And I would be remiss to forget where I've come from, to be where I am now, and the myriad reasons. Right now I am geographically in Chicago (visiting). But my heart - my community, church, friends, my life is in NYC. I wasn't sure I'd ever get to that place - where in my heart and soul, in the very core of my being, I would be fully devoted and dedicated to NYC. To God's vision, Kingdom work in that place. After all, the primary reason for moving there, the biggest motivation, was to "learn the ropes," to get to a place spiritually and existentially where I was "ready" to plant a church... anywhere, but my desire was to do so here - in Chicago.
In the process, over these close to eight months, I've learned that church-planting needs to be so much more substantive than just starry-eyed young adults pursuing pipes' dreams of the Kingdom. Indeed, as Tolstoy so aptly said, "the Kingdom of God is within you." Perhaps more accurately, it starts within you - within me. It can spread from there for sure, but that's where it must start. And if it isn't there, if I can't find the Kingdom within me, then I can do nothing. I have no power, no authority. Faith? Obedience? Love? Peace? Any other fruits of the spirit...
Before I could ever think of planting His Church - indeed, planting His Kingdom - don't I first need to have all these and more within me? Don't I first need that relationship, discipleship, grace, wisdom, discernment which can only come by the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus? Lord, help me to believe it! And then to pursue it in full obedience.
So my time in NYC is not merely transitory. I am pursuing God's Kingdom within me, that I might then transfer that love, shalom, redemption, righteousness, etc to the city - be it NYC, Chicago, Bangkok.
My direction, then, is towards the Kingdom - being heavenly-minded, in pursuit of God's Kingdom, that I might bring (live, teach, preach, breathe, eat, drink, pray) shalom to the city. Then, as a church, that we would continue to plant the Kingdom, not just generally in the city but also in the lives of individuals and in the life of our community.
For thine is the Kingdom, the glory, and power forever and ever. Amen.