This week I spoke on “The Kingdom.”
Here are the next steps questions for this message:
- What did you discover from the message?
- What intrigued you?
- What challenged you?
- What is your next step to apply what you heard?
Here is the audio of the message I shared:
Here are notes from the message:
In light of the tragedies we’ve seen in our country, we have grieved for the loss of life alongside the families of the police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge along with the Sterlings and Castiles.
An article asked the question: Who will heal America?
I was surprised to click and find this picture:
What if we had a super candidate? Like this one:
I don’t mean to sound politically agnostic, but like the band just sang the Avett Brothers song: “Ain’t No Man able to save us!”
At least not no ordinary man.
I want to start with end of the message at the beginning: No ordinary man – Jesus – brings healing!
I know we are all here from different vantage points on our spiritual journey, but I want you to know I have discovered Jesus can bring healing like no man or woman I have ever met.
Here’s what’s amazing: because I believe He still lives in the hearts of those who follow Him, He uses people of faith to bring healing!
You and I can be a part of changing things!
We need change in light of the injustice and violence all around us!
We need hearts to change for laws and policies to change. We need new policies and we need people of faith in government!
Too often politicians are reactionary and true change must come from the ground up.
Deeper than politics, we need hearts to change.
Abraham Lincoln once said:
“With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. He who holds public sentiment goes deeper than he who erects statutes or pronounces decisions.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. similarly mentioned how
“the Civil rights Act was written on the streets before it was ever written in the halls of Congress.”
So how do we do this?
How can we be the answers to the prayers of those who grieve and mourn?
I believe if every person who claims to follow Christ lived out this one verse, everything would change.
Now, if you are here not yet following Jesus, today I am giving you an inside look at what should be or what could be. Consider this your chance to be in the huddle and hear the play being called.
Getting Past Ourselves
Here’s the verse:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20 NIV
If you follow Jesus, you have died with Christ and no longer live for yourself. We give everything to Jesus and He gives back what is best for us. We begin to live following His lead in every area of our life! Living by faith rather than giving into fear and selfishness.
Our default is to be influenced by our culture rather than transforming culture. We default to selfishness and fear.
- We worry about ourselves.
- We get bogged down with temptations.
- We give up on our faith when circumstances become challenging.
- We remain too busy to serve others and make a difference.
- Our relationships fall apart.
You see, the natural momentum of life in this broken world is towards selfishness and towards breaking up. Without any effort
- marriages fall apart
- friendships end
- families disperse
- companies go bankrupt
With God’s help and with effort, we can reverse the natural drift towards falling apart.
When we choose to follow Jesus, we are called to something so much more!
Not about religion but a relationship.
He’s not asking us anything we cannot do with His help. Just be faithful!!
Wait a minute? How come the world isn’t better if the USA is a Christian nation? All we need to do is get back to the “good ole days!”
When were the “good ole days”? The good ole days for some were not the good ole days for others. I think our future can be far better than our past!
I think rather than a Christian nation, we could more accurately describe the United States as a nation informed by Christian principals or even a nation formerly known as Christian.
Too often, people who called themselves Christian did not represent the love of Jesus. Instead they would judge others who were different or would act like they had it all together. Others who called themselves Christians would hide from the world rather than expressing God’s love for the world or they would live just like the rest of the world with no difference in how they treated others or how they related to others.
Getting Past Just Talk
Another life-transformative verse is this one:
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.”
1 Corinthians 4:20 NIV
Too often, we talk about faith, but we don’t allow God’s power to work in us and through us.
We need to stop talking and start living how we are called to live!
Jesus revealed a new invisible kingdom. He was not here as a political Messiah. Jesus brought the eternal into the present. We do not have to wait until we die to enter this new kingdom. We enter this kingdom when we enter into a relationship with God. This changes everything!
Jesus prayed to the Father: “Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”
Repeatedly, Jesus used the words, “the kingdom of heaven is like…” (Matthew 13:31, 33, 44, 45, 47, and so on). Jesus was describing a kingdom that no one had ever seen or experienced. His kingdom was very different than any other kingdom. Rather than advancing a kingdom through war or conflict, Christ’s kingdom is advanced through peace and love.
Our calling in life is to serve the King by serving others outside of this kingdom. We must infiltrate earthly kingdoms by guiding others to switch their loyalty to Christ’s invisible kingdom. Stepping into the invisible Kingdom reveals our destiny. We discover who we are meant to be and what we are meant to do.
Consider Jesus’ words:
““Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
Matthew 10:37-39 NIV
Consider: the disciples did not fully know how significant what Jesus was saying was at the time. For Jesus would one day be carrying a cross on his way to the crucifixion.
Jesus has not invited us to follow Him for what we can get, but for what we can give. We are to die daily!
Spiritual principle: What you reap is what you sow. Another way to say that would be: you give life away, you experience life.
Too many of us are trying to hold onto something that isn’t ours!
When you lose your life that is when you find your life!
We have to die to live! Jesus had to die on the cross in order to rise from the dead.
Some of us have been holding on to our lives so hard, we haven’t yet risen from the dead!
There is no resurrection until after the crucifixion!
Jesus points out that He needs to be our priority – even over the family we come from, the family we have, or the family we want to have. He is trying
Ironically, when we die to ourselves – we become better people to the ones we love.
When you lose your life that is when you find your life!
Getting Past Fear
“Courage is not the absence of fear but absence of self.” – Erwin McManus
What is keeping you from living out who God is calling you to be?
Too busy? Too afraid? Too overwhelmed?
The world needs you and me to live out who God created us to be!
Start with dying to yourself at home and at work. Bring peace everywhere you go!
Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared. Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.”
Proverbs 3:21-27 NIV
Are you withholding the good God has for you to do?
How do people perceive you? See you as a servant? Or a tyrant? Or a grumbler?
Are you known by love? By your faith? By the hope you bring?
Become more like Jesus means to be more willing to serve.
Who are you serving?
Neighbors? Co-workers? Family? Unlikeable people
Getting Past Scarcity and Privilege
Out of gratitude, we serve!
He doesn’t have to do anything else for me!
He doesn’t have to answer any other prayer for me!
With great privilege, comes great responsibility. “To much is given, much is expected.”
We come from a remarkably long line of people with genuine faith. We have an incredible bloodline.
- People who died who refused to deny that Jesus was alive.
- People who went into the city to serve those with disease even as others abandoned the sick.
- People who advocated for the rights of children, women, and freedom for those enslaved.
Gateway – “No Perfect People Allowed” began in 1998. “Come as you are” before anyone else. Some of you were here. Your friends didn’t get it and may have even encouraged you to be a part of a different church. You helped us reach people and serve people. You helped people find faith and grow in their faith. You gave of your time and of your finances! You helped us build a campus Gateway North. You helped us start a Gateway Central. You helped us build out Gateway South!
The world needs us to be all God created us to be!
God has promised that healing can come through people of faith…
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14