Isaiah 58:6-14 [NIV] 6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 11 The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. 12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. 13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, 14 then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
All throughout human history we can see specific traits traced to spiritual awakenings. They are persistent prayer, exaltation of Christ, repentance of sin, preaching the Gospel of Christ, bold service of God, and acknowledging God’s authority. God has called me to this city for such a time as this. We planted City on a Hill Church with the intention of building a city for God among the city of men. To build a city within a city reaching our city with the life changing message of Jesus Christ. In the past month our city has been through Hell! Hopeless, brokenness, feelings of helplessness, anger, fear, and the like have assaulted the precious people of our city. But out of the ashes God has raised up His Church. Pastors and churches have crossed denominational lines and given up unspoken territorial claims to pick up the blood stained yet hope filled banner of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our city has become a city of prayer. These tragedies have brought our city and those who live in it to our needs in persistent heart felt repentant prayer. I have heard pastors and church members repent of apathy. I have seen Christ exalted and the name of Jesus boldly proclaimed without shame or fear. Our eyes have been opened that we are not self-autonomous, self lording and we have turned our eyes back to our one true King.
I believe that we are on the brink of a spiritual awakening. We have more believers praying in our city than ever before. City on a Hill Church is actively partnering with other churches in our city and an organization called transform our world to Adopt Every Street in on city. 6,000 believers in the Tampa Bay area will be joining forces beginning March 9 in a prayer initiative entitled Seeking God for our City. This kind of persistent prayer is going to bring about a true spiritual awakening. We are on the brink of spiritual awakening because the Church of Jesus Christ is exalting Christ above everything. Above moralism, above self help messages, above building church empires, above personal gain, above all Jesus is being lifted up and with that comes a promise. Jesus said if I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me. We are on the brink of spiritual awakening because men and women in this city are coming to God with broken spirits and contrite repentant hearts and confessing our sins and our great need for God. We are on the brink of spiritual awakening because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being returned to and preached in our streets and in our pulpits. No longer do we live in a church saturated Gospel starved city. The power of the Gospel is being preached and the grace, hope, and love of Jesus Christ is being shared. We are on the brink of spiritual awakening because there is a bold service to God being seen and heard in our city. Believers all over the city are standing up and stepping out in faith to Love God, Love People, and Preach Jesus. We are seeing the churches come together and address issues of social justice all the while preaching and teaching spiritual renewal. Men and women are boldly doing good to the glory of God and in the name of Jesus.
This is a critical time in the history of our city and in the life of the Church, Big C! By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit we can be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings in our city. I am praying for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s power on our city like never before. I believe we are going to see a harvest like never before. I am praying that God by His grace will hear our cries and we will see thousands of lost people found and thousands of wanderers find refuge in Christ once again. I am praying that God will send every believer out as a missionary to the different cultures represented in our city to share the love, grace, mercy, and kindness of our great God with any and all who would listen and receive. We are on the brink of a spiritual awakening. Now is the time to let our audacious faith be met with audacious action as we pursue God through persistent prayer asking Him to awake our souls and the souls of all who dwell in our city. This city belongs to God. It is time for the churches, pastors, and leaders to come together under one banner to see His kingdom come on our city. The kingdom of God is built in the hearts of men, women, and children. It is time to build God’s kingdom as we focus on the lost, wanderers, broken, hurting, oppressed, and captive. This kingdom must first be built on our knees. Please join with us in prayer for our city. Our first act of defiance against the kingdom of darkness in our city is persistent prayer. Now is the time and this is the place. We are on the brink!