One thing that I love about The City @ Good Hope is the love for missions. I believe it is a proven fact that the gospel is the power of God to save lives, & that The City takes that truth to the nations. Sometimes it seems that our community of unashamed gospel proclaimers are of the few pursuing to impact the culture around them with the Good News of Jesus Christ … but, after watching the video above, I began to realize that our mission & vision is not so isolated.
We do not re-invent the wheel, we merely carry out the great commission. In this season of graduations & summer departures, I am excited about how the gospel will be shared. It is about time that The City begins to disperse and reach others. Truth be told, there are many people in The City who can plant gospel small groups that would impact many. Perhaps we are not ready for planting churches, but we can plant seeds of the gospel in churches that do not preach the gospel.
One thing I respect about PT, like Leonce Crump, is that he saw a problem & decided to do something about it. By no means is Good Hope a perfect church & it is in desperate need of the gospel. PT saw a problem & entered the culture to fix it. On one hand there are the old timers who know everything (self-righteous folk). On the other hand, there are liberal college students exploring their sexuality/identity/personality (prodigal sons & daughters). On top of that, you have the young rambunctious youth whom have no hope in this world (lil’ heathens). The one antidote to give these people is the gospel.
With such a diverse group of people at Good Hope, DZ Cofield commissioned PT to reach young adults so that they will in turn reach 3rd ward. In some facet, PT planted a church-within-a-church. The City works as a tool to reach those older self-righteous folk who are native “3rd wardians” by being unashamed of their youth & respectful towards them. Reaching out to the community is a big deal & Cuney Homes is a people group in need of some lovin’. The City reaches the young adults by knowing what’s sexy at the moment and not rejecting or embracing it but reconciling it for the sake of the gospel. Also, the college crowd is reached by using technology & creating small groups for the sake of people sharing life together. The City reaches the lil’ heathens by participating in Youth Church as volunteers for interpersonal small groups.
This gospel is so powerful that there is nothing else to talk about. Please don’t confuse the gospel for a method, but embrace it as what the bible says it is. It is of first importance and we are to preach Christ crucified. Jesus died according to the scriptures so that the promise of God to save those who would turn from death and embrace life by faith alone & grace alone. Jesus rose according to the scriptures so that those whom embrace the life he offers will have an advocate in heaven who will never disown them before his Father.
All in all, The City & many other churches are a place where you can believe the gospel, belong to a gospel believing community, and become gospel-centered.
[if you are looking for a gospel-centered church near you check out the gospel coalition’s network guide here.]
The greatest lesson learned when I didn’t feel God was that I never truly asked for the Holy Spirit’s help. Remember in Part 1 I was scared that my sin was more powerful than the Spirit residing in me so I wouldn’t pray in fear of being let down?
I asked for forgiveness & the power to persevere, but I didn’t ask Him to take over. I wasted time thinking of the right prayer, but the right prayer is the one that seeks to help others be better than yourself. When I began asking God to seek me to seek them, humble me to humble them, forgive me to forgive them, & rest in me to show them rest … is when things started changing.
I saw how flawed I was & I didn’t want people to be like me. I remember thinking about younger people in The City like Temi, Chloe, Taylor, Prince, Will, Rodrick, & many others who are young & eager to learn of God. Each of them are far more humble & more educated about the gospel of grace than I could have ever hoped to be at that age. I began to pray to God that they would not go through these seasons of drought that I experience.
Then a message came to mind from Tim Keller in which I heard him say something like, “absence is proof of God’s presence“. I didn’t get it until I truly thought about it.
In order to feel God’s absence, I had to have felt God in the first place.
Being that Jesus gave the decree that he would be with us until the end of the ages & that the Spirit that lives in us is always available & the Father is our ever-present help I started to realize that I am not alone. Absence serves as a bridge until your next encounter with God. Not an encounter in the sense that you will run into Him again but until you realize (repent) that He is with you if you place faith in the facts of Jesus’ exchangeable perfect life, substutionary death, & life giving resurrection.
Charles Spurgeon puts the cure & prevention for spiritual drought in these ways:
- Confess our unworthiness. The Lord might justly have withheld his grace from us.
- Acknowledge our dependence upon the heavenly showers of spiritual influence.
- Pray incessantly, till, like Elijah, we bring down the rain.
- Look alone to Jesus. “He shall come down like rain.”
- Value the least sign of grace, watching for it as the prophet did from the top of Carmel, till he saw the little cloud arise from the sea.
