Posts filed under ‘King Jesus’
As we move through Matthew 24 we are looking at the prophesies that Jesus makes to see if they were fulfilled during the 40 years or so that immediately following the time He spoke these words. There are several different prophesies in 24 and I wrote about a number of them in the last post. Even though I will not take the time to do it, it can be shown that all the prophesis of 24 were fulfilled during the time period Jesus said they would and there is no need to be looking at the “signs” of these current times to determine when Jesus will return.
Here are two of the remaining ones that get peoples attention.
A great tribulation: For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occured since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. (24:21-22)
Futurist teachers say this time of great tribulation (greater horror than anything the world has ever seen-NLT) will come at a time, yet in the future, just before the end of the world. Christians, especially western Christians, have talked so much about this horrible time it has taken on a life of its own own- known as- The Great Tribulation.
If you know anything at all about the time when Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed, you know it was the most horrific of times, perhaps not in magnitude (6 million Jews slaughtered by Hitler, the killing of millions in Africa in the 20th and 21st centuries are both larger in number) but certainly no period of time rivals the anguish and suffering of the days that occurred during the Roman siege of Jerusalem and the total destruction of the Temple.
Josephus, (the dude has his own website [HERE] and he is nearly 2000 years old!) perhaps the best historian of that period, tells how the Jews committed unthinkable atrocities to each other, including cannibalism, during the famine I wrote about in the last 24 post. He tells a story of a woman murdering her little boy, cooking and eating him and then arguing with thieves who broke into her house looking for food, as to who would eat the other half.
During the famine Jews swallowed diamonds and other precious stones in hopes of escaping and carrying them to a safe location. The Romans knew about this ploy and captured these men and women and cut open their stomachs and intestines searching for whatever they could find. They ripped open dozens of empty stomachs to find one with a diamond.
Titus put a stop to that kind of torture but the Romans found other ways to massacre Jews. Jewish men, desperate to find food for themselves and their families, would try to escape the city only to be caught by the Romans who would cut off their hands and send them back into the city. Josephus writes that 500 men were whipped, tortured and crucified, everyday. There were so many crosses at the gate of the city they ran out of room. This slaughter continued until there were less than 100,000 Jewish people left in the city and these were led off to captivity in Egypt or given by the Romans as gifts to the leaders of nearby provinces to be used for sport in their coliseums.
When Jerusalem was destroyed it set off the killing of Jews in other regions and countries surrounding Jerusalem. Even places where the hatred of Rome was nearly as great as it was in Israel joined in the frenzied genocide of the Jewish people. You can easily find periods in history where more people have been killed, but the violence during the AD 70 tribulation of the Jewish nation was extreme in its horror.
One of the problems I have long had with The Great Tribulation is attempting to vision how things could be worse then they were during this historical period. We have seen and will continue to see horrible treatment of human beings by other human beings, even treatment as terrible as it was during these days but we will never see a time where the torture will be worse. To suggest there is a tribulation of greater horror than these days, prophesied by Jesus yet to come, is to miss the point.
I was going to write about the anti-Christs too but will add that in later. Can’t stomach any more today.
My point with all of this will be made clear in the days ahead but I need to say this: A Kingdom view of the end of days focuses not on how bad it is or how bad it might get but instead focuses on making ready a victorious Bride for the coming of the Bridegroom and the establishing of an unshakable Kingdom, one rescued life at a time.
The American church especially, has spent so much of it’s time and resources warning people about the perceived horror of The Great Tribulation and visualizing some AntiChrist in every leader they don’t agree with, including the current president of the USA, while ignoring the strategic mission of the Church.
Our mandate is to change the culture by being salt and light, bringing real hope, real healing (especially physical and emotional), real deliverance (there is a war out there) and real freedom by loving people, especially those who “persecute us and say all kinds of ugly stuff about us, which is untrue” (Matthew 5:11)
It doesn’t matter, in fact won’t matter, what any world leader or culture does if the Body of Christ will actually be the Body of Christ. We must stop looking for the return of Jesus and start being Jesus. I am pretty sure the point of His leaving, was so there would be billions of Jesus’ to do the job rather than One.
His Kingdom will come and His will will be done on earth in the same way as it is in heaven, not when Jesus returns or we are jerked out of here but when each one of us, operating by the Spirit in the ”spiritual places” wages war and takes back the territory lost in the garden proclaiming Jesus is Lord to the glory of God, one day at a time, one person at a time, one situation at a time, one location at a time.
Trying to re-fulfill prophesy is a monumental distraction we do not need to waste our time on.
Question #1 When will all this take place? (24:3)
Matthew 23 flows into 24 with, as you know, no chapter break. In vv.1-2 of 24, Jesus repeats again that the Temple was going to be totally demolished. Immediately after His prediction, Jesus and His disciples take a walk up on to the nearby, Mount of Olives (24.1) When Jesus sits down to have a private conversation with his disciples on the hill across from the Temple, they are looking right down on the place they had just left. Mark’s account of this conversation confirms the disciples were facing the Temple when they asked the 3 questions (see 24.3 for content of 3 questions).
