Kingdom What?

In Life Groups, we have been studying Stewardship, and I often find myself saying, “Seek first God’s Kingdom” or “It’s all about investing into God’s Kingdom.” Then I thought, do we even know what it means to seek first God’s Kingdom? If someone where seeking God’s Kingdom, what would their life look like?

A lot of us know Christian language, so we say, “We are saved by the blood” or “We are born again.” As we grow, we learn Christian lingo like, “I have been led,” “He has taken up my cross,” or even “WWJD (What would Jesus do?).”  We all use our own special Christian lingo, and sometimes we have no idea what they mean.  “Seek first God’s Kingdom” is one of those statements I think we grow up using and have no idea what it means.

So what does it mean “Seek first the God’s Kingdom” and what does stewardship has to do with it? Numerous books have been written on this topic, and so as to save you trouble I will try to keep it simple. Christ’s passion was for the Kingdom of God, and His life is our example of Kingdom life.

Kingdom life looks like Christ’s life. He healed the sick, ministered to the children, fed the 5,000, spoke the Father’s words, spent time in prayer, forgave, proclaimed the gospel, touched the defiled, loved others, had compassion on the weak, served, taught, and was obedient to the Father even unto death. It is things like these that are Kingdom behaviors.

Seek first God’s Kingdom in our present world looks no different. Sure we can’t heal the sick, but when we minister to them, on the basis of Christ’s work, we are seeking the Kingdom of God. When you spend time in prayer praying for the lost, sick, or whomever the Lord has put upon your heart, you’re seeking first the Kingdom of God. When you love those who are unloved, you’re seeking first His kingdom. When you feed the homeless, on the basis of Christ’s ministry, you are seeking first the Kingdom of God. When you give to those in need, you are seeking first the Kingdom of God. Husbands, if you are willing to lay your life down for your wife, you are seeking first His Kingdom. Wives if you love your husbands you are seeking first the Kingdom of God. Children if you obey your parents you are seeking first His Kingdom. When you forgive others as Christ forgave you, you’re seeking first His Kingdom. When you proclaim the Gospel you are seeking first His Kingdom. Does this make sense?

So what does stewardship have to do with seeking first the Kingdom of God? If I did my job right, I think you know the answer. Kingdom life looks like Christ’s life.

Matthew 10:42

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.

Who’s Growing What?

We never know who is going to come through the front doors of our church. God has been gracious to New Life. Every week without fail, He has led guests to our church. We don’t always know what God has done to bring them, but God has led them to our church. Sometimes hurt brings them to our church, sometimes a friend’s invitation brings them to our church, and sometimes in search for truth they are led to our church. In each situation, God is doing a work and…

God includes His servants to participate in his work. Each of us has been given a function, a work, in the Church to minister to each other and to those who are led into our lives:

This last Sunday God worked once again. He has led, and He has include His servants in His work. As a result of the Lord’s leading and the faithfulness of His people, a young boy gave his life to the Lord. We never know who is going to come through the front doors of our church and…

We all have a role to play. Some of us are Greeters, Singers, Ushers, Life Group Leaders, Kidz Life Leaders, Light Specialists, but all together we participate with the Lord in His work. Let me remind you that greeters are not just “greeting,” singers are not just “singing,” and leaders are not just “leading.” Every one of you is  doing the work that the Lord has given to you to do. This work is not just “stuff” it is Kingdom work. What a blessing it is to plant seeds and water into people lives as we trust God to cause the growth.

 

Pursuit of “What?”

What is it mean to be wealthy? When do you know its arrived? How much is it? What kind of car does it look like? How many bedrooms or garages does it build? How much 401k does it hold? When can we be declared wealthy?  Each of us has a different idea of wealth. Some us see a big number, others see a bigger number, and, yes, there are those who see the unreasonably big number. The truth is, we all have a number, even Christians. Is there anything wrong with “The Number?”

There is nothing, wrong per say, with having a number, but when our life becomes the pursuit of “The Number” we find ourselves making a critical error.

