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Nashville Inner City Ministry – Day 1

My typical Sundays include waking up around 7am; driving to the church building; polishing off my lesson for bible class; teaching; attending worship; lunch and then by about 1pm I relax.

Today my Sunday is a little different. It is 11:21pm and we are staying at the Highland Heights Church of Christ in Smyrna, Tennessee and I can hear faint extremely loud sounds of teenagers playing ball in the basketball court. It is music to my ears.

Today we started the day loading up our vehicles not knowing what to expect from working with the folks at Nashville Inner City Ministry. We were excited but perhaps cautiously optimistic might be the best way to describe it. I have led an inner city trip before with the fine folks at Memphis Urban Ministry (J Reezy!) but this was a different church and a different location. I prayed that their eyes would be opened and their hearts would be melted.

We rode the buses with some fine church members to pick up kids from the projects. Again, my prayers were that the kids would have their eyes opened and their hearts would be melted. We picked up the kids and attended worship. I always love worship at an inner city church because it is the kind of worship I feel my body lean towards. The hands clapping, bodies swaying and praises from good gospel hymns lifted up to God. The sermon was wonderful and I could hear the brothers saying their “Amens” and a couple of times telling the preacher to “Come on wit it!”

After that we had lunch and broke out into small groups with some of the teens mentoring other teens. We asked discussion questions and shared our stories. Some of their stories were encouraging coming from drugs to the gospel and how it has transformed their thinking in penetrating ways.

We went and dropped the kids off after that and got back to the church…It was 4pm. We ate supper at one of the coordinator’s houses and shared conversation with some teenagers over a mean game of volleyball. We laughed, prayed and had good gospel conversations. The kind of things that matter.

We got to the church and we watched a little of the NBA finals and then shared what we learned. Some of the responses:

  • How can mommas drop off their 3 or 4 year old kid and leave them with people for a whole day?
  • The way they encouraged us and welcomed us was amazing.
  • Some the struggles they endured and what I endure are almost the same.
  • Even though there is poverty the same principle applies: we all need Jesus.
  • During some intense impoverished times they seem so happy.

Here is what God taught me today:

  • Hearts can be melted. Eyes can be opened.
  • I am often too selfish with my Sundays. I need to get out and share the gospel.
  • Be thankful for what you have and don’t wish for more.
  • Being a father to my kids is something many do not have the privilege of doing.
  • The kingdom of God is at work, breaking into the darkest places of this world!

VERSE OF THE DAY:

I pray that the eyes of your heart will have enough light to see what is the hope of God’s call, what is the richness of God’s glorious inheritance among believers. – Ephesians 1:18 (CEB)