Monday, October 08, 2007

Kingdom Living IV

Advent conspiracy: worship more; spend less; give more; love all.

“The lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is time we awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick.” Richard Foster

Our checkbooks are probably our best theological statement about our real values. Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

"This could change everything."

As we surrender ourselves to the kingdom of God, of life with Jesus, we’ll see things happen. We move from reliance on things made of us, our programs, our ideas & see more room for God to move, His opportunities.

Fed Ex logo: do you see the arrow? The reality is there we don’t always see it. The kingdom is the same way.

The Fed Ex logo has a message built right into it that we don’t see. And so it is with the Kingdom of God. The kingdom doesn’t exist for us, it exists as a movement for others, and to see God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. It is an arrow, a force, and dynamic, not stationary. Hence Jesus could say that, "the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”

Being a Christian is not simply about going to heaven. It is about living in the Kingdom of God today. There is a price: everything. Our whole life.

The kingdom of God is the basis of death to self. It means letting lower levels of happiness not attempt to take the place of Jesus Christ. It means to acknowledge that our search for happiness will be incomplete without Jesus, and then to actually want to do something about that idea. We turn from a self-centered orientation to a Jesus-centered orientation. We discover the arrow in our life, the direction in our soul.

It leads us to a very distinct posture. We talked about that last week. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Posture: what’s your posture towards authority? Towards men? Towards women?

What’s your posture towards God?

Thanksgiving- thanksliving.

I think Andrew & Justyna & their families are thankful for little Ryder. He is a blessing.

But what if instead of dedicating a beautiful little boy today, instead when he was born they heard someone say, “Here is the one who you’ll lose much sleep over. He’ll crap on you, vomit on you, pee on you, cost you thousands of dollars, give you sickness, break your heart, call you names, steal from you, lie to you, and on and on…"

Would they see the joy of parenting and the gift that it is? Would they see the opportunity, the invitation to help create real life, or would they see the pain, the suffering, the dark side of human relations?

Do you see the very same gift of life, or just the pain, the suffering & the dark side of humanity?

Last week we looked at the idea that Jesus called us, “to repent, the kingdom of God is at hand.”

That form of repent, to turn 180 degrees, is to have a broken and contrite spirit.

Isaiah 66:2
"For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being," declares the LORD. "But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word."

Did you pray a prayer at some point and ask Jesus to come into your heart, but it really hasn’t made any difference to you? Is it that you are still are in control, your life is pretty much the same as it was before except you’ve got a Christian veneer? If that causes you discomfort, then I’m glad you’re in turmoil. That’s the whole purpose of the message of Jesus that the kingdom of God is at hand- it better stir us up!

The good news is that God has come in Christ inaugurating his salvation in the world. In Christ (and His Kingdom) there is now forgiveness of sins that sets loose grace and forgiveness among us and to the world. In Christ (and His Kingdom) there is reconciliation with God that breeds a new reconciliation among us and to the world (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). In Christ (and His Kingdom) there is a healing that has begun through the cross among us and to the world. In Christ's Rule there is indeed a new politic, a way of being, living in the life of God made possible in Christ's life, death, and resurrection that takes shape among us and into the world. Behold all things are made new (Revelation 21.1; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Our calling is nothing more or less than to invite the world into this incredible new life. David Fitch

Working to fix our sin is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. We’re going down. Jesus offers us another way, a better way, a way of real life, entrance into His work right here and right now.

Craig Ferguson- broken & contrite

I need help. Repent.

Why do you self-medicate? What do you use?

Some fear they are no longer the hero…they need to be admired!
Others feel inadequate…they need to be appreciated!
Others wonder if they are fully adult…they need to have respect!

Surrender it all to God and join others who are on the very same journey.

I still held on to the illusion that my relationship with God could be separate from the body of people I prayed with. That it could be separate from the community. I lived with the illusion that the people next to me in the pews didn’t matter, that I would go out into the desert and stand on a pole and reach up to God alone. I liked to imagine that the beliefs and recipes to get to God are enough and they exist pure and distinct from the people who enact them ...I learned I was wrong. Lauren Winner


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