Where the Spirit of the Lord Is
About the Guest
Christ's light still shines, even in dark times. And maybe because of it. Dave Wilson and Bob Shirock, both Detroit pastors, talk about the collaborative ministry outreach called EACH -- Everyone a Chance to Hear. They explain how more than 500 metro churches and organizations came together to serve and minister to the city of Detroit with the love of Christ.
Christ’s light still shines, even in dark times.
Where the Spirit of the Lord Is
Bob: Detroit has been a city hit hard by the current, economic situation in our country. Pastor Bob Shirock says, “The way for Detroit to come back is for folks in Detroit to get their priorities straight.”
Bob S: What people are doing is—they’re putting God second and pursuing first, all the things they want in life. You know, happiness, wealth, purpose, meaning, all of that; but I say to them what Jesus says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and these other things will be added to you.” There is a principle in Scripture—when you put God first, a lot of the things that you’re looking for in life follow.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, January 13th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife® Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. Bob Shirock and Dave Wilson join us today to talk about how God is bringing hope back to the city of Detroit. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I remember back, well, it was late September, early October—you we’re really hoping for a repeat of the 1968 World Series. You were hoping that the Cardinals and the Tigers would be back at it in the World Series; weren’t you?
Dennis: I thought that would be fun because haven’t we generally beaten them? (Laughter)
Bob: That’s why you were hoping for that, huh? As it turned out, the Tigers didn’t make it—
Bob S: That’s not how I remember it in1984. (Laughter)
Dennis: Dave Wilson and Bob Shirock join us again on FamilyLife Today. Thanks for coming back, guys.
Dave: We’re glad to be here.
Bob S: Thank you.
Dennis: Even though, the Tigers didn’t—I’m sorry about that. Anyway—
Bob: I am sorry. I really hope that they’d get there and lose in seven games to the Cardinals. So, yes.
Dave: We’re so good up there; we’ve always got some team to look forward to. So, if it’s not the Tigers or the Red Wings—
Dennis: Or the Red Wings.
Dave: —it’s the Lions.
Bob: Pretty good season for the Lions.
Dennis: No doubt about it.
Dave: There’s been a lot.
Dennis: Both Dave and Bob are pastors. Dave is a pastor at Kensington Church; Bob Shirock at Oak Pointe Church. You guys have been a part of something that, I think, is going to spread across the country. I think what has occurred and is occurring in Detroit spiritually—this story needs to be told. That’s why I really wanted to share this story with our listeners.
Explain, Bob, again just exactly what occurred in your heart and mind; and then, what it blew up to become because it’s a movement that’s taking place in Detroit.
Bob S: It was a simple vision to give everyone a chance to hear and to give everyone in a small region, at first, a chance to hear; then, it blew up when other church leaders got involved. Then, it ended up being a coalition of over 540 churches and organizations. The same 40 days Jesus walked the earth in His resurrection body—we wanted the body of Christ to rise up and walk our region with the same message that, “Jesus is the hope of the world.”
That was it, quite simply—it was fantastic. We had probably a couple hundred thousand believers involved, wearing their “2 Word Story” shirts, by which they told their own testimony—massive amounts of good works going on, all over the region.
Dennis: Back last fall, when the Detroit Lions were on a roll, undefeated early in the season, really having a great year—there was talk of something similar to what took place in New Orleans happening in Detroit. You kind of turned it a different direction, though.
Bob S: Well, a little bit, because, you know, TIME Magazine said, “The world is watching Detroit to see if it can find a way to rise from the ashes.” We didn’t want our resurrection from the dead to be built just on Super Bowl, electric cars, and green spaces.
There’s a statue down at City Hall, Spirit of Detroit, and engraved on the walls of our city—believe it or not—engraved on the walls of the city offices is the Bible verse that says, “Now, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” We adopted that, really, as our hope that the Spirit of the Lord would be brought back to the heart of the city and that our resurrection would have—
Of course, we want the Lions to win, and we want green cars. We want to move the world again. Detroit once moved the world, but we want to move the world again with the message that Jesus Christ is what brings new life and resurrection. So, that’s—
Bob: As you proclaim that message, as a group of churches—more than 500 churches involved—hundreds of thousands of believers wearing t-shirts and buttons that shared their “2 Word Story”, what happened, Dave? I mean, is Kensington a different church at the end of those 40 days than it was at the beginning?
