Coffee, Theology and Jesus

working out our messy faith over coffee

Category: Future Kingdom (page 2 of 2)

The Kingdom; It’s Bigger Than You

This past week I had an amazing opportunity to fly down to the Dominican Republic with an organization called The Initiative. The Initiative is a leadership based program that helps students put their faith in to action. We took a team down to the Dominican to teach a school how to use The Initiative program and implement it in to their school. The response was overwhelming and the students were ecstatic by the end of the 3 day conference.

While in the DR I got to experience a completely different way of life. Our house had no hot water, people ride small motorcycles and scooters everywhere, and the terrain is much different from where I live in New Jersey. Out of all of the many differences, there was one blaring similarity. I realized more and more how the Kingdom of God is the same no matter where I go. There are people in completely different cultures worshipping the same God. These people are our brothers and sisters, people we are spending eternity with, people who are wrecked by the Gospel and compelled to give their lives to it.

One of the most sincere people I met (even though I only met him for a short while) was a pastor working in a part of the Dominican called the rails. The rails is an extremely poor community. The people live in small huts with no plumbing, most of the kids walk around barefoot, and it was clear this area was extremely poor. Little kids ran up to me grabbing my hand and tugging on my beard calling me Santa Clause. Other kids ran up to some of the girls on my team grabbing their hand and not letting go the whole time. This was where the pastor devoted his life. With help, he built a church that he sleeps in, and devotes his time to helping the community around him. At the end of our visit we gathered around him and laid hands on him, praying for his work. It was a moment where we all realized that we were united in Christ, that this man is our brother, doing the work of the same God I serve here in the states. What a sobering moment.

During our time walking through the rails, we got to sit down with 30 or so people (mostly children) and sing songs praising God for His goodness. If there is ever a time where you get hit with the reality of how God’s kingdom is all inclusive it is in times like that. We were in the middle of tiny huts, surrounded by people that had no money and were barely scraping by, worshipping the same Jesus who gives us all the same hope.

The rest of our time was fantastic. The conference we put on for the students was received extremely well and we got to know these students as people. We worked with a couple named Mitch and Debbie who devoted their lives to reaching the people of the Dominican. They are radicals, people who gave up their life in the states to become like the people of the Dominican to reach them for the gospel. God has blessed their ministry immensely, and it was great working with them.

I want to get back to my point. The Kingdom of God is so diverse and inclusive. Sometimes it’s hard to see that in the states. Being so jaded by political affiliation and other things, we think sometimes that being a Christian means that people have to be like us, that they have to think the way we think, and if they don’t, then they know don’t fully understand being a Christian. This at times, can’t be further from the truth. God’s kingdom is way beyond us. Heaven is going to be such a diverse place full of different cultures, full of different ways of living life all under the banner of God and His kingdom. Jesus expands beyond our suburbs, our nice and neat church buildings that we spend so much money on. Jesus goes way beyond the limits we put on Him.

Right now, as I type this, there are millions and millions of my brothers and sisters worshipping God, living life with Jesus in a much different way than I do here in the states. The best part? That’s ok. We must begin to realize that there are other worlds beyond the States, that we don’t always do things the best, and that we can learn from other Christians in other cultures.

One of the most shocking things I learned while in the Dominican Republic was hearing Debbie tell me about groups who come from the states and come with an attitude of superiority. Debbie told me about a guy who would call the Dominican people stupid and try to correct everything that he thought they did wrong. Another group that was coming in said that they need pizza every night and that they don’t want to eat any Dominican food. What a shame that sometimes we travel to other parts of the world with arrogance and pride. Thinking that we have the corner of doing things right and that everyone else (especially people in third world countries) are not as smart or as intelligent. Pride is something that God hates, and we need to rid ourselves of it and walk in humility, always looking to learn wherever we are, and help when we are needed.

I talk about the Kingdom a lot because it is what Jesus talks about a lot. Jesus mentions the Kingdom of God over and over in the Gospels. The Kingdom is tangible, it is everywhere, and it is the future. Eternity will be spent with God in his kingdom, in His world, and He has entrusted us, his sons and daughters with being agents of that Kingdom. We are called to be Little Christs, and Christ modeled the Kingdom life for us. He constantly told us what it looks like, what it feels like, and what it’s going to be like. We are called to represent that Kingdom with our lives. That means putting aside everything else and making it our priority. Christ offers us new life, and that life is the Kingdom of God. Everywhere we walk, the Kingdom is walking. It doesn’t matter if we live in the rails, or in New York City, it is the same kingdom, the same God, and the same freedom.

