Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Politics of the Kingdom of God

It's called the, "Kingdom of God" for a good reason. The word Kingdom means a political realm or territory under the control of a King. Jesus knew exactly what he was doing when he called it a Kingdom. He was setting Himself up against Caesar, who was the most powerful King in all of the world. Jesus took a hard stand. He called people away from one government to another. Away from one King, in order to follow the REAL King.

Sounds like preacher language I know. Sorry about that.

So why have people who claim to have taken on citizenship in Jesus' Kingdom begun to care so much about the the politics of the country they live in? Jesus made it clear that he stood in opposition to all other Kingdoms. So why then would we expect for other Kingdoms to follow the way of Jesus.

Why would we try to get laws passed to hold others to the standards of our King?

Why do we protest each time our values are not represented by our country? Come on, you don't really think this is a "Christian Nation" do you? Lets get real. To be a Christian is to follow Jesus. Can a nation follow Jesus? Besides that, about 12% of Americans are currently a part of any local church.

We should fully expect that the values of Jesus' Kingdom would not be followed by our nation. We must learn to accept that. Move on. I don't care if its Gay marriage, or abortion, or anything else. We cannot expect our government to follow Jesus. And when we do, and we protest and shout and eat fried chicken sandwiches and post angry meme's on Facebook we remind America why they left the church long ago.

So chill out. Expect America to make decisions you don't agree with and move on. Do what Jesus did. Love the God with everything you have. And love your neighbor as yourself.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Kingdom of God is like Disney World.

Some people say...

The Kingdom of God is like Disney World!

Others say, The Kingdom of God is like Six Flags!

While others say, The Kingdom of God is like a rock concert!

And still others say, The Kingdom of God is like the Super Bowl!

But the King of this Kingdom says, "[No], the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Open Apology Letter to the members of the Institutional Church of America

Dear American Institutional Church members,

You must know something about me.  I've struggled with the sin of pride since I was in high school.  I'm around so many encouraging people that it was hard not to get hyped up on myself.  It got a lot worse when I came to college.  Everything I did (except my grades) seemed to be overwhelmingly successful and people kept praising me for it.  And my massive head kept growing.

I've come a long way in the past 4 years in shrinking this ego, but I have come to the realization that in one major way a lot of shrinkage still needs to happen.  And this is where my apology comes in.

You see its really hard not to jab and critique the church when you are a seminary student.  Believe it or not, you are actually required to do so quite often if you want to get that expensive piece of paper that says you smarter than you actually are.  (all it really says is that you are a glutton for punishment)

Here's where I went wrong...

1) I used social media as an outlet to express my frustrations.  These things are better left to personal conversations with trusted friends and mentors.  (Thanks to my best bud Brent Bailey for teaching me that).

2) When I did that, I sometimes did it in a way that made it sound like I thought I was better than them because I was doing something different.  The reality is, the Lord has called me to something that he may or may not call you to.  You should do what the Lord calls you to, no more, no less.

For these things I am genuinely sorry.  I'm sorry I hurt you.  I'm sorry I said things you weren't prepared to hear.  I'm sorry I was not careful with my words.  I'm sorry I did not have these conversations in person.  I'm sorry I didn't always do it out of a motivation of love.

I'm sorry.

Okay, hopefully at this point you've found it in your heart to forgive me.  If not, go check out Luke 6:37, hopefully that will change your mind and you'll forgive me ;-)

Now that you've forgiven me, lets get to the good work.  The work of unity.  This was Jesus' dying prayer (John 17:20-21).  So if that was this important lets get to it.  Unity does not mean conformity.  It means that despite our diversity and unique characteristics we will love, encourage and support one another.  I'm not going to ask you to come and do things your way just like I don't expect you to do that to me.  What I do hope is that we will come together, listen, and do what Jesus wants us to do.

Lets be prayer partners.  Lets be dreamers.  Lets be friends.  Lets be neighbors.  Lets share meals at the table together.  Lets share our lives with each other.  Lets join together in the good work that God is doing to reconcile all things and all people to himself.

Lets challenge each other.  Lets grow together.  Lets share prophetic words with each other that make us better followers of Jesus, and lets do it out of love for each other and for the Body of Christ.  Lets love and celebrate our differences and the way our unique design contributes to Christ's body and grows His Kingdom.

I want to learn from you.  And I hope I have something that you can learn from as well.

Let's be friends.  Because I think Jesus wants us to be.

Thanks for forgiving me,

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Missional Church Part 5: A Dream

This is part five of the series.  Make sure you read parts one-four first to get the full picture.

A Dream
I have a dream.
I have a thirst for this dream that cannot be quenched by anything less than Christ Himself.
I have a vision for a church without walls.
A church that is as mobile as the wind.
A church that multiplies like rabbits in the Spring.
A church that loves each other more than family.
A church that walks in humility.
A church that gives good news to the poor.
A church that proclaims freedom for prisoners.
A church that gives sight to the blind.
A church that sets the oppressed free.
A church that proclaims Jesus’ reign over the powers of the world.
This is the same dream that Jesus has for His Church and we must settle for nothing less.

Missional Church Part 4: A Small Taste of Hope in a Baby Church

This is part four of the series.  Make sure you read parts one-three first, or else you may find yourself lost.

A Small Taste of Hope in a Baby Church
I am part of a very young organic church that meets in our apartment and various other homes. We began two years ago, but slightly less than two months ago we birthed two churches out of the one. So the church I am currently a part of is only a few months old. We are very much still a baby church. But the exciting thing about babies, is that they have such amazing potential, especially when nurtured well under the reign of Jesus.

We are organic and we are simple. We are a community of daily fellowship. We make time for each other throughout the week to intentionally spend time growing our friendships and blessing one another. Jesus is our Supreme authority. He is the master of ceremonies anytime we gather. We make abundant space for His voice to be heard. We are also led by the priesthood of all believers. Everyone has equal voice in our community when we gather. No one preaches, instead all share from their hearts and share what God has been revealing to them throughout the week. There is no overhead cost because we don’t have a building or any paid staff. Our tithes are used instead to bless the lives of those God puts in our lives in service of His Kingdom. Each of us are in very unique and different places in life and thus spend much of our time in different contexts. We encourage each other to constantly be paying attention to what God is doing in our own contexts and to be bold in our participation of that work in order to more fully participate in God’s mission to reconcile all things to Himself. When we gather, we then share our stories with each other. We like to ask the question, “what has God been doing in your life over the past week?”  It is vital that we share these stories with each other to better understand God’s mission and our part in it. We are still a baby church. But like all babies, we offer great hope. We offer a hope of what Christ’s Church has the potential to become.

And that is good news.