Dave: Yes, I definitely think so. We became one church—540 churches all around Detroit, which—we hardly knew each other; we knew about each other; but I really feel like one big church—which is God’s dream anyway—wrapped their arms—really, probably more literally, the arms of Jesus—around the city of Detroit in words and deeds—communicating the message of the Gospel—but living it out, impacting people’s lives to point people to the Kingdom of God. It was one church—not 500—one big church.
Bob: Were you hearing stories of people coming to faith—
Dave: All the time.
Bob: —throughout that time.
Dave: We did at the end of the series, for us at Kensington—I don’t know what Oak Pointe—we did baptisms. We baptized 600 people, and many of them had come to faith somewhere in that 40-day deal. We don’t know exactly how all those stories transpired, but so many of them had something to do—as crazy as it sounds, a guy walking up to a guy and saying, “What do those two words on your shirt mean?”
“Empty? Empty!” The guy was able to say, very simply, “I was empty my whole life, trying to find meaning in all kinds of different ways. I found life and fullness in Jesus Christ. Can I tell you about it?” People came to Christ through that “2 Word Story” that was birthed out of EACH.
Bob S: I think one of the big impacts was on the church itself because it got churches together. It got Christians in the game for the first time.
It’s really hard to get Christians sharing their faith. It’s intimidating for—especially men—I find men at the office. It’s real hard for them to break across that line into spiritual discussions, but this gave them a way to do that by means of just telling their own story relationally. So, it got Christians in the game; and it got churches together.
The hardest people to get together were the pastors because they have their turf; but you know what? The church people—when they got together for prayer rallies, we had 28,000 people show up in downtown Detroit for a prayer walk on a rainy Saturday morning. The people loved being together. They just don’t have all those lines and barriers.
We’re not going back; we’re moving forward with a permanent EACH coalition—same idea, every year. Real simple, it’s going to be the Detroit tradition. We own it—the 40 days after Easter—the body of Christ loves its region. I think churches are excited to go forward.
Dennis: Where did 28,000 people walk downtown?
Dave: It was very cool. We met right outside Tiger Stadium in a parking lot. We set up a big stage. About 9:00 in the morning, we started the rally with worship, praise, and public prayers. It was raining, but the sun came out. The sky parted ten minutes before the service began, which was a God-thing because we couldn’t have even turned on the sound equipment. We wouldn’t have even been able to play music. Then, we worshiped.
Then, we lined up on Woodward Avenue, which the city closed for us, and we walked about half a mile down to the Spirit of Detroit and half a mile back. The most moving part—I was at the front of the line—it was four-lanes wide, going down and back; but the most moving part was—when I got back, people were still just leaving the parking lot to walk down.
It was bigger than the Thanksgiving Day Parade, which Detroit’s famous for. It was packed with people—men, women, children, black, white—praying for their city. It was incredibly moving. You could see that the body of Christ does care. We did it last year on the Palm Sunday weekend, kind of like the Triumphal Entry sort of imagery. This year, we’re going to do it right in the middle of the 40 days, to kind of build momentum and excitement.
Dave: For me, as well, first time I sensed how big this had become—it is like, “Oh, my gosh! God is really doing something.” You heard stories, but to stand there with those people—and like Bob said, when you’re completing your walk and seeing people just starting the walk—it was like a 15-, 20-minute walk. It was like, “Wow! God is doing something and it is probably only the beginning of what He wants to accomplish in and through us.”
Bob S: What is very cool is—the mayor has called for a meeting of Christian leaders. He is asking for our help going forward in solving the problems of the city. They’re reaching out saying, “Can the church help us?” The problems are still there, and they’re big. They can’t solve them without the help of the church.