- Use the blessing more diligently when it returns, bringing forth fruit to God.
Generally speaking, if the topic of discussion is Christian music and Frontline, one would likely think the dialogue is about the influential Christian record label, Frontline Records, that changed the game and created a legacy for Christian music during the late 80’s and early 90’s.
However, last week at the SXSW festival in Austin, TX, Frontline Movement (a trio from Houston, including Reconcile, Corey Paul, & F.O.E.) hit the stage near the Hip Hop Hope Unity concert’s end, and literally woke up the crowd with a performance of their raw song titled, “U Rydin”.
If you watch closely at about the 4:20 mark, you’d notice Corey Paul trying to corral Reconcile & F.O.E. to re-introduce themselves after what was seemingly the end of their set. Little do they know, the performance was so dope and the crowd was so energized, that the DJ encored the track! Wow!
Personally, I remember when Reconcile gave me an exclusive listen to “U Rydin”, months ago. It was on a Thursday night of fellowship with our fam @thecitygoodhope as we waited for our food at IHOP. After giving the song a listen, I distinctly remember looking over at him and saying, “Bro, this is really good … like anthem or soundtrack music, good!” I’m not sure if he took me serious then or not, though. I wonder if he’ll take the comment below from a well-respected journalist serious?
Frontline — a movement already buzzing — has already undoubtedly figured a couple of things out that could lead them to making a much greater impact from the “Christian Hip Hop” arena. The artists are working closely, building with each other and off of each other, making relatable music, as well as taking their light to the streets (on the Matthew 5:14-16 tip) after the music stops.
Download “U Rydin” for free here.
See more from Frontline Movement here.
Stay tuned with us for the official “U Rydin” video.
this is where strangers become ex-strangers. this is why i am inspired daily. because strangers don’t have to carry that badge for the rest of their lives if we just make an attempt to make them ex-strangers.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
*pic credit: debra ward, iphone*
september 15th, 2010.
(from left to right) zachary nunn, david dawkins, senior pastor dr. d.z. cofield, eric m. ward, and dennis campbell.
by the power of the Holy Spirit we gave evidence that God has called us into the gospel ministry, and we are now licensed to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ as we may have opportunity.
thanks to all family, friends, good hope!, the city @ good hope!, and again, the triune God!
‘Hard times push more women to strip clubs’, says the title of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article I recently read. According to ‘The Erotic Economy’, the strip club economy is a $15 billion industry. Of the 3,829 strip clubs nationwide about 500,000 jobs are offered. In the city of Atlanta alone, there are 19 strip clubs. That is about one club for every high school in the city. In addition, the average yearly income of an Atlanta exotic dancer can clear about $50,000, which is just under the average income of an Atlanta schoolteacher. These 19 clubs produce $240 million annually, which is more revenue than the city’s three major teams combined.
The community needs ‘The City’. The community is on fire and much like firefighters who slide down their poles to take immediate action at the call of an emergency, Christians must acknowledge their role in the community. Perhaps it would help if we, as Christians, recognize how we have weakened, and sometimes even abandoned, our relationships with our communities. We have possibly isolated ourselves from the very people who need the same love we shown. We travel from our homes to our church buildings as if we live in our own “gated” community and lifestyle, in which we literally and mentally limit ourselves from interaction with, and our involvement in, the community. The community is in need.
As Christians we have a couple of choices of how we can take action:
- We can choose to act as if there is no problem at all, furthermore allowing the stability of the industry to be an open door for many women, even as statistics show applicants are becoming younger and younger.
- We can distance ourselves from this issue, yet submit to the ills of the economy much like adult dance club employees and see this erotic industry as a “major financial force in [our cities], helping draw conventioneers and high-rolling celebrities”.
- Or as God calls us to do, we can pray for these people’s salvation. Much like the loving individuals who greet abortion clinic abortionists and abortionees at the front door, Christians can also take a stand and share the love of Jesus Christ with them. (Not comparing strip clubs and abortion clinics. Or am I?) Christians have the great opportunity to introduce these souls to a Saviour who is in love with strippers, but not the stripping. An introduction to a Lord who will one day make it rain reign, yet nothing like they have seen.
To read article click here.
As interesting as this article is, I am now more curious as to how the city of Houston’s story is. I’m interested especially since Houston is also one of the five largest U.S. market for strip clubs. I believe I may apply research time to this at some point and then post a part two here on ‘The City’. Let me know what you think.