I got it… I got it bad. The truth is, I have never really felt this way about anywhere I have ever been.
As a guy who grew up regularly watching the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean, in some ways it feels weird to be sitting in middle America in front of a camp fire thousands of miles from the ocean truly feeling like I have never been more in love with any place I have ever lived.
I have friends in Southern California that have literally asked me, with the utmost sincerity,
“So, Do you at least have some roads that are paved?”
Truthfully, this is the way I grew up… Southern californians actually believe that there is no life east of the Rocky Mountains, and as a kid I was not different. I never imagine that a city, this far from the coast would have my heart so completely captivated.
The bottom line is, there is a lot to love… This morning I was at home, in the city, 1 mile from Taco Bell, Wal-Mart, and every other convenience you could possibly ask for and tonight… Tonight, I sit in front of a crackling camp fire, just feet from a glassy lake with nothing but the crickets and splashing large mouth bass that I spent the early evening slaying, as background music. The night sky is littered with stars, the gentle breeze coaxing the Cottonwood trees to a golf etiquette like applause and all my thoughts and passions running free inside my mind and heart.
This is a great place to be.
As I sit enjoying an amazing doppel bock and the small, yet not insignificant details of my surroundings, I cannot help but wonder what it is that causes a person to fall in love with a geographic location. I haven’t seen it all, but I have seen enough to know that this world holds so many wonders, from the crashing surf of the North Shore in Hawaii to the snowy peaks of the Rocky mountains, there is so much to see and so much to love, yet my heart is captivated by the city of Omaha.
As fun as it is to be out here, in the middle of nowhere alone with my thoughts, all I can really think about it is the city that awaits me when I return. We have some of the top business tycoons in the world, plenty of average joe’s, homeless, addicted, and broken. We are home to the world’s largest population of Karen, aside from east Asia, and put on one heck of a farmers market. The city of Omaha is a place of progression and change, yet also tradition and stability. Again… This is a great place to live.
The thing is, none of that is why I love this city. The reason I love this city is because the creator of the stars seemed to have decided that I would. When it comes down to it, although there is a lot to love, my growing passion for this city is really quite unexplainable… Even for me.
I don’t get it. When my wife and I moved here 4 years ago, I was fairly indifferent about the location. Sure, I was passionate about the gospel, and it’s impact on whoever, and wherever I landed, but I would have never described my relationship with this community as a love affair, and as the days, even minutes go by it is becoming just that. Over the past year I have become more in touch with all that it is, the good, bad and ugly. I have seen more, experienced more, and all it has done is cause my heart to fall more and more in love with it.
I want to see it powerfully transformed by the gospel of grace, I want to see its people freed, restored and reconciled to it’s savior. I want, and now am beginning to believe that a gospel movement un like any other could in fact begin in such a place as this. I am waiting anxiously for the Holy Spirit to touch our community, turning it on its head, and moving powerfully in the lives of real people spread out across the metro. We are not the biggest, we are not the most successful, we are not the most influential, we are not the most beautiful, but could spiritual awakening begin here?
Yeah, I think so… In fact, I believe so.
God let it be so… Use me, use Finding Life Church.
Use us to be part of a movement that sees more physical and spiritual brokenness mended than this world has ever seen.
Tonight I am feeling just crazy enough to believe it could happen… That it will happen.
I love this city… And will fight for its healing, reconciliation and salvation.
Will you join me in falling deeper in love with it? So much so that we, collectively are moved to a more active love for the people who walk our streets daily?
Start praying for it, daily, even moment by moment and watch how God begins to develop real passion in the depth of your heart for the city you call home.
I will live it and pray for it with you from wherever I am! Thanks for living Omaha like jesus does!
My experience is “No life East of Interstate 5.”
But if only we could all exhibit this kind of love for our city, for its people, we’d posture ourselves to be used by God in a miraculous way. I join you, Jake, in asking God for this mysterious heart for my city. And for a kind of life and love to break out that wows us all.
Someone taught me once that, “Prayer is the work, and any other work, doesn’t really work…”
The first place I experienced this was when I moved to San Antonio, TX four years ago. I firmly believe that God is moving us and shaping us to bring about a culture of healing for our broken world.
Jake after reading your blog I long for a heart that can love a place/city like that! How cool. I hope that God does amazing things through you in Omaha!!!
Thanks Jeff, good to hear from you… the last memory I have of you is you running off the golf course mid-round, because your wife was in labor… feels like a lifetime ago. Hope all is well
wow! I forgot all about that! Seems like forever ago!
Fiylaln! This is just what I was looking for.