Grappling with Kingdom

Chosen Ones
People of God
People of the Way
Children of the Kingdom

You will find in my archive thoughts written on

We are defined by our commitment to the Kingdom of God
We are of a different sphere; realm; source
Live by different nature (order, essence) of Kingdom
Responsible as those to give our lives and to live to the full
In Kingdom, our lives come/hold together
The process is under-way, the Kingdom has, will and is coming
Holy Spirit working in us to conform us to the image of Christ

Before going further let’s define Kingdom in its Biblical usage

‘It is God’s absolute life, God order over all things. All universe subject to God’s plan and by God’s authority works to serve/fulfil this purpose.

God has a goal for everything created.

History will one day be seen to be Gods-story.     Everything moving to its destiny.

Your destiny is God’s purpose for you fulfilling your destiny is completing God’s purpose.      Your freedom is found under God’s grace.     Paul said the ultimate conformity to Christ will be achieved by one being transformed through the ‘renewing’ of our minds. Rom 12:2 The mind being our greatest problem it is right that it is here we first encounter the demonstration of Kingdom power.      God described the difference in his way of thinking and ours.

To fulfil God eternal purpose we have to develop a mentality that holds to the way of God, the life of God, the thoughts of God.       God’s way of thinking about the whole of life: family, job, money, sex, health must become ours.       It is living inside the framework of a God thinking that causes us to triumph in life in this age. Rom 8:5-6. The hallmarks of a Kingdom mentality are:
Realising I am a spiritual being first and grasp life from this spiritual reality
Seeing the invisible: Abraham/City, seeing the church of God as a wall-less city made up of people displaying, living in Christlikeness
Quickened by continuing revelation in the word
Appraise everything from God’s perspective 1 Cor. 2:14-15
Moving/living in Spirit
Not intimidated by fear; we have love; peace; a sound mind
Not shared by temporal ‘meet/drink’ but enjoying righteousness; peace and joy in the Holy Ghost – this is the Kingdom of God

As already said our greatest battle is with our mind, not powers or principalities or men.        The only way that anything can come back at you, is if you have something that is hidden of unforgiveness in your life.     Jesus said that when the satan would come and would not find anything in him, nothing Jesus corresponding to the devil.

That in Christlikeness will be true of you? It is in these areas where we shelter or hide things belonging to the devil that the enemy builds ‘strongholds’. 2 Cor 10:3-5 These become enemy base-camps in our lives.

How does the enemy go about building a stronghold in our minds
Resurrecting past: memories Psalm 25:7
Through our reading; imagination
What we focus minds on
The baggage of concerns, fears, worry we carry around, mental oppression
Holding resentment; bitterness; lust; greed; withholding forgiveness
How do we counter the enemy?
We must allow Christ’s mind to be fully in control in us 2 Cor 10:5
Harness loose thinking Col 3:1-2
Pull down every thought and take captive. 2 Cor 10:5-7
Fill our mind with Gods Word  Ps 119:11
Focus on the right things. Phil. 4:8; Col 3:2

Super spirituality is fake-spirituality (often manifests in an affected voice, and various religious quirks -)

It is the consequence of a non-Christlike mentality Col 2:18

God said Gods thinking – which should become ours – is on a different level

Those who are establishing the order of God that is the Kingdom in their environment and in their lives are people already have the ways of God in their minds; Heb. 8:10, they are lead by the Spirit people. This, in turn, is activating powerfully by the Spirit in Sanctifying us – we are being transformed by the Renewal of our minds. Rom 12:2

Religion does two things to us, it introduces a lifestyle of delay and distance, where all that God is has done and brought about is in dispute in regards to God.    Everything is ours from Gods perspective, we have been given everything NOW to attain Godliness.   Now we are made a new creation not in the sweet by and by.    Immanuel, God has drawn near according to Gods love not that we have to get near, for this is the Kingdom of God.
We are actioning a way of life that could be called a kingdom impact on us 1 Peter 1:13 doing so in clarity/decisiveness. We should be particularly watchful in the questions we entertain in the mind.    The vast difference between asking a question – To gain an understanding of ‘questioning’ in the sense of inferring or Untruth or wrong motive.