So, if you were one of the disciples and your leader has just told you the building at the heart of your whole religious and cultural life is going to be pulverized, what would you want to know? I would want to know when this dramatic and life changing event is going to happen, wouldn’t you?
Now, the futurist teacher assumes the disciples were asking about the end of the world, but that is the third question they ask, not the first. To Jewish boys, like the disciples, their first concern was for the Temple, because destroying the Temple would be such a huge event to them, they had to be wondering if such an event might not be the end of the world. It had to be shocking to them that God’s holy Temple would be destroyed. What would life be without it? To these simple men, whose whole history was wrapped up in the Jewish life and faith, the Temple was as central as anything in their lives. To think of it being destroyed would easily have made them think their whole world was coming to an end.
We will come to questions 2 and 3 another time, but for now let’s answer the first question with the context just described firmly in our minds. When is the Temple (and potentially all of Jerusalem) going to be destroyed?
Have these words of Jesus already come to pass or are we still waiting? To meet Jesus’ time table of the Temple being destroyed within the “generation” of those to whom he was speaking, the Temple would have to be destroyed by AD 70, about 40 years (a generation) after His prophetic statement. Did that happen?
Within 40 years after Jesus declared judgement, 20,000 Roman soldiers, under the command of General Titus, surrounded the city for four months, starving the citizens of Jerusalem. Then the soldiers marched into the city and without mercy slaughtered more than one million Jews. The soldiers set the Temple on fire and took nearly 100,000 Jews into captivity. Nothing much is heard about the Jews for the next 60 years until they attempted one more rebellion against Rome. After 3 years of fighting, the Romans crushed the rebellion, killing another 600,000 Jews. Israel was not recognized as a nation again until 1948.
The Roman soldiers so demolished the Temple that every stone was carried away and the land on which the Temple stood was plowed under until absolutely nothing was left, just as Jesus said it would be!
Jesus’ answer to question one is in 24:34 “I assure you, this generation, will not pass away until all these things take place.” If we take His answer literally and understand a generation to be 40 years, then Jesus’ answer was right on. The Temple was destroyed just as He predicted.
Now, the futurist teachers see all of the events in Matthew 24 happening not in AD 70, but 2,000 plus years (and counting) into our future. They do not accept that the “generation” Jesus declared in both 23:36 and 24:34 is referring to the “generation” alive when Jesus spoke these words. Sometimes they redefine “generation” to mean “race,” as in the Jewish “race”, so they say the Jewish race will not pass away until the end of the world, which we continue to wait for. Futurists must give the word “generation” some other meaning, other than the commonly held 40 year period, if they are to make Jesus’ predictions yet to be fulfilled.
But why would you explain it that way? Why would you not just take a plain, literal explanation of the text? If you have no Left Behind books, no Scofield Bible, no prophetic TV to watch, no dispensational theology to confuse you, and you read Jesus’ words without any coaching and with only history to study, could you or would you see His answer as referring to something yet to take place, now more than 2000 years into the future?
The disciples ask a simple question of Jesus, as they look down on the Temple they were just in, from the hill right across from that building. It is the question I would want answered if I had just heard that the religious and cultural center of my life was to be destroyed.
If you were given a prediction of the total destruction of Washington DC, the White House and all the other monuments in our nations capitol, by a person you considered to be trustworthy and your promised Savior, what would you want to know?
I would want to know “when will all this take place?” and I certainly would not expect the answer I received would be about something totally unrelated and 2000+ years into the future, would you?
I can’t imagine it. Jesus knew exactly what He was speaking about, and everything He prophesied between Matthew 23:36 and 24:34 took place just as He said it would, during the generation that was alive when Jesus spoke the words.
While this blog is not the place to try and speak to all the predictions found in Matthew 23-24, I will attempt over the next post or two to write about some of the other predictions Jesus made that some how have been moved from the 40 year period that followed His speaking them, to a day yet in the future. (if all of the predictions in 24 are already fulfilled we are free to read Daniel 2, 9 and Revelation in a very different way. More on that later.)
If you have read this stuff to this point you might be wondering why you should read on or what my point is. Here is my reason for putting so much of myself into this study and asking you to work hard to understand it: What Jesus predicts in these verses is ugly, negative, vicious and life changing for those who live or die as they go through it. The futurists, of all persuasions, tell us these terrible times are still in our future. Some futurists say the Church will be raptured out before it gets real bad and so find “joy” in the signs of the times. Other futurists predict we will be here for all these events, while some others say we will stay for half or less of the bad days. If we choose to believe their report we spend our time and energy in certain ways.
