Ben White's Adventures with softened hearts

Category: prayer (Page 2 of 2)

What I whisper in your ear, shout from the rooftops

We need to pray more.  Everyone is shouting something from the rooftop and volume will not remedy the situation.  If we’re going to meet the next 50-75 people we need to multiply our congregation at Circle of Hope Broad and Washington,  we’re going to need to make ourselves available for a lot more whispers in our ear from Jesus.  Because in the rooftop noisescape of Philadelphia their is a desperate need for something new.  The next generation that we have designed Circle of Hope to include is closing its ears to rooftop communications of all kinds.  They have been marketed to by so many people, for so long, in so many ways that they are experts at tuning out.  If we’re going to get them to hear what we have to say we’ll need to hear from Jesus first.

Many of us are just as expert at tuning out at as the rest, and our sensibilities prejudice our actions.  We’ll tune ourselves out before we even say a thing.  If we can convince ourselves that our words are not just our own but they are the words of Jesus to those around us, we’ll make it a lot further toward actually communicating some piece of our hope.  What is Jesus saying to me that he needs others to hear?  Who needs to hear what I have heard?  Am I turning down the volume on myself or is it Jesus I’m tuning out?  It may be Jesus.  To get a handle on Jesus’ words to us we’ll need to get good at listening.

Prayer is a lot of listening you know?  Somehow it got the rep that it was all about asking God for stuff, but it’s much more than that.  Prayer is communion with God.  When I spend time with God in the morning I can tell the difference later in the day.  I don’t go up on the roof very often, but how I am myself feels more purposeful, more directed.  I have never heard an audible whisper myself, but ideas come easier, intentional acts of love seem more natural-it’s like I’m aligned as I should be.  Time spent soaking in God’s presence becomes a keel that keeps me straight in God’s waters.

howard on the roof

Howard on a roof

But being attuned  to God’s whisper is not just a solitary practice.  I can feel God’s presence in community- in my cell meeting on Thursday nights and in our big meetings on Sunday nights too.  Jesus has communicated pretty clearly to me that he is present in our community, and in our embrace many will come to a real encounter with him.  The whisper we need is not always a new revelation; it is more often a renewal of the same deep truths.  “God loves you.  God loves the people you will meet today.  God wants to bring us all together in Christ.  God is with you.”  It’s easy to forget and sometimes hard to believe in our hearts even when we know in our heads that it’s true.  Jesus whispers to us everyday to encourage our rooftop declarations.

So let’s pray more, let’s incline our ears and respond to when they are perked.  If you hear something, say something, at least to your cell if not from some 21st century version of the rooftop.  Censoring yourself may be censoring the very words of Jesus.  Can we have that much seriousness about what we have to say and how Jesus is using us in the world?

Take a look at this again- Circle of Hope Daily Prayer

This past week I’ve been working this post out. Giving words of encouragement and caution to Jonny Rashid, one of our pastors; having a creative dialogue with my coordinating group; and getting in some real conflict with a friend and working to reconcile. This post from Circle of Hope Daily Prayer deserves a repost.

Pray for Campus Deployment

cori and benI really want to have a good idea for a flyer but it’s really hard.  My friend Jonny, who blogs at jonnyrashid.wordpress.com, made these really great flyers based on our conviction that we are part of the trans-historical body of Christ.  Six heroes of the faith have become our poster icons.  Here’s a picture of me and a friend posting them and here’s a link to more about them on our website.  No one is going to come to know Jesus through a flyer but they might be tempted to get to know me, or maybe they’ll be a step closer to knowing me and my people because they’ll know a little bit more about Circle of Hope, or maybe they’ll just know that Circle of Hope is anything at all.

We want people to have that opportunity.  We think we’re a good opportunity too.  Not because we’re all that great on our own (though most of us are really great) but because Jesus is among us.  It’s happened often enough now for me to expect it- if someone spends some time in our community they are likely to meet Jesus.  So we can say with confidence that we are an opportunity to explore and express God’s love.

deploymentLast night a few of us met at my house to figure out how we might use flyers and other means to connect with college students in our area.  We were thinking especially about uArts, University of Pennsylvania, University of the Sciences, Drexel and Philadelphia University.  Our cell groups, these circles of ten that are designed to be points of inclusion, are made for places like university campuses, where folks are looking to connect and become something new.  In the first weeks of school we have the best chance to meet new friends because their schedules and allegiances are still uncluttered (except for classwork).  We are getting ready.

Please pray for us in the coming weeks as we look for our next partners.  I really feel that God wants to do something new.  The fruit is in the bud, so to speak.  May we be there to help it grow.

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