Jesus Calls Matrimony – City Transformation
More people live in cities today than ever before, and the percentage is growing. Since Babylon, cities have always been simultaneously place of great human achievement and symbols of human degradation, places of great hope and places to fear.
The cities are places of opulence, the arts, learning, music, entertainment, and commerce. They are centers of finance, technology and communications and the purveyors of societal values. At the same time urban life is also rife with signs of division, brokenness, misplaced priorities and hatred. Cities harbor violence, greed and widespread decay. Cities are affected by a breakdown of family structures/commitments and the erosion of the community relationships.
Your city must matter to you
In Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles in Babylon, it is written: The Lord says…’I know the plans I have for you, plans good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’ (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).
Jeremiah’s advice to the Hebrews in the city of Babylon was ‘to build houses and settle down, plan gardens and eat what you grow…work for the good of the cities where I have made you go… Pray on their behalf, because if they are prosperous, you will be prosperous too.’ (Jeremiah 29:5-7, NIV).
How can you transform your city?
The city’s best gift can be a sense of community, cohesiveness and cooperation and the knowledge that the city is a key element for building a future. A city can be transformed only if there are transformed lives that in turn transform the congregations and eventually transformed congregation working towards building healthy and caring communities.
1. Transformed Lives
Your personal faith in Christ makes you a new being. ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold the new has come’ (2 Cor.5:17, NIV).
We must live in hopefulness motivated by the Spirit of God.
Have an active commitment to fellowship in the body of Christ, prayer, Bible study, tithing, and evangelical outreach.
Let His love transform us that we are able to unconditionally love your neighbour as yourself.
2. Transformed Congregations
We must work towards transforming our congregation.
There must be a Spiritual vitality evident in celebrative worship, Bible study and outreach.
Participation in and commitment to community.
Strong proclamation of the Gospel through Word and Sacrament.
A climate of openness that invites participation and welcomes the guest.
Clarity of vision that is owned widely by members.
You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:19-20, NIV).
3. Transformed Communities
We must work towards building communities that are desirable places to live and work. To this goal we must,
Make neighbourhoods that are safe, economically sound, socially healthy and environmentally aware where residents actively participate in community life and decision-making.
Ability to provide for the well being of citizens through availability of jobs, training, education, housing and health care.
Building and rebuilding with hope and opportunity for the future.
They shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. (Isaiah 61:4b, NIV)