SBC of Virginia is encouraging every church to mobilize to Bless Every Home. To strengthen and support this effort, we have launched a resource page and will also be providing regional meetings where David Wheeler, Steve Bradshaw, your regional missionaries, and others will gather with pastors and church leaders to equip and encourage us to pray, care, share, and disciple. Throughout this year we will be having a number of opportunities to support you as you lead. This November’s Annual Homecoming 2019 will also feature a call for churches to renew their engagement in making disciples as we seek to galvanize small groups and Sunday School ministries so Disciples Are Not Alone!
Over the next several weeks, I want to encourage you with a Bible text that I have used to encourage each of the four points of Bless Every Home. For more information, visit our website.
Bless Every Home – PRAY – Jeremiah 29:4-7
God shows us that we should be praying for our city.
It’s not to be a church in the city, or of the city, or against the city, but to be a church that is for the city.
JEREMIAH 29:4-7 GIVES US INSTRUCTION ON HOW TO BE A CHURCH FOR THE CITY (or COUNTY, COMMUNITY).
1. DON'T BE OF THE CITY.
“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease." - Jeremiah 29:4-6
God was speaking to His people, the Israelites. The nation of Babylon, which was a woefully evil nation, had come in and beaten Israel. They invaded them, tore down their city and then took the people of Israel back to their own city. God told them how He wanted them to respond and act in this evil city they’d been taken to. God does not want us to just imitate or assimilate into the city. We are called to have an identity as the People of God. God wants us to increase. He wants us to be a people that multiplies.
BABYLON - Historically, we know Babylon had a very specific and sneaky strategy for taking over another country. They would go in and fight and beat them down. Then they would bring them into their own city and make them feel right at home. They gave them all the good jobs, let them live in good neighborhoods, and even gave them governmental positions. God told the Israelites He didn’t want them to do this. He didn’t want them to decrease, but to increase. He wanted them to move into the city but continue to be His people.
DON'T BE OF THE CITY, BUT…
2. DON'T BE AGAINST THE CITY.
"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
He wanted them to go into the city to seek and pursue the welfare of the city. God didn’t want them to hate them; He wanted them to love them. He wanted them to stay there and seek the welfare of the city, the people, which had just beaten them down. The word welfare is a key word - It’s the Hebrew word Shalom which is translated into English as peace. But in Hebrew that word means so much more than just peace. Shalom means universal flourishing. It’s universal wholeness, complete health. God told them to go into the city and seek their universal flourishing.
3. BE A CHURCH FOR THE CITY.
"pray to the LORD on its behalf." - Jeremiah 29:7B
The Lord Jesus told us in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
THE FIRST WAY WE ARE TO BLESS EVERY HOME IS BY PRAYING.
R.A. Torrey, “Pray for great things, expect great things, work for great things, but above all – PRAY.”
Bless Every Home by praying:
B - Body: Pray for good health, protection, and strength.
L - Labor: Pray for their work experience and their financial security.
E - Emotional: Pray for emotional health and a good quality of life; for joy, peace, hope.
S - Social: Pray for their relationships with their family and friends.
S - Spiritual: Pray for their salvation, that they will come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Your brother in Jesus,