We began the Advent season yesterday. "Advent" translates the Latin word for "arrival." This month we will celebrate Jesus' first coming and anticipate his second. When he first entered our world, he came as a servant who would die for our sins. When he returns, he will come as a conqueror who will rule the universe.
We are one day closer to the final Advent than ever before. How can we be ready?
Consider what God has been doing in New York City. In 1984, the city was in trouble. A murder spree beginning that year culminated with 2,400 homicides 10 years later. The church was fragmented and viewed as irrelevant by the larger culture.
In 1984, God led Dr. Mac Pier to New York City. A native of South Dakota, Mac and his wife Marya had been missionaries in India before God called them to New York. Sensing a call to unite God's people in prayer, he helped organize a concert of prayer, inviting 16 churches to pray together on a Friday night. Seventy-five churches showed up. They met again six months later, then six months after that, then began praying daily.
Their movement expanded to included hundreds of pastors and grew from one location to seven. Then came 9/11. The prayer foundation laid for 13 years enabled the body of Christ to respond. Over the years, Concerts of Prayer Greater New York has gathered more than 2,000 churches and 250,000 Christians to pray for their city.
How has God responded?
The murder rate has declined from more than 2,400 in the early 1990's to 648 in 2013. Churches are collaborating in unprecedented ways to meet needs in their city. And they have seen the evangelical population on the island of Manhattan triple.
Five years ago, Christian leaders in New York City began meeting together to celebrate what God was doing and to encourage each other for even greater cultural impact. At the first "Movement Day," they expected 70 percent of the group to be from New York, 30 percent from outside the city. Just the opposite occurred. Leaders from 34 states and 14 countries came to see what God was doing in New York City and to find ways they could join the Spirit at work. Five years later, Movement Day has gathered 6,500 leaders from 360 countries and five continents.
It has been my privilege to be part of Movement Day in New York City and now in Dallas as well. I have never witnessed such a diverse gathering of leaders across the body of Christ. Nor have I seen so many believers working together to advance the Kingdom. In Dallas, 450 different churches and ministries are now collaborating on 12 different initiatives in our city, ranging from homelessness to sex trafficking to orphan care. The body of Christ is becoming united as the hands and feet of Jesus. And the Spirit is using us to the glory of God.
Please consider joining us for Movement Day in New York City and/or Dallas, and pray about whether believers in your city should join this movement. Jesus is coming back. We have only this day to be ready. With whom will you pray and work today to prove the relevance of God's love in yours?
Publication date: December 1, 2014
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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