We all want to be rich, but again what does it mean to be wealthy? There has to be more than the pursuit of a “Number.”

Scriptures reveal to us that we are to be rich, but not in the worldly sense. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:18 that we are to be “rich in good works.” But what does this have to do with our wallets? Well, He goes on to say that we should be “rich in good works” and “generous and ready to share.” The worldview of man uses the pursuit of wealth for himself, but the worldview of God understands wealth as serving and sharing.

It is by this manner that we serve God and one another. Those who pursue wealth for themselves will be totally disappointed. In a moment it can be all lost or taken away, but for those who pursue God through good works and generous sharing store up treasures in God’s kingdom that cannot be lost or taken away.

Our New Life verse of the month is 1 Timothy 6:18-19. Dwell on its meaning, participate in its instruction, and trust in its reward. The pursuits of God’s Kingdom last. What is your pursuit?

1 Timothy 6:18–19

18Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

Opportunity or Responsibility?

“It’s Thursday night already? We just went to a small group several days ago.” Yet, as I think about it, I realize that it was exactly six days ago when we met at our last Life Group. Who knew that six days could travel so fast? If we didn’t have to work, go to school, make trips to soccer practices, and go grocery shopping perhaps the last six days would have been much slower.

Have you ever thought the same way? I don’t know about you, but I have had to remind myself that fellowship in with the Church is a opportunity, not a responsibility. Yes, as members of New Life Fellowship, we have all agreed to participate in Life Groups, but we can reach a place where we look at Life Groups as our responsible membership fulfillment and not our membership opportunity. This is dangerous!

Let me explain, God became fed up with Israel (Malachi 1:10) for treating his sacrificial system as a responsibility and not an opportunity. God established a relationship with Israel, and because He is a holy God, He was generous to provided a means to cover their wrongs through the sacrificial system until the true sacrificial lamb (Jesus Christ) came. Over time, Israel treated this gracious provision as a responsibility and not an opportunity. Their actions fulfilled their responsibilities, but their hearts were disconnected from this gracious opportunity. As a result, the Lord said, “I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord of hosts, “nor will I accept an offering from you (Mal 1:10).” All because they treated it as a responsibility and not an opportunity.

Today, we don’t participate in the sacrificial system because Christ has covered our sins through His death. God did, however, give us the gracious gift of salvation and participation in His Church. My fear, at times, is that we treat His gracious gift (the Church) in the same manner as Israel did.

Where is your heart? Are you treating Church, Life Groups, or any ministry your involved in as a responsibility or an opportunity?

Who’s is it?

“The earth belongs to the Lord, and everything in it — the world and all its people. (Psalm 24:1)” I read this and thought, “Do we think this way?” We live in a society that thinks so differently. We consistently speak in a language that gives the impression that we believe the things in this world are ours. “That’s my car.” “That’s my house.” or “That’s my job.” Right? But if we look at Psalm 24:1 this attitude is simply not godly.

Let me take a step back, I am not so much concerned about the language of “That’s my…” but when I actually believe that it’s mine, then I have a problem. Can others in my life affirm that I actually use my things as if they were the Lord’s? To be honest, I tend to act like this gentlemen:

We have sticky notes on everything! My wife, my kids, my school, my TV, my, my, my. It’s sick! How proud we have become. In the blink of an eye, the Lord can take it all away! Who’s stuff is it? We worked hard for our stuff, but if this Psalm is true, then everything that we own belongs to the Lord. That car, it’s the Lord’s. That house, it’s the Lord’s. That job, the Lord’s. Your wife, she is the Lord’s.

Those in the early church must have loved Psalm 24:1 because it records that “they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need (Acts 2:45).” Who acts like this? People who truly believe that everything belongs to the Lord.

This week  look around your world and ask yourself, “Who’s stuff is it?” Where are your sticky notes? Is God on it? Are you using it as if it were God’s?

The earth belongs to the Lord, and everything in it — the world and all its people.

Psalm 24:1