NEW! Summer Missions!
It doesn't take much effort these days to tap into the tension rippling across the United States, whether it be politics, racial injustices, or the like. Each of these issues are provoking a deep emotional outcry for attention, reform, empathy, really anything that will recognize the need. We feel them all, right here in Harrisburg. Living in the midst of a neighborhood canvassed by Planned Parenthood during campaign season, going to sleep with sirens and shouts outside your window, surrounded by a system propped up by a divided government causes one to think - is there hope for change? The answer isn't just an obligatory "yes", but a resounding and overwhelming "YES!"
We've been challenged by the Lord to take Him at His word when He says "my Word will surely go out and not return void." He has promised us that "we do not labor in vain." And these are more than just words, I assure you. These are worlds and realities being spoken into existence before our very eyes as we are quite literally watching one of America's notoriously violent ghettoes experience a cultural upheaval. Crime rates dropping, violence being confronted by peaceful resolution, hearts being awakened to their need for Christ. It's something that many in this neighborhood had given up on seeing, and something all of us who have lived here have grappled with in our journey to pioneer a resting place for God here.
Two years ago, in faith, we painted a simple message on a brick wall in our yard, "Love the Hill." It came from a dream that I had when asking God how to unite the neighborhood so that we could move from lingo to reality. Each of us are weary from seemingly hollow language being trumpeted in the Church bolstered by amateur statistics and a need for validation, but what I am saying is simple - Jesus (love) works! His presence REALLY DOES CHANGE CITIES! Since we began our work here 3 years ago, Harrisburg has dropped from its place as the #25 Crime City in the US to #47. A report was just released recently that we've also experienced a 50% drop in overall crime in January alone! But it's not just crime that is being affected: new businesses are popping up all over the city, churches are experiencing unprecedented growth, organizations are collaborating for change. We are seeing the language, the activity, the message of love displaying its fruit all across our city - and we know this is only the beginning.
Every few months in our yard at the Mansion, I feel we get a taste of what Heaven will be like. There's a massive party where people from all different backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures are gathered together in the name of Love to feast and grow in their knowledge of God. We've moved beyond talks of racial reconciliation to the activity of breaking bread together. Every other weekend, we see people from every walk of life gather together to share nearly 30,000 pounds of food. We don't have volunteers, we have a neighborhood that sees what can be accomplished together. I can barely even help some of those mornings as many of my neighbors won't let me!!
This summer we are planning to blitz the neighborhood day and night for 3 weeks - I'm talking an all-out offensive to partner with God's dream for city transformation. Teams of people infiltrating our neighborhood, cleaning, restoring and repairing the desolation of the former generations by day, and by night gathering together to fill the atmosphere with worship and prayer. It's like the days of Nehemiah, God's people gathering to rebuild the wall so that they might worship the Lord together. This isn't just a good idea guys, this is our mandate from Heaven!
Whoever you are, wherever you are, you need to hear this: what you are doing is worth it! Every prayer you pray, and every song you sing, (and even when you're just glad to have made it through the day) it is making a difference. It's time we allow ourselves to step into the faith that Jesus walked in, knowing that His presence was enough to shift atmospheres over individuals, families, cities and eventually the nations of the earth. He has made His throne in our hearts, and our presence is an agent of change for the crises we're experiencing all around us. Let us rekindle hope within ourselves that does not disappoint and believe God for what He desires in our cities and nations. The time has come to reap the great harvest of worship and intercession, and you can't make that transition if your eyes haven't been washed by the Great Hope of Jesus Christ. Lift up your eyes, for the fields are ripe for the harvest!
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