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

Transformational Living — Romans 12

I am given grace for MY life. There is a measure of faith given TO ME. I cannot measure my life in Christ against someone else. I cannot live my life in Christ in front of the world as a marketing tool.

Judging yourself with sober judgment is near impossible in a Facebook gazing, self-marketing world. But that is our call.
We need to live in this powerful realization: “I am part of the Body of Christ and what I contribute matters. It may not be noticed or blogged about or trumpeted by others. It may not go viral. But it matters.”
God has given me a measure of faith for my assignment. I am to understand my gifts and live in my assignment. 
 
When all is said and done, Jesus isn’t going to look at how many “Likes” I had on Facebook. He is going to examine how I did with the faith measured out to me. Do I understand the gifts Christ has given to me? Am I being equipped in those gifts? Am I using those gifts?
The power of transformational life is the ability to live joyfully for Christ alone without regard to the measures others may have in their lives, or the measures others may want to put on our lives.
Lord, I need renewed thinking in my life today. May my body, my spirit, my mind be laid before you so you can do with my life as you will. You are King… I am your apprentice.

Transformed Life

As you do all this, you know what time it is. The hour has already come for you to wake up from your sleep. Now our salvation is nearer than when we first had faith. (Rom 13:11, CEB)

“As you do all this…” All what? What Paul has talked about through Romans 12 and 13. This is about living the transformed life. This is about a people who will finally step away from the conformity to this world and rise up to the higher call of living out the Kingdom in power.

It is time for the transformation of the saints to take hold. It is time to hunger for his presence, hunger for his kingdom, and allow the transforming work of the Spirit have the authority in our lives.

It is time to wake up.

A baptism of holiness, a demonstration of godly living is the crying need of our day.
– Duncan Campbell

We Don’t Talk About Expectations in the Kingdom of God

I am beginning to read through 1-2 Corinthians for next week’s service. One of the things we just don’t like to talk about in American Christianity is expectations. Not of each other… but God’s expectations of us. There is a higher calling. We have to “give up to go up.” We are live with the allegiance of a Kingdom in mind.

And we are to be willing to be transformed.

2 Cor. 3:18 talks about being transformed into the image of Christ. The word for image is where we get “icon.” In the Orthodox Church that has significance. There is a high view of humanity. In fundamentalist circles… we’re worms.

But the expectation is clear. Not that we really want to go for it. We are to be icons of Christ. How we walk… live… talk… reflects Christ.

And I thought when I got up this morning my biggest goal would be to exercise…