Tag Archives: kingdom of God

They’d Give Up Their Kingdom for a King (repost)

“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me.  If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.  They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest!”

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Matthew 21:1

Old Testament wars were wars of conquest and destruction.  When God told Israel to go to war with someone they were supposed to annihilate them. They were to take no plunder, take no prisoners, wipe out everything…scorched earth.

But, the New Testament is a war of insurgency.  It’s war to win hearts and minds.  It’s a rescue mission behind enemy lines.

When Jesus came to Israel they had been looking for a warrior -king in the model of David.  And, who can blame them?  Israel had been in some form of captivity, exile or oppression for most of their history.  The last thing they were looking for was somebody who would free them internally.  The very foundation of Hebrew culture was anchored in laws that were based on external circumstances.  Jesus came so that people could be free in spite of those circumstances…or, even, in those circumstances.

The Jews tried to turn Jesus into that warrior-king.  They wanted to be freed as a nation, not as individuals.  They wanted someone astride a great white horse who would wipe out their enemies, trample their oppressors, exact some revenge and make them a mighty nation.  To this end they gave Him a parade.  They tried to dress Him up as a king thus disillusioning themselves into believing that He was on a horse.  In a warped reversal of “The King with No Clothes” the people tried to pretend that the King was arrayed in splendor, but Jesus knew what the child in the fable knew, that He was naked.

Jesus came as one man healing one person at a time, comforting one person at a time, saving one life to eternity at a time.  He was an insurgent behind enemy lines.  The nation of Israel wanted to be delivered en masse from all of their enemies in one fell swoop.  Jesus came to save them from themselves.  They wanted to be a glorious people in spite of their sin; Jesus came to deliver them from their sin.  Are we Christians, God’s modern daychosen people any different?

We have spent the last few decades pleading with God to vindicate us, to prove that we are right; to lay low our enemies and bring them in droves to fill church pews so that we can revel in the victory of winning some cultural war.  In contrast, we have too often retreated to a “circle the wagons” mentality.  We lock ourselves inside our church walls in the vein hope that we can whip congregations into a frenzy that will unleash our “inner warrior” hoping to bring vindication for ourselves.  On his album, The Soul Cages, the second hand prophet Sting makes a severe, yet completely accurate, observation of why our strategies have been so ineffective.  “Men go crazy in congregations, but they only get better one by one.”

And so, we have lost the culture war.  Why?

…to be continued.

They’d Give Up Their Kingdom for a King

“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me.  If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.  They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest!”

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Matthew 21:1

Old Testament wars were wars of conquest and destruction.  When God told Israel to go to war with someone they were supposed to annihilate them. They were to take no plunder, take no prisoners, wipe out everything…scorched earth.

But, the New Testament is a war of insurgency.  It’s war to win hearts and minds.  It’s a rescue mission behind enemy lines.

When Jesus came to Israel they had been looking for a warrior -king in the model of David.  And, who can blame them?  Israel had been in some form of captivity, exile or oppression for most of their history.  The last thing they were looking for was somebody who would free them internally.  The very foundation of Hebrew culture was anchored in laws that were based on external circumstances.  Jesus came so that people could be free in spite of those circumstances…or, even, in those circumstances.

The Jews tried to turn Jesus into that warrior-king.  They wanted to be freed as a nation, not as individuals.  They wanted someone astride a great white horse who would wipe out their enemies, trample their oppressors, exact some revenge and make them a mighty nation.  To this end they gave Him a parade.  They tried to dress Him up as a king thus disillusioning themselves into believing that He was on a horse.  In a warped reversal of “The King with No Clothes” the people tried to pretend that the King was arrayed in splendor, but Jesus knew what the child in the fable knew, that He was naked.

Jesus came as one man healing one person at a time, comforting one person at a time, saving one life to eternity at a time.  He was an insurgent behind enemy lines.  The nation of Israel wanted to be delivered en masse from all of their enemies in one fell swoop.  Jesus came to save them from themselves.  They wanted to be a glorious people in spite of their sin; Jesus came to deliver them from their sin.  Are we Christians, God’s modern day chosen people any different?

We have spent the last few decades pleading with God to vindicate us, to prove that we are right; to lay low our enemies and bring them in droves to fill church pews so that we can revel in the victory of winning some cultural war.  In contrast, we have too often retreated to a “circle the wagons” mentality.  We lock ourselves inside our church walls in the vein hope that we can whip congregations into a frenzy that will unleash our “inner warrior” hoping to bring vindication for ourselves.  On his album, The Soul Cages, the second hand prophet Sting makes a severe, yet completely accurate, observation of why our strategies have been so ineffective.� “Men go crazy in congregations, but they only get better one by one.”

