Whether the biblical story of Jeremiah’s running search through the streets of Jerusalem is new to you or familiar territory, you likely would have been moved by the energy that the Prayer Breakfast for Memphis keynoter put into the telling of his version on Tuesday morning.
The Rev. Dr. Bartholomew Orr, pastor of Brown Baptist Church in Southaven, drew upon the Scripture’s account of the prophet Jeremiah’s intense search for one “honest” person as a way to avert the destruction of Jerusalem. Orr ran through the audience at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis encouraging his listeners to “be the one” today.
“Well, here’s my question for you this morning, ‘What about you?’ If God promised he would spare Memphis judgment in 2020, if He could only find one, what about you? If God promised that He would strengthen our schools and keep the streets safe and bring economic boom to Memphis if He could only find one just and honest person, could you be the one?”
“Could you be the one in your home, the one in your class, the one in your company, the one in your church, the one in your neighborhood – could you be the one person that is righteous and honest enough that God could use in order to bring about a change…To get it done, God just needs one. And so my challenge as we end the year of 2019, looking into 2020, be the one”
Hundreds of Memphians joined local elected officials, judges, ministers and the host, Mayor Jim Strickland, at the prayer-breakfast event.
“I’m just inspired as I’m sure you are to be the one in 2020 to help make our city better” Strickland said. “It is my hope that all of us will heed the words of Pastor Orr in 2020 by being genuine, being generous and being a game-changer.”
Pastors came up to pray specifically for the divine guidance of Memphis leaders in the year 2020. Drawn from the biblical passage of Jeremiah 5:1, Orr’s thought-provoking a message was the morning’s centerpiece, with him at one point running from the stage, down the aisles and between tables as he expounded on his text.
Returning to the podium, he exclaimed, “What desperation, brothers and sisters, what desperation! Jeremiah running up and down every street of Jerusalem searching for just one honest person. What a declaration from God, Himself. Because it was Abraham who had bargained with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if he found 10. But yet, God voluntarily said if I can just find one, I will spare the city”
Orr then detailed Jeremiah’s plight.
“He couldn’t find one mate trying to make their marriage work. He couldn’t find one child trying to be obedient and respectful. He couldn’t find one single person that was chaste and pure without compromise. He couldn’t find one church member who was not caught up in some scandal, slander or strife. He couldn’t find one citizen who was volunteering. He couldn’t find one politician with the heart of the people. Jeremiah couldn’t find one.”
In 2020, be the real deal, Orr implored.
“Be the real deal, and do right, regardless, even if no one else does the right thing. Be the one who is generous. It is the goodness of God to us that leads to repentance…God has blessed us to be a blessing in 2020. Be generous with your time. Be generous with your resources. Be generous and do more than expected. Stay longer than what is necessary. …
“In 2020, be genuine, be generous and be the one who is the game-changer. Don’t ever underestimate the power of one…it was one Man, Christ Jesus, who died on the cross for our salvation. It only takes one. One point wins the game.”
Don’t just talk in 2020, he said in closing.
“Be the one who is a dreamer, thinker and doer. Be the one – working with our mayor, supportive of our mayor; be the one for the good of Memphis.”
Other spiritual leaders leading prayer included: Dr. Cole Huffman, First Evangelical Church: Adoration, forgiveness, and healing; Bishop Ed Stephens, Golden Gate Cathedral: Our city, state and nation; Rev. Jessica Morris, Hope Presbyterian Church: thanksgiving and blessing of the food; Rev. John B. McArthur, Christian Brothers High School chaplain: encouragement; Rev. O.C. Collins, Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church: mayor, unity and strength, and closing prayer.
Entertainment was provided by The Jazz Brothers and recording artist, Porcelan.