All over the world, people are moving into cities. As this trend continues to take on momentum, many American cities are experiencing a renaissance. My hometown of Birmingham is not an exception. This city is experiencing an emergence of refurbished high-rise apartments, beautifully designed green spaces, trendy restaurants and a brand new sports stadium.[i] As the city center buzzes with new life, more people continue to move into the city.
While urban renewal remains a robust trend throughout North America, the renewal does not translate into solving all the problems of our inner cities. Vast areas with overwhelming, chronic needs remain. Poverty, drugs, prostitution, addiction, and violent crime continue to thrive. Behind it all stands a long line of broken lives.
(An Open Letter to United Methodists from Pastor Paul Lawler)
As Christ-following United Methodists, many have expressed deep concerns for the direction of our denomination for some time. This Saturday will bring positive news for our future as a denomination. Thousands will gather all over the United States for the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s Move – On Mission with God Gathering. Whatever part of the country you reside in, there are over 60 sites to choose from. It is not too late for you to sign up and attend.
65 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their homes. 22 million of those are refugees who have fled from their home countries. Half of that 22 million are children.
June 20 marks World Refugee Day and June 25 is World Refugee Sunday, giving us a week to focus and reflect on the current refugee crisis and pray over how we as Christians are called to intervene.
I went on my first mission trip when I was twenty years old. Coming home from a short two weeks spent sharing the love of Christ and news of the gospel, I knew I had discovered an aspect of Christian life I’d been missing. But I didn’t know how to keep living the “mission trip life” back at home. It seems impossible, among the whirlwind of daily responsibilities, to find the time or the place to be a witness among the lost. It’s easy to forget, and it’s easy to be timid.
Later this week, my son and I will head to East Asia with a team. We will be meeting the health needs and the spiritual needs of a rural, unreached people group.
I am truly blessed and honored to be able to go. But I am also aware that God is not asking everyone to drop everything and go to an unreached people group right this moment. Instead, he’s asking us to be used by him to minister to others we encounter in our daily routine of life.
God is calling all of us to a lifestyle of joining him where he is already at work, to co-labor with him and acknowledge that he is in constant pursuit of the lost. There is nowhere you can go that God won’t be. There is no one you could talk to whom God doesn’t already see, love, and have amazing plans for.