However if we see these events as already fulfilled in the 40 years immediately after they were predicted, then we are free to live another way, building the Kingdom that will never pass away, the Kingdom that cannot be shaken, the Kingdom given to us by Jesus to advance, until as His Bride we are fully clothed in His righteousness and purity, radiantly displaying to the world the glory of His presence. His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth just as it is in heaven. Why destroy what you have called your Kingdom citizens to advance?
Before I jump into Matthew 24 here is this morning’s Henri Nouwen devo. It has Kingdom all over it:
The opposite of a scarcity mentality is an abundancy mentality. With an abundancy mentality we say: “There is enough for everyone, more than enough: food, knowledge, love … everything.” With this mind-set we give away whatever we have, to whomever we meet. When we see hungry people we give them food. When we meet ignorant people we share our knowledge; when we encounter people in need of love, we offer them friendship and affection and hospitality and introduce them to our family and friends.
When we live with this mind-set, we will see the miracle that what we give away multiplies: food, knowledge, love … everything. There will even be many leftovers.
Now on to 24!
Question #1. When will these things happen?
The disciples ask Jesus three questions in Matthew 24: …Tell us, when will these things happen and what will be the sign of your coming, and (what will be the sign) of the end of the age?
Some translations, maybe even yours (for example the KJV) ends this sentence with the word “world” and in doing so makes the 3 questions into an inquiry about the second coming of Jesus and the end of the world. What happens when the word is translated world is it moves the focus of these questions on to a summary of what the world will be like just before it comes to an end, rather than a “simple” asking of questions related to what Jesus has just spoken about.
But the Greek word aion can also be translated, and in my opinion should be translated, “age“. By translating aion as age, or a period of time, and not world, we are not tempted to move the fulfilment of this text from its first century setting into the 21st century. The ending of an age and the ending of the world are two very different things.
The Kingdom view attempts to read nothing into the text, to not see a summary, but 3 distinct questions about how the current age, the age the disciples were living in when the questions were asked, would end. 1. When will these things happen? 2. What will be the sign of your coming? 3. What about the end of the age?
When we make a decision, to let the text say what it says without adding or summarizing, it frees us to understand the answers Jesus gives to these questions in a very different way than the futurist sees them.
So, first question; When will these things happen? What are “these things”? If you have been taught, like I have the futurist view, we immediately think that “these things” refers to events that will happen right before the second coming of Jesus. But what does the context of Matthew 24 tell us? Many of you have been reading it and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach you, so before you read my answer to the question, ask yourself, what is the context here? What is the conversation about? What is Jesus talking to His disciples about? Take a minute and read the chapter. Start back in chapter 23 and let it lead you into 24.
Jesus is speaking in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The first thing He does is warn the crowd and the disciples to be very careful about the Jewish Temple leadership. You can see this in vv.2-12. Next Jesus turns to His disciples and, with no mincing of words, rips the religious leaders. The flavor of His comments are clear: v.13 … woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. v.14…Woe to you… v.15…Woe to you… v.16 Woe to you blind guides. Jesus is ripping into the Jewish Temple religious leadership (and cultural leaders) with an intensity that can’t be missed. He repeats these same words in vv.23-29.
With even greater intensity, Jesus winds up His beat down in vv.33-36 with a scathing rebuke of these phony and controlling leaders: You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will beat in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the alter. Truly I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation. (33-36)
Jesus is passing judgment on a generation of religious leaders who have spilled the blood of “every righteous person, from A-Z, Abel to Zechariah” (in the Hebrew Bible Abel is book 0ne and Zechariah is the last book) Jesus is telling these religious leaders that the blood of every righteous person in their Holy Book, from start to finish is on them.
Typically in the Scriptures a generation was considered to be 40 years. So if we assume that the judgement Jesus is passing is going to come true in a literal sense (why would we not take it literally) then those who heard Jesus speak these words could expect judgment to fall on them. (Jesus began this rebuke and judgment back in Matthew 23 and some of the specifics of the judgement are included there (vv.37-38).
A literal reading of these verses makes it really hard to see this judgment happening at any other time than during the generation (40 years or so) immediately following the speaking of the words.
Question 1. When will these things happen? What things? Answer: These things= vv.33-36 23:37-38) When? Answer: Over the next 40 years or so, from the time they were spoken.
I find it hard to make this text say anything at all about the time we are living in today. How about you?
Almost all prophesy writing of a futurist nature (Left Behind series, Scofield Study Bible, Dispensational theology, popular prophetic writing, etc) moves Jesus’ answers from the 40 years immediately following His speaking to the time we are currently living in. That is really poor hermenuetics (logical guidelines for interpreting historical writings) and there is no reason for it. Let the text and the historical evidence speak for “themselves”!
Next post. Did the words of Jesus in Matthew 24, come true during the next 40 years or so, or are we still waiting for them to happen?
No meanderings this week. I didn’t have time yesterday and we really haven’t done much meandering this last week. Will see what happens next Monday.
