City on Our Knees

City on Our Knees

by TobyMac

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TobyMac Challenges Readers to Take Action

Through true stories of people who have stepped across lines--lines of discrimination, persecution, prejudice, bitterness, and despair--City on Our Knees challenges readers to take their own steps out of their comfort zones in order to be used by God.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781441213518
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/01/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 943,989
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

TobyMac is a Grammy Award-winning artist, producer, and songwriter. First known as part of the popular group dc Talk throughout the 1990s, he launched a solo career in 2001 and has since won numerous awards, earned three certified gold albums, and had six #1 Christian singles. His previous books include Jesus Freaks (with dc Talk) and Under God (with Michael Tait and WallBuilders). TobyMac is married with five children and makes his home near Nashville, Tennessee.
TobyMac is a Grammy Award-winning artist, producer, and song writer. First known as part of the popular group dc Talk throughout the 1990s, he launched a solo career in 2001 and has since won numerous awards, earned three certified gold albums, and had six No. 1 CHR singles. "City on Our Knees," the inspiration for this book, spent thirteen weeks as Billboard's No. 1 Christian song. TobyMac's previous books include Jesus Freaks (with dc Talk) and Under God (with Michael Tait and WallBuilders). TobyMac is married, with five children, and makes his home near Nashville, Tennessee.

Read an Excerpt

City On Our Knees

By TobyMac

Bethany House Publishers

Copyright © 2010 TobyMac
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7642-0865-2

Chapter One

Into the Jaws of Hell

Jeannine Brabon is one of the last people you'd expect to find in the jaws of hell. Yet it's a place she spends much of her time.

Brabon is a serious academic, a professor at Seminario Biblico de Colombia (the Biblical Seminary of Colombia). She is a Hebrew scholar, specializing in biblical Hebrew and its interpretation. She translated the massive LaSor's Hebrew Grammar into Spanish.

But Brabon is also a missionary, and this calling flows from her work in the classroom. "I teach people who have had their fathers, brothers, and sons assassinated," she explains. "I rarely have a class in any given year in which a student doesn't lose a family member to a violent death. Life is of little value. It's a deadly and dangerous world. But security is not the absence of danger; it's the presence of Jesus."

One day, a girl named Margarita, one of Brabon's students, asked for help searching for her brother, who had been missing for five days. Their search led them to the morgue in the city of Medellin, home to the infamous drug cartel of the same name. In Medellin twenty-five deaths occur every day, with more than a hundred on a typical weekend.

At the morgue Brabon and Margarita searched through more than one hundred bodies.

Brabon says she will never forget Margarita's cries when she found her brother, who had been brutally tortured to death. As Brabon and her student cried together, a question exploded in the professor's mind: What can I do? What can I do?

Shortly after the experience in the morgue, Brabon was invited to speak at Bellavista Prison, which had earned the nickname "Jaws of Hell." In the mid-1970s, the prison was built to house fifteen hundred inmates. By the end of the 1980s, it swelled with more than sixty-six hundred dangerous criminals-drug lords, terrorists, assassins for hire.

Dead bodies, some of them decapitated, littered the prison floor. Walls were covered with graffiti, written in blood.

Prison riots were commonplace, and Bellavista averaged about forty-five murders a month. Often, the guards were so terrified that they refused to pass through the prison gates to report for work. The prison had become, essentially, a training ground for Medellin's killing fields. Once outside the prison walls, either through parole or escape, a Bellavista ex-con would likely join the ranks of the city's three thousand contract criminals, criminals who specialized in blackmail, kidnapping, and murder. Or one could join any of the more than 120 gangs, all ready to kill for pay. According to one Colombian newspaper, the country was averaging twenty-five thousand murders annually, and Medellin was a major source of the country's woes.

So, not surprisingly, the invitation from Bellavista left an unassuming female missionary/professor feeling inadequate. And terrified. But Brabon clung to a Scripture verse: "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion" (Proverbs 28:1 KJV).

Standing in front of her criminal audience, Professor Brabon preached about God's steadfast love. As she concluded, twentythree crying men came forward to dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ.

That was only the beginning.

Brabon soon launched a Bible training school, the Bible Training Institute, within Bellavista's walls. She spends two days a week inside the prison, teaching inmates and witnessing to them about Jesus' life-transforming love. The Institute's rigorous two-year curriculum transforms inmates into spiritual leaders. The program is no joke. When an inmate graduates, the dean of Seminario Biblico de Colombia hands him the diploma.

