Guest Editorial: Mike Underhill
(Mike & Brittany Underhill, who humbly serve as the Evangelist and Women’s Ministry Leader of the dynamic Chicago Church, are the San Francisco Mission Team Leaders. They are very dear friends to Elena & me. Though they are a young couple who was married less than a year ago, they are held in high esteem for their work’s sake by the entire SoldOut Movement. KM)
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
God has set His eyes on one of the most beautiful cities in the world – San Francisco. This “Paris of the West” has always been about the heart with songs written about it such as: I Left My Heart In San Francisco sung by Tony Bennett; Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding; Welcome To Paradise by Green Day; Save Me, San Francisco by Train, and of course, one of the hippie movement’s anthem songs – If You’re Going To San Francisco, which inspired thousands to move to San Francisco in the late ’60’s. Hauntingly, another lesser known song that is inspiring to the whole San Francisco Mission Team is by American Music Band, All The Lost Souls Welcome You To San Francisco! With that song in mind, there are almost eight million lost souls in this amazing world city who prayerfully will “welcome [the mission team] to San Francisco!”
The local band Train sings, Hey, Soul Sister, and I am so honored to be called by God to “the City by the Bay” with my new bride and “soul sister,” Brittany, along with about 30 sold-out disciples – primarily from our sister churches in Chicago and LA. In August after the Global Leadership Conference, we will begin to lay the foundation for an awesome discipling church – the San Francisco Bay International Christian Church! Lord willing, the official Inaugural Service will be September 23, 2012!
Last week, my wife and I travelled to San Francisco from LA with Chris and Theresa Broom to tour the city with Kip and Elena McKean. It was a two-and-a-half day trip filled with some of the most glorious memories of my life… so far! We began by traveling up the coast from Los Angeles with the Brooms, twisting down roads overlooking the Pacific Ocean while driving (safely) along the edge of cliffs a thousand feet high on one side and waterfalls on the other! Late that night, we arrived in San Francisco – a city beaming with lights, but especially noticeable was the lighthouse flashing from Alcatraz Island! We settled down for the night looking forward to the next morning when we would meet up with Kip and Elena to scout out the San Francisco Bay Area!
Day one began when we arrived at the Marine Memorial Hotel in Union Square where the McKeans were waiting for us. Kip had his Bible and maps for all of us in hand. He read Joshua 1:3-6, our theme Scripture and activity for the day, “The Lord said, ‘I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. …No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous.’” We prayed arm-in-arm together in a circle in the heart of the city and set our feet there (actually, we stomped our feet!) claiming San Francisco for God! We then jumped into the van and traveled south towards our first stop – Palo Alto. While driving, Brittany and I were gaining a new and profound respect for that area, seeing the office buildings of such major companies as Apple, eBay, Google, Intel and Yahoo in the fabled Silicon Valley. When we arrived in Palo Alto, we parked at Stanford University – considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world. After a lengthy walk through the breath-taking campus – each of us sensing our IQ raising 30 points – we again prayed arm-in-arm together stomping our feet to claim “The Farm” for our Lord!
From there we found “the way to San Jose” (as the song goes) and were amazed as we came to San Jose State with over 32,000 students and boasting “more graduates that work in Silicon Valley than any other school in the nation.” Of course we set our feet there and prayed believing that these future converts would really help the contribution! Next, we went to the city of Oakland. As it was beginning to rain, we prayed rather quickly for “Raider Nation,” again setting our feet, as we were so fired-up that God was allowing us to claim this incredible land!
After that, we traveled a short distance to “UC Berkeley,” the number one public university in the country! It was incredible driving through the hills of the campus, as our GPS was constantly getting rerouted! Excitingly, UC Berkeley is 46% Asian, a gateway to evangelizing Asia! Finally, we crossed the Richmond Bridge in a Bay Area downpour and made it to Sausalito to claim that little vacation paradise for God, as well. We finished off the trip driving through the icon symbolizing the impossible dream, the Golden Gate Bridge, which overlooks downtown San Francisco. After seeing how powerful and diverse each community was and how huge the need is for the 588,000 students in this amazing metropolitan area, San Francisco had more than lived up to all the aforementioned songs! …That night my wife and I felt “the desires of [our] hearts” beginning to take root there!