When I was preaching regularly (which I miss) I would find myself often being tested, tempted, even attacked in the very area I was studying. Sometimes it was pretty intense. Since I decided to write down what I believe is a more positive, Kingdom view of eschatology (study of last things) I have felt more pressure to not do it than anything I have done recently. Thoughts like, “who really cares what you think?” With each new world crisis comes the inevitable “doesn’t look too positive right now, does it?” or this question “what makes you think you know more than_________?” Fill in the blank with a hundred different names of people who see the end as ugly and negative.
But here is why I am going ahead with it. It is my blog, and I write what is going on in my life and head. No one has to read it if they don’t want to. There seems to be a hunger in people for an authentic Kingdom view of life. Whoever chooses to read it is totally free to be blessed by it, disagree with it, blow it off, embrace it, whatever, so here we go.
There are a lot of views out there about last things. Do a search of words like “end times”, “last things”, “end of the world”, “eschatology” etc and you will find everything from the weird to the complex to the helpful. There are two I will spend most of my time interacting with.
Today’s popular view, that things are winding down to a fateful and horrible end, made the more horrible by a particular individual called the anti-christ, through a miserable 7 years of tribulation, out of which the “church” will be raptured, culminating with a 1000 year earthly reign by King Jesus. That view I will refer to as the futurist view. The view I will contrast with the futurist view is referred to as the partial preterist view. Preterist comes from a Latin word that means roughly “things that are past”. Rather than to use the words partial preterist I will refer to this view as the Kingdom view.
A pretty easy way to define these two understandings of last things is to say the futurist looks at Matthew 24 and Revelation and says most, if not all of the prophesies found there, are yet to be fulfilled. The Kingdom view, as I call it (partial preterist view) sees the prophesies of 24 and Revelation as fulfilled primarily in the past and partially in the future.
As I said in a previous post the Kingdom view is one held by the church for centuries while the future view is a much more recent view of last things. That isn’t all that important but I wanted you to know that what I am going to write about didn’t just show up in recent days, in fact it is the futurist view that is the most recent of the end times scenarios.
As He (Jesus) was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, asking, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)
There are three key questions being asked of Jesus and how we understand the answers Jesus gives to these 3 questions determines how we will understand the end times, the tribulation, the antichrist and how future events will play out.
Jesus answers these 3 questions by talking about people who come along claiming to be the Messiah, about wars, famines, earthquakes, heavy persecution of Christians, and about people who claimed to be followers of Jesus who slip away under pressure. He also speaks about the gospel going out into the world, followed by some really bad things happening and people being taken away.
Futurists look at the way Jesus answers the three questions and come to the conclusion that all the events Jesus speaks of, are going to happen sometime in the future, a future far beyond the days of the disciples to whom Jesus is speaking. In other words the futurist reads what Jesus says and rather than to see what He speaks of as taking place soon after He answers the questions, they vault them over the disciples day and land them, if you believe the futurist, in days yet to come, more likely, they would say, in our immediate future.
The partial preterist view, or Kingdom view as I call it come to very different conclusions, when they study 24. We view Jesus’ answers to these 3 important questions as not yet to be fulfilled but actually finding their fulfillment in a period of time more likely less than 100 years from the time Jesus answered the questions.
You should know that the futurist has all kinds of ways to object to the Kingdom view. I will mention a few of them as we move through Matthew 24. But remember, my goal is not to refute the futurist view. I have lived much of my life under the futurist view and found it very debilitating. No doubt, the enemy tries to get to me by pointing out all the ugly stuff happening in our world today and trying to get me to look at how obvious it appears to others that all the signs point to the end being right around the corner. But there has never been a time in my nearly 59 years when people were not pointing to signs of the times and telling us the end was near. Time to our Father is relative because He neither lives in it nor is He bound by our calendar.
How about another point of view, how about we see if there isn’t a blessed hope that the Kingdom really is without end and that by living out the Gospel of the Kingdom, we really will change the world, and that the Bride really will be beautiful and pure at His coming and that the Body of Christ, really can be made ready and that every knee will bow and confess, not out of fear but out of joy at His coming? How about we take a look at those possibilities? Can’t hurt.
Next question number 1. “When will these things happen?”
Everyone of us has been affected in some way, by this economic tsunami, swamping the world. You have either been laid off, lost your job, threatened by job loss, had your investment portfolio devalued or someone close to you has, and you are concerned about it. Right?
I have several friends who are out of work and our trucking investment has been “over” for several months. In an email conversation with one of these friends I made some statements and asked a question: Anyone can view this situation from a natural perspective. That’s easy. It is bad now and it is going to get worse. When you look at things from a human or natural perspective, what else can you say? That is the statement, it’s not good and it is going to get worse before it gets better. Nothing profound about that.
