Our great calling

Matthew 5:14–16 (NIV): 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

We are blessed by the Kingdom. (The Beatitudes is a list of losers. It is demonstrate that no one is beyond Kingdom blessing.)

We are empowered to obey. The King calls for our allegiance and empowers us to walk in that obedience.

We are called to transformation and transforming work in this world. It is a work that will not overthrow empires. It is a work that transforms from within.

This is the work of the Kingdom of God. This is the way shown in the Sermon on the Mount.

It’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer

I need the Daily Office. I need the daily confession. I need the daily reminder of the creed. In this time, it is even more vital.

The Sermon on the Mountain is calling out to me again. I am writing with more purpose, deciding to write out my thoughts on the Sermon with as much fullness as possible. Honestly, I want a book length product. Not to publish. Just to know I can do it.

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So… how AM I doing?

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are vicious wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do people get bunches of grapes from thorny weeds, or do they get figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, and every rotten tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit. And a rotten tree can’t produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, you will know them by their fruit.” (Mt. 7:15-20)

This leaves me with a sense of evaluation. Only this evaluation can’t come from ME. It must from others around me.

How IS my fruit? How AM I doing?

The Pharisee in me

“For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisee, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20)

For us, as self-righteous white conservative evangelicals in America, we can all too often quickly declare, “Done. And done. I’m not a Pharisee!”

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The power of the Sermon on the Mount

Since reading Dallas Willard’s book, The Divine Conspiracy, about 20 years ago, the Sermon on the Mount has been more influential in my living and study and mindset than any other portion of Scripture, with the possible exception of Ephesians.

Can you tell I get something out of it?

This is the fascination and wonder I will always have with Scripture. Every time I move through even the most familiar passage, I am stunned with something new. It’s a joy that often leaves me asking, “When did they put THAT there?”

Our grand invitation

Matthew 7:13–14 (NIV)
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

I recently finished up another journey through the Sermon on the Mount and come away once again with awe. The Kingdom of God is so grand and powerful and our King invites us into this incredible life.

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Disordered faith

Matthew 6:28–31 (NIV)
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

Whenever Jesus gets to that phrase… “you of little faith”… (and he does it a lot)… I feel small. How come I don’t have enough faith?

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