More than forty inmates study at the Institute at a given time, and the total number of graduates is closing in on one thousand.

Brabon does more than teach in the Jaws of Hell. She meets with law enforcement officers, politicians, and prison officials to advocate for better conditions. (Such as basic sanitation for the prisoners.) She witnesses to prisoners and guards.

Not surprisingly, some in Medellin don't appreciate hit men, drug lords, and terrorists "going soft" and losing their value to the drug cartel. Thus, Brabon lives under the constant threat of death. Her movements are tracked by Medellin's criminal element, forcing her to regularly change her daily routines and travel routes.

Once, an inmate infiltrated one of Brabon's prayer groups and later made a false accusation about Brabon and a colleague-to a powerful guerrilla commander. The commander issued a death decree on both of them.

When he heard about the decree, however, the inmate panicked. Guilt-stricken, he rushed to Brabon and confessed what he had done. Then he informed the guerrilla commander that he had levied false charges, and the death threat was lifted. Brabon was matter-of-fact about the incident. "We are not to fear those who kill the body," she said. "We are to fear the sin that will destroy us eternally. Our greatest concern ought to be that we die to sin daily."

Meanwhile, despite the cloud of danger that is Brabon's constant companion, Bellavista Prison continues to experience what can only be called a revival. And God had begun working there even before Brabon arrived. At one crucial point in the prison's history, its riots threatened to spill over into the city. It appeared that the military would have to be called in. The media gathered, expecting to cover a massacre. However, instead of unleashing the Colombian army, the prison warden honored the request of a small group of Christians. They wanted to hold a prayer meeting-inside the prison walls.

While the riots raged, the small band of believers prayed fervently. Soon, prisoners began turning in their weapons-not to the guards but to a former inmate who was now a volunteer chaplain. This chaplain had earned the prisoners' trust, reporting to his post at eight o'clock every morning for three years and ministering within Bellavista's walls-regardless of how bad prison conditions were on any given day. He showed up when the guards would not.

Brabon described the disaster averted in clear terms: "God is moving in unprecedented ways. The Holy Spirit is giving life where death reigns."

Today, those who have seen it describe Bellavista as "a model prison." A most unlikely beacon of hope in a land darkened by evil. More than 150 faithful inmates crowd into the prison chapel for daily services. Smaller groups meet twice daily on prison patios and pavilions. A daily radio broadcast offers counseling and helps inmates communicate their newfound faith to their families. During weekend visitations, inmates hold evangelistic services for their families and friends. Imprisoned men proclaim the freedom they have found in Jesus Christ.

In a recent thirteen-year period, Bellavista saw zero riots. And the murder rate dropped to less than one a year, a fraction of the forty-five monthly killings the prison once endured.

One telling sign of Bellavista's transformation occurred after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Colombian prisoners committed themselves to praying for the United States-and all those affected by the tragedy. As a show of their ongoing prayer support, a few prisoners carved a pair of praying hands, which were eventually delivered to then-President George W. Bush. The president kept the carving in the Oval Office to remind him of the faithful prayers of a group of former drug lords, terrorists, and hit men.

What has transformed the Jaws of Hell? Perhaps it is fitting to give one of Bellavista's inmates the last word:

"God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise," says the convict. "God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God."

I'll call nobodies and make them somebodies; I'll call the unloved and make them beloved. In the place where they yelled out, "You're nobody!" they're calling you "God's living children." -Romans 9:25-26 MSG


