Rise Daily: April 21

Rise Daily: April 21


Serving the City – Jeremiah 29:1-14

This week’s sermon from the series “Where We are Going: The City and the Mission




Memorizing scripture is a way to keep God’s word close to our hearts. Each week we will select one verse of scripture to remember as a community.

Jeremiah 29:7

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.




Each day’s devotion will focus on one part of the week’s passage.

Jeremiah 29:7 (same as this week’s memory verse)

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.




In our busyness and distraction, it is easy to skim through our reading rather than taking it in. Yet we believe this is the inspired word of God. Take a moment to pause, thank God for the scriptures and ask him to speak to you through them today.

When God expressed his will for his exiled people to be agents of blessing to their Babylonian captors, he gave them two imperatives: seek (literally, seek with care), and pray for, their welfare.

We might raise a question at this point. Why does God command his people to pray for the welfare of Babylon on top of commanding them to work for it? Wouldn’t working for it be enough for them to do? If prayer is meant to entreat God to co-labor with them, why would he need to be asked to do so? Does he really need an invitation? Or is God just saying, “you do what you can do and ask me to do the remainder?” That little phrase, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, can provoke a degree of puzzlement.

We know God doesn’t need to be entreated in order to act. The prophet Isaiah asks rhetorically, “Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him?” (Isaiah 40:13-14a).

Neither is God saying “you do your part and I’ll do mine” as if each party brings separate capacities to any given task. Jesus made this explicit to his disciples by an analogy:

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:5, 7).

Christ is saying that a person can only be an agent of his work and will when that person is united to him in the way a branch is to a vine. When this kind of oneness occurs, there is a united purpose. The one who is praying is asking for God’s will to be done, and God is working through a person whose heart is aligned with his.

God’s purpose in this case was for his people to bless their captors – their enemies. This certainly would not have come naturally to the oppressed exiles of Judah. In requiring them to pray to this end, God was bringing them into the intimacy of his own counsel, and telling them something about himself. The God who would become man, and give his life for his enemies, was inviting his people to unite their hearts with his.




How are you being called to be part of this vision of reaching a tipping point of gospel renewal in our city? How is God calling you to use your gifts and resources to bring growth and flourishing to the city? Our hope is that this would be a spiritual process before it’s ever a financial calculation. So as you reflect, pray that God might work through you and others as we pursue this vision—knowing it will stretch us in our faith as we make our commitments. We know that this vision and its financial goal is something that only God can make possible. But we trust a God who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.




For your Heart: Pray to the Lord to help us meditate on how Jesus gave his life for his enemies. Pray to the Lord on behalf of our enemies. Pray to the Lord on behalf of captors and oppressors.

For your Church: Pray to the Lord that our church can be united to him in the way a branch is to a vine. Pray for oneness to his heart, his vision and his love for our city.

For our City: Pray to the Lord on behalf of our city. Pray for New York to flourish, not merely for our benefit but for the benefit of all New Yorkers.


Our vision is a city renewed by the gospel. This vision needs all of us.

We are calling on everyone at Redeemer to rise and say “I’m in” to pray, engage, and give as part of a gospel movement for the good of the city. Are you in?


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