Dennis: Think about 28,000 people, praying for their community. Detroit, as you’ve mentioned, in the recession, was in the midst of the ashes. What percent of folks had moved out of the region?
Dave: I don’t know what the percent was; but it was double digits, easy.
Bob S: We’re not just talking poor people; we’re talking wealthy executives losing their homes, foreclosing, walking away, with no money, from the suburbs. Whole subdivisions vacating two years ago; it was that bad.
Dennis: You guys have also taken the concept of good deeds—not just proclaiming the Gospel, that Jesus Christ died for our sins and wants to provide forgiveness, peace, and purpose—but you also have penetrated every sector of your city with all kinds of good deeds.
I’ve got a list here. You had seven major resource fairs?
Bob S: On Saturdays, in different locations, we called together all the resources—the feeding, the mobile medical clinic, the mobile dental clinic, health scans, all kinds of stuff. We refurbished—Handyman Ministries refurbished over 50 homes in 40 days. They’d do a home a day—then, have a block party at the end of each day.
In partnership with Forgotten Harvest, we served hundreds of thousands of meals. That’s ongoing throughout the year. The goal is to serve about three-, four million meals—so, tons of just—incredible amounts of good deeds unleashed.
Bob: This sounds like it cost some money in a time when not a lot of people in Detroit had a lot of spare cash laying around. I mean, you’re talking about—I’m hearing about PA systems and things being set up. I’m hearing about mobile clinics and food. How did you rally the money for this? With all of these churches coming together, whose money was it?
Bob S: Yes, well, a lot of it came from the churches, some from foundations, some from donors that gave matching gift challenges. Yes, it cost some money to do it; but it is money well spent.
We’re going to do something similar this year, and we think that on an annual basis we can do something huge. We’ve talked with the Luis Palau organization. He is doing a lot of this all around the country, these city-wide movements. We’ve talked to Franklin Graham’s organization—he has been to Detroit, now, three times to talk with us about partnering. To have groups like that come in and do a big invitational event is a $1.5 million price tag.
So, if churches can rally and for half a million dollars saturate their region every year, it is money well-spent.
Dennis: I’m going to ask both of you to do something that is totally unfair. Do you have a favorite story from the 40 days that just embodied the love of Christ through laymen—just church goers, people who are followers of Christ?
Bob S: Yes, I’ve got a great story—a single mom in our congregation with three boys and going to nursing school. She volunteered during the 40 days to serve in the medical clinic as a volunteer nurse; but not only did she serve in the medical clinic at all the resource fairs, she helped rebuild a house and learned how to use a nail gun. (Laughter)
She tells this story—she is this little, petite girl—this little blonde girl. We’ve got this picture of her holding a nail gun. She says it was the most fun part of the whole campaign was rebuilding a house—but seeing what it did to the people that she helped and the impact it had on her life and the impact it’s going to have on her three boys, who watched their mom sacrificially serve during that campaign. It touched my heart to see people—they were all in—and to see that kind of stuff really delighted me.
Dave: I had a guy at Kensington. He’s probably mid-50s. His name is Bill. He said, “I’m a handyman. I can build houses. I can do blah, blah, blah—what should I do?” I go, “What do you want to do?” He goes, “I don’t know. I have a heart for widows.” I go, “Why don’t you go out into the lobby of the church and see if anybody would be interested in what you’re doing?” I didn’t know what happened.
Later, I found out he went out in the lobby, walks up to this woman he’s never seen before, and goes, “Hey, if you were a widow, would it help you if some guys came in and started renovating your house—you know, things like that?” She starts crying. Her name is Karen. Steve, her husband, and I coached my son’s basketball; and he died of a massive heart attack seven years ago.
Bill walked up to Karen, just a woman in the lobby, to say, “Hey.” She is standing there by herself, and she starts crying, saying, “I am a widow. I would love for somebody to come to help.” So, he goes over with four or five guys. He started a ministry now called Faith Works. That’s all they do. There are about 30 guys and women who just go and help widows—that’s their primary focus out of EACH. They, obviously, did a lot of things with the EACH campaign. They just—every week.
