by DanWolgemuth on May 16, 2014

Old steel beams and concrete floors shrouded the vision in front of me.  Members of the FellowshipChicago leadership team spoke with clarity and hope about what was going to be.

A charter school.  A retail space to offer vocational opportunity.  A worship center.

The immediate condition of the property didn’t discourage or overwhelm these leaders.  They had a sense for what God was doing on the blighted south side neighborhood.  The rubble and decay were simply tools in the hands of an awesome God.

Fifty years before this same congregation had a vision for a neighborhood worship center.  The steel had been erected even as the promise of unified worship was a propelling force.  In 1964 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had visited the site, much to the displeasure of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley.

With the Dr. King visit in the rearview mirror, Mayor Daley resolved to make the Fellowship building project a target for political retribution.  Permits were held up, and progress was blocked.  For seven years the building was nothing but a skeleton of hope.

Today, as the congregation flourishes and as transformation is shared through the love of Jesus, the community celebrates without revenge.  God indeed overpowered the venom of politics.

Fifty years later… over 100,000 square feet of warehouse space is on the verge of being converted into a conduit through which hope and love and power flow.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” (Romans 8:35)

Or politics, or blight, or zoning barricades, or unemployment, or fatherlessness, or neighborhood gangs, or historic patterns of failure, or statistics…

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. “ (Romans 8:37)

Sometimes God uses a building project; sometimes He uses a tent in the jungle; but always and only He pursues.  In love.  With power.

Out of the ashes; while the steel waits… God is always and only God.

Today I celebrate FellowshipChicago.  Today I celebrate the restoration and redemption of our God.

For His people.  For His church.  For His sheep.

Nothing can separate us.

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