Archive for the ‘Kingdom of God’ category

The Greatest Words Ever Spoken

December 28, 2008

greatest words

A new book by Steven K. Scott, the author of the best-selling book The Richest Man Who Ever Lived, is entitled, The Greatest Words Ever Spoken. It includes over 1,900 statements by Jesus organized under more than 200 different topics.

The subtitle is – “Everything Jesus said about you, your life, and everything else.” When you read this book , you encounter the living Christ in a way few books allow. When you read the statements of Jesus, unencumbered by additional commentary or explanation, the truth, power and impact of His words become even more evident.

You read what Jesus said about Himself, about His followers, and about eternity. This book is a resource whose value will only increase each time you reach for it and read the “words in red”.

During His time here on earth, Jesus made remarkable promises to each of us who would hear His words and follow them. This book gives us the perfect tool to do exactly that, all the time providing a fresh view of the incomparable Christ.

This book is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and your favorite local Christian bookstore.

What Is Poverty?

October 20, 2008

Sunday night is a time that a group of people from Lifepoint go out to a place in Macon on Cherry Street and 3rd called the Fountain. There is obviously a Fountain there – although it doesn’t work – and it is a time and place for a meal to be given to those who otherwise would likely go to bed hungry. The most incredible thing is that the relationships that have developed are little miracles happening throughout the week.

Previously I posted about Kamara, who is a part of the gathering at the Fountain. This Sunday I was unable to make it to the Fountain and, because he’s my friend, sent word to let Kamara know why I wasn’t there and that I was thinking about him. This kind of consideration is something that I take for granted, but it had a great impact on Kamara. He was blown away that I would be concerned about what he thought and me not showing up on Sunday night. Poverty is living without friendship. When Scripture says for us to love our neighbor as ourselves, it is giving us the opportunity to enrich those around us with the gift of friendship.

This need for friendship is why sites such as Facebook and MySpace are so popular. The currency of friendship never loses value and will withstand any economic crisis. Watch this video and understand that the gift of friendship is the most valuable commodity on the planet.

[this is a repost – the video had problems]

Wine….and more wine!

September 17, 2008

In lieu of the comments from Sunday’s message I feel compelled to bring up the story of Jesus and the wedding in Cana. In spite of the church’s need to display Jesus as a party pooper, he was nothing of the sort. Jesus was, in fact, the kind of guy you would want around if you were to throw a party.

Jesus’ ability to turn water into wine, although very handy, is not the reason I chose to give my allegiance to him. Jesus embodies hope and gives me a reason to wake up in the morning. He sees all of life as a sacred celebration. This story is full of implications that when life seemingly runs out of joy/hope/peace/meaning (wine) he is there to bring it back. When everything seems lost and the party is doomed, look for Jesus like Mary did and he’ll bring the abundant life back to your party.

The biggest thing this story can teach us is seen as John mentions that it took place on the third day. The third day is typical of resurrection, and if so, the first day would be the wonderful – everything is OK  good Friday. The second day would have to be those liminal spaces where we are anything but settled, but the third day is significantly different. With Jesus’ response, the third day becomes a day filled with expectancy and hope.

For us the significance of this story has to go to the jars of water. Prepared for a sacred service they are transformed into functional jars for the service of the people. How much of our own religious world is filled with sacredness. So much so that we overlook it’s functionality to service. If the service needs to change from Sunday to Thursday let’s change it. If we need to sit on the floor instead of pews, let’s do it. If we need to have a true conversation instead of a talking head let’s do it. Certainly in the church there are issues of practicality, but ultimately everything that we do has the ultimate end of bringing people into the abundant life Christ has given to us. Everything is a means to that end – not an end to itself.

Mary knew that the party didn’t have to end. She knew what resided in Christ -and so do we. As we look toward our future, let our response be that of Jesus. Crank up the music, tell the baby-sitter you’ll be late, smile and grab your partner, this party isn’t near over. The best really is yet to come!

Hauerwas quote

August 22, 2008

Stanley Hauerwas is the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School. Throughout his career, he has focused emphasis on the importance of virtue and character within the Church. I found this quote and it embodies what I feel the church is to be.

“The work of Jesus was not a new set of ideals or principles for reforming or even revolutionizing society, but the establishment of a new community, a people that embodied forgiveness, sharing and self-sacrificing love in its rituals and discipline. In that sense, the visible church is not to be the bearer of Christ’s message, but to be the message.”

This is such an important ideal to grasp – especially as we near the hard and heavy election season. Christians are best, not when they seek to infiltrate society and bend it to their will, but when they seek to embody the character of Christ.

