Finding the God of the City

Hebrews 11:10 – For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

As I travel to NYC weekly, I find that the culture of the city is so very different than the culture of my little beach town.  To that end, I wanted to share a few of the pictures I have taken of one of my most recent trips.  I typically stay at whatever the cheapest Holiday Inn brand hotel is around, which means sometimes I have to stay farther away than I really want.  Usually, I get a fairly close hotel, either the Holiday Inn Express on Union St. in Brooklyn or the Hotel Indigo in Brooklyn.  When I stay at the latter, I have about a 1.5 mile walk to get to the hotel.  It is a really cool little walk because you go from a downtown-type area to an upscale neighborhood to the projects to a warehouse district all in the span of 1.5 miles.  So today, I decided to pull my phone’s camera out and snap a few pictures.

The view from the 10th floor

The view from the 10th floor

Another angle from the 10th floor
Another angle from the 10th floor

It never fails.  Since, for the past 14 years of my life I have been a road warrior, I usually get upper level rooms.  The views are usually great.  This one…not so much.  But it is a testament to what is happening in NYC right now.  There is so much growth happening that they continually build upward toward the sky.  I think of the Tower of Babel and how men used to believe that they could get closer to God by building to the heavens.  I wonder what will happen to all our great cities?

Getting around is easy, but there are a ton of people

Getting around is easy, but there are a ton of people

Plenty of bikes to get around

Plenty of bikes to get around

There are plenty of ways to get around the city.  Imagine Paul, Barnabas, Peter, Timothy, or any of the other itinerant church planters of the first century having access to the bikes above!  Yet these bikes sit here, not being used.  What do you think?  Should we all take a road trip to Brooklyn and rent out all the bikes around the city taking the Gospel to every corner?



This van was parked very close to......

This van was parked very close to……

....this truck

….this truck

The ugliness that people associate with cities is readily seen.  There is a lot of graffiti, mean-spirited people arguing with others, and trash all over the place.  But then, there are plenty of other people who desire to make the city beautiful.  Like this truck that is filled with different flowers and plants.  It is there every week I go up, just like this.  And it was about 50 yards from the graffiti-covered van.  God wants us to be an oasis of beauty in a sea of ugliness.

Now I just want to end with a few more pictures that show the dichotomy of the city.  Beauty and ugliness.  Love and hate.  Inner peace and inner turmoil.

Shoe store

Shoe store

Some of my walk looks like this

Some of my walk looks like this

While other parts look like this

While other parts look like this

There is this....

There is this….

....And then this.

….And then this.

The closed up church that kept its doors locked...

The closed up church that kept its doors locked…

And the church that met me on the street to talk to me about their 62nd year.

And the church that met me on the street to talk to me about their 62nd year.

Churches throughout the city are all locked up.  But the difference between the one in the picture above and the first church is that the church leadership met me outside to talk with me as they saw me looking.  They opened their doors to me, as if they were waiting for me.  Are all our churches like that?  Do we wait for people to come to us with open arms?  Or do we expect them to come to us on our own time?

Just a thought.

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One thought on “Finding the God of the City

  1. Al Wilkins on said:

    A church that has its doors open with a staff looking to witness. What a concept.

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