I mean, I talked to him two days ago. He said, “We just did another house.” I don’t even know what he’s doing. It just goes, and goes, and goes. It’s all in the love of Christ. So, it’s a pretty cool story.
Bob S: I’ve got to tell you one more—quick one. This guy comes to my church on Saturday night just to tell me the stories of him being able to share his faith. He stopped me after the service. He says, “I was raised in a pastor’s family. I’ve been a Christian for 30-, 40 years.” He says, “I have never been able to share my faith. In the past two weeks, I’ve had four people come up to me and ask me about my shirt. I’ve had four opportunities to tell my story.” I thought, “Well, that’s really cool.”
About two hours later, my cell phone rings; and it’s him again. He said, “Just wanted to let you know. We are at a restaurant, and opportunity number five just happened with the waitress.” So, here’s a guy who’s never been able to share his faith—a pastor’s kid, five opportunities in three weeks. That changed his life.
Dennis: I really love to hear these stories because the ministry is not for us around this table. It’s not for the guys who are paid to be good—pastors, radio hosts, co-hosts.
Ephesians, Chapter 4, talks about how God gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers—this is the phrase, though, “...to equip the saints for the work of ministry.” The church gathered, and the church scattered. We were never intended to be in a holy huddle, kind of cloistered together; but we were commissioned to go.
What you guys are modeling, what your churches are modeling, what Detroit’s modeling for the nation, is, “Hey, there are a bunch of laymen in churches who want to get in the game. They want to be ‘all in’. We just need to lay a good vision in front of them and give them a challenge to go.”
Okay, here is your assignment. Both you guys get a shot at this. You are speaking to a single mom—maybe raising three like you are talking about—you’re talking to maybe a widow, maybe a dad who is already busy, maybe a mom, a single person—what is your challenge to them for their community?
Bob S: Well, I say to them what Jesus says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and these other things will be added to you.” There is a principle in Scripture—when you put God first, a lot of the things that you are looking for in life follow. What people are doing is—they are putting God second and pursuing first all the things they want in life—happiness, wealth, purpose, meaning, all of that.
I gave to each of my kids three words as they went off out into life. To my first born, I gave the three words, “Love God more.” I just said to Chuck, “If you go out into life and you love God more than anything else, the things that you need and want in life will follow you; but put God first and love God more.”
That’s what I say to busy people, “Are you loving God more than anything else? Are you putting Him first in tangible ways with your time, talent, and treasure? If you do that, it might cause you to sacrifice some other things; but ultimately, the things you want most in life that make you happy—they will follow you.”
Dave: And how do I top that, Dennis? I mean—(Laughter)
Bob S: Come on, Dave, you can do it! Bring it on, Kensington.
Dave: Let’s go win the Super Bowl! How’s that? (Laughter) I mean, Dennis, when you asked that question—the core of my purpose in my life—I adopted this in college when I became a follower of Christ through the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. Their motto on our campus was “Know Christ and Make Him Known.” Every one of us heard that phrase.
Dave: I would say that to any follower of Christ, “Know Christ intimately, seek Him, pursue Him; but make Him known.” “2 Word Story” is just a tool to be able to do that. If that single mom or that successful business man, or that college kid, whatever, is thinking, “My goal in life—I want to know Christ; but out of that relationship, I want to make Him known to my neighbor, my teammate, and my classmate.” That is going to be God’s purpose for your life.
It’s that simple. I mean, it’s profound; and we lose sight of it. We get distracted; but it comes down to, “Do I know Jesus? Do I love God, and I love others?” Love God. Love others—Love God; love others—greatest commandment.
That’s what I would say. God wants to use you, single mom. God wants to use you, divorced family. He wants to use anyone who is submitted to Christ to impact and be the light on—city on a hill, light on a hill. He will. He did not bless you, for you. He blessed you, to bless through you, to be a blessing to others. Share your story, and you will expand the Kingdom of God. God will use you just like He’s used us.
