Isaiah 58:6-11 – [ESV] “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. 11And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Every time I read Isaiah 58 I openly weep because of the promises and the hope that I see in the text. The text doesn’t start out very promising in the first five verses we see people who have gotten lost in religious practices. We see people who became comfortable going to church, no longer recognizing that we are not to just “Go” to church but rather we “ARE” the Church.However, I don’t get hung up there because the promises are too big to get bogged down in finger pointing and self-righteousness.God doesn’t leave them there and He doesn’t leave us there either. Glory to God! Instead I see His promise that if we set aside religious practices and focus on our relationship with Him and with others we get to be world changers! We get to be called “repairers of the breach and restorers of paths to dwell in.” My heart leaps with joy and anticipation knowing that the God of the universe chooses us to bring light and hope to our world through Jesus Christ.
November 13 we will be right in the middle of a series entitled HOPE. God has chosen that day to work in us and through us to change our cityscape forever to His glory. We have set out to build, become and be a city within a city reaching our city with the life changing message of Jesus Christ one life at a time and now we can make that dream an even greater reality. By God’s grace Sunday November 13 we will mobilize our whole congregation to impact our city like never before. It will start will our regular scheduled church services: Servant’s Service at 9 am and General Gathering at 10:30 am. Services will be followed by the Stuff Swap, taking care of those within our church family. The Stuff Swap is like a yard sale without the money. Simply put if you have stuff you don’t need you bring it and put it on the tables to be a blessing to someone else and if you need something that you see you simply take it. If you don’t have anything and you need it you just take it. Everything left over will be taken to the Goodwill directly following the event with the exception of coats, heavy shirts and jackets we will use those later in the day.
After the Stuff Swap [11:45 am to 12:45 pm] we will depart from the church and meet at Campbell Park just north of our partner ministry the Dream Center. We are encouraging everyone to grab a few loaves of bread and either bring them to church with you or grab them after church on your way to the meeting place. There we will join with the Dream Center to visit the hundreds of homes and apartments surrounding the Dream Center distributing bread to each home, offering an invitation to the Dream Center and praying for those who may need prayer or collecting prayer requests to be prayed over later in the day. Pastor Sam and his team have been in the community bringing hope and light but the workers are few. Can you imagine with me for a moment what a couple hundred people could do? Imagine the impact we could have to the glory of God! We could effectively do in a few hours what would take Pastor Sam and his team months if not years to do! Talk about living out Isaiah 58 and our life verses Matthew 5:14-16! The coolest thing is everything is being done in the name of the Jesus. But wait there is more!!!
Directly following the Bread Giveaway [1 pm to 3 pm] we will depart from Campbell Park and head over to Williams Park where we will become a Blanket Brigade and distribute blankets, the left over clothes and socks to all of the homeless folks in the area bringing hope and demonstrating the love of Jesus in a real and tangible way. We are asking folks to grab a 6 pack of socks or a blanket and bring it with them Sunday so we can give them away Sunday afternoon. This is a chance for us to live out Isaiah 58 in our city offering hope. Along with giving away socks, clothes and blankets we will also be offering prayers and taking prayer requests to be prayed over later. This just makes me smile knowing we get to love who some would call unlovable. It makes me smile because it makes God smile. How do I know? Isaiah 58 and Amos 5.
Finally after the Blanket Brigade [3:15 pm to 4 pm] we will hold a celebration service which will include Prayer, Worship, Testimony, Communion, and the Gospel from 5 to 6:30 pm. It will be a full day of living out the Gospel. One of the biggest blessings is this isn’t just a one hit wonder. We will be joining with our partner ministry the Dream Center advancing and enhancing the ongoing work they are already doing in the city. I encourage everyone to mark your calendars gather your families and let’s impact our city like never before. Let’s be the Church we see in Isaiah 58. City on a Hill Church isn’t a place we “GO” it is who we “ARE”! Let’s show our city, “It is all about Jesus, it has always been about Jesus and it will always be about Jesus!” One of our core values is, “We can not say we are about the city if we are not in the city.” This outreach is appropriately named For the City. I hope to see you there! I hope to lead a congregation of hundreds into the streets of the city to bring hope and to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word and in deed. Please pray about being a part of this powerful move of God. This is also an incredible way we can celebrate Thanksgiving with our families and our church family giving glory to God for His hand of favor, blessing, and protection. We will loudly declare that Jesus is For The City!
If you are reading this blog from another city or another part of the world you can be a part. Please pray for us! Be Encouraged!