Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What is Kingdom life anyway?

I've mentioned a couple of times in my blog the phrase Kingdom life.  It may or may not be familiar to you.  It think it is best described in one of my favorite books: Soul Revolution: How Imperfect People Become All God Intended, by John Burke  http://www.soulrevolution.net/

 Soul Revolution, p. 98-100 (bold highlighting added by me):

Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is near--and this is good news." Why is it good news for imperfect people like you and me? Because life in God's kingdom--the way God intended for us to live, with him, with each other, and in relation to our world--is now available to ordinary, imperfect, messed-up people. That's the revolution! It's a completely revolutionary way to live right now, superior to our own kingdoms where we battle for power and worth and control.

This is good news for all willing humans because God has a plan to restore what has been lost and broken relationally, one willing life at a time. It's good news because it's an invitation into the life we're searching for in all our relationships.

Jesus says, it's not religioius observance, but willing relationship that God's after. What you must do is repent and trust in this good news. The Greek word usually translated "repent" is the word metanoeo--which literally means "to change your mind" or "have a change of mind and actions." If you're only living life for the sake of  your own little kingdom, you must change your mind, turn from your old ways, and begin to live within God's kingdom. And that's good news--you can do it! But you have to believe it's good news or you can't take advantage of it.
Jesus explained, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20-21 NIV)
Do you realize how great the news is that Jesus brings to all humanity? Jesus paid the price to hook you up to a revolutionary way of life. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, you are now invited to "Come as you are"; God takes you "as is" so you can begin to live life restored into a right relationship with him. As you're willing, God leads you into a life that grows within and then gives life to others. This is good news because it's a better, more powerful and more loving way to live!
It's not religion that God wants. Relational revolution is what he's after. It's not about jumping through spiritual hoops; it's about living in intimacy wiht God and others, so that God can begin to heal and restore what's broken in our world. Life in God's kingdom is relational. The means and the measure of maturity is relationship! That's why  true spiritual maturity is not measured with how religious or outwardly righteous we behave. It's measured in how willing we are to trust God, do what he says, and let him lead us to become loving, life-giving people to one another. God lives his life of love in us and through us as we're willing.

So, what does living Kingdom life mean to you?  Have you ever experienced it or encountered it?  What stood out to you most from John Burke's description? What'cha think??

Love to hear your comments and feedback....

Friday, March 16, 2012

Join the Journey...

I started this blog a couple years ago, but never got it off the ground. I finally think the time is right now to get it going again. It is a way for me to allow others to go on a journey with me as I discover how to have a life-giving faith. Faith should bring us life, not death; joy and peace, not discontentment and strife. I believe it is possible and I know it is because I've seen it with my own eyes. If you want to follow my journey, feel free to subscribe to this blog. My hope is it is an encouragement to you as you seek to bring joy and life to your journey of faith!

Words to Define a Passion

Today, God sent me a mission statement.  Born out of a passion, desire, feeling that I've been harboring and longing to put words to.  Recently someone asked me, "Do you know what your calling is; that one thing you all about?" I had some inklings that I have explored a couple times, but they were never solid enough to put exact words to...until today.

I was in my car this morning singing the song, "Christ has Risen" by Matt Maher. As I got to the the verse: 

O death, where is your sting? O hell, where is your victory? O church, come stand in the light. Our God is not dead, He's alive! He's alive!
I felt a familiar passion rising from deep within my soul. The longing to inspire the nations to the hope in Christ. The longing to inspire God's people to become all He has created them to be.  The desire to run up to everyone in the Church and proclaim, "Our God is not dead--He's alive! He's Alive! Have you heard?  Let's stop living as if we serve a dead God and live like He is alive. Let us stand boldly in the light as victors over death and hell, for we stand in Christ!"

Then the words came...
My mission is: To empower and ignite God's church with a passion for Kingdom life and a desire to bring Kingdom life to those around them.

So clear and precise, that it couldn't have come from me. That's it! The words to direct my passion! Praise God!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Immobilizing Grip of Fear

In life we are too willing to settle because we are afraid. Fear keeps us suffocated in the corner. We are so afraid of getting it wrong that we get paralyzed. Sound familiar?  Ever been there?  I know I have!

The problem with fear is that it keeps my focus on me and not on Christ. When we allow fear to cripple us we are really at our depths questioning, "Can I really trust that God has a glorious future in store for me?" We need to ask ourselves, "Do I really want what God wants for me or am I willing to stay in the muck and mire?  The only way out of the muck is to grab hold of God's hand and let him pull you out, clean you off and then follow Him to the glorious future He has intended for you.

At the end of C.S. Lewis' Last Battle the dwarfs could not see the glorious world that surrounded them because of their perspective.  They kept themselves from seeing the truth.  Wait! Isn't that what we do when we don't believe what God says is true about us or what He promises us.  One might be lead to think it was just because of their lack of faith, but I dare to say it was due to fear.  Fear at it's root is a lack of trust in Jesus (He who saves).  Trust is synonymous with faith, thus, we cannot live in fear and have faith.  They are opposites. Perfect loves has NO fear. We cannot reside in the muck and mire and reside in Christ.

When Jesus sent out the 72 disciples, they came back surprised that the demons obeyed them. They had not felt qualified to be sent, but they had gone anyways.  How often are we called and do not answer because we do not feel qualified?
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4 Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road...Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’...The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
In and of themselves the disciples were unqualified, but Jesus gave them everything they needed to accomplish His purposes.  When Jesus sent them out he said, "Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves." It wasn't until they came back that...
He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
When we don't feel brave, we must do it anyways. It is not about me, my pride or anything else. It is about the purposes God has for my life.
"What a tragedy if God comes with the gift of Kingdom purpose and we disqualify ourselves from it." (Bo Stern)
When we submit to the perfect love of Christ, it permeates us so that all fear is driven out and we are just left with the courage and boldness that comes from living in Christ. "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." (2 Tim 1:7)

Today is the day to decide to stop allowing fear to paralyze you from the great things God has in store for you.  There is no joy or peace to be found in the muck and mire. Do not waste the glorious life God has given you being suffocated in the corner.  He has given us life to be lived abundantly!  In Christ you have all you need to achieve God's best for your life.  Take hold of it today!  Go!  You may be sent out like sheep among wolves, but God will give you authority to overcome all that lays in you path. Exchange fear for faith and trust today and live the life you were intended!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit...Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Romans 15:13, Eph 3:20-21)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Getting a Vision Check

My new mission in life is to seek to see God in every moment of my day. To ask, "What is it God that you want me to say or do or be aware of in this moment or situation?"
Through this lens, I can always see goodness and hope in even the bleakest situation. When we determine to look at our circumstance or situation through God-vision, it will keep us from being overcome by disappointment, discouragment or negativity. If we can recognize that God is always at work in everyone and everything, then there is always hope to be found.
Lord, give me eyes to see you and how you are working. Help me be willing to respond to your call in each moment and have God-vision. Keep my heart soft and moldable--keep me willing to be yours!