One Question to Consider for the Next 30 Days

Meeting with a group of leaders recently who love, live or work in downtown Los Angeles, I asked them to consider this one question: Why are you in LA?

Lots of people to move to LA for the weather, to make money, to get famous, for a job and for many other good reasons to help improve and further their life. But Christians must consider if God brought them here not to further their lives but to further God’s kingdom. Perhaps God has brought you here, not to make your name great, but to make His name great. This led to three sub-questions about how Union Church can partner with leaders in LA:

1. How can Union Church help you bless the city?

2. How can you help Union Church to bless city?

3. What can we do together to bless the city?

But the essential question to ask yourself is: Why are you in LA? I challenged the group to take the next 30 days and ask themselves this simple question. Bring this question before God. Ask other people about it. Journal about it. Facebook it. Reflect on this very very simple question about why you live where you live and to consider if you live there for a greater purpose than pursuing your own dreams. Perhaps God has placed you here for a purpose beyond your limited vision yet using every aspect of your skills, education, network and resources.

At Union Church we are trying to ask questions that aren’t focused on blessing the church but how we can bless the city and the neighborhoods that we find ourselves in.

If we truly believe that God has called us to the cities in which we live then we begin to have the perspective the God hasn’t brought me to this place to bless myself and to make my name great but to bless the city and make His name great. We begin to get a new set of eyes for our neighborhood. Our eyes hear things differently. Our feet take us to different places. We might even get to know the names of our neighbors!

So many come to cities to get something from it but Jeremiah 29:7 tells us to be part of the prospering and blessing of the city, bringing the holistic shalom of God into every ordinary aspect of life.

This is the 7-11 Principle that I’ve shared about before. “You don’t get 11 until you do 7.” You don’t get the blessing of God until you are a blessing to your city.

God blesses those who bless the city in which they live.

So what brought you to the city in which you live? Perhaps God has brought you there, not just so you could advance your life, but so that you could advance God’s kingdom and make His name great.

Will you join with us the next 30 days in asking why God has placed you in this very city you’ve found yourself in? Perhaps God has an idea He wants to share with you about why He’s placed you in this city at this time with your unique talents, resources and connections.

Asking this one question could change your life and it will probably change your city for the better.

 

Sermon video from speaking at Bel Air

I had the privilege of returning to my “home” church in Los Angeles, Bel Air Presbyterian Church, where my wife, Kati, and I helped minister to hundreds of college students and young adults during our time there. Pastor Mark Brewer and I did a team-teaching format at all three services talking about God’s heart for the city.

Tim speaking with Mark Brewer at Bel Air Aug. 14, 2011

Join us in blessing L.A.

Every week it seems as if God brings someone else into our lives to join us in this adventure to bless the neighborhoods of downtown L.A. and see God’s blessing emanate throughout Los Angeles. Just this past week our family had the privilege to getting to know several women from the Anne Douglas Center at the Los Angeles Mission who are going to join our faith community as we continue to grow as a diverse community reflecting God’s family. God has also brought several leaders into our lives that want to join us in what God is already up to in the city: educators, community leaders, counselors, interior designers, lawyers and entrepreneurs who want to use their time and resources to bless the great city of L.A. Perhaps God is calling you to join us in this work. We’d love to build a friendship with you and talk about how we can do this together.

We’re having a luncheon at Union Church where I pastor on Wednesday August 31 at 12pm. If you live, work and/or have a heart to bless downtown L.A. then please consider joining us. You can RSVP here.

 

Can L.A. become a great city?

The Greater Los Angeles area makes L.A. one of the great global cities of the world following only Tokyo and New York City in significance. It’s the media capitol of the world that likely has more impact creating culture than any other city. So in one sense it’s already a great city because of its global influence. But can L.A. become the greatest city for Christ?

This is the mission of Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, our wonderful partner supporting the new efforts at Union Church to reach downtown L.A. and its surrounding neighborhoods.

I get to share at Bel Air at all three services on August 14 about my family’s call as missionaries to downtown L.A.. They’ll hear me share about the 7-11 Principle and why our call is personal, strategic and biblical. They’ll also be invited to work with us to bless the city as God commands us to do in Jeremiah 29.

I am excited to join with other Christians who seek to to live in L.A., not to make a great name for themselves, but to make a great name for the God they worship and serve.

Going to those who might never come to church

I had the privilege over the past several years to spend some time with a professional tennis player, David Martin, who sees his time on the Tour as an opportunity to minister anyone he comes across. I’ve often told Dave, “You are the only pastor most of these people will ever meet.” Dave has taken that responsibility to heart and seeks to be a loving presence who is ready to share about Jesus on and off the court. Recently a church in London highlighted Dave and produced this video.

David Martin — pastor to the tennis world

Our church in downtown LA realizes that we can’t simply expect people to show up at our church. We are prayerfully having conversations about what it might look like for us to engage the neighborhood in a way that reflects how Jesus would.

How do you see your own vocation as an opportunity to reveal God’s love in your everyday lives and encounters with people?