The Kingdom of God belongs to the seriously messed up

“When Jesus described himself as a physician to sinners, a healer of the inner life, he was calling himself much more than one who associated with the broken, more even than one who could and would forgive them for the damage they had wreaked in their relationships with God and with one another. He was claiming to be one who could take damaged souls and restore them to health… He actively sought out the broken, not to pity them but to transform them.” — Chris Webb, God Soaked Life 

reconciliation

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2016.08.28 – Transformed by the Word featuring Pastor Vicki Higgins

“2016.08.28 – Transformed by the Word featuring Pastor Vicki Higgins”

A sermon from Heights Church. More information at HeightsChurchMN.org

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2016.07.24 – Battlefield of the Mind featuring Pastor Brenna Zeimet

“2016.07.24 – Battlefield of the Mind featuring Pastor Brenna Zeimet”

A sermon from Heights Church. More information at HeightsChurchMN.org

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Resurrection thinking

This passage from N.T. Wright’s work, Surprised by Hope, gets to the core of what I believe is needed in our day. We need new thinking. We’ve been trapped in political, binary thinking for decades and it is crippling our ability to move forward as the Body of Christ in a post-Christian era.

The reality that is the resurrection cannot simply be “known” from within the old world of decay and denial, of tyrants and torture, of disobedience and death… the resurrection is not, as it were, a highly peculiar event within the present world (though it is that as well); it is, principally, the defining event of the new creation, the world that is being born with Jesus. If we are even to glimpse this new world, let alone enter it, we need a different kind of knowing… 

That last phrase I emphasized myself.

We need a different kind of knowing. We need a Kingdom knowledge that is there but we’ve been unwilling to tap because we didn’t see the need.

Now, we need to see the need.

How to live in the change

We are watching major culture shifts, political shifts, world shifts all around us. These are “dynamic” times. They need not be fearful times! As the people of God the constant exhortation is fear not. 

With these major shifts, how do we live IN this change?

Don’t be full of anxiety

We get upset. We decry the “fall of America.” We get too tangled up in being American AND Christian.

We are going to learn what it means to be the MINORITY REPORT. We have had the majority voice for so long, but most of the world just doesn’t operate that way. It’s time to get out of our bubble. DO NOT FEAR. DO NOT BE FULL OF ANXIETY.

We need the power of the Holy Spirit to help us adjust. We need constant prayer. We need constant learning. We need to give up the political action and power we have had for so long. Don’t look to ANY political party to solve issues. Work with them? Yes. Rely on one party to carry your agenda? Forget it. We need to walk in the Spirit so that no matter what, we learn to live in Kingdom goodness.

BLESS the culture

Joseph, Esther, and Daniel were all in enemy cultures. They had been ripped away from what they knew and plunged into enemy territory. Daniel and Esther were captive. Their country was gone. Yet, they lived in Babylon and Persia, SPOKE THE LANGUAGE, learned the customs, and still held to their faith. Joseph rose to the top because he could AID the Egyptian ruler. Daniel rose to the top of government, the ENEMY government, learning to hear God and BLESS the king. There was even the episode where Nebuchadnezzar had a vision that would mean his demise and Daniel wished it WOULD NOT happen! We need that kind of heart.

We need to walk in the Spirit

Over and over I will say this. We need to walk in new ways in uncharted waters.

Old paradigm: If we didn’t get our way, we would sue! We would VOTE! We would demand “godly” leaders. We became one issue voters. We ACTED. We went for the VICTORY. We saw things in terms of “winning” and “losing.”

New paradigm: Where do we see the activity of the Spirit in this culture? Where do we see opportunity to BLESS? For us, it’s been in feeding teachers, or helping on community committees, or serving on neighborhood boards, or speaking out against injustice. Find the places of AGREEMENT.

Let us live boldly in the change.

Empowered for witness

Rather, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

17 But thank God that although you used to be slaves of sin, you gave wholehearted obedience to the teaching that was handed down to you, which provides a pattern. 18 Now that you have been set free from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness. (Rom. 6:17-18)

The Holy Spirit, above all, is about empowerment for witness. The most powerful “witness” is the transformed life. Too often we think of “witness” (as believers) as something we do. 

We “go witnessing.”

The call is to be witnesses. The transforming work of the Spirit, molding us into the image of Christ is the most powerful witness. Our call is to be transformed. 

empowered for life