Day two, Kip and Elena had us focus on downtown San Francisco. So, we headed to Japantown and Golden Gate Park. In Japantown, Brittany prayed for the area and, with Japanese buildings and culture in every direction we looked, we had a deeper sense of San Francisco’s role as the gateway for Asia. We then arrived at Golden Gate Park and LOVED IT! We were surprised to find out that this gorgeous park nestled in this sprawling urban city rivals New York City’s Central Park and is actually 20% LARGER, which for me was mind-blowing since I lived in New York City a couple of years ago! In this flower laden park, we noticed the contrasting palms and pines, so symbolic of San Francisco’s phenomenal diversity.
Next, we stopped in the Castro District and prayed there, setting our feet to claim that area. This is one of the most prominent gay communities in the U.S. with a huge rainbow flag flying in this district’s center on this windy day. For us, we saw the rainbow as its true symbol, God’s love for mankind after the flood in the days of Noah (Genesis 7) and the evangelization of all nations. Then, we drove to the waterfront, prayed and set our feet at the Ferry Building on Embarcadero Street. We went next to Fisherman’s Wharf, a magnet for tourists from all over the globe, and enjoyed some delicious clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls and prayed for this area where we set our feet.
Following lunch, we hopped aboard a trademark San Francisco cable car traveling up Hyde Street and stopped at Lombard Street – “the crookedest street in the world!” After we quickly enjoyed the view and Brittany and Theresa ran up and down the steep road for some fun, we prayed and set our feet there! In the late afternoon, we journeyed to San Francisco State University (SFSU), a pristine campus of over 30,000 students, “to spy out the land” that perhaps my wife and I would personally live near. To punctuate that God wanted us to come to San Francisco and to live near to SFSU, Theresa, after we’d gotten lost on campus, reached out to a young man for directions. He is very open, is very anxious for our return to study the Bible, and his name is “Francisco!” Now knowing this was going to be our home area, we prayed at two different spots at SFSU, the final one being perched on top of the student union overlooking the entire campus. Lastly, we finished in historic Chinatown praying that God would not bring Big Trouble In Little China, but great fruit as we set our feet there!
In 1906, a devastating 7.9 Richter Scale earthquake hit San Francisco! This summer, San Francisco will shake again! Paraphrasing Haggai’s prophesy, “The Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while, I will once more shake… the earth… I will shake [the Bay Area] and the desired of [the Bay Area] will come, and I will fill this [church] with glory!’” (Haggai 2:6-7) As the fog horns cry out through this City by the Bay, there is a cry from God to join or rejoin His movement. God is calling every fall-away who has become silent because he has turned from God, every remnant couple looking for a spiritual lighthouse in the Bay Area, and every disciple within God’s modern day movement with the love of San Francisco on their heart! Therefore, I beg you on behalf of All The Lost Souls in San Francisco please join us in our dream to evangelize this spectacular city! (Call me or email me for more information!)
It’s awesome to be back in Chicago! The church is cranking! We’ve seen many miracles this past month: baptisms, restorations, and $18,000 raised in only five days of “tagging” (asking people in cars for donations). But for me, I’ll never be the same. Chris Broom called me up after the trip and told me I left something in San Francisco. At first I felt some anxiety since I left my wallet in LA at the home one of the future San Francisco Shepherding Couples, Gary & Cindy Ochs, before my trip to San Francisco. Then I laughed when I finally understood Chris’ point… Tony Bennett’s voice continues to echoe in my mind: I left my heart in San Francisco! High on a hill, it calls to me. To be where cable cars climb halfway to the stars. The morning fog may chill the air, I don’t care. My love waits there in San Francisco. And to those singing Save Me, San Francisco for the glory of God, we’re going to build a church that will make San Francisco truly a city of salvation worth singing about!