These are rooted in enemy mind as seen in Eden when the serpent asked such a question of Eve “Hath God said…”
Questions that undermine Gods faithfulness
Questions that question Gods integrity
Questions that question Gods love; ability or will
Questions that reinforce a wrong image of God
Questions that undercut hope/faith
Questions that strengthen negative thinking

The second way the Kingdom demonstrates its power in us is over our Emotions

God is a God of moods but not a moody God. Consider the accounts in the word of those who were not in control of their emotions and see the pattern of destructive consequences.
Samuel/King to rule over Israel
Moses / Rock (struck)
Micah despising David dancing before Ark
Rich young ruler – went away sorrowful
Demas / loved this present evil age
Diotrophes / loved to be first in everything

We are people of the day, we are sons of the Kingdom, we are people of God the ways of the Father, Son and Spirit have become ours the Kingdom is here


Made for Purpose

Destiny, Purpose, I have something to do, my calling, much is said about all these terms within church life but what do we actually mean by them.   Are we seeing our unique life, gift and character in the plan of God or do we actually mean we can get caught up with the belief that each life has a purpose each life has a destiny in self-serving?    Is destiny and purpose about pouring out one’s life for the sake of another, the other being Father, Son and Holy Spirit.     

We mirror and take on the way of God and serve, emptying self for the sake of another.   I long for a deliverance from this self-seeking life we seem to be encountering today on every hand.   Politically in the UK around the Brexit talks, we hear “for the sake of the country”, in other parts of the world it is so often about securing self whether it be an individual or country it is not often to the advance and empowering of others. 

I’m challenged as I hear the language of empowerment and honouring yet see more rooted in self-serving action rather than self-emptying.    I long to live in a world where people are more interested in “carrying each other’s burdens”, “preferring one another” which is much more about pouring out a life for the sake of the other person.   To live in a world, a Christ mirror world that as the older saints used to say is “living your life for the sake of another”.     In a world of dominance, of individualism and consumerism with all the ‘I’s” we endorse, we do not hear or see words of honouring or empowerment but self advance.   At worse this self advance is on the back of others, but a Christ follower will lift and establish others even at a personal loss.   

I watched again recently a small section of the film ‘Passion of Christ’, it just happens to be on, as I watched I was overwhelmed at the cost it attempted to be portrayed, this cost really cannot be portrayed by humanity, the thinking of divine purpose and has pored outness.  The emptying of self, how can we portray the cost of the purpose of God and Christ living out a pored out life.   A life to firmly plant humanity in seeking of Christ in a rich relationship, one within the Divine movement.    

The Genesis narrative in Chapter 2 outlines God planting, making a prepared garden, an Eden garden.  A garden divinely prepared with everything woman and man required, ‘Ish’ and ‘Isha’  humanity placed in a world, an environment that was prepared out of Gods love for Gods image and likeness.   A Garden of Gods love that held all, perhaps as Paul said to the Ephesian church “…every thing unto Godliness has been given to us…”, this Garden of love’s preparation contained everything humanity required.     Back to my point, Christ was Gods prepared garden,  we are placed be “in Christ”  and everything required is found in this garden of God’s love, Christ.    Humanity is placed in the wide open rich place of Christ.

This celebratory Garden flowing from a poured out process, came about as Christ took on the will of another “not my will but you will be done…Father”.    Could this be the garden we are to offer to our world a self-emptying, to provide an environment for all to live!   God out of love prepared creation for humanity, Christ out of love prepared a place in the rock, Christ Jesus,, Christ-like people to prepare a garden of love for humanity in being and seeing their purpose and destiny to live the will of God while living for another, humanity re-creating creation bringing liberty in healing creation Romans 8 tells of a cry being silenced due to the freedom of humanity, the freedom to live for the other.

I would suggest then that live our destiny, our purpose is to take on the aim and purpose of God, then and only then we will have a destiny, all other self-seeking destinies are substandard. The Bible writers, at least the New Testament writers summed it up in this way, that Christ might fill all in all,  if we do not understand this we will be deluded into thinking that my whole life is about discovering my specific calling.     But really God has a grand purpose for my life, I must reflect and live that out, and in shaping my explanation of God to a whole world I will realise my specific calling.  This will come without thought of title or position but only with Christ filling.

It really is about discovering the divine purpose and focusing on God, discovering that we are here to journey not just to arrive at some destination.   An adventure quite often has turns and bends that often surprise us.

Perhaps we don’t start at the right starting place, perhaps encouraging others to start in the wrong position. We are made before anything else to deepen our relationship with God to focus on God. Investing in our relationship with God above all else, realising that finding this focus in God helps us to realise what we are becoming rather than getting fully occupied with what we are doing. This breathes life into us. Perhaps the best way of saying it is to ask myself what really makes me feel alive?

A good friend of mine who ministers in South Wales called Ray Bevan once told me that if you have passion people will always be influenced. He pointed to the music world, in that the bands that make an impact are those that are passionate about their music and passionate about their words. Passion causes momentum. Passion, the passion that which burns inside you that causes others to catch alight. The last thing we need is a plan, not an instruction we need a fire.