But here is the question. Is that how our Father sees it? What might His perspective be on the situation? We are Kingdom people, full shareholders in a Kingdom that is unshakable (Hebrews 12:28). Some, I guess view that verse as a statement of the surety of heaven, for the believer. I won’t argue against that point one way or the other. But is that all being a Kingdom person is about–heaven? (sure, I know, that would be enough but…?)
What if we who are Kingdom people, began to think differently, to carefully listen for the mind of our Father? Began to look at things from the Spiritual and supernatural and not just the flesh or natural? What if we began to gather in groups of Kingdom people and strategize Kingdom solutions for these problems? Would it make sense for us to start looking for businesses that are stressed or broken that we could bring some life and health to, by thinking outside the box everyone else is thinking in?
If we believe what is going on is just a precursor to the End, how does that affect the way we think? If we are just going to duck and cover during these “so called last” days of grave uncertainty and shaking, will we miss the opportunity of a lifetime to actually bring Kingdom values to bear on the crisis?
(BTW, we have no idea if these are the last days, and have no way of knowing, so Jesus said in Matthew 24:36. There is a lot in Matthew 24 we need to understand from a Kingdom perspective, rather than just an end times approach. Anyone want to work on that?)
Kingdom people must not focus on a deliverance plan, an out. I am not convinced, for a lot of reasons, that is the mind of the Father. (You can read my thoughts about the End written before the great wave hit us. (HERE) This is of course not the full answer to this very important, if not the most important issue of our day, but it does have merit.)
If we are just waiting around for Jesus to come back, what happens if He doesn’t come in our lifetime? I am committed to telling as many people about the saving grace of Jesus as I can. It is of utmost importance. However, is there not some Spirit filled creativity we could bring to the table right here, right now?
Pastors, elders, Spirit filled church people… Let’s start by first acting differently than those around us, that don’t have the mind of Jesus, nor the Spirit. Let’s rebuke and reject the spirit of fear and think with sound minds. Let us speak optimistically about what our Father might be up to, rather then just agreeing that the enemy is doing his thing very well. Pastors and leaders of all kinds, lead us. Show us a new and different way. Preach and teach Kingdom life and gospel. Help us to see the difference. Don’t just tell us to “hang on, Jesus is coming”. I hope He does today, but I want help focusing on what we are going to do differently, if He doesn’t. Even if you don’t know what to do, let’s get together and begin to pray that we will see into the Spirit realm and lock on to what the Father is doing and get hooked up to that!
Kingdom values, when appropriately applied will change culture, other wise, what’s the point? If you wonder what Kingdom values are try reading Matthew 5-7 or Hebrews 13, you will find them there and all over the Word.
I have some ideas, so do you. Start sharing them. Write about them, preach about them, invite people into your home to pray and strategize together. Wouldn’t that be more productive and encouraging than hanging on? If you have a blog, link your thoughts to this blog. It will spread the word faster than I can do it alone.
As always I would love and benefit by anything you are seeing or hearing. Please comment for all our benefit.
Been reading parts of a book, our host Chuck gave me, called The Shaping of Things To Come(Frost/Hirch). This morning I read this: Built into every fabric of New Testament teaching on the extension of the Kingdom is the assumption that when the Christian community embraces a godly, holy lifestyle, it will so tantalize the wider community that they will seek after God. And yet so much of what typifies the so-called holiness movement in the fundamentalist-evangelical churches has had the opposite effect. When the wonders of life in Christ are boiled down to teetotalling, it’s hardly likely to arouse great interest in the community about us. If by holiness we simply mean no drinking, no smoking and no dancing we have a very limited view of the concept.
This is not particularly new. We know withdrawal doesn’t work, but the quote got me thinking about what will work. Has there ever been a period in American history (perhaps the Civil War era, or the Great Depression) when the culture as a whole needs the Kingdom more than it does today? The cultural upheaval we are experiencing right now, starting with new leadership, for good or bad, right on through a total revamping of the financial world, has opened the door wide to a Kingdom culture and way of life. During this shaking season, it appears whatever can be shaken will be shaken, but the writer of Hebrews says “we have been given a Kingdom that cannot be shaken”. So it makes sense, doesn’t it, the culture badly shaken and still shaking could use something solid to come to for safety?
If we who are Kingdom people will handle this crisis personally, corporately, relationally, economically in a way that mirrors the Kingdom of our God and not the kingdom of this world we will make this Life so attactive that there will be a move of the Spirit in our world the likes of which we have never seen. If we are respectful, self controlled, kind, loving, and faithful along with soundness of mind, integrity, seriousness and display a faith that sees not what is easily seen by every one, but a faith that sees what our Father sees, there will be an attraction to our King that false holiness has never had.
It is fine to abstain from the use of alcohol out of devotion to God, but if our lives are marked with greed, self-centerdness, arrogance, fear, holding tight to our stuff, and trying to simply gut it out, preserving our own stake, in what way will our light ever reach the culture?
