Urban Ministry – Chester

This weekend I attended an urban ministry conference in Chester, PA. (close to Philly)

Here are some pictures from Highland Gardens in Chester.

A typical unit in the hood. I heard that an empty lot in this area sold for 1000 USD.

Many houses are abandoned which creates many social problems. Imagine kids with nothing to do and no family to speak of having any number of empty houses to meet in and make trouble.

Some kids playing b-ball. Only 21 % of the families in Chester consist of a husband and wife living together. 32% are single mothers and the rest are classified as ‘non-families’… not sure what that means.

The ministry, World Impact is doing some good work in this area. The need is huge. It is the missionfield on our doorstep. You can check them out here: http://www.worldimpact.org/

DA Carson on Prayer

Been challenged by these lines in a book by DA Carson, ‘A Call to Spiritual Reformation’,

The one thing we most urgently need in Western Christendom is a deeper knowledge of God. We need to know God better. When it comes to knowing God, we are a culture of the spiritually stunted. So much of our religion is packaged to address our felt needs-and these are almost uniformly anchored in our pursuit of our own happiness and fulfillment. God simply becomes the Great Being who, potentially at least, meets our needs and fulfills our aspirations. We think rather little of what he is like, what he expects of us, what he seeks in us. We are not captured by his holiness and his love; his thoughts and words capture too little of our discourse, too few of our priorities… In the biblical view of things, a deeper knowledge of God brings with it massive improvement in the other areas mentioned: purity, integrity, evangelistic effectiveness, better study of Scripture, improved private and corporate worship, and much more. But if we seek these things without passionately desiring a deeper knowledge of God, we are selfishly running after God’s blessings without running after him. We are even worse than the man who wants his wife’s services- someone to come home to, someone to cook and clean, someone to sleep with-without ever making the effort really to know and love his wife and discover what she wants and needs; we are worse than such a man, I say, because God is more than any wife, more than the best of wives: he is perfect in his love, he has made us for himself, and we are answerable to him.

One of the foundational steps in knowing God, and one of the basic demonstrations that we do know God, is prayer-spiritual, persistent, biblically minded prayer. Writing a century and a half ago, Robert Murray M’Cheyne declared, “What a man is alone on his knees before God, that he is, and no more.”