Dennis: He uses broken people.
Dave: Sure does.
Dennis: I mean, it’s not a matter of being perfect enough. There was only One who was that.
Dennis: It’s people just being available and saying, “Okay, God, here I am. Use me. Plug me in.” Dave, would you pray? Would you pray for folks—
Dave: Sure will.
Dennis: —that they’d get more than just their ears tickled here today, but that their heart would be pierced by what’s going on in Detroit; and perhaps, several will import your concept—just your big idea into their city.
Dave: I’d love to.
“Lord Jesus, thank You for Who You are, for how holy You are, how majestic, how righteous You are. I adore You. I magnify Your name. I worship You. I surrender all to You. You are the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
“Father, we are grateful to have Your blood forgive us of our sin. We do not deserve forgiveness—total forgiveness through Your blood. We are thankful for that.
“Lord, I pray. I pray that the listeners would know You—would know You in a way they’ve never known. They would see You. They would experience You. They would be enveloped in Your love, and out of that, they would be a blessing to others. Would You give them a mission, a purpose, a grander vision than they’ve ever had for their life and for their community to do something absolutely great?
“God, You are big. You want to do big things, and I pray we would not shrink You down and not allow You to do what You want to do. Father, I pray that You would do great things in all kinds of cities, communities, and countries around the world—that You would use one man or one woman with a burning passion on their heart to not go to their grave without making an impact for the Kingdom of God.
“God, I see, and I believe great things are going to happen as people—even listening to this broadcast—say, ‘I want to be that man, that woman, that God uses.’ God, if they say that to You, You will do great and mighty things. I pray that You would begin it right here, right now.
“We pray that in the name, the resurrected power of Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Bob S: Amen.
Dave Wilson, Bob Shirock, thanks for coming down here to tell the story. This is just the beginning of the story. After God shows up and shows off in the coming years, would you guys come back and give us an update sometime?
Bob S: Yes, thanks for letting us share the story of Detroit. We just say to the world, “Keep watching Detroit.”
Dave: When we come back, I think we’ll be Super Bowl champions. (Laughter) How’s that sound?
Bob: There is information on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com—more information about what is going on up in Detroit. There is a link that we’ve got on the website that will take you to the EACH website. Again, EACH stands for “Everyone A Chance to Hear.” You can find out about the whole campaign and what’s been going on up in Detroit.
You can find out how you can do some of these same things in your city. That’s what we’re hoping. We’re hoping that folks will hear today’s program and say, “Hey, why don’t we get together with the pastors in our town and see if we can do something like this in our community as well?” Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click on the link for the EACH campaign when you get there.
We also have a book that we are recommending called The God Conversation that will help prepare you to have the kinds of conversations that were described on today’s program with your friends, your neighbors, and people in your community—conversations that cause them to pull back and think about the claims of Christ and about where they are in their own relationship with God.
You can request a copy of the book, The God Conversation, when you go to FamilyLifeToday.com; or call us toll-free 1-800-FL-TODAY, 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”.
By the way, if you have not been to our website recently, FamilyLifeToday.com, let me encourage you to stop by. In addition to online articles that are arranged so that you can find them to help you with a particular topic you may be looking for, you can subscribe to receive a Moments with You daily devotional sent to you as an e-mail each day.
We also have a twice-a-month e-news letter that we send out—helpful articles on a variety of subjects. Again, it’s sent to you at no cost. There’s just a lot available online at FamilyLifeToday.com.
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So, let me just say, “Thanks,” to those of you who have helped support the ministry in the past. We are excited about what God has in store for us in 2012, and we’ll keep you updated as the year goes on.
We hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend. I hope you can join us back on Monday. We’re going to hear a message from Pastor Tim Keller and his wife Kathy about God’s design for the marriage relationship. They have just written a new book on this subject, and we’ll hear some of their thoughts about God’s purpose and plan for marriage at the beginning of next week. Hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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