What can we do to shine during these days, so there is an attraction to the Kingdom and not a repulsion? Frost and Hirch offer some suggestions and I have expanded them to reflect what I am Hearing:
- See to it that no one has to face their problems alone. Challenges like we face today tend to isolate people and loneliness and despair are the result.
- Make safe places for people to reveal their pain and struggles. Let it be OK to struggle. We don’t have to fix, just care.
- Allow each person to have a voice, not just the strong and the wealthy. Seek out the poor, weak and those nobody else wants.
- Don’t isolate the young or the old. Both ends of the age specturm are the most vulnerable in crisis. Be a real Family.
- Invest resources in people not buildings or programs. We cannot afford to do business as usual in the Church. While we must not abandon those who serve us as their vocation, we do need to evaluate every dime we are spending with Kingdom values in mind. Use our Spirit filled creativity to create jobs and grow the resources we have. Just doing “church” won’t get it done.
- We must not require agreement in order to have deep, meaningful relationships. This is the part of church the culture just doesn’t get. Why can’t we get along? This crisis is going to cause all kinds of fights and disagreements in the government, schools, states and cities and among neighbors and on and on because the world will be doing what the world does, trying to preserve and protect what they have and take advantage of a bad situation to protect themselves. A “City on a Hill” will be a bright contrast to all that darkness.
- Expect the Supernatural. Anyone can do what comes naturally but Kingdom people can live Supernaturally and when people see what God can do, they will come in droves!
If Kingdom people will do these things and more, there will be a revival and the culture will be regenerated in a positive, Kingdom way. Something no bailout will ever accomplish.
Someone must have some thoughts and ideas on this one.
Ft. McDowell, Arizona
If anything good comes from this economic tsunami it might just be that Christian people become Kingdom people. Kingdom people, by definition are citizens of a nation ruled by The Almighty-Jesus. We do not find our hope in economies, presidents, stock markets or even churches. We are focused not on what we can see but on what we cannot see, except with eyes of faith. Kingdom people see things that are not as though they were. (Hebrews 11) Kingdom people know their King to be strong, able and willing to do far beyond anything we can ask or think.
Unfortunately the last 20 years or so we haven’t had to depend on our King and live by faith, we were able to do it ourselves.
Oswald Chambers wrote: The reason some of us are such poor examples of Christianity is that we have failed to recognize that Christ is Almighty. We have Christian attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment or surrender to Jesus Christ. When we get into difficult circumstances, we impoverish His ministry by saying, “Of course, He can’t do anything about this.” We struggle to reach the bottom of our own well, trying to draw water for ourselves.
This I think, is the legacy of the last 20 years of church ministry. We are good people, we have done good things, we have built some big buildings and paid some great staff and often without ever having to depend on the King for much of anything. We have done just fine drawing our own water. We have never really gotten to the bottom of our own wells.
I think the days of drawing water ourselves are all but gone. If we are not at the bottom of our own wells, we are real close. Now we will see what The Almighty can do. Bad for the economy perhaps, but great for the Kingdom.
Chambers writes: The thing that approaches the very limits of His power is the very thing we (Kingdom people) ought to believe He can do. We impoverish and weaken His ministry in us the moment we forget He is The Almighty.
We will begin to live as Kingdom people when we begin to live as if our King is unlimited in power and stands ready to use it.
If you would like to read the entire Oswald Chambers daily reading for February 27th, from which this post was taken, you can find it HERE.
Back in November nearly 100 of us gathered for the first Convergence Summit, a 10 day intensive time of teaching, relationship building and worship. It was a huge event for us and now and then I have been attempting to recap some of the times of teaching that were memorable for me. I want to get back to that today. Even if you did not attend the Summit I think you will still be able to get something valuable from these recaps.
The Shema is the way in which the Father’s Love for us is revealed and it tells us to respond to that Love by loving Him back and by refusing to give our Love to any other being or thing. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) By doing so we enter into personal freedom and intimacy with the Father. Receiving the Shema presupposes that when we Love Him we will prove our Love by keeping all the “Laws and prophets” summed up and fulfilled by Loving Him and Loving others.
How have we, the Body of Christ, departed from the Shema? Mumford says we have fallen in love with Mother-the institutional church and lost our love for the Father represented by the Kingdom. Observe the conflict described in Revelation 2-3.
Any searching Believer is being pushed all the time to choose between the Agape Love and Will of the Father represented by the Kingdom and the eros love and wishes of the Mother represented by the institutional Church.
This choice between Father and Mother has been forced upon us due to the imperfect response of the Mother to the wishes of the Father-an abuse and misuse of Her discretionary authority. To refuse to see this analogy and avoiding the truth it presents will be very expensive, in fact it already has been huge in cost to the Kingdom.
