ryan and i along with other kingdom causes staff traveled to miami in october to go to the Christian community development association conference. we started attending this conference in 2000 and have come back again and again. they bring together people engaged in community development ministries across the united states to learn, to be encouraged, to be inspired and to be together.
it was refreshing for my soul to be at this conference. the theme this year was shalom and this was interwoven throughout worship, speakers, workshops... i realized while i was there how deeply this concept of shalom penetrates my heart and the call ryan and i have for bellflower and for life. i wanted to share ccda's explanation of seeking the peace of the city, shalom. it is rich and it is true and it is a call for each of us in the places we are. Here it is below.
“Seeking the Peace of the City”
When God created the heavens and the earth, He wove it all together like a million silk threads forming a dazzling garment never before seen - each thread passing over, under and around millions of others to create a perfectly complementary, tightly-woven, interdependent, amazing whole. This wondrous webbing together of God and man and all of creation is what the Hebrew prophets called shalom.
Shalom is a word packed with hope for a broken, bruised and wounded world. It speaks of wholeness, right relationships, justice, salvation, and righteousness, all of which can be missed when we simply read the English word, ‘peace.’
God’s intention for every community is that His shalom would reign. Can you imagine neighborhoods with secure streets, healthy relationships, effective and affirming schools, clean air, and a thriving local economy? Can you picture neighbors sharing meals together, children laughing and playing freely, and the elderly being valued, honored and cared for as the norm in our communities? Can you fathom vibrant churches in every neighborhood being beacons of light and hope because of their deep concern for the well being of all community residents, not just their members? Can you envision people being drawn to the love and power of God because of the clear witness of Christians fully committed to Jesus Christ?
We can! In fact, CCDA exists to see this kind of impact in the poorest communities in our nation and world. Our passion and commitment is to be a voice of challenge, equipping Christ-followers who are ready to step forward and see the shalom of God become a reality in under-resourced communities. To this end, we pray boldly and confidently, as Jesus prayed, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
this is it - i wish i could sit down with each person that reads this blog and express how this statement resonates with me and resonates with you. i think i have at times done a poor job explaining how this desire to seek the peace and prosperity of the city connects to my life. but then i think this explains how we desire to live and why we might do some of things we do and i hope our life illustrates this.
what a great time and i am thankful to have been a part of it. to sit with, talk with, and worship with people who are seeking God's shalom for their communities was an honor. i pray we would all be moved toward greater shalom in our hearts, our homes, our neighborhoods, our cities, and our world.