You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)
"Justice and Restoration"
Reflecting upon a recent trip to India, what strikes me deeply and definitively is how similar Orlando is to Kolkata is in its worship of gods. As believers, what do we hold most dear? Is it living a Spirit-filled life to reflect Christ and begin a grassroots path to actual restoration in our city? Or are we clinging to an ideal of what life ‘should’ look like, expecting a problem-free, comfortable, ‘American dream’ experience? The latter may be the first and greatest obstacle to seeing communities restored.
India was a mind-blowing, eye-popping, heartbreaking assault on the senses. It is a beautiful, delicious, culturally rich place. The infrastructure is rigid, yet lawless; creative, yet frayed. Each person is employed for one specific role in each process. There was a young man who came for the trash and also cleaned the toilets on Saturdays. There was a woman who came every day to sweep, wash the dishes and floors, and wash the clothes—She didn’t touch the toilet. There was another guy who delivered water and a gentleman who picked up and delivered the ironing. With so many daily visitors it’s easy to be worn out by mid morning, despite having done nothing.
Another aspect to the unusual adventure was the in-your-face exposure to over 3000 gods and the rituals, festivals, habits and demands that accompany Hinduism. I visited a temple with two students and with a straight face, one explained to me the significance of a particular god and the dispersing of her body parts all over the country to develop the varying parts of India.
I passed by small shrines daily. In each case, I prayed aloud, and verbalized scripture because it felt like I was front and center, face-to-face with the enemy, reminding him and myself who is really in charge. I felt very alone with the Lord in those circumstances. The number of the ‘lost’ becomes much more profound and pronounced when you’re surrounded by marble idols.
I think of the Orlando community and see that our need for restoration is no different. The sin may look different but it breaks the heart of our Father in precisely the same ways. Our idols are not made of marble, but we are just as guilty of placing created things on the thrones of our hearts. What idols does your heart hold dearly? We cannot expect restoration in the city, full of folks who do not know Him, until our own hearts yearn for the Father.
How to pray...
Today’s Prayer Focus is for partner organizations that are seeking justice and restoration. You can learn more about these organizations HERE.
- Pray for Elevate Orlando and their partnership with businesses and local schools to provide character training for urban youth. A separate ministry provides scholarships for urban youth to attend Young Life camp, and LBC helps with funding. Be praying for Jack and Sheri McGill, and their board, as they lead Elevate Orlando.
- Pray for 306 Foundation as they serve women in need, many of whom have gained fresh hope through the “Toobox4Life” training. Pray for John and Jane Hursh as they provide leadership.
- Pray for Grace Medical Clinic as they offer needed medical care to those who cannot afford it. A number of folks at LBC will be involved in the upcoming “Let’s Say Grace” benefit for this ministry, so pray for God’s blessing on that event.
- Pray for our ongoing relationship with Habitat for Humanity and David Runnels as he coordinates this partnership. Ask God to give each of us a heart to serve our city through Habitat work days.
- Pray for a possible collaboration with Jobs Partnership of Florida as they seek to provide job training and life skills to those seeking employment.
For the Family
What does it mean to have other "gods" in our life?
- Share with each other some of the idols in your own life or in your family.
- What are ways that you would like to connect with others in the community that don’t know the grace of our Lord?
- Brainstorm ways that as a family you would like to try to engage in sharing the gospel with others around you.
"Justice and Restoration" - Jane Hursh
Jane and her family have been attending LBC for nearly ten years. She and John are empty nesting this year, as Caroline heads to FSU. John Falknor and Ben attend UF. She owns jane’s short & sweet LLC and together with John, is working to enhance our community through the work of the 306 Foundation.
"For the Family" - Michelle Crouse
Michelle Crouse has served as the director of LBC's children's ministry—SPLASH Kids—since the end of 2011. She and her husband Joshua were married in 2002 and have 2 children. Michelle grew up outside of Boston and graduated from James Madison University in Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She loves being with kids and loves the opportunity to be a part of teaching children how much they are loved by God, and helping them grow in their understanding of what that means.