“In Hebrew it means city by the sea. It’s just a humble town on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, part of a group of towns called the Krayot. It’s probably not what comes to mind when you think about Israel.”
The sentence above opens the new video we recently made about the work here at Tents of Mercy in the city of Kiryat Yam. We have had a heart and vision for our city for the last 20 plus years. It’s been a roller coaster of a journey but one that always caused us to look up and thank God.
Soon after our work was planted here, our small facility was fire bombed. God’s miraculous hand moved us to our current building which is five times bigger and which houses our outreaches today. At times we have been ridiculed, rejected and bad-mouthed, but we are still here as a beacon of hope and help in our city of Kiryat Yam.
In Jeremiah’s words, from chapter 29:7 “And seek the peace of the city…and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.” For us, Kiryat Yam is that city.
So how does one seek peace for the city?
Well, we have done so primarily by reaching out through humanitarian aid work, focusing on benefiting the most disadvantaged of our city. The initial rejection by the city municipality when we began, has been transformed into a close working relationship with the welfare department and mayor’s office. We honor God for His grace and provision in this.
However, just recently as I was preparing to give a message to our community on the day of Shavuot (Pentecost), I heard a whisper in my spirit reminding us that “We not only seek the peace of our city through works but we also minister the Word of God.”
Yeshua in His departing words exhorted us to be strengthened by His Spirit to be His Witnesses, ministering to people by His Words in our mouth. Shavuot is a reminder to be empowered to serve His Word. In the disciples’ case this came as a mighty rushing wind and swept the city, saving thousands at one time. In our case it’s coming through a slow drip-by-drop – soaking the dry soil of our city in preparation to receive the seed of the Word of Life.
“And we have such trust through Messiah toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (II Corinthians 3: 4-6).
Interestingly, in Jewish tradition Shavuot is a celebration of the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and for us it is a celebration of the Giving of the Spirit. We just read that the Word cannot give life without the Spirit. As such, in the strength of the Spirit we are ministering His Word and Testimony to our city. It would be great there was a repeat of what happened on the day Peter gave witness in front of 3,000 people in Acts and they responded with repentance. But I believe for us it is happening by contending for power from the Spirit and speaking the words of Hope and Help that come from heaven.
Shortly before Shavuot a call came from the mayor’s office inviting me to do a city-wide tour with the local officials. I accepted and was able to admire and see the heart of the mayor and staff for our city. I was able to hear the vision and hope that they have for the city. I was the only one invited to this private tour. So I asked why it was so and what did they expect from us? The answer was, “We want you to know because you have a heart for our city and your community/organization is a positive force in this town.”
I believe God has laid in all of our hands keys that will bring hope and help for our cities and its surroundings. He expects us to believe and act on it. In that we will find our own peace as well!
May God empower us by His Spirit to continue seeking that His Kingdom peace may sweep through our cities!