And so, we have lost the culture war.  Why?

…to be continued.

Worship in the Desert

“…Let My people go, so that they may worship Me in the desert.” Exodus 7:6

You might think that I’m going to pick up where I left off in “Stressed Spelled Backwards…” and you would be right! When I wrote that one I had no intention of it being a two part post, but here it is.

Before this morning I had never noticed why God wants Pharaoh to let His people go. Well, I knew the other reason…the one He gave Moses at the burning bush about a land of milk and honey, but I had never seen this one: “so that they may worship.” He sayssome variation of itseveral times during the Exodus story: Ex. 5:3, 8:1, etc.

Well, that certainly puts a new twist on the Israelites time wandering in the desert, doesn’t it? They were there to worship. What? Huh?

Don’t argue with me about it. It’s right there in the “Great BigBook of Everything”. Read it for yourself,”so that they may worship.”

Yeh, I know that they started out in the desertbecause they had been set free (look for an upcoming post about being set free to worship) and that theywandered around for forty yearsbecause of their disobedience. But, those are causes (because). Causes are seperate from purpose. They were in the desert to worship, but just because God, or our own behavior (read: disobedience) puts us in a particular situation doesn’t mean we fulfill our purpose while there.

The Israelites’ misery was a result of their attitude not their circumstances. God had sent them to worship. They decided to whine, instead. And,their whining was just self-imposed bondage. From God’s perspective the desert was a place for them to be free to worship in their circumstances.What God intended as wide open spaces of His boundless provision, the Israelites turned into a death march. Too often our short-sightedness holds us captive inspite of God’s freedom.

In our conferences and training sessions at Worship Concepts Network we emphasize the difference between “have to” and “get to”. When doing Kingdom work we don’t “have to” we “get to”. We don’t have to spend extra time rehearsing our part…we get to; we don’t have to get to church early to set up mics…we get to…; we don’t have to visit the shut-ins…we get to; we don’t have to work at the soup kitchen…we get to.

Moving from the sublime to the ridiculous; we don’t have to clean the toilets…we get to. Get the idea?

Think I’ve gone over the edge on that last one? Even after their disobedience, and I recognize that it was a punishement, the “children of God” didn’t have to wander in the desert for forty years…you guessed it, “they didn’t have to…they got to!”

What isn’t going your way? What are the unbearable consequences of your actions? What weight are you carrying? What overwhelming circumstances are you sloggin through? What toilets are you cleaning when you wish you could be doing anything else? What bricks are you making without straw? What desert are you wandering in?

You don’t have to…you get to. Regardless of where we are we have one purpose…to worship…to be worship. Worship isn’t the result of where we are. It’s the result of who we are…children of God.

We don’t have to be His children…we get to!

In Remembrance

“…I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22:16

But, Jesus does eat it again. He does drink again from the fruit of the vine. He does them over and over againevery timeHis Body does.

The fulfillment of God’s kingdom came when Jesus became the sacrificial lamb, when He died on the cross for our sin. What Christians do now in communion is the fulfillment of The Passover. What the Passover started communion accomplishes each and every timeHis Bodyparticipates in it.

Caveat: as long as we participate in it asa healthybody.

Is there descension in the Body? “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there…and be reconciled to your brother.” Matt. 5:23,24

We don’t just participate in communion in remembrance of Jesus, we do it as Him. Not us personally, but as a body…His Body. If there is trouble between two parts or members of the body then something is wrong. Imagine the liver attacking the spleen. Or more realistically the immune system rejecting a new organ that was intended to make a body whole. The body is sick. In the body of Christ when one part attacks another it means that Jesus is sick (it sounds pretty severe to say that Jesus is sick, doesn’t it?)

If there’s anything I’ve learned from my addiction to the TV show “House” it is that when there’s an infection in the body “all hell breaks loose”. The entire system suffers. Even healthy organs are affected. And the breakdown only gets worse until it is reconciled. White blood cells may defeat the problem internally, medicine might cure a chemical imbalance, cancer cells might need to be removed…whatever the problem is it must be reconciled to health or inevitably the result is death.

When we take communion are we doing it as Christ’s healthy body? Is He breaking bread and drinking from the cup through us in fulfillment of His kingdom? Or is our hardheartedness, unforgiveness or disobediancea sickness, a malignant cancer in His body?

Imagine the joy Jesus must feel when His healthy body takes communion. How His aching stomach must be satisfied and His parched throatrelieved whenHebreaks bread and drinks from the cup because we do it in rememberance of Him. We are Him! We’re His body!