I wonder if I could ask you a question or better still ask you to finish this line “ if I could do anything, without any restrictions on me I would …..” when you enjoy something you will thrive.

One of the greatest gains I have found is the ability to understand yourself in the midst of great purpose. As I’ve read various books on Nelson Mandela’s long journey it was clear to me, one of his greatest gains was understanding as he put it  ‘his enemy’, which gave him an understanding of self. The ability to develop disciplines within our lives to get to know ourselves is of great power and help. Spending time to understand the ways and the fingers of God in my life as he wove me together in my mother’s womb.

One of the dangers in this journey touter dates destiny of God is wanting to know the end, so concentrated at the end will only delay or dis-enabled you to advance, the over-emphasis of eschatology rather than living Christ-like now will slow all our advance down.

Another danger is to overthink, thinking of the things that could go wrong, thinking what people think of you, rather think what small step can I take this week to explore my passion to find my purpose.

The growing and overwhelming consumer culture are all-embracing on every continent. It might manifest in different forms but people want to consume. Even the church wants to consume leaders, resources to achieve its status and its position. In the world, we live it is far too easy to find our identity in what we consume and spend our money on.  Our lives are to be an offering, making a difference for Jesus sake and restoring our world.

We live in extraordinary times when our societies are getting tired of corruption when people are beginning to ask for something different.   a world that knows a world that is just using all resources fo self cannot continue.   A Cry for simpler, people conscious, empowering, living for the benefit of the greater good, a life of freedom.   A Christ centred life…let the extraordinary place you find yourself in produce in you…

I was not a messiah but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances  

Nelson Mandela

Choosing teachers, disciples

It was early morning, the sun was rising a wonderful new day, crisp sunshine, fresh new colours all around but things had changed. The hope, the incredible circumstances disappeared, he had been so violently taken from me Mary thought. When Mary Magdalene woke up early that Sunday morning and made her way to the tomb. Finding it empty, she asked what they had done with Jesus. Turning around with tears in her eyes, I wonder if it was one of those slow turns that took so long, but really it was seconds, there a gardener stood busying himself with caring for creation. He and she stood together in a garden, she was about to play out a narrative that would recreate, to eat from the tree of life just as ‘Ish’ and ‘Isha’ had done at creations dawn, what a great cause was about to be corrected.

Little did she know what she was about to play out, she mistook Jesus for the gardener, the creator, for a gardener yet it changes as soon as he called her by name, she recognised him. Her identity was established in the sound of the voice of Christ. Who she was Magdalene “strong tower”, a tower to the work of Christ, the first one following the resurrection to be a sent one, sent one, commissioned by the very sound of Christs’ voice, the one who was spoken of long ago “light be and light was” now speaks her name.

In the sound of her name, a response came, “Rabboni!” (John 20:1-16).
“Rabboni” (“my teacher”). The first thing that crossed her mind when she discovered the gardener was alive, was that he was still available to be her rabbi, that she could still be discipled by Jesus.

Here is a question, “Have you, like Mary, chosen Jesus as your primary teacher?” The one who cares for your garden, the one who created the garden of your life? Will you take on this gardeners burden, this teachers cause? For this gardener not only does he understand photosynthesis, but he is also the light of the world (John 1:4; 8:12).

This one that opens Mary’s world and is also wanting to open yours fully, not to religious knowledge but to a relationship. Not to structures of conformity but to the wide open space of freedom of a life lived by the life of another, not I live but Christ.

In the speaking of Mary’s name and yours you will find not only a gardener but an invite to a daily life school, from medicine, Great Physician (Mark 2:17).
An engineer and architect, who has designed and is building the church, that has stood the test of time (Matthew 16:18; John 14:1-4). For the mathematicians, you’re going to be amazed at what he can do with a few fish and loaves (John 6:1-15). For financiers, he can show you where to get an eternal return on your investment (Matthew 6:19-24; 25:14-30).
As the King of kings, he can teach you anything you want to know about politics (Revelation 19:16).

Rabboni. The first title was given to Jesus after he rose from the dead!
God’s word is meant to fill our minds, flow from our lips, and find a home in our hearts.

In handling the word of God you and I have choices, its’ either going to be a textbook, just a dry system of facts that we study so we can pass the test of being able to quote scripture. Yet it is not meant to be a book of information; it’s a book that brings about transformation. When we engage the Word of God, something happens, it is alive—literally! God breathed the “breath of life” into it and it lives and moves and has a life for us, as God began with Adam, Eve and all living creatures (Genesis 1:30; 2:7; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

This Living Word that is the person of Christ, is peculiar, the Word has a purpose that cannot be thwarted, that is this Word accomplishes its predetermined intentions. A Living Word (Hebrews 4:12-13). The Word is a mystery revealed, a song is sung, a way of life presented. They are meant to be pursued and experienced.

