Monday, October 31, 2011

A kingdom in the world Matthew 23:34-46

I know I am posting backwards but hey it's a blog.

Christians believe that God's building a kingdom. It's already here and seen in the acts of mercy that God's people show to one another; but the second you think you can grab onto the kingdom and hold onto it it slips from your hands.

Many people today say they believe in the coming of God's kingdom and even that their lives are meant to be part of it; but today I'd encourage you to think in specific about where in your life the kingdom of God is breaking in. It's easy to give a vague answer to this question; but God's kingdom isn't growing in vague ways in our lives. God's kingdom is real, not imaginary. It grows as we start to wrestle with the biggest questions about what belongs to God and what belongs to us.

George Barna writes about the difference between vision and mission. All Christians have a vague place in the mission of God's kingdom; but there are specific places and times in our lives when we are meant to serve God. Barna explains,

Getting beyond mission to vision is where the rubber meets the road, and getting beyond vision to execution is where transformation becomes a reality.

Barna's a Christian and sociologist who studies how faith and religion take shape in people's lives. Over the years he's uncovered the challenges that face believers today and he's right: God given visions have power to move people for the sake of the Kingdom.

Knowing that we need grand visions and purposes that are close at hand, and knowing that often times we have to start small and close by before we really see the big “great and holy quest” it's really tough to watch people get stuck and sit doing nothing.

Some people get trapped in their quest for comforts and pleasures. The prophets named the lesser gods that so many people chase after first. Some who start to understand that the coming of the kingdom of God will move them to do new things get stuck in fear worried about what to do or what they’ll need. Jesus in Matthew 6:25-34named the fears and uncertainties that trap many and declared a promise that God will provide.

The key here is faith: both leading in faith and living in faith. Trouble is faith isn’t transferable; it’s a gift of God freely given at God’s choice through the work of the Holy Spirit. If church leaders could just give away faith it would be easy, but this isn’t something that humans can do alone. Hebrews 11 makes the case for what faith can do: the faith of Abraham stepping out on a Journey started a nation, the faith of Moses going back to Egypt saved a nation. A willingness to follow a vision starts with a step of faith in God.

Anyone who needs a broad mandate could read Matthew 22:34-40. Jesus says Agape love God and agape love your neighbors. Or Matthew 28:18-20 here is direction to go. These are the mandates, but not the specifics. Faith is the key to stepping out after God’s call. Some people are blessed to see it so clearly; to see the place that they are called to go and live out this mission; others are struggling searching to find their way to serve; and some are still lost in Babylon. The best response is to seek God’s advice in scripture and prayer. Discern God’s will, seek his counsel not vaguely but specifically looking for the great and noble cause that he is calling each person too.

May God give us clarity to see the place where we can serve for the sake of His coming kingdom.
Thanks for reading, Peace to you , John

1 comment:

Susan said...

This is a great lesson! The vision we have for our own purpose is often different from God's actual purpose for our lives. In my experience, when I let go of my selfish desires, God comes in and paints a master(peace) in my heart. The Kingdom surrounds me, even here, every day. God bless you and please post more often - I really like learning from you.