There are more than 20 million believers who love Jesus, seek the will of the Father and yet have nothing to do with their Mother (the church). Mumford says the reason is Mother has deviated and essentially disengaged from Father. This disengagement can be done deliberately, as we have seen in many mainline denominations moving in the exact opposite direction from Father, but the disengagement happens almost without notice in those churches that are more conservative and Bible based. Perhaps the most obvious way we see this clinging to Mother by the fundamental churches is their unrelenting protection of the institution when attacked from within or without rather than caring for people and relationships.
There are two important points to remember when we are examining this issue. The first is the fact that the Kingdom cannot and will not be shaken. That is our ultimate refuge. The second is the Church will ultimately prevail. The gates of hell which are presently the spiritual and undiscovered cause of this tension between Father and Mother will not succeed. Jesus has promised this. Our responsibility is to survive and prosper in the presence of conflict. We are promised and unshakeable Kingdom but not an unshakeable church.
We cannot, Mumford says, allow the Kingdom-the revealed will of the Father-to be sublimated and subjected to a Mother whose life and conduct is subnormal and who is in trouble, whether She knows it or not (Rev.3:17). Given the opportunity, a troubled and confused Church will attempt to seize the Kingdom and claim it as Her own possession. There are literally hundreds of movements which have attempted to appropriate the Kingdom in order to use if for personal advantage and self-aggrandizement. Every time a church seeks to preserve and protect itself rather than to extend the grace and mercy of the King Himself, they are turning to Mother’s milk and away from the Father.
Next we will turn to the prescription for this disease.
For those who may desire a full transcript of this teaching you may contact me by posted comment or email.
Sunny! Shelton, Washington
We did a New Year celebration as well as the 2008 Christmas celebration, all in one really fun, blessed day. All 11 of us eating, watching football, eating, playing, eating, watching USC totally destroy some Big 10 football team (does the Big 10 ever win a bowl game), eating, opening presents (we really cut back on gifting this year and it made it more fun) did I mention eating. Four boys 4 and under and one beautiful girl, along with 6 adults in a new house, on the first day of the year. Doesn’t get a lot better for me.
What am I resoluting about this year? I have to do something about eating. I am too old to eat like I do but I don’t really want to change and it gets harder all the time to find the “want to”. I do pretty well for a while and then just fall off the wagon. It has to stop! Sounds strangely like an addiction. Shhh…
I must get back to reading significant books. My brother in law Bob, gave me a book for Christmas (Soul Survivor-Yancy), and I am reading it and it just makes me more resolute to read often and widely like I did for the past 50 years. The culture we are around these days, doesn’t make reading a priority so I just fall into that pattern and I don’t like it. I asked for book reading ideas last year and got a few good ones. Will start there. Any more?
Changing eating patterns is enhanced by exercise, something else I am not that into any more. I used to run many miles a week (ran 6, 26.2 mile marathons in my past life), played racquetball regularly, walked, but just can’t seem to find the right thing for my bod. Gotta do it though, or I am doomed to be fat, slow and totally out of shape when I get to the big 60.
The new year holds some exciting opportunities for new ministry and continuing to build on what we began last year. The RV lifestyle is still working for us and we hope to continue it while keeping some important ministry focuses on the front burner. We love Western Oklahoma but love some other places too.
2009 is going to continue the trend begun in 2008-CHANGE. Hebrews tells us that everything that can be shaken, will be. Don’t think it was necessarily referring to 2009 but it is a reference to reality. Things get shaken, thrown around and mixed up. If what we want in life is for things to remain the same, it doesn’t happen. Apparently shaking things up is a good thing. We get really set in our ways, comfortable, secure, and frankly soft and I don’t think that is the best way for followers of Jesus to live, so the Father shakes things up. We are totally in a shaking period. I don’t think it is the final shaking but it is going to be pretty wild for a while. But that Hebrew scripture promises that we have been given a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. Seems like a good thing to be resolute about Kingdom advancement during times of shaking. Our focus cannot be on the shaking but on the Kingdom. When we seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness we can deal with the shaking around us and in fact, advance.
The times are changing, for sure. And I for one, think that is a good thing, even though I don’t always like it. Doing the same thing over and over is not only a habit, it is a rut. Jesus people are not destined for ruts we are destined for Glory. His Glory. Jesus told His followers and in turn us-Don’t be afraid kids, for your Papa enjoys giving you a Kingdom. (my translation)
Welcome to an unshakable Kingdom-2009, where there is no reason to be afraid because we serve a great King and have a Father who wants the Kingdom He enjoys in heaven to become the reality of earth. Your Kingdom come on earth just like it is in heaven. Cool!
Knowing what family and friends in the Northwest are going through, related to weather, I really can’t complain about here. It has been really cold but no snow to speak of and the wind has been mostly under 20mph, for the last couple of days, which is nice. The best thing about out here weather wise is that the sun almost always shines. Sun does make things better.