Excerpted from City On Our Knees by TobyMac Copyright © 2010 by TobyMac. Excerpted by permission of Bethany House Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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City on Our Knees 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
lipto96 More than 1 year ago
I received a review copy of Toby Mac's book, "City On Our Knees", from Bethany Book House a few months ago. As I read this book one word kept coming to mind, action. Everyday we see needs all around us. Unfortunately, at best the number of needs is so overwhelming that we often feel powerless to do anything about them or at worst we have become numb to any need that does not directly affect our lives. This book offers stories of people who did not offer these up excuses instead they found a way to make a difference. Toby Mac not only offers up stories of bold love he also offers prayers and passages of Scripture that call us to action. I used this book during my daily devotions and I found it it to be a tremendous resource. These stories are not only great to read, but they are very inspiring and motivating. I highly encourage every Christian to take the time to read "City On Our Knees".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My fav song is speak life by toby mac
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book!! KK
steveopinions More than 1 year ago
I love the song and now I love the book, City On Our Knees by Toby Mac. The cover of the book is awesome it is green with a city skyline. This book is filled with people doing small things that end up being big things. It is divided into four sections by the song lyrics which tie the song and the book together very nicely. This is an easy read. You can skip around or read it start through. This will be a book I will reread again. Get this book you will not be disappointed. Please note I received a free copy from Bethany House.
mom2kchmwr More than 1 year ago
I had no idea who TobyMac was. I do not generally follow main stream Christian music. I thought he was some pop rap artist. I was mistaken. I have since heard a number of his songs and have listened to them on YouTube. Now, I like the message - get out there and get out of your comfort zone and do something for God. I think the message is extremely important. I am glad that he wrote the song and the book! That being said, I am not one to sit and read, and enjoy "feel good" stories, or heart warming, inspirational tales - true or legend. For me, the book didn't speak my language, so to speak. But I loved the mix that was included - stories from across the centuries! I loved the history the book provided. I even learned a little, although I like to get my history a little differently. Maybe it was timing, and that my thoughts and research section of my brain are focussed on other topics. Overall, I think City on our Knees is a great book. It just wasn't something I enjoyed. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
anotherjoy More than 1 year ago
This book is a collection of stories. But not just any stories, and not just feel-good stories. These stories are examples of what happens when people (1) step across the line separating themselves from others (2) get out of their comfort zones (3) embrace those across from them as family, and (4) allow hope from God to rise up through them. These are concepts that make up the TobyMac song "City on Our Knees", and that's what makes up the goal of this book. It's not just a book to read and think, "Wow, those people really did some special." It's not just inspiration; it's motivation. How can we read these stories, this book about stepping out of the life we've been accustomed to and embracing a life of caring about those who seem to be outside our own little world without wanting to be part of that? But the great thing about it is that we can indeed be part of that, and in fact we are called to be part of that. Each section includes a prayer for readers to start praying and believing to take their first steps outside our own little worlds. I like that this book is full of people from all different walks of life reaching out to those beyond them, to show that it's not just one type of people who have the ability to reach out. The book as a whole is also a great reminder when you're trying to step beyond your comfort zone - this is what it's all about, and you're not alone in your efforts to expand the family of God. . I received this book free from Bethany House Book Reviewers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.
kittycrochettwo More than 1 year ago
I wasn't sure what to expect when this book first arrived for me to review. I had never heard of TobyMac before, I think he is popular among the younger audience, but I soon realized that each section in this book is named after a song that he released sometime earlier this year. Each section consists of short stories, of how God has used people to change the world, some of the stories I had heard before and some were new to me. You will also find prayers and scriptures peppered through out this book that will further inspire and uplift you. Each section ends with a one minute remix and also a call to action prayer. This books resounding message is "If we gotta start sometime, why not start now."If only we are willing to step out of our comfort zone and unite that we can make a difference and change the world. In the right hands this book could be life changing, I think it would be great especially for youth pastors, because I think that is TobyMac's audience, but I think overall anyone reading this book would enjoy reading these inspiring stories! Even though I was provided a copy of this book for review by Bethany House it in no way alters my opinion of this book.
ChristysBookBlog More than 1 year ago
