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Title Town

July 31st, 2008 

Focus Text: Psalm 46: 5 (NKJV)

 5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
         God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

ESPN has a television show called “Title Town.” This show attempts to find which cities across the nation have the most dominant sports legacy.  Which city has the richest history?  From San Fransisco to Boston—Cleveland to Seattle—from Athens, Georgia to South Bend, Indiana—our nation is no stranger to city pride.  Just consider the famed sports heroes who have called New York their home. From Babe Ruth to Derek Jeter, just the list of New York Yankees is quite impressive.

Being an alumnus of a major Division I university, I understand the electricity that surrounds a city’s sporting tradition.   I’ve never hidden the fact that for seven years of my life, I lived in the ultimate “Title Town”: Knoxville Tennessee. You may not agree with me- and the world may not agree with me for that matter- but you can rest assured that no other town in America has quite the illuminating sports tradition as Knoxville Tennessee. Volunteer football, basketball, baseball, and track are plastered across every billboard, street sign, newspaper article, bumper sticker, mailbox, t-shirt, and sometimes bare chest.  Knoxvillians literally bleed orange!

I can remember waking up early on Saturday mornings and walking from my dorm to the student grill for breakfast (yeah, did you catch that– a noon breakfast.)  In the grill, laid back with an unhealthy college feast before me (seemingly free off of my meal plan), I would watch ESPN’s College Gameday.  The coolest part was, the show was being filmed about five hundred yards away from my location– nice!  

After a full meal and game preview, my buddies and I would walk down to Neyland Stadium (past all the poor saps who were still looking for parking,) swipe our Student ID’s, and waltz straight into the Student Section to scream for four hours straight with over one-hundred thousand other orange and white clad fans.  Yeah, those times were great!

Knoxville is a celebrated city for many reasons, but mainly because the University of Tennessee resides there.  The almost thirty-thousand students who attend school there in undergraduate or graduate capacities bring a certain energy to the city.  Education and the process of learning define the spirit of the city.  That’s what’s so great about a college town.  So much hope for the future.  So much young energy. So much . . . football!

But seriously though, a city is defined by who resides there.  That’s what’s so impressive about Psalm 46: 5.  It’s a continuation of the concept of “the City of God.”  This location has physical and spiritual implications.  Knoxville is great because the University of Tennessee is “in the midst of her.”  The city of God is great because “God is in the midst of her” (verse 5).

This concept of city can be applied a several different aspects of life: one of those aspects being . . . well, us.  A city is nothing more than a location where people decide to live together in groups.  If you took all of the people out of Nashville, it would just be a large, vacant plot of land with evidence of where life used to be. The life of the city is it’s residents.

The Bible is replete with references to people being one of the places that God chooses to dwell.  It’s as if we are the sidewalks, buildings, and skyscrapers that create the place He calls home.  He walks on our roads.  He talks on our phone networks.  He surfs our wi-fi.  God makes His pad in the urban area of us. We are the “City of God.”

Of course, like most truths of scripture, there are contingencies or conditions to our “city status.”  In other words, God doesn’t have to live in us.  We choose who occupies the space within us.  We decide who we will rent to.  But rest assured that we are designed to be occupied.  Something, or someone, will consider me to be their home address.  The choice is mine.

But if I choose to let God call me His residence, meaning that He’s more than a visitor– He literally has the right to repaint walls, rebuild old, decrepit structures in my heart, or decide to clean out my sewer system (spiritually, of course), then I benefit from the life that is found in Him.  Remember, the life of a city is found in who lives there.  Therefore, my life is found in the One who abides in me.

The verse then goes on to speak of God’s protection for the city He lives in.  Wow, now that makes sense, doesn’t it?  Have you ever seen a city under attack that literally rose up and defended itself?  Imagine skyscrapers hurling orange construction barrels at enemy troops, or the Statue of Liberty shooting fire from her torch at planes that pass by on attack runs.  No, a city is defended by its constituents– by the ones who live there.

So are we.

If God calls your heart His home, then you can be confident that He’s going to boldly face any attackers that come against His town.  Yeah, now that’s some pride in the place where you live!

You are God’s “Title Town”!  You are the one that makes Him cheer and beam.  You are the team that He roots for.  God has literally painted His face with Your colors, just to let You know that He’s supporting you and that you will win.

Somebody call ESPN; I think the competition is over.


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