Mark 2:22 (NIV): And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”
What Jesus is doing can’t be fitted in to the existing ways of thinking and living. If people try to do that they’ll have the worst of both worlds. At the time, this meant that Jesus’ powerful kingdom-ministry couldn’t be fitted into the ways of thinking that his fellow first-century Galileans already had. They needed to think differently, to think bigger, to get new wineskins for the new wine he had to offer. Most people are threatened by that kind of challenge. (NT Wright, Mark for Everyone)
Here is the message from Jesus: The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel. (Mark 1:15, ESV)
I like the Common English Bible on this one: Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!
Continue reading “The agendas that ruin us”
As I walk through Ephesians I am struck again by the power the Church has in Christ. Yet, we stumble around without much of an idea as to who we really are in the kingdom of God. Continue reading “The Clueless Church”
I have finished my little project in Acts and am now making my way through Ephesians. This small letter has played such a massive role in my life in the past 20 plus years, it is a joy to walk through these passages again. I simply can’t grasp the majesty and wonder of what Paul poured into these words. Continue reading “Mind-blowing realities of the Kingdom of God”
As I keep moving prayerfully through Acts 5, I am struck by how I like to emphasize things in my preaching and teaching.
I love Acts 5:12-16. Peter’s shadow falling on people heals them and delivers them from demons! Who wouldn’t like that? Who couldn’t preach on that? Continue reading “The enemy shows up when things are GOOD”
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
The Lord wants to reveal his glory to his people. But that glory is only revealed through the work of the cross.
Lord, teach me to die daily. It is YOUR Kingdom work, not mine.
Verse 16 — “And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” Continue reading “Fumbling the keys of the Kingdom”
“…the interior life of the Church is then one of selfless love so fully exercised that, within its communion, the structure of its ministries coincides exactly with that of interpersonal relationships and the whole is the visible manifestation of a community that so gives itself unselfishly in love and service that it cannot fail to touch the world outside, both as a community as through its individual members who perhaps spend their lives principally among non-Christians as ‘children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world’ (Phil. 2:15).” — Hans Urs von Balthasar, Engagement with God Continue reading “The power of the Church in this world”
Reading for today:
Psalm 42, 43, 85, 86
Gen. 46:1-7, 28-34
1 Cor. 9:1-15
Our need is to turn our minds to Christ. Our problem is that we are self-obsessed.
“Teach me your way, Lord;
so that I can walk in your truth.
Make my heart focused
only on honoring your name.” — Ps. 86:11
Some thoughts from Life Without Lack, Dallas Willard’s newest book:
We need our hearts and minds turned toward Christ. Our trouble is… ourselves. We too often operate out of hurt. Wounds we have received become our focus. (Hit your thumb with a hammer and notice how much you think about that thumb for the next few days.)
Hurt in our lives can become a prison. That, in turn, becomes our frame of reference as we turn to others. What flows out of us? Hurt. We end up wounding others and cause a literal “world of hurt.”
We are a world of individuals trying to become our own saviors.
The need in our lives is the fullness of the gospel. It’s not the transactional gospel of “say the right words and you get into heaven.” It’s not the social justice gospel of filling in the gaps we think Jesus left behind on this earth. It IS the gospel of the availability of the kingdom of the heavens through trust in Jesus Christ.
In is about Christ with us. It is about the abundance of the kingdom of heaven (John 10:10). Our minds need to dwell on the richness of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Our hearts and minds are incredible. We can absolutely think on Christ. We can choose where our minds dwell. That is the incredible beauty of the mind created by God in the first place. We are magnificent beings with immense possibility. That is what God has created!
I am tired of being my own savior. It’s worn me out. Trusting Christ? The focus is truly “mind blowing.” The Kingdom is vast. it is beautiful. And I have decided I simply won’t settle for anything less.
Reading for Today:
Psalm 70, 71, 74
1 Cor. 6:12-20
The beauty of walking through Scripture on a regular basis is we can keep gaining from familiar territory. Too often, we may read too quickly because we get a mentality of, “Well, I know that story.” Regular rhythms that have us constantly in Scripture can be helpful, though. It helps create thirst. Continue reading “Creating thirst for the Kingdom of God”