Tag Archive: kingdom of God


words

I enjoy words, but there are just some that stand tall above the rest.

And I’m not just talking simply about nice sounding words here like ‘eclectic’, ‘spelunking’ or ‘gratuitous’, but words  with meanings attached that as a concept are particularly attractive.

One word that has really grown on me in the hugest of ways over the last few years is the word as well as the concept of ‘Interdependence.’

What is particularly powerful about this word is that it emerged Phoenix-like out of the ashes of the very similiar sounding word ‘Independence’ which is a word we grew up being taught by society and the media was one of the foundations to a successful life.

Independence = It is all about me.

Interdependence = It is all about us. 

interdependence hands

The African concept of ‘Ubuntu’ comes to mind. The idea that a person is a person through other people. The interconnectedness of people.

The Biblical concepts of ‘kingdom of God’ and the church being the [collective] ‘body of Christ’ hold fast to this idea, when lived out as Jesus called us to.

Jesus’ call to honour and love someone else above yourself [with the idea that when community is functioning as it should, the other person will be doing the same and everyone will be lifted up [as they would if they were each chasing independence] but with the added injection of relationship.

i think i am a long way away from really understanding the extent of what this word interdependence means, but i am attracted to it and will continue to chase after it, hopefully alongside other people, because i imagine this is a word we will figure out well together.

And so there you have it – interdependence is another word i really like – i would LOVE to hear a word you really like…

interdep[To see another word i really like – Uber – click here]

the kingdom of heaven is like...“the kingdom of heaven is like…” and so Jesus begins two more stories both mesmerising and confusing his audience, but definitely giving them something to think about… and these are some of the simple thoughts i had as i looked at these two brief parables found in the next section of Mark…

Take a look with me at Mark chapter 4 verse 26-34.

these parables of the kingdom help remind us to be filled with hope as this is God’s kingdom and He is going to be the one responsible for making it grow – we just need to be faithful and obedient to what He has called us to be involved with.

to continue to the next passage and read about Jesus sleeping through the storm, click here.

As we look at Mark chapter 3 verse 20-27 i take a bit of a reverse glimpse of it by looking at denominations vs denominationalism [or as i sometimes refer to them in talks as demonisations which is what we make of denominations when we start worshipping them or who they are] and encourage each of us, whether we belong to a denomination or not [don’t get me started on “non-denominational”], to be keeping the kingdom of God and the greater church in mind as we live out our Jesus-following lives…

Take a look at Mark 3 vs 20-27

denom

to continue to the next one and see Jesus’ thoughts on family, click here.

continuing my journey of reading through the psalms at a leisurely pace, making some observations as i go along, inviting you to jump in to the comments section with a verse or idea or question or wrestle that possibly jumped out at you as you were reading this particular psalm:

for me it was verse 4 which immediately jumped out at me: ‘The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.’

i remember reading an article in reader’s digest by kirk douglas of all people titled ‘You know how to make God laugh?’ and the answer was ‘Tell Him your plans!’

and it’s true. and reminds me as well of the story Jesus tells in Luke 12 of the rich fool who gets a good crop and responds by saying, ‘”What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.” And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘

But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God.’ [Luke 12.16]

Another passage that comes to mind in terms of trusting own plans vs God’s is Proverbs 3.5-6 which says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.’ Which is good to view alongside the whole second half of Matthew 6, but specifically verse 33 which goes, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well.’

We are invited to live life in relationship with God and hold our plans loosely before Him. This psalm gives a glimpse of those who try otherwise…

And then the second verse that stood out to me was verse 8 which says, “Ask of Me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.”

Which speaks to me of a God crying out for us to use our imagination and consider for a moment the resources available to us. Ephesians 3.20 reminds us that the God we serve is able to do “immeasurably more than all we hope or imagine” – Am i hoping and imagining big enough? God’s hoping and imagining for my life extends to nations and the ends of the earth. He is calling us to greater things [as defined by His kingdom, which is key]

so much more oozing out of such a short psalm, but those are two things i take from it today… what did you get?

[To continue on to Psalm 3, click here]

[To return to the start of this series on Psalms or some other Bible things, click here]

i really enjoyed enGAGE (our sun evening congregation) tonite

i was away for two days this week so didn’t do my traditional thursday morning sermon prep and so yesterday (sat) i put some stuff together and it felt decent, but when i was looking over it today it suddenly clicked into place and i really felt super amped about it

and then when i was preaching tonite i just had a sense of God telling me not to hold back but to preach the powerful word powerfully

[a glimpse into the context of this is that the first sunday of this term about a month ago we had our biggest enGAGE meeting of the year – 40 something people, yeah tough year – and i challenged the okes on commitment as i was going to be looking at reaching out into the community and wanted to get some continuity from week to week – anyways next week we had 15 people, then 12, then 20-something, so not really sure what’s with the numbers – been having great times together, just few people been coming]

anyways i just really felt God saying i needed to preach His truth and not worry if people left because of it or cos i knew there were people in the congregation who wouldn’t be particularly amped to hear what i had to say…

and i did. and it wasn’t a particularly revolutionary message except in the fact that it was completely revolutionary

has felt for a while like the general population of enGAGE and maybe beyond enGAGE as well are in a bit of a ‘bleargh’ place in terms of life and God and just a bunch of apathy with regards to getting themselves out of it or being proactive at all – just kind of happy to stay in that space…

and the message in a nutshell was about the kingdom of God colliding with your life, and about the need for people to GYHOOYA (get your head out of your…), about God wanting your most precious thing (abraham’s isaac, the rich young man’s money/stuff), the response of Job (1.22) and David (after bathsheba son death as a result of his sin) to God in worship and the woman caught in sin to live worshipfully…

with the bottom line being that it is not all about you – it is ALL ABOUT GOD!

the point is – you can’t do it! the point is – you have nothing to give! and the point is that we have to die (john 12.23-24) to be of any use – we have to deny ourself and take up our cross and follow Him (luke 9.23-26) – that God chooses to use the weak and foolish (1 cor 1.26-31) to bring about His kingdom

and that when you are bleargh and apathetic and a little overwhelmed with life, then you need to read hebrews 12 (all of it) and verse 12 which says ‘strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees’ followed by ‘ make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.’

[and i’m not sure i understand what the writer was intending with that second verse cos it looks like part of it is a quote, but the way i understand it is that you need to make a level path for your feet – if the level path was made for the lame person it wouldn’t help cos they are still lame – so that you are able to get to them and bring healing to them]

and then verse 25 (in the context of really go and read the whole chapter) – SEE TO IT THAT YOU DO NOT REFUSE HIM WHO SPEAKS – powerful, powerful phrase… and it finishes off with 28 which says, ‘Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

i read and use hebrews 12.1-3 a lot and think that i have missed this end bit so much because of that, getting stuck in the beginning – which itself is incredible stuff – but this is a warning from God (coupled with warnings in matthew 7 – Lord, Lord, did i not do all this stuff in Your name? – and Revelation 3 – because you are neither hot nor cold I am going to spit you out – and a variety of other places

but finally, in and thru all of this, it is God who does the stuff – you’re weak? you’re unable? you’re bleargh? you’re apathetic? you’re overwhelmed? it is GOD who does it all – you just have to turn to Him – and…

‘Did you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.’

[isaiah 40.28-31]

see to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks…

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