The Joy of Silence

July 23, 2008

Silence is a subject that causes us to run. Some run toward it while others run away. In my younger years I would have ran from the silence. I would have needed noise to fill in gaps and keep me from gazing inside at my soul. Now, a little older, I’m finding that more and more I tend to run toward the quiet.

The soul is an amazing part of being human. The soul constantly shows us things and gives us insight, but most of the time we are to loud to hear it. We need television, radio, CD’s and podcasts to buffer us from ourselves. The astounding thing is that if we were to listen we would gain more direction in our lives without having to ask for it.

“The Kingdom of God is within”, is a phrase that haunts me because I think we leave untapped a great resource for living the life Christ told us we could live.

Take time, if only for a few minutes, and sit quietly. Become connected to your surroundings and yourself. In those few moments, a lot can be done in your life and in the world around you.

Uncertain certainty

July 13, 2008

For most of my life I sought after control over the various aspects of my life – job, finances, friends, vocation, etc. In each of these and many more I attained a certain amount of what I perceived to be control. The truth is, I have never had control and neither have you, but I can’t argue that there is comfort in the delusion that we have acquired control.

Lately I have found myself in a remarkable place – mentally and spiritually. In seeking to find “the answer” to a number of things, I have come to the realization that the end result of “the answer” is not near as important as the journey I take in seeking. This is counterintuitive to the nth degree, but the investment of time and emotion spent “in search of” something is vastly more valuable than any found answer.

We have a need to seek, find and move on to something new – a form of spiritual ADD – but taking in the moment by moment events in the journey toward an answer reveal themselves as divine stepping stones, not toward The answer, but inward toward the realm of The Kingdom Within.

In the end, I have found that the only thing I can be certain of is the constancy of uncertainty. If I refuse to act unless I have certainty, I will remain immobile and ineffective. The greatest joy is that the pull of Spirit to spirit is stronger than my need for certainty. So on I go in the journey.

The real revelation is that if we are eternal beings, the journey can’t possibly have an end.

Be like Jesus?

June 23, 2008

We all know and believe that Jesus had a purpose when He was born and in His death and resurrection He fulfilled His purpose. What does that mean for us when placed over the desire for us to “know our purpose” and to “be like Jesus”?

No I’m not proposing heresy, but I am asking that we look closer to the words we use. Cliches become cliches because of the truth they contain. However, through time, the words can lose their original meaning. Yes we all have a purpose, but it doesn’t mean we have only “one” purpose. Jesus fulfilled His purpose not by dying and being resurrected. He fulfilled His purpose by “doing what He saw His Father doing”, by divesting Himself of His own ego and allowing Himself to become “no-thing” that He might be used to do “some-thing”.

This is where we find the reality of our “purpose in life”. Our purpose is to have no purpose – only to do our Father’s bidding. To allow Paul’s old man to die, is to be released from the bondage to the egoic self, the false self and to “be” who God desires us to “be”.


February 21, 2008

I was struck today by a thought that I wanted to pass on to you. In the world of Church, faith is a topic that is tossed around a great deal. We are supposed to have faith for everything from a parking space to healing cancer. I think the more common use of faith is a faith in the ability of others to supply our needs.

There is no need to go into specifics, but I wonder how many people in good churches have been taken to the cleaners by a man or woman who had and “idea from God”. This business idea was supposed to bring great wealth to all who invested and “advance the Kingdom of God”. Typically these schemes rob church people of their money and leave them feeling used and embarrassed.

Why is it that we find it easier to have faith in some outlandish business idea than from God? God has a pretty good track record of doing the things he says he will do.   

What is the Kingdom?

January 17, 2008

No way am I going to try to completly answer this question. I just want to add some thoughts to it. When we discuss “the Kingdom”, what are we really talking about? Christians tend to talk about heaven and the after-life when the topic of the Kingdom is brought up. I’m not going to necessarily object to that, but I do thing there is more to it.

Again, pages and pages could be devoted to this issue alone, but there is a concern that I have. What if we have missed a central area and traded it for a fringe theory? I believe that the calling we have been asked for by Christ consumes much more than just the after-life. I think it is also more than just getting people ready to go to heaven.

Many of our modernistic approaches to Christianity cannot be found in Scripture. We give altar calls, but Jesus didn’t; we tell people they have to go to church, but Jesus didn’t; we tell people things they have to do and stop doing to be able to follow Jesus, but He didn’t.

I’m firm in my thought that there is much more to the Kingdom of God than we have allowed to “meet out eyes”.