Ways to cooperate with God’s desire to restore, renew, realign, and transform people and places
A VISION OF TRANSFORMED PEOPLE & PLACES. I've been reflecting on Isaiah 61. Jesus declared it fulfilled as the new norm for people and places as he began his ministry in Nazareth: to preach Good News to the poor, proclaim freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight, release the oppressed, proclaim with our lives the reality of Jubilee, renew the ruined cities, and restore places long devastated. Four aspects of Isaiah 61 strke me anew:
1. God desires to transform and restore both people and places.
2. God intends to work through vision-responsive people—you and me—to bring about renewal and transformation of people and places.
3. God’s vision of a transformed future begins with actions of relief, release, and realignment right now.
4. Anointing and power for being an agent of transformation comes from the Spirit of God.
FOUR WAYS TO BE A TRANSFORMER. Here's how I think about putting this invitation and challenge into action; four ways to become a transformer:1. Make yourself available. Most people are too busy taking care of personal affairs and maintaining the status quo to make a difference in the world. Do you want to see things change in the world? Start by making yourself available. First, to God in prayer, worship and service. Second, carve out serious time to focus on one concern raised in Isaiah 61.
2. Get God’s perspective. God sees potential and promise where others see problems and futility. Read the Bible frequently and deeply to gain God’s perspective on right relationships with God, between people, and in the marketplace. Turn off the talking heads (both secular & religious), challenge long-held presumptions about the way things are, and let God’s hope and promise begin to percolate in your mind and heart.
3. Do simple things to make a difference. Start small and simple. Like: Stop spending so much. Save a little to sponsor a child through International Child Care Ministries. Volunteer to serve others: visit homebound neighbors, tutor children after school, or serve as a mentor. Have a neighborhood food drive for a food pantry. Call someone to encourage them. Volunteer to help build with Rebuilding the Wall (Indianapolis) or Habitat for Humanity.
4. Join with others to challenge a wrong by supporting what’s right. Overwhelm unfairness and injustice by showing how what is fair and just makes more sense. Stand with workers for livable wages. Support Central Indiana Life Centers’ alternatives to abortion. Use fair trade products. Advocate for safe products, sustainable use of resources, and creation care. Participate in food recovery and good nutrition through Second Helpings’ efforts.
In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.