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Key to the City

photo credit: via photopin cc
photo credit: via photopin cc

A few years back Billy Graham was coming to New York City. It was a Big Deal. His team came before him and contacted every church in the tri-state area. Church members everywhere in a 50-mile (I am guessing at 50) radius were recruited and trained as counselors and ushers. There were local and regional prayer gatherings. There were classes set up for follow up after the big event, and training for those who would receive a large influx of attenders in the following weeks.

It is a great system, and it is set up to insure that no one falls through the cracks. That if someone comes to the moment of ‘decision’ they would be able to navigate their way to grace.

If you wanted to reach your town or city with the gospel message, where would you start?

  • Would you start by approaching the mayor perhaps?
  • Prayer walks around all the neighborhoods?
  • Postcards in every mailbox?
  • Street theater?
  • A booth in the town flea market?
  • Knock on every door?
  • Signs in the front yard?

(Just for the record, I've been involved in almost every one of these strategies – I'm in favor of them all.)

Jesus had another plan. Jesus plan in John 4 was pretty simple. ~I am going to head down to the well in Sychar in Samaria, and sit at the well. I sense that I,m supposed to skip lunch and see what happens~

The Word tells us that Jesus only did and said what He heard and saw with the Father, and I am not sure how clear those pictures were, and how much detail He got in advance. I feel like it was impressions, because I get that, but I know people who hear things and obey – more like taking dictation, and others who see scenarios in their spirit’s eye and have a better idea of how things are going to break.

We're told most Jews go around Samaria to get from Judea in the south to Galilee in the north. Not Jesus:

He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.
But He needed to go through Samaria. (John 4:3-4 NKJV)

Then there was a divine appointment.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. (John 4:7 NKJV)

Conversation ensued (see the last couple weeks worth of posts if you want details)

And in a few short minutes an evangelist was born.

And from that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” (John 4:39 NASB)

Hmmm – sounds like the key to the city was a woman with a broken life, bad reputation, and a deep draught of living water. [Tweet This]

photo credit: Theophilos via photopin cc
photo credit: Theophilos via photopin cc

I have a few take-aways today.

First, planning is great – plan, pray, strategize – all great, but as you execute your plan, keep listening for the Spirit of God on the inside and be willing to go with His plan. Even if you don’t have a plan laid out, let your plan be to listen for the Master’s plan.

Next don’t discount anyone the Father puts in your path. Woe to me if the Lord puts a person in my life who I deem unworthy of or maybe impenetrable with the gospel.

Finally, perhaps you see yourself as damaged goods (a leaky bucket). Maybe you’ve screwed up every relationship you have ever been in, or perhaps more people than you can count have abandoned you. You have become jaded and disheartened because every thing you have ever set out to do has fallen apart before you. Your reputation has betrayed you, and you have nothing to offer.

You, like the woman at the well, need a drink - a drink of living water. One drink from this fountain and a river will form inside of you and flow to your city.

This woman with a past and no hope or vision for a future tuned out to be the key to the city.

What will God unlock with you today?

BenI am psyched about the possibilities.

See you tomorrow.



Originally posted March 8th of 2013

8 thoughts on “Key to the City

  1. Debbie

    I loved this , Mr. Ben, from both angles. I have been sensitive to this lately, to needing to really listen for Him and then follow, because I get to used to routines .. . And then just go on remote, not moved by Him. God bless you!

  2. Jackson

    "keep listening for the Spirit of God on the inside and be willing to go with His plan. "

    This resonated with me from your blog... it reminded of something I read yesterday when Paul & Silas went to Macedonia when the Spirit told them not to go to Asia (Acts 16:6-10)... it seemed weird to me that the Holy Spirit would tell them "not to go"...

    But, a church was planted when Paul & Silas were imprisoned, the story of the earthquake freeing them, but they did not leave and ultimately, the jail keeper and all his household were saved! As well, as Lydia and her household... both of these come later in Acts 16.

    God knows so much better than we do, in His sovereign will and plan.

    1. Ben Nelson

      Amen Jackson - great point. We must hold our plans - even when we make them in anticipation of what God could do through us, or what we think h wants us to do - loosely, and be willing to flow with Him.

      thanks much for jumping in.


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