Item one. Speaking of weather. This article from the Seattle PI caught my eye this morning with these fun facts about Seattle weather:
• The biggest snowstorm of the last century was in 1916, when 33 inches fell between Jan. 31 and Feb. 3. That storm holds the record for the most snow falling in 24 hours, at 21.5 inches between 5 p.m. Feb. 1 and 5 p.m. the next day.
• During an unexpected storm that began on Jan. 13, 1950, the Puget Sound area was choked by almost 2 feet of snow that fell in 24 hours. Winds whipped the snow into drifts 6 feet high and blinded those caught out and about, making it the area’s only snowfall on record to be considered an actual blizzard. The storm left 13 people dead and caused $1 million in damage.
• Seattle’s snowiest winter on record was in 1968-69, with a total of 67.5 inches.
• A storm beginning on Dec. 18, 1990, dumped a foot of snow in and around Seattle. Teachers stayed overnight with 2,600 stranded pupils at 37 schoolhouses around King County rather than send them off into the hazardous elements.
• A series of snow, ice and rainstorms beginning on Dec. 26, 1996, caused 16 deaths in the state and $57 million in damages in Seattle and King County. Two storms — one dumping 6-12 inches and another of 10 inches of wet snow — followed by heavy rain collapsed carports and covered boat moorings and snapped power lines.
The full article can be found HERE. Hopefully no records will be broken this week!
Item two. We are into the third year of living full time in our RV and the last couple of weeks have been the most trying, that I can remember. We like most things about it; little maintenance, can be cleaned in a few minutes, not much stuff to store or take care of, we can live anywhere… But what isn’t good about it is severe weather. We have been really fortunate for most of the time we have lived on wheels to be in places where the weather is warm most of the time. Last year we were in Arizona at this point. We are still planning to be in Arizona for most of the winter but we really miscalculated the time to head out this year. We have frozen up a couple of times, go through the propane like we never have before, which fogs up the windows and I find I worry more about what might happen to the rig than I like. I guess that is the trade off for living this lifestyle.
Item three. We are leaving in the morning sometime, (Tuesday) to drive to Washington via Colorado. We will spend Christmas with my father, brother and his family and then start driving toward the NW. My father will be 85 in March so wanted to spend some time with him during the holidays. This will be the first Christmas not spent with our children, ever. But given the state of the weather out there and the airport closures we probably made a good choice for travel. We don’t mind long drives and we don’t have to be in a hurry so we will get there when we get there. Our goal is around the 29th-30th. We are excited to see Traci and Brandon’s new home. After several months of close quarters they are enjoying their own place, especially a wood burning stove for these inclement days. Can’t wait to see our four kids and 5 grandkids! Want to see some videos of Canyon Paul? HERE.
Item four. I realize that most of you don’t hit the links I put in here that direct you to things I think are worth reading. Did you know I can tell what people read and don’t read on this site? However I want to point you to something very valuable I read this morning from the Seattle PI. The times are changing, whether we want to acknowledge them or not. It seems most people expect our new President to fix things, as quickly as possible, so as to get us back to the the way things were. Is it not possible and probable that the Father wants things in our world to be the way they are in order to get us to live in a Kingdom way. Most of the problems we face in this country were caused by us-we are greedy, selfish, and overly focused on acquisition and consumption at levels far beyond what is right, ethically or morally. We cannot continue to live as we have the last 25 years and expect any other result than the one we are experiencing right now. We need this wake up call to get back to what is important and what it really means to live with Kingdom values and lifestyle. The following link is not written by a follower of King Jesus, as far as I know, but what he writes is about Kingdom values and the need we all have to stop and realize who and what we have become. I encourage you to read it. Find it HERE.
Item five. Here are a few other links you might find valuable is you have the time. HERE on the Rick Warren prayer flap, HERE on church growth during hard times, HERE is one that says, under the old model you dated a few times and if you really liked the person you had sex, now the model is you hook up a few times and if you really like the person you might consider going on a date, and finally HERE, a post on why I miss the NW and fly fishing for steelhead and chums on the OP (Olympic Peninsula).
Item six. In my recent recapping of our Convergence School of Ministry Summit I have focused on Bob Mumford’s teaching. I suspect many of my readers who were not at the school have passed over reading these posts but I don’t want you to miss this. As we approach the day of celebrating the birth of our Savior and King I want to leave you with two things Bob said repeatedly while he was with us here. The two most expensive attributes of the Kingdom are unqualified love and unlimited forgiveness. There is nothing more Kingdom related, nothing more Biblically true, and nothing harder to do, yet more important than living out these two attributes. Living with no restrictions on how much and who we love and who we are willing to forgive were intended by our Father to change the world. Is there any doubt He is right?
Have a wonderful celebration of Jesus birthday. I appreciate your visits here to The View From the Juniper Tree. The fact that several hundred of you visit every week blesses me a lot. Thank you. See you down the road!