Though I am not a Chicago native I have joyfully made this great city my home and a place to raise my kids. Now with over 11 years of citizenship in four different areas (including the suburbs) I am raising my children here and pastoring a great church with the hopes that Chicago’s residents will exalt God’s righteousness in the land.
I pray that we will shed the sins that grieve God’s heart and walk in the path He has set before us. I believe, like the founders of Northwestern University (Chicago largest college) that our only hope is in the “grace and truth” of Jesus Christ.
(Below is the logo of Northwestern, the Latin in the circle is, “Whatever things are true,” Philippians 4:8 and the Greek text in the Bible is, “the Word full of grace and truth,” John 1:14.)
Ephesians 3:16-20, “16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
- CHICAGO: Referring to both the metro area (2.7 million) and suburbs (6.8 million), for a total population of over 9.5 million.
- MULTICULTURAL: People from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, (i.e., “Hispanic, European, Asian, etc.). Metro Chicago is mainly 33% African American, 32% white, 29% Hispanic, and 6% Asian. At the same time, almost every country is represented in our country. Below is an old map from the Mayor’s office showing Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.
SAD STATS & FACTS
Though Chicago statistically is mostly Christian (either protestant of Catholic) the following is true:
- ABORTION: In 2012, 26,888 children were murdered in abortion clinics (Cook & Dupage county), that is an average of 74 deaths per day, 3 every hour, which is roughly 18% of all pregnancies ending in murder.
- VIOLENCE: Chicago is one of the most violent cities in America (often times being the highest) averaging between 400-500 murders per year and sometimes as many as 2,500 shootings.
- CORRUPTION: In the last 50 years four of our governors have been convicted of crimes and sent to jail, (i) Rod Blagojevich, 2002-2009, (ii) George Ryan, 1999-2003, (iii) Dan Walker, 1973-1977, & (iv) Otto Kerner, 1961-1968.
- Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”
- Proverbs 6:16-19, “16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
- John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
(1) GOD’S HEART FOR CHICAGO IS TRUTH, HATRED FOR SIN
Be honest and see if you can find these things in many of the people’s lives in Chicago.
- HAUGHTY EYES: Prideful, opposite of gentle and humble, only looking out for one’s own benefit.
- LYING: Dishonest on personal taxes, in politics, in business, in relationships, etc.
- MURDER: Taking someone’s life, which Jesus said also includes hatred, bitterness, and unforgiveness- Matthew 5:21-26.
- WICKED PLANS: Plans for perversion, addiction, and selfish gain.
- EVIL FEET: Going places to break God’s laws, including such places of entertainment like, TV and internet.
- BEARING FALSE WITNESS: Helping guilty people keep breaking the law, i.e., “corruption.”
- DIVISION: Division in the community through racism, gangs, and rude neighbors.
(2) GOD’S HEART FOR CHICAGO IS GRACE, LOVE FOR SINNERS
- John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
- Ephesians 2:4-5, “4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions —it is by grace you have been saved.”
(3) GOD’S HEART FOR CHICAGO IS FOR DISCIPLES TO BE INTERCESSORS & PREACHERS
- INTERCESSOR: A “intercessor” is someone who prays on the behalf of another. God is calling us to pray for the sins of our city, 1 Timothy 2:1-6. Read below Daniel’s prayer of intercession for the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem.
- PREACHER: Someone who preaches about the truth and grace of God- correcting, rebuking, and encouraging the people, 2 Timothy 4:1-5.
Daniel 9:4-19, “4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.
7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame —the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.
11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.
15 “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.
17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.
19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
God said to Jonah, “… should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh [Chicago], in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand [9.5 million] people who cannot tell their right hand from their left…?” Jonah 4:9.