Brief Bio

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Quezon City, Metro-Manila, Philippines
I am a runner, pastor, sociologist, teacher, and missionary. After living in Chicago for 6 years, I discerned a call to go to Manila, Philippines to live and work among the urban poor, and combine my passions for ministry, running, and the oppressed. After serving in the Philippines in 2012 and 2013, I returned to the United States for two years to finish my dissertation, get ordained, spend time with my family, and work at a neighborhood center in Kansas City. I have recently returned to the Philippines this year (2016) to work again with Companion With the Poor as a missionary. Each day I look forward to how God will direct my steps as I live into His work of restoring a broken world.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Prayer: For Workers and Unity

The following are segments from a chapter called "The Battle for the Gateway Cities," out of the book Praying for the 100 Gateway Cities of the 10/40 Window, written by Viv Grigg, the director of the Urban Leadership Foundation [http://www.urbanleaders.org/home/] as well as the MA in Transformational Urban Leadership [http://matul.org/] that I began this past fall.

I appreciate these thoughts on prayer as we (1) pray for workers and (2) pray for the unity of the churches in the 100 cities mentioned in the book, and other cities around the world (including those in US)!  I have been encouraged and blessed beyond description by friends and family over the past few weeks, and had three churches say a sending prayer over me before leaving for the Philippines in a week (New City Church, LA; Holy Trinity Church, Chicago; Cherry Hills Baptist Church, Springfield, IL).  I'm more certain now than ever that God has called each of us to different roles in the body (some to plug into established churches and others to go and plant new ones), and that we all have a role to play!  I am truly filled with joy as I continue to surrender to what God has in store each and every day.


...

      In our world today there are nearly 500 cities of over one million people, and more than 220 of these could be classified as unevangelized. Billions of people have careened down rural roads into multiplying concrete highways to be emptied into the city and its slums. Almost all population increase now and in coming decades will be urban and urban migrant, as rural population growth remains static. The majority of these people will live in slums and squatter areas. The penetration of the cities and these urban poor communities define the target of missions for the twenty-first century. The future of missions is urban, especially among the poor.
     Given the contexts of massive urbanization, globalization, and impoverishment of city populations, what is our goal in praying for cities? Let's look to the Master to find the answers. First, he came preaching the kingdom of God. Preaching, teaching, healing, and delivering were his primary activities. Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 9:37-38, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." We are to pray for laborers for the harvest who can do the same. Second, in Luke 4:18 Jesus declared that the focus of his mission and ours is to preach good news to the poor and enter into their poverty, for that was the model of him who now intercedes for us.


Cities and Spiritual Power

      Centers of tremendous power reside in the 10/40 window (between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator). The city of Kolkata (Calcutta) is the servant of Kali (the Hindu goddess of death and destruction) and the center of Brahmanic Hinduism. Varanasi is one of India's holiest Hindu strongholds. Lhasa has mysterious Buddhist powers. Bangkok is the "city of angels." In regular daily ceremonies, every portion of its land is dedicated to the spirits, for whom small houses are constructed. Toward Mecca, one-fifth of the world's population prays daily.
      Penetrating these cities will be hard, persecution will be intense, and workers may face death. We must recognize the powers centered in the Gateway Cities, powers that control entire countries and regions, seeking to extend their influence over the whole earth. As more of the world's population moves into cities, we will face spiritual opposition at higher levels of intensity. In some cities, the depravity of man creates grotesque structures that enable the spiritual powers to wreak greater levels of destruction. Therefore, our task of reaching and transforming the cities will be increasingly difficult.

Strategic Points for Intercession

      Through the proclamation of the gospel, the kingdom impacts the very structures of cities. Colossians 1:1-20 tells us that Christ is above all things and in control of the structures of the universe. He holds cities together. With that in mind, here are some strategic points for intercession.

1. God has plans for the cities. For each city God has a purpose and a battle plan. It is our task to discern this plan and then to walk with God in obedience. Listening to God and others, developing unity, and having the right timing are crucial factors. Every step in finding God's plan is the working of the Spirit as we walk with him. Every city is different. Every battle is different. We must seek God's guidance.

2. Spiritual unity is key to spiritual warfare. Linking believers around a common goal is a central element of reaching a city. This must be birthed by the Holy Spirit. The spiritual unity of believers is key to our spiritual power and effectiveness (see Acts 4:32-35). The Holy Spirit may not work significantly in a situation where he is grieved because of our disunity.

3. Brokenness and reconciliation are essential. If unity among believers in a city is not present, the first step is for them to come together in prayer and teaching until there is mutual brokenness followed by reconciliation. By confessing their sins to one another, believers can begin to work together to transform their city.

4. Prayer movements promote unity. Prayer births visions of what God can do in the city and builds mutual trust and relationship. It is a common denominator around which many diverse Christian groups can work in unison. Citywide prayer, prayer walks, prayer marches, neighborhood prayer strategies, and concerts of prayer are some of the components of prayer movements.

5. Confession and humility free us from worldly powers. Many sins prevent effective intercession, and some, such as greed, stand out. Jesus taught that unless the grain of wheat dies, it does not bear fruit (John 12:24). By choosing to suffer with and befriend the poor, we are released from worldly powers of greed. This produces the character of the Spirit in us, enabling an outflow of his power and authority.

Finishing the Mission

      The battle for the unreached peoples of the world will largely be fought in the cities. The resources to reach the cities with the message of the kingdom of God are available.  The potential workers are available. Presence among the poor, proclamation of the good news, and continual prayer remain the keys to transform the lives of millions of people living in cities around the world, especially the Gateway Cities of the 10/40 window.

(p. 23-26)

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