Chew On This: living for God in Los Angeles

Mark Miller, opinion editor of The Clause at Azusa Pacific University, suggests we are capable of effectiveness as inhabitants of L.A.

Mark Miller and Mark Miller

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Editor's note: This week, Mark Miller and I decided to swap papers. You can read my article in The Clause here. Many thanks to the APU community for letting me share, and for lending us your opinion editor!

It might seem odd, but the names of the cities we live in, visit and hear about actually mean something. Take Philadelphia for example — the “City of Brotherly Love.” Or consider Indianapolis, which is just a clever (and Greek) way of saying “Indiana City.” You might even come across Round Rock, Texas, named simply for — you guessed it — a famous, round rock.

How about Los Angeles? Its name translates directly to “the angels” in Spanish. From what the Bible has to say about angels, we know that they are messengers who carry and reveal the words and glory of the Lord. They also serve believers in the work of God.

L.A. might just be the perfect place for God's messengers. To understand what I mean by that, let's first take a look at a little bit of L.A.’s history.

Center for innovation leaving a legacy

L.A. has not been a leading city in the world for all that long. America took ownership of the city in 1850, after Spain and Mexico had controlled it for a while. Then by the 1930s, L.A. had grown to a population of 2 million as a result of the recent technological innovations and trading opportunities developing on the western frontier.

In 1911, Hollywood’s first movie studio, Nestor Studio, debuted under the leadership of David Horsley and Al Christie, and the actors that graced its stage even had to bring their own wardrobe for production. Today, more than a handful of major film studios, along with plenty of smaller production companies, are scattered all throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. In that amount of time, Hollywood has transformed into an international industry, and the rest of L.A. has followed suit in one way or another.

Sure, L.A. is the center of interest for our day, but what kind of legacy will it leave by the turn of the next century? As we have already seen, a lot can change in just 100 years.

If we look past the city's outer qualities that garner attention from stargazers and stockbrokers alike, we see the pleasantries of a subtropical-Mediterranean climate and all of the people who live in it.

We can be influential as individuals

For being in the spotlight as it is, L.A. seems to set the example and the tone for the rest of the nation. Those who live within L.A.’s boundaries have a responsibility — as do the citizens of all cities. The celebrities and those in positions of authority have obvious duties and opportunities to influence their state and country. But the same is true also for people walking through the supermarkets, running around soccer fields, going to a local movie theater.

We are all part of the giant organism that is the city of Los Angeles. Even if we live on the fringe of the city, we bear weight in the grand scheme of things.

What do you see for your city? What could God do in the next 30 years? Or how about by the end of the century?

What if Hollywood's silver screen would be a spiritual goldmine, an expression of anointed visions from men and women desiring to spark faith in the lives of those all over the world? Imagine if people would visit L.A. just to see the places where God has transformed entire communities.

We all play a part in touching other people's lives, and we can carry God's message anywhere we go. That might look like an encouraging word to the late-night waitress at a restaurant, a spontaneous purchase of a meal for a struggling family or a bold prayer for a man using crutches on the sidewalk. In all of the ways possible, we could be some of the messengers in the City of Angels.

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Chew On This: living for God in Los Angeles