Exiled in a City God Loves

I just returned home from a conference a couple weeks ago and I am fired up. The CAPITALYZE conference highlighted city-reaching movements across the globe to inspire establishing the kingdom of God in our cities.

There was so much to take away, but one passage in particular has stayed with me. It was quoted over and over at the conference and theologically clicked for me. I am now fired up to see the Kingdom of God established in Halifax, and my city transformed in every sphere.

The passage Jeremiah 29:7, takes place after Israel has been conquered, and the people have been taken into Babylon (in exile).

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
Jeremiah 29:7

Since advent I have been sitting in the reality that we do not belong in this world. We are anticipating the day of the return of Jesus. We are a people who are in exile, not belonging to this world, but living in it. This is the same state the people of Israel were in when Jeremiah receives this word from the Lord. God equally has a desire to see this land, these people surrounding us, prosper.

This earth we are on is our place of “exile”. It is not our home, and we are waiting for the day when Jesus returns or calls us home. But while we are waiting for that day, God wants the earth to encounter his kingdom. While we are here, we are to seek the peace and prosperity of our land through welcoming the kingdom of God.

We need to be asking God the question, “What would it look like for your kingdom to come to my city?” If we want good soil for people to receive the gospel, we need to be asking this question. His kingdom being established, on a personal and corporate level, is what will bring people to know the living God!

God has always had this on his heart. He actually created the earth as a good, well-functioning place, a land at peace (shalom). As the church works towards a city filled with peace, the glory of God is on display. God is more on display through our engagement in the land than in our separation. To be a set apart people is not to disengage, but to “seek the welfare of the city”.

I am fired up to see what God wants to do in my city. This will take the whole church united to see this through. It is time to see the kingdom of God established and not our own kingdoms grown. I love the local church and the unique expressions of worship they express. As much as I love to see my own local church grow and thrive, there is something larger we are a part of.

The task before us as the church is to see the kingdom of God established in every sphere of our region. The places we find ourselves as believers should be changed by our presence. We should be praying as Jesus taught us to: “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This is not a prayer for God to work separate from us. We are to know what it looks like to have his kingdom established. We are to pray specifically for those things. We are to engage in practical efforts (together as the greater church) to see things happen. We will not be working at cross purposes from other believers if we are all seeking the kingdom of God to be established here.

So how do we go after this daunting task? It may seem overwhelming. Do you know anyone who loves Jesus on your street? In your neighbourhood? At your school? At your place of work? Why not ask them to pray with you? Say hey, want to pray together for the kingdom of God to come to our shared space? Let’s gather together as believers (not just the same church or denomination, Catholics or Protestants, Charismatic or Non-Charismatic) and listen to what it would look like for the Kingdom of God to come. How can we be a part of this work?

For me, I am excited about what this will look like in Halifax. I want to see his kingdom come in Halifax as in heaven. I long to see all believers together seeking the peace and prosperity of our city. I long to see my neighbours see Jesus as king, reigning over Halifax in goodness and justice.

2 thoughts on “Exiled in a City God Loves

  1. Hi Joel, glad to hear you were inspired by Capitalyze. So was I. I agree that we are exiles in this age. My understanding of Jesus’ prayer “Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” is that it will have its fulfillment on earth when He returns to reign openly as King, as he promised he would do. In the meantime we are to bless the cities where He has placed us by doing the works of the coming Kingdom by the power of the Spirit. Blessings.

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