TEXT: Jeremiah 29:7;10-14
MESSAGE: “Seeking God on Behalf of the City

Our goal is to develop resilient disciples that are centered on the Gospel of Jesus (2 Cor. 1:20), rooted in God’s missional family (Acts 2:42), empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8), equipped for everyday rhythms (Ephesians 4:1-13), and sent with Kingdom vision (Matt. 6:33).

  • “…To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…” — 1 Peter 1:1
  • 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.”  Jeremiah 29:7
Our vision as a church is to be a church FOR our city that seeks new life in Jesus.
  • “This generation has been taught to expect and prepare for having it all, so actually making a choice—a choice that necessarily rules out other choices—can feel monumental, and not in a good way. When overwhelmed by all you could do, how do you decide what you should do without having a nervous breakdown? In fact, the numbers show this generation is facing unprecedented challenges when it comes to issues of mental health, anxiety, and staying sane and safe. “Hospitals See Growing Numbers of Kids and Teens at Risk for Suicide,” reports NPR: “The number of kids who struggle with thoughts of suicide or who attempt to kill themselves is rising. New research . . . finds children ages 5 to 17 visited children’s hospitals for suicidal thoughts or attempts about twice as often in 2015 as in 2008.” Life is more complex in digital Babylon. It’s not just unlimited access to content. It’s the range of ideas and the fact that so many are untethered to orthodox ways of perceiving the world. There is more to think about, more to worry about, more to concern yourself with—and that’s just on your Facebook feed on Tuesday morning. Previously unimaginable complexity is creating an epidemic of anxiety in our homes and heads that is ratcheted up in the hearts of the next generation.” — David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock
Q: Why did God allow his people to experience “exile” in a new city? 
“With God there is nothing skimped or superficial. The two year exile promised by the false prophets (28:3;11) would have been a cruelly pointless march and countermarch; but in a span of seventy years there was a role for Babylon (10a) on the world stage; there were great deeds and visions for such as Daniel…and there was time for Israel’s heart-searching and for the kind of praying that we find in Isaiah 63:7-64:12…God’s plans…to give a future and a hope went deeper and further, as they still do, than prosperity; and the call of verse 13 to seek and find is as fresh as its promise is inexhaustible.” — Derek Kidner
TEXT: Jeremiah 29:10-14
Q: What vision does God give to his people while living in exile? He encourages them to look to a: (1. Better Plan 2. Better Future 3. Better Reward)
  1. Better Plan (v. 10-11)
“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
“The Lord assured the people that what had happened was not a series of unplanned, accidental events. He said, “I know the plans” (literally “I, I know”; emphatic in Hebrew). His plan was not intended to hurt them but to give them ‘hope and a future…He encouraged them to pray, for He would listen to them.” — F.B. Huey Jr.
“The assurance is not in the plans; it is in God’s knowledge of the plans (v. 11). God knows. So that they may focus on the present, he tells them now what he plans to do later.” — Tony Merida
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” — Romans 8:28-29
  1. Better Future (v. 12-13)
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
  1. Better Reward (v. 14)
“I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”
“A hope that the grave can destroy is not a hope worth having, but a hope that can destroy the grave is.” ― Tim Chaddick
TAKEAWAYS: How can we seek God on behalf of our city?
Seek His Heart
“God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind. And, when you can’t trace His hand, you can always trust His heart.’” 
— Charles Spurgeon (Paraphrase from his sermon “A Happy Christian)
Seek His Face
“Always respond to every impulse to pray…It is the work of the Holy Spirit…Never push it aside because you are busy.” — Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Seek His Plan
“Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.” — Isaiah 53:10

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