City on Our Knees by TobyMac is a inspiring read for anyone wondering how they can make a difference in the world. TobyMac is well known within the Christian community for his years in the back dc Talk and more recently his time as a solo performer. His recent CD and song, with the same name as the book, inspired him to put together this book filled with anecdotes and quotes about stepping up and making your life matter. The stories range from centuries old tales of revival and the power of prayer to recent stories of children starting charities or miracle rescues. The chapters are titled by lines from the song with stories relating to that theme in each. TobyMac also heads each chapter with a "blog" giving the reader an taste of the ideas within. I loved the many quotes from Scripture and famous theologians that give depth to the chapters and spent much of my time reading with my journal nearby so I could jot many of them down. The book is truly inspiring and gave me an answer to a question I had asked the Lord. Who knows how it will touch you?
FaithfulFoliosvLogReviews More than 1 year ago
Vertical Reach = 5 God reached down through the pages of this book and touched my heart. In each word of each story God was spoken to, of and spoke through. How can one review the Holy Spirit? Ministry Message = 5 Nothing is too great to separate us from the love of God. No task is too great or small for God to do through His body. We must return to the intimate act of prayer and intercession. We must become one Body and City on our Knees. Craft = 5 Each story is handled with engaging voice and amazing precision. The editor and selection were instrumental and clearly guided by the Holy Spirit. Aesthetics = 5 Being a green lover and a fan of this song, I love the cover and the interior layout and design. Bethany House is a close favorite to Revell in the cover and aesthetics of their releases. Dollar$ & $ense = 5 If you love God even if you don't but desire to do more with your life and don't know where to start, start right here and right now. Every intercessor and believer should read this book, if there heart is open it will change their life. This book was provided for review by the publisher.
snidbits More than 1 year ago
"All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action." - James Russell Lowell Throughout "City on Our Knees" are quotes and this one I believe sums up the point Toby is trying to make. He talks about his desire to see all of us truly come together and be united. He talks about how anyone, no matter age or color, can make a difference. He makes this point over and over by sharing story after story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The first story is of a little girl named Alex who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma before she was a year old. When she was four she had the idea to have a lemonade stand with the profits going to find a cure for her cancer as well as others. She passed away in 2004 but not before seeing Alex's Lemonade Stands (the organization started by her parents) raise over $1.4 million. Stories like this both break your heart but also show that we are all capable of making a difference. I really enjoyed this book. It encouraged my faith while giving me that push to do more for God. To reach out to those who are hurting and not do enough to merely "get by." One line from the book stood out to me: "Faith is at its best when it's on the move, leading people to places they never thought they'd go, and changing lives for the better. The next time you're given a chance to follow your faith, wherever it may take you, will you choose to move?"
PJtheEMT4 More than 1 year ago
As a blogger for Bethany House publishers I had the opportunity to read Toby Mac's book of motivational inspirational stories, City On Our Knees. Featured in the short stories of this book are true feel- good tales of assorted good citizens and good doers; both secular and spiritual, who went beyond the call of duty to make the world a better place. While some of the real life characters featured are Christian, the other heroes and heroines are simply spiritual or secular who made it a personal mission to help the sick, the poor or some other downtrodden sector of society. A common theme is that those who are in someway blessed with greater financial or social resources, should aid those who are less fortunate. When faced with personal illness or crisis- one's energy and financial resources regardless of how great or limted, can be used and should be used for the greater good for others also suffering. While not explicitly stated, apparently the author, Toby Mac is partial to the Roman Catholic Church as evident from the references to notable Roman Catholic figures and saints. Credability is given to the personal visions of Constantine, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Augustine. The actual title of the book is a play on words in the tradition of Augustine's City Of God. This is not a problem, obviously, as the message of this book is more about the impact of good works and peronal self sacrifice for the good of modern society rather than a being book about theology and the way to salvation. There is no discrimenation when it comes to differing religions, or beliefs from humanistic, non religious goodness as long as the end result is helping others in society. All religions and denominations, regardless of their spiritual beliefs are treated as equal as long as it motivates one to do good to help others in need. The focus on this book is a person's good works and its impact rather than on a person's individual religious beliefs. The actual spiritual message of this book is vague. The various stories are sure to appeal to many readers whether religious or non religious. Topics range from well known examples from popular culture to the historical stories of the 1800s circuit riders in American history. As a professional musician, Toby Mac makes an analogy with preachers and rock stars. Obviously this book is an expression of his identification with a modern day preacher. Nevertheless, one can not help but think, with Toby Mac's economic and social advantages that he is able to enjoy, that it is easier for him to make sacrifices from his excess than for those middle and lower class readers who are struggling to just make ends meet. I imagine that the audience he speaks to through his book, most likely are those who are socio- economically advantaged with the luxury of spare time to dedicate to mssionary work and making monetary donations. Many underclass readers from the lower end of the socio- economic spectrum may simply be unable to relate to the philanthropy efforts of many of the main characters contained in these stories. Page 63 offers a brief yet incomplete synopsis of the gospel message. Not exactly enough to lead a non saved reader to the salvation message of the bible, yet it does acknowledge the sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus is depicted as basically an avatar, the "highest example" of sacrifce that we should try and follow. Furthermore, the pages called the "Toby Mac Blog" and t
