I awoke this morning to another tragedy in our city. Just a few weeks ago we had two officers killed in the line of duty and now just last night another officer was shot and killed in the line of duty. Just when our city had rallied together and began the long journey of healing we experience another tragedy. We must not lose hope. I am praying God’s grace over our city. Sunday at City on a Hill Church we began our Prayer Initiative for our city partnering with Transform Our World to cover all 1199 streets in our city in prayer. If our city ever needed prayer it is now. If our city ever needed the Church of Jesus Christ to rise up in faith it is now. March 9 we will begin 47 days of prayer Seeking God for our City as a church partnering with numerous others churches in the Tampa Bay area. A song by Clint Brown keeps playing in my heart this morning and I want to share it with you.
Monthly Archives: February 2011
“Lord I praise You. Lord I glorify Your Name. And if the sun said I won’t rise and dark clouds fill my skies, Lord just know that I will always give you praise. And when trouble’s on the way I will always say no matter come what may I ‘ll always give you praise.”
No matter what we will seek God’s face. God is our ever present help in times of trouble. My heart grew faint at the news of this tragedy. My heart broke for this family and our city. Right away the Word of God came to me from Psalm 61.
1 Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. 2 From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.4 I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.5 For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. 6 Increase the days of the king’s life, his years for many generations. 7 May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him. 8 Then I will ever sing in praise of your name and fulfill my vows day after day.
Right now our city needs Jesus and no one else will do. I lift my eyes up to the mountains where does my help come from it comes from you Lord. You are the maker of earth and heaven and there is nothing that’s too hard for you. I hope that every believer in our city and every church in our city will rally together and call upon the Lord Jesus Christ asking for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I pray for spiritual renewal in our city to the glory of God. I pray a revival will sweep through our city sweeping away the darkness and that the light of God’s love will shine brighter than ever even in the midst of this incredible and horrific tragedy. I pray for this precious family who has lost their loved one and for a city who has lost another hero. God, You are the God of the city. We need you.
I will end this blog with the words to the song God of this City. God we need your grace.
You’re the God of this City. You’re the King of these people. You’rethe Lord of this nation. You are! You’re the Light in this darkness, You’re the Hope to the hopeless, You’re the Peace to the restless You are! There is no one like our God, There is no one like our God. For greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this City.
Habakkuk 2:2-3 “Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. 3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
One of the biggest keys I have learned in this church planting journey that applies to life in general is that vision leaks. As a matter of fact anyone who follows this blog knows I have already written a blog on the very subject just a few months ago. So why am I coming back to the topic of vision casting and catching? Because vision leaks and must constantly be written, spoken, and shared. I have been faithful to keep the vision that God gave me for City on a Hill Church before the people. Not a week goes by that they do not hear me share our vision. It is included in every message because it is the DNA of our church and the reason we were called to our city. I get some of my greatest joy in the call and response of the vision. The people of COAH can finish my sentences. I’ll say, “It is all about Jesus it has always been about Jesus and it will always be about Jesus.” Before I can even get more than three words out I look out and people are saying it right along with me and smiling and nodding with blessed assurance that this is from God. I sat with two truly amazing young men the other day and I listened as they were sharing their ideas for something God has called them to begin and as they are sharing I hear the influence of COAH’s vision in them. I say, ‘We are a city within a city reaching our city with the life changing message of Jesus Christ one life at a time.” and people perk up because they know this isn’t just my vision it is the vision God has called them to fulfill in our city, region, and world. In conversations I’ll listen to people speak that we are blessed to be a blessing and joyfully talk about giving their time, talent, and treasure to God. I listen to my leaders encourage their teams by helping them to see we care about you first it is not about what you have or what you can do for us we just simply care about you. This reinforces that core values that people are people not resources to be used up and disposed of. I am inspired when I see and hear our people passionately pursuing Lost people [Luke 15/19:10] and looking to bring Wanderers [Ezk. 34] back into God’s pastures. I speak, listen, and hear folks sharing our Church’s heart in a nut shell, Love God, Love People, and Preach Jesus. Followed by a, “It really is that simple.” We speak of following only one true church planting expert, that is Jesus who said, ‘I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” [Matthew 16:18]. I get excited when I hear of our people stepping up and showing spiritual maturity and not repaying evil for evil because our core value teaches us that, God is good and He expects us to be good. When we are on mission in the city, going over seas, or living it out every day we fully realize and adopt the core value that we do not do good for the sake of good we do good