We have been studying Isaiah 61 for several weeks now. We have been looking at how God meets us in the deep streams of life and brings transformation to us. This transformation occurs so that his glory and righteousness will be put on display for the world to see. But how will this happen? Isaiah teaches us that when God's people have been transformed, they will be oaks of righteousness who will rebuild, restore, and renew the cities (or in the words of the New Living Tranlsation, rebuild/repair/revive).
This picture of what is coming is a picture of hope and vision. We come to this ancient text of Isaiah on the other side of cross, and we can now join the ministry of Jesus to the world. We can join God in his rebuilding. We have been planted in the world in a particular zip code with a specific culture. Portland is a beautiful city full of rich culture, and desperately in need of rebuilding. We have been placed in Portland for a purpose bigger than ourselves. As we enter into transformation in our own lives, are we ready to join God's work? It will involve getting our hands dirty, not ignoring the needs all around us, and living side by side with the world.
God has placed all of us in a place where we can have influence. What are you doing with this influence? This influence has nothing to do with power or position (note Jesus' posture in his ministry, and the influence he had). Our influence is a more subversive one. Our influence comes because God is transforming our lives. Rather than being ashamed of this, we should eagerly let others see what God is doing! Then you find the place where you are planted is a place God wants to rebuild/restore/renew. Has God done enough in your life to want to join Him on His mission to Portland?
Isaiah 61:4 - 6