sdslangford More than 1 year ago
This book is meant to inspire believers into action and prayer. Each section in the book is named after a line from the song by the same name and includes a collection of stories about well known people in the church such as St. Patrick, Charles Spurgeon; as well as a story of a conscripted soldier in Hitler's army and modern day Christians that God has used and is using to change the world. In TobyMac's own words, "City on Our Knees .... offers stories of people who have stepped across lines. Lines of discrimination, persecution, doubt, prejudice, pride, bitterness, self-isolation, and despair. I pray and hope that you will be inspired to see how just one person, or one small group, can be a mechanism for change. God can use us right here. Right now. All we need is faith that He has our best in mind." The stories are inspiring, though I had heard a few of them before, they are well worth hearing again. The beginning of each section includes several Bible verses and quotes from people for contemplation as well as a TobyMac blog. The section then ends with a one-minute remix and a prayer. The layout would be very conducive to using as a devotional and would be acceptable for a youth group setting. My one complaint is that it would have felt more personal and inspiring to read of what God has done in TobyMac's life rather than him relating other's stories. Yet, it does do what it sets out to do - remind Christians of the importance of prayer and obedience. Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
kayla_merritt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was a great inspirational book. It had a lot of uplifting and motivating stories that made me want to work harder and become a better Christian. I like how at the beginning of every section, Toby waould put in his input, but the whole book wasn't about him. It was a bout people giving praise to God for miraculous things happening in their lives. I think my favorite story was where James King rescued Nadia, a girl with Asperger's, from a swamp. This book is a very powerful motivational book. I would recommend it to anyone needing some inspiration or faith boosting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
1. Christmas this year (featuring Leigh Nash) 2. The firs noel (featuring Owl city) 3. Marys boy child (featuring Jamie Grace) 4. O come all ye thankful 5. Little drummer boy 6. This christmas ( featuring Nirva Ready) --------Diver city--------------------- 7. Carol of the kings (featuring Gabe real & Liquid 8. Birth of love 9. What child is this (featuring Arch nemesiz 10. It snowed 11. Angels we have heard on high 12. SANTA'S COMING BACK AROUND 13. Christmas time (featuring Mr.Talkbox)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lov toby mac!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IS COMIN TO O-H-I-OOOOOO!!!!!!! <p> YESYESYESYES WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WHOOOOOOOOOO WHEE THANK YOU LORD IN HEAVEN FOR TOBYMAC!!! <p> &hearts &star &hearts &starf &hearts &star &hearts &starf &hearts &star <p> TOBYMAC ROX YOUR SOX BAM <p> I LOVE YOU TOBYMAC;) KEEP IT UP MAN! <p> With love and admiration, A Loyal Fan &#12485
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You turned away when I looked 'you in the eye, and hestitated when I asked you if you're alright, seems like, you're fighting for your life, but why, O why? Wide awake in the middle of a nightmare, saw them comin' but they hit you outta nowhere, well theres always scars, when you fall that far! We lose our way, we get back up again, it's never too late, to get back up again, one day, you're gonna shine again, YOU MAY BE KNOCKED OUT BUT NOT OUT FOREVER! This is love callin' love callin', out to the broken this is love callenn... This is love callin' love callin', out to the broken this is love callin' love callin!!! We lose our way... We get back up again... We lose our way... You may be knocked out, but not out forevah!!! We lose our way, we get back up again, it's never too late, to get back up again, one day, you're gonna shine again, you may be knocked out but not out forever!!! Sorry I don't know the second verse, but this is all I know. ~ASKme4Lyrics
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But why ishould the review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dylan keown Email: jesuschrist1@gmail 167 wood valley lane mt. Washingtion KY
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He put on a great sbow at kings fest
LovenGod More than 1 year ago
I love testimonial style books, they inspire me so much.  These testimonies were so moving.  You will find yourself laughing and crying along with the stories.  Each story has a profound message with the underlying message and theme of the entire book, being about helping the downtrodden.   And while no one rarely agrees with everything others have to say, this book if you allow it to, will stir your heart to help others.  To reach out to a lost and dying world around you. 4 stars from this reviewer.  A wonderful book filled with great stories of faith.   This book was provided for review purposes only, no payment was received for this review. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who's got i on it. lol .. love him i went to winter jam he was there and rock and road show love his album eye on it he's great!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I went to his hits deep tour last night and it was awsome _ _ it was so awsome!!!!! \(<_>)/
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He is an awsome preson his kids r so cute i like the song speak life im goin 2 tht giant show hes doin soon so excited