Subscribe today for “21 Days of Hope.” You’ll receive an inspiring devotion from local pastors and Christian leaders in Colorado Springs every day to help prepare your heart for Easter Sunday! Below is a sample of Day 8 from Pastor Alan Briggs, Multiplying Pastor at Vanguard Church. Enjoy!
Love Where You Are
by Alan Briggs, Multiplying Pastor at Vanguard Church
This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine
The verses above are beautiful but challenging. They call us to invest in the place we live, to serve others selflessly, to pray deeply. But they weren’t written to suburban Americans; they were written to refugees. They were penned for grieving sojourners who had been carried into captivity.
Many people I talk to don’t want to live where they’ve ended up and certainly don’t want to serve that place. Perhaps you are feeling that. This passage is clear; hope is not found in “Plan A” but in the sovereignty of God. Yes, even the abandoned have reason for hope.
I grew up hearing a different part of Jeremiah’s letter quoted. These words have always tasted better to me. They make sense to the upwardly-mobile American Dream in which we are firmly entrenched.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13
But, these words weren’t written to American high school grads. They were a balm to the wounds of a people feeling abandoned and dwelling far from their home. Hope is poorly expressed in words, but beautifully expressed in action.
When we serve the people God has placed around us in his sovereignty our hearts connect. When we yearn in prayer for our city we understand the Father’s heart for those who dwell among us. When we seek to repair relational cracks in our city we express the hope found in Jesus and we find it afresh ourselves.
Every place has relational cracks, but the mortar is the gospel that fills those cracks. Pull out your trowel; let’s get busy embodying this great gospel of hope.