Teachers of old, and probably some today, for example, those who taught the Law, the Old Testament had a way of removing the living beauty from God’s Word. We cannot allow this Word to become dry and dusty, shrivelled and crystallised. SO well dissected, the intricacies of Scriptures are killed as debating points.

Jesus in handling his instruction spoke with authority and life flowed that made him the centre of attraction, life begetting life. Jesus from his own living union with the Father and Holy Spirit flowed with a dynamic that handled all he had been given, which in turn he said he had given to the disciples. Jesus one day was asked a question “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25-37). Hold up, how can this be, are the words used correctly, it is wearied, you don’t earn an inheritance, you receive it don’t you. How can you do, to inherit? Inheritance is not a reward? Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” The teacher of the Law answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). Jesus affirmed that he had answered well, but the teacher of the Law couldn’t help himself. He continued to dissect God’s word by asking, “And who is my neighbour?”
Jesus, immediately tells a story we call the Good Samaritan. Jesus answered the original question now in such a way that treated the Word as a living, infiltrating our “soul and spirit, joints and marrow,” for the living Word of God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

I have this funny thought regarding this Jesus Teacher, we say that the best influence is when you have suggested a direction forward and the listener has taken it on board, and now thinks it is their own idea or thought. Jesus similarly when he taught, his listeners often didn’t realise they were being taught, this is masterful in every way. Powerful instructor, an amazing discipler!

Jesus grew people as he drew on their lives cycles, he stood in the field of their lives and took real things, close things to peoples lives. The teaching came from life as he spoke to people about their day, fishermen “fishers of men”. farmers planing fields, shepherd losing sheep. He took relationships that were broken, tense and challenged, look at relationships between people, children and parents, people and government, differences that separated people and used them as examples, pulling people into their classroom of life. The School of the Spirit was not behind a desk or in set teaching times but it was constant and always in session with Jesus.

I wonder how Jesus changed his language for synagogue and street, I wonder for publicans and Pharisee what his vocabulary was like, however, he reached into life and taught the teachable.

The choice of material that so fitted people caused them to continue with field work, animal husbandry, baking bread through their day, they thought on, what did this Jesus mean when he said “seeds”, “planning”, “lambs” and “yeast & dough”?

To understand meant you chewed over and over again the thought, teaching this way, Jesus revealed the heart of those listening as well as planned Word and truth, life and relationship with the Father which is seen in doing the Fathers will.

If you weren’t open to the things of God then you could just dismiss his stories as interesting but ultimately meaningless. But if your heart wanted the things of God, then you would dive into the parable and find the truth, and upon discovering that truth, you could respond.

Jesus had a way of taking old and making new, he took old ways and put new rhythm and sound into them while reforming thought and understanding “you say, but I say”, he would adjust and bring about liberty. As Jesus took his place to teach people, stood to listen and take on board they mind already and soul open asking what will he say next.

Now for you and for me this same amazing living teacher is there for us, the crowds of old stood and took note, you today can be taught by him. Listen, be open, malleable, ready to change be flexible and sure of this teacher, this Jesus Christ will amaze you.

People Joined To an END

Are we?

How do we?

What does it look like? 

I recall way back in the ’80s and 90’s a number of people I knew began a process of pressing education, in order to be a relevant voice in the generation in which we lived.   The process had a goal, to be relevant, an informed voice, undergirded by the total conviction that the church was to be the vehicle of the Kingdom, bringing the character, nature and order of God into our worlds, whilst being a catalyst for the Restoration of all things society, education, care, health, economics, and that this was the will of God as Christ would remain until a “season of restoration” Acts 3.

At that time I also joined the pursuit, in undertaking a pathway toward achieving an MBA.   At that time Business Science was being heralded as a new science.    The book for many that began the journey of business writing was “In Search of Excellence” by Tom Peters, it had great influence on many, and I still think undergirds much of business, especially industries that have to consider customer care.

This book considered design, improvement, and diversity, Peters said ‘excellent firms don’t believe in excellence…only in constant improvement and constant change’.    this thinking came on the scene when the work environment was busy breaking down workers and their work in set routes, timed routines got tasks achieved, becoming like machines, all the unnecessary was eliminated.   Life, in turn, became full of theories and routines which are becoming increasingly irrelevant to our world.   

