Airports are interesting places! Sitting and listening and watching can be fascinating for us as we travel. Sometimes the public address system in a big airport will blare out the name of someone we know. We wonder “Is it him or her, or someone else with the same name?”
Even more surprising is when we actually see someone we know as we are passing through a mega airport and the first question is “what are you doing here”
It’s a good question to ask ourselves actually about the city we live in and call home. Why are we here? What are we doing?
Motivation for where we decide to live can be a multitude of things, weather, education, employment, proximity to family.
Should God have a part in where we live and why we live there? Rarely in current Christian circles do people actually indicate that they are in their present location because God told them to be there.
Of course if you’re a missionary it’s obligatory to be able to say “The Lord called me to Tajikistan “but what about Joe Average Believer? Should you sense a call of God to your city?
Acts 16:6-10. Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. (From New International Version)
Paul and his companions set out with their own intention of a destination. They were however, blocked by the Holy Spirit from entering several places.
I wonder whether we take the Holy Spirit into account in our choice of location. Would we actually be aware if he was blocking us? So often we find ourselves in locations that are pleasing to us but perhaps not the will of God for our lives?
For Paul and his party there was an intervention of the Holy Spirit that they all acknowledged, but more than that. they decided to respond to it.
I asked a leader of the underground church in China, how they set about planting a church in a new community. She said “We hear from God the name of a city or town, and then we pray and choose 5 families from our church. We go to the 5 families and tell them of this and they move to the new city and become the foundation members of the church there”. So for them the priority about where they live is determined by the Holy Spirit.
Today in many churches there is a lack of leaders who are really committed to the task of building a New Testament Church in their community. Why is this?
In so many cases believers in these churches have no vision or commitment to the specific City where they live and no heart to actually be involved like Paul and his party in preaching the Gospel there, and building something significant.
For them church is a place they go too regularly but it is basically generic. Any church in any city would be fine! Thus they do not have a heart for building with their leaders a vital church in their community. Paul and his party were called together on a mission to build something in Macedonia specifically and could invest their lives in it because God had called them. How about you and I?
I met an accountant who lived in a Western Canadian City. This man had been offered promotion five times, which would have greatly improved his finances and prospects of further promotion. Each time he refused because he felt that God should determine his location and it should not simply be in the hands of his employer to make the decision for him.
Is it possible for us to be “called to a city or town”? Can that understanding effectively change our attitude to our commitment and involvement in our local church? If we felt called might we not invest more of our time, money and energy to see the Gospel firmly planted there?
Acts 18:10 … for I am with you, and no-one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” (From New International Version)
The urgency of the hour demands a sense of destiny and purpose be evident in our lives and actions as responsible believers. Knowing we are where we should be is a good beginning.