They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of His splendor.

Isaiah 61:3

The night of the 20th I found myself driving near downtown Raleigh around 9pm. My girlfriend had come into town for the NCSU’s Army Military Ball and we were just coming back from a friend’s apartment where we had watched some hilarious stand up comedy.

I found my mind wandering into the beauty of the night sky as I drove down South Saunders St back to the downtown area of Raleigh, near NC State, the home of the Wolfpack. Driving down that busy road, which is not something common for a southern city around 10:30 pm, I fell in love with a picture that, as I got closer to it, took a more interesting and attractive shape. No, I am not talking about a woman or a guy (because some guys are attracted to those too). What I fell in love with was the nocturnal skyline of a city which had been a part of my life for the past six and a half years…I fell in love with Raleigh.

It was a very weird feeling because I had gone to high school in Raleigh (Raleigh Charter High School which is located at the old Pilot Mill behind Peace College) and for the last three years I had attended North Carolina State University, between Hillsborough Street and Western Blvd. However, for some strange reason, that very night, my relationship with Raleigh changed.

Of course, Raleigh isn’t an individual with whom you are able to develop a human relationship–whether romantic, platonic, or simply business-oriented. But for some reason that’s exactly how I felt about this City of Oaks that night. I fell in love with Raleigh.

Later that night–and by that I mean sometime between 3am and 4am–I understood the dilemma of my city-human relationship. Even though my appreciation for the physical and geographical city was expanded, I also realized that my passion for its people was also awakened. This is truly interesting because in the Bible, and in many other forms of literature, the people of a city are often referred simply by the name of their city. Your identity was defined by your community and your community was your town. This is probably something that we are beginning to lose in our contemporary world in which we spend more time in a car, airplane, or ship going somewhere knew than actually getting know the place where we actually live and beyond–the place where God wants us to be relevant.

I fell in love and by this I mean that I realized that there are over 400,000 people out there (867,000 if you include the rest of Wake County) out of which most of them needed to hear the Gospel. God moved me to understand that this is my Jerusalem and I am the Lord’s ambassador to my community.

—–

Sunday, the day after my encounter with the city I live in, my pastor mentioned the strong possibility of beginning a site-expansion or actual church-plant in Wake County. I can’t lie, so I am completely and fully honest when I say that even though I had a very serious expression on my face, deep inside I was filled with joy. What will happen in the end? It’s in God’s hands, but whatever God does with us and with this city, this City of Oaks, it will be for His Glory.

http://www.gracelife.com

http://www.raleigh.gov

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