Our world is certainly changing to the point that socially and  politically, it is beginning to look very different, the surge of the right wing,  the entrancing of nations into tribal thinking with worries about borders, the continual wars and local battles, the major corruption that is slowly taking advancing nations backward, into developing nations due to men and women at the top grasping power and money rather than streaming and serving the people.   People who are power hungry at every level. 

Theories, theologies don’t create but people are captured by a life they have seen in the future, or as the scriptures relate,  to manage that is to come.  

To be a people with the culmination of Gods end governing us, not achieving what we think the end looks like but aligning ourselves to the end God has revealed and is revealing.

David was a man who was connected to that which was to come, he was joined to the end in the immediate.   He could not build the temple but he did bring continuity by gathering all the materials, the trees were still planned and left in the ground not stored in the shed, to become a fully mature promise,  therefore a provision for another generation with a continual purpose.

The end continues to mature us, what God is after, is the only means to bring about a mature bride,  living with Gods end and intention in view changes everything Restored to God sultanate beginning.   God began with an end completed and set about as an outflow of love to bring Gods’ ultimate desire, Christ in all things, a family of people that reflect totally the Son which means the exact reflection of the Father by the life lived by the Holy Spirit.  

Therefore our quest now is living in the light of the ultimate which as in the garden has this question for us, how to be joined to the end?  a people living accordingly NOW, with all their efforts and maturing, to look like that NOW, making decisions in light of Gods’ goal.   How would my decisions change if this was life’s’ compass?

YOU ARE TO BE JOINED TO THE END PERSON, joined now to the resurrected Christ that fills all, that created all for him and through him.   The whole creation will respond with Sonship – better make sure we are living with the culmination in mind.   This opposes living for now with the individualist lifestyle, the life of amassing, but the life of self-emptying, participation with each other and God.

Joined to the end is a way of life

It is a way of living

It is an enabling, a direction deliver, a diversion former

It governs time, money, effort, application, friends, what and where I live.

Handling CRISiS, i’m learning.

Most of any one who takes responsibility for something will at some time feel or find themselves in a crisis of some kind.    it comes with the responsibility of decisions, and the changes that are required.   First we really  need to recognise the circumstances and moment we find ourselves in, a great old metaphor is, and some times this happens for us all, it is the putting a frog in hot water, the frog won’t notice the water is heating up until is too late.   Todays changes and shifts are happening so quickly the heating up is intense.   The questions is what can the frog do? 

We may have patterns of old, or handed down pathways, or ‘confidence’ keys, those keys used reliably in the past, at hand however we discover they don’t work or they just don’t fit, as every situation is unique.   Most shifts and changes are unpredictable, catching every one one us off guard.

We step back and take an over all view of all that is going on, if our emotion lets us, we ask what is actually going on and what does this mean to our lives, family and community?    what will be the long term impact?   how threatening is this?   Life was so simple before this!   

How ever the answers don’t have to be complicated.    Try these

Contain the moment and don’t get into panic mode:    to make decisions it does not help when we are under stress, be carful you don’t get into survival mode, beginning to get defensive is an indicator.   Deflecting responsibility tells you you are in crisis.

In leadership as a comment Rudy Giuliani (Mayor at the time of the twin towers) said “it is in times of crisis that good leaders emerge”, the true leader, here is willing to take responsibility, people who take pressure.   those who can rally people.

Avoid rushing into plan quickly:    when a change happens unfortunately it does not have  a start point or an end point, so creating a plan on many moving parts will not help.   once you allow time you can see mentally what is going on and the a course of action can be plotted.

Inspire and gather:   Know who is in this with you and for you.   There is time to find out and ask for more from them.    People by being reasonably distant  can see the forest for the trees.   People around you, trusted people can see the risks better than you, they can pinpoint events that you will miss.

Create a Story:    When influencing a community create a change story that is credible, relevant and emotional.    try telling the story in a paragraph or less with a tone that is meaningful, in order for people to grasp.

Find a simple message that people can attach themselves to .    A community that has a crisis will be willing to try radical moves that normally would not be considered and the bold steps change trajectory normally.

In Community Build a new team and take on new energy:    you need two types of people on the new team, one that can see beyond the moment and crisis, who understand people and can think ahead of every curve.   They will create value by aligning with the future if allowed to?   The other is some one with knowledge of all the ins and outs of the surrounding environment, of the people around.    These are the people that can put into gear the turn around but they don’t lead it.   

An American General of recent years  said “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through the arguments, debate and doubt to offer a solution every one can understand”.   

Whether you are leading your self or a community, when crisis comes simplify or seek people around you who can if you can’t.