Love Your City Serve Day – Before You Arrive.
By Jason Phillips
On Saturday, April 28th, you will be participating in something much larger than yourself. You will be working alongside thousands of participants on projects that are meant to be active signs of loving Orange County. As followers of Jesus, our whole life is gathered into God’s saving purposes for the world. Our saving relationship with God and being on mission are not sequential, one following the other. Instead, when we answer the invitation to a saving relationship with God, we also say yes to participate in God’s saving purpose and plan for the world. God’s mission becomes part of our identity (John 20:21.)
God is always at work loving and restoring His creation, and He is always inviting us to share in what he is doing. Just like Jesus, we can join in with our father when we see him at work (John 5:17-19.) That’s what this serve day is is: an opportunity to work with our father and be a part of what he is up to in our city. View Saturday as an opportunity to learn how you can participate with God every day in your neighborhood and city. Our prayer is that serve day is a catalyst and experiment in participating in God’s mission. Choose to be a learner, listener, and follower to what God is already doing.
To prepare for Saturday, take time to pray and reflect the week before.
Practices: Take time daily to read, meditate and reflect on Luke 10:1-11.
- Jesus sent his disciples out to learn how to live in God’s mission. How can you use your experience as an experiment in participating in God’s mission?
- Reflect on the significance of being sent out with nothing. How can you go with empty hands and no agenda and deeply listen to what God is doing?
- Who receives and who gives hospitality in this passage? Reflect on when you have received hospitality before. What did you experience and feel? Use this reflection to notice where and with whom you are experiencing hospitality on April 30th?
Spend time praying for the experience
- Pray daily for whichever project you signed up for.
- Pray for the volunteers and their experience
- Pray for those who will be receiving the love from the project
Trusting that God is at work before you even show up is important. When you participate in your project, part of your job is to find God in the lives or even in the service you are providing. Whether you are cleaning up trails at a local park, painting over graffiti, or sharing a meal with others; you are working with God in his restoration of creation.
One way to prepare for this is to take time before each new task or movement in your day. (When you wake up; when you start your commute; and before you start work or before each class.) You can do this by saying a short prayer like:
- “Father I know you are already here and I want to be present and partner with whatever you are doing. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear what you are up to” or…
- “Speak your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10)
Consider practicing this every night for one week
Find some time at the end of the day when you no longer have any pressing responsibilities. Ask these questions (You may want to journal your responses):
- Start with thanksgiving, noticing the moments that you were most grateful and least grateful for.
- Ask when did you give and receive the most love today? When and where did I give and receive the least love today?
- What was the most life-giving and life-draining part of my day?
- When today did I have the deepest sense of connection with God? When today did I have the least sense of connection?
- Where was I aware of living out of the fruit of the Spirit? Where was there an absence of the fruit of the Spirit?
Spiritual Formation: The Week Following
By Kevin Mo-Wong
Once serve day wrapped up, all the preparation, organizing, sweat, and new relationships finally came to a close. We worked hard cleaning, serving, and loving our cities. God’s name was glorified and the Church was at the center of all of it. So what is next?
There were amazing stories of new relationships, tangible signs of city transformation, and God’s people moving within the city. Yet, that is not the end goal. This was a one day event always designed to give the people of our cities a taste of God’s never ceasing Kingdom movement.
As we look back at April 28h, we want our hearts to be filled with gratitude for what God did. At the same time, we are asking that God will stir a yearning for something more. We will ask God for what He desires of us next.
Jesus sends out the seventy-two.
- Jesus sends out His disciples to preach and experience the nearness of the Kingdom of God. In a similar way, we, as Love Fullerton volunteers, were sent out to experience God’s movement in Fullerton.
- Sit quietly and focus on God’s presence; imagine He is sitting next to you.
- Ask God to highlight a moment from Love Fullerton where you felt His love. How did you experience hospitality? Were you accepted and welcomed by the community, the staff, or the neighbors?
- Sit quietly with whatever memory He brings back to you. Let your heart move from gratitude to adoration for a God who gave you such a beautiful moment.
Even though serve day is over, God’s Spirit is still moving. We are called to be participants in His Kingdom at all times, not just one day a year.
- Ask God: Ask God to show you something from Love Fullerton that you and your family should continually pray over in this next season.
- Choose Joy & Gratitude: Fight to choose joy. God has chosen you to be a part of his plan. Read Luke 10:21-23 and see Jesus’ reaction to His disciples being brought into the shared mission of God. Share in Jesus’ joy and look for the good of the Kingdom here in Fullerton.
- A Week Of Scripture Meditation: For the next week read Jeremiah 29:7 every day. Ask God to reveal what it means to “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city” in your own life.
Did you enjoy what God did during serve day? Here are some possible next steps to continue to love your city.
- Prayer walk the city: Go out with your family and walk around your project site for 20 mins. Open your senses to what God may have for you after the serve day and moving forward. Pay attention to God what might be drawing you toward by using your sight, hearing, smell, touch, or taste. Ask Him to bring clarity to why He revealed that specific sense to you.
- Engage a school: Become a tutor or a teacher’s assistant for the rest of the semester. Our teachers need help grading, tutoring, and being someone who is willing to LEARN and then ACT. See if there is a need at your local elementary school.
- Volunteer at SOLFul: Sign up and volunteer for 4-7 weeks in the city wide summer school program. https://www.solful.org/
- Other Opportunities: Visit www.ocunited.org and look around for other opportunities to engage in Orange County.
- Neighborhood: Get to know your neighbors. Use your reflection in Luke 10 and go with no other agenda but to extend your “peace” and see where it is received and hospitality is given. Stay there and get to know your neighbors. Listen deeply.