming and Living Out the Gospel”. It is well worth 10 minutes of reading because it so captures where my heart is at. This is the type of church I want to pour the next 30 years of my life into!
I don’t want to be a church just “in the city” of Claremont, and I have no desire to a church that is “of the city” of Claremont (as Lot was of Sodom), nor do I ever ever want to be a church “against the city” of Claremont (jesus said – “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”).
I want to be a part of a church that is deeply and practically and intentionally “for the city” of Claremont and it’s people. I want to love them and relieve them of their deepest hurts and pains and sufferings – first and foremost the eternal suffering of being separated from God – but then also the secondary sufferings of living in a fallen world that is shattered by sin and it’s consequences.
Reasons For Us to be “FOR THE CITY”
There is a danger for any church to be so socially minded that it loses it’s focus for the gospel. At that point, the church, in my opinion, should close the doors and lay off the staff and disband the fellowship. A church without a gospel focus is not really a church. That said, there are good reasons why my heart beats for a church that is deeply and practically and intentionally “for the city”:
– So the Father may be glorified
Mat 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
– So the doors may be opened to preach the gospel
Lord help us, to walk in and breathe in the grace that is found in Jesus Christ. Help us to live in such a way that the goodness of Christ and the love of God is seen by those that are lost and blind and dead. Annoint us with your Holy Spirit to be able to shine the radiant character of Christ such way that life in the city of Claremont is forever changed for the cause of the kingdom of Your Son! Amen!