to the glory of God. Our rewards are in heaven and the greatest reward is seeing a lost person or a wanderer find their way home to Jesus. These kinds of call and response keep me centered, focused, and passionately pursuing Jesus Christ as we live out His vision for our city. Whether it is our past hurts, our current trial, or our future victory we all recognize that God wants to use our story for His glory. It is so rewarding to hear and see the vision God has entrusted to me and the people of COAH constantly being shared and reviewed through call and response. COAH’s life verse keeps us on point to help us be about our city. We can’t say we are about the city it we are not out in our city. We are called to be a city on a hill a light that can not be hidden. We are building a city for God among the city of men. From January to March of 2010 I wrote down our vision in May of 2010 I became a herald and I began to run with it. It was our appointed time and it has not proved false. We have seen men, women, and children come into right relationship and receive salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We have seen marriages healed and restored, we have seen addictions broken, wanderers come home, missionaries called, miracles, signs, and wonders have followed the preaching of God’s Word to the glory of God. I don’t intended to stop calling out the vision and I am confident by God’s grace that people will continue to respond as long as we remember God’s Law of Attraction: Jesus said, “If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me.” I have seen this with my eyes and heard it with my ears as God draws people from the North, South, East, and West into His kingdom. I even use the call and response method in my prayers. I write out and pray the vision of COAH on a daily basis as I pray that God’s kingdom would come in my life, my family, my city, and my world. Be encouraged write down your vision, share it, teach it, and most importantly live it out daily. You can be absolutely confident that God has a plan for you. [Jer. 29:11-13] The key to these verses is verse 13 if you seek God you will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart. Once you find Him and He gives you your vision you must be willing for give your life for Him accomplishing it. I leveraged everything in my life to live this vision. I wouldn’t trade it for silver and gold. I wouldn’t trade it for riches untold. Jesus is worthy of my life. I don’t have to do this I get to do this to the glory of the Glorious One who outshines the sun! Jesus called out to me and I responded. Can you hear Him calling?
Habakkuk 3:2 says, “Lord I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.”
From the very beginning of this church planting journey it has been my heavy conviction that everything we do is going to have to be bathed in prayer and seasoned with fasting. I was privileged this past week to be a part of a prayer for our city on the steps of City Hall along with numerous other pastors. It truly truly a moving experience. What was more moving to me is that it was organized by police officer’s wives and a small group of believers representing different churches, COAH included, who have been meeting together for the past ten years. God’s people met together and called out for help and hope for our city and the lives of some very precious people.
Even before the prayer at city hall I was invited by this same amazing small group to partner with them and another church in the city to adopt every street in our city for focused prayer. We will begin inviting the folks who attend City on a Hill Church to join in our effort to be sure every street is covered by a prayer warrior. This excites me knowing that hundreds if not thousands of believers all throughout our city will be calling out to God for our city, for the lost, and for the wanderer.
There is one more leg on this journey of prayer we as a church are about to undertake. Beginning March 9, 2011 we will spend 40 days leading up to passion week and passion week itself bathing our city in prayer. I believe that we can and will see Habakkuk 3:2 happen right before our very eyes if we as a people gather together and lift up the name of Jesus. We are already seeing the first fruits of Hab. 3;2 in our church. Just last week we had a lady who had tremendous pain in her arm and neck that was unrelenting. During Communion she felt the power of God come upon her and her pain was totally relived in Jesus name. God is confirming His Word through miracles signs, and wonders! Glory to God!
We are seeing people set free from addictions, marriages healed and restored, salvations, the sanctification of the saints, and miraculous provision upon our church. City on a Hill Church was born out of a season of prayer and fasting. The Vision for our church came through an intense season of prayer and fasting. The life sustaining hand of God has rested heavy upon us as we have remained faithful to be a people of prayer. We have prayer every week as a part of our services every single week because we believe in the power of prayer. I have heard it said prayer changes things. I want to amend that a bit. I want to say prayer changes people and people change things by the grace of God to the glory of God.
We are committed to building becoming, and being a city within a city reaching our city with the life changing message of Jesus Christ one life at a time. The only way we can or ever will fulfill that mission is through prayer. We must constantly and relentlessly pursue God in prayer for our lives, our families, our church, and our city. I want to encourage you to join us in prayer. Adopt your street and begin praying for every one on it to come to know Jesus. Join us as we spend the 47 days leading up to Easter asking God to seek and save the lost, bring home the wanderer, and send every believer out as a missionary to the culture God has placed us in.
I believe Habakukk 3:2 can and will be fulfilled in our generation if we pray. Let’s seek God for our city.