The true POWER of the Kingdom

Luke 8 lays out several areas where Jesus demonstrates his authority. The Kingdom is powerful over nature, demons, death, and sickness.

Then, in Luke 9:1-6, Jesus tells them simply to go repeat what they’ve seen him do.

They obeyed.

Here’s our challenge: Don’t argue yourself out of a victory. 

If Jesus said, “Go do this. The authority is yours. I’ve shown you,” it’s not the time for a philosophical argument. It’s time to listen and obey.

Proclamation and Demonstration

When Jesus arrives on the scene in ministry (Matthew 4), he arrives with a powerful message: “The kingdom of heaven is arriving.”

This SHOULD call for a response.

Then, he demonstrates the power of the kingdom. The sick are healed. The demonized are set free.

This king means business. 

It, of course, draws a crowd. Out of that proclamation and demonstration, Jesus can then see who truly wants to understand the kingdom. This is when he climbs the hill and begins to teach. Who will follow him? Who will sit through just teaching and hear what the Kingdom of God is all about?

The proclamation and demonstration were not the end. It was about getting people to pay attention and then pave the way for explanation. And the demands of the Kingdom needed explaining. (There ARE demands of the Kingdom, by the way.)

If the King has truly arrived. If the Kingdom is truly “at hand,” there is a demonstration of that Kingdom. There is also a confrontation because the allegiances of this world do not give up that easily.

We need to live our lives in Kingdom power. We need the understanding of the Kingdom in our minds and spirits. We need the sense of that Kingdom’s allegiance full in our awareness. And the living out of the Kingdom of God then brings the power of the Kingdom in ways we simply could not imagine.

I pray we are so full of the Spirit, so full of the power of the Kingdom, so aware of the power of the Kingdom all around us, we walk our lives in a way that stir up thirst and hunger in others. I pray our very lives make such a difference in people we interact with on a daily basis that there really is something demonstrably different in the way we carry ourselves and the way people are impacted by our presence around them.

Lord, help us live in Kingdom power. 

Sermon on the Mount Graphic

The Ordinary Life

In Acts 3, Peter and John were on their way to prayer. They were doing the ordinary stuff of life when the extraordinary happened: the healing of the lame man.

They were not on their way to a healing crusade, so they brought the man with them (or gave him a flier hoping he would attend).

God is ready to use the ordinary routines of your life to do something that really could be extraordinary.

Don’t wait for the healing crusade or the “great evangelist.” You might be the one to stretch your own hand out and see something special happen.

What Is It That We Have?

One of the great challenges for our contemporary church is this question: What do we have?

We need this ability to hear the voice of the Spirit and act.

But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold! But I will give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, get up and start walking.” (Acts 3:6, CEB)

 

The Politics of Power

For years I have had the realization that American politics is ONLY about power. I have carried no delusions about my party winning and then God would bless America once again. It is straight up power. They can yack about how they have the will of the people in mind, but when they get elected… game over. It’s about power.

David Brooks hits the nail on this head in this column. He says it far more articulately that I ever could. This paragraph is spot on:

“…populism is popular with the ruling class. Ever since I started covering politics, the Democratic ruling class has been driven by one fantasy: that voters will get so furious at people with M.B.A.’s that they will hand power to people with Ph.D.’s. The Republican ruling class has been driven by the fantasy that voters will get so furious at people with Ph.D.’s that they will hand power to people with M.B.A.’s. Members of the ruling class love populism because they think it will help their section of the elite gain power.”

Home run, Mr. Brooks.

On the Republican/conservative side (which is the source of my political upbringing), it was about saying to the right people, “Vote for us and abortion will be illegal. Vote for us and we’ll defend marriage.” Guess what? Nothing happened. They controlled the White House and both houses of Congress and did nothing on either issue.

On the Democrat/liberal side, it was about saying to the right people, “Vote for us and the poor will be taken care of. We will have healthcare reform. We will end global warming.” Guess what? Same story.

It’s about power. Their power. Now, with the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing corporations and unions to pour millions of dollars into campaigning for their candidates, you really need to know your voice will never matter again. We will just shift from PhD’s to MBA’s and back. We’re the tennis ball in the rich boys’ tennis tournament.