Tuesday, December 10, I was honored to share this brief closing message at the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast hosted at the Jackson State University E-Center.
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, fellow faith leaders,
A fistful of decades ago, a Baptist prophet named King stood in a Pentecostal pulpit in Memphis and declared that, like Moses, he had been to the mountaintop and had seen the Promised Land. That prophet like Moses was signaling that another generation was about to enter this Land even if he wouldn’t make with them. Since then we’ve talked about the emergence of the Joshua Generation as if forty-five years haven’t passed us by. May I announce to you, my brothers and my sisters, that the Joshua Generation has been around for a long time, that they have been there and done that? And I think I ought to tell you that we’re already in the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Yes, there have been some giants in this land. Yes, there have been some fortified cities in this land. Sometimes the milk has been sour and the honey has crusted, but we’re in the Promised Land.
We thank God for the Joshua Generation, for because of them we’ve come a mighty long way. But I’ve come to decree and declare that God isn’t through with us yet! The Lord is raising up another generation, the Josiah Generation. Josiah, Hezekiah’s great-grandbaby, was a young king of Judah. And as king, he was called, compelled, to bring reform, religious reform, to Judah because he knew that God would not bless his nation’s mess.
My friends, we’re not in Judah, but I believe God won’t bless our civic and ecclesial mess either. As such, God is raising up some young Josiahs in Jackson! Holy rebels walking the straight and narrow to the glory of God and the good of God’s people. Transformed nonconformists who will no longer tolerate church as usual. Preachers who are sick and tired of dead churches with dry, do nothing religion in dilapidated neighborhoods. Women and men of God who won’t ask if it’s safe, or politic, or popular, but if it’s right. Faith leaders who are innovative, imaginative, and ignited with holy fire! And after doing all to stand, they stand on God’s word, believing that God is about to do a new thing. Women of Esther’s courage and Josiah’s conviction who believe God is still up to something and that Jackson’s future looks much better than its today.
I forgot to tell you how old Josiah was when we ascended to the throne. Josiah came to power at the tender age of eight years old. Eight, numerologically speaking, is the number of new creation, new beginnings. Like that Josiah, our city is full of young and restless believers who are convinced the change we seek begins with us, that we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
God’s doing a new thing in Jackson. He’s raising up righteous reformers who will usher in revival, renewal, renaissance, and revolution in the Church and in the City with Soul. He’s raising up Josiahs downtown, in Midtown, and all around town.
Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I’m doing a new thing, shall you not know it?” God’s People, I just stopped by to tell you the Lord is doing a new thing in Jackson and if you didn’t know, now you know!
Bishop Paul Morton sang, Lord, whatever you’re doing in this season, don’t do it without me.
Well, I’m praying, Lord, don’t do it without some Jackson Josiahs!
Don’t reduce crime without us.
Don’t heal HIV/AIDS without us.
Don’t educate our young people without us.
Don’t take care of our elders without us.
Don’t create great jobs and abundant wealth without us.
And, Lord, don’t fix these old pipes and raggedy roads without us.
Lord, whatever you’re doing, do it with some Jackson Josiahs.