-TW

Time to Get Our Priorities Straight.

Ok ok a few disclaimers.

 

1. If you’re not a follower of Jesus this post is not aimed towards you at all.

 

2. This post is not aimed at anyone in particular.

 

 

 

So recently (yesterday actually) I posted a status about bikinis.  Apparently that’s controversial and people, Christians, immediately started to discuss and debate about wether they were appropriate or not to wear.  The classic modesty argument presented on one side, and then the rebuttal of define modesty and it’s not mentioned in the Bible on the other side.  Both sides can be argued, and no doubt both sides are still being argued.  However I think there is a deeper aspect to all this that we as a Church body miss.  It’s not just about if bikinis are ok to wear, no, this goes back to a much deeper issue of the heart and begs us to ask the question where are our hearts when it comes to grey areas like this?

 

One of the most important passages in the Bible regarding tough issues such as this I think is found in Roman 14.  Here we find the real issue behind such grey areas as the one mentioned above.  Paul is brilliant in this chapter.  There is an issue going on, a huge controversy.  People, Christians, are eating meat that is considered unclean and other Christians are up in arms about it.  The question comes down to who is right? Well look at Pauls response to this grey area.

 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.”

 

Can you say Grand Slam? Paul completely goes right to the heart of the issue.  He essentially says “Sure you have that freedom to, but if it’s causing your brother or sister to stumble then is it worth it?”  He goes even further and says ” if your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat then you are no longer acting in love”. Wow, this is so on the money.  I think we forget this passage too often, and I’m not just referring to the single issue of wearing a bikini, this can be applied to many things.  Are we checking with the family around us to make sure that we are looking our for their best interest?  I think that’s an essential question to ask.

 

You see it always comes back to our hearts.  It always comes back to the Holy Spirit.  Are we running our choices by the Holy Spirit?  Are we checking with Jesus first? Making sure that we are living in tune with the way he wants us to live?  It’s not necessarily always about specific examples such as bikinis or alcohol or other controversial issues in the church today. It’s about where are our hearts in all of this.  I think it’s a very weak argument to just say “well I have freedom in Christ so I can drink now, or I can wear this, or I can do this or that “.  Have you checked with Jesus?  And if he gave you the ok, have you made sure people around you aren’t going to be stumbling as you partake in something that could be hard for some people to understand?  This is key, so key.  Why? Because it shows us where our hearts are.  Are we really that self centered and selfish that we are willing to compromise a brother or a sister so we can flaunt our freedom in their face?  For me this has been a question that I have had to ask myself and then re-evaluate some of the things I do.  I want to give one example.

 

 

I personally have no problem with smoking the occasional tobacco pipe or cigar.  I don’t make it a habit because I know it’s not healthy for me, and I don’t want to become dependent on those things.  But I enjoy a good smoke with friends around a fire in to the wee hours of the morning.  Now, even though I have the freedom to smoke tobacco, there are two things I have to keep in mind.  First I always think of the verse where Paul says “”Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive.”  There is absolutely not one constructive, or beneficial thing about smoking tobacco.  It’s unhealthy, and there is really nothing good about it besides the enjoyment I get out of it.  This I think is something that can be applied to a number of things.  Sure we have the freedom to do it, but tell me what is the benefit of it?  In this particular case of tobacco, there really is no benefit, therefore I limit how often I partake in that.

 

Secondly, I make it a point not to smoke tobacco around certain people because I know it offends them, and truth be told, to me it’s not worth it.  To me, there are more important things in life then having a smoke here or there.  If it offends my brothers or sisters then I will most definitely not be doing it in front of them even though I have the freedom to do so.  I am once again reminded of Paul where he says “19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.”
Once again, Paul just hits it out of the park.  He continually brings it back to what is really important.  Paul essentially once again says “Hey, there are more important things going on then you eating food and doing things that really have no eternal value”.

 

Let’s bring this home to us.  As the body of Christ, as people who are followers of Jesus, who are claiming to be his disciples, we need to get our priority’s straight.  Are we so focused on this world and the things it feeds us that we forget about people?  This is something that does not have an easy answer.  It involves each of us talking to Jesus and then being obedient to how he is calling us to live.  Let us not forget that this world is not our home, that this culture is not the ultimate reality.  That we live in a world that is broken and Jesus shows us how to live in wholeness with our creator.  It is essential that we transform our minds from the earthly mindset we are fed, to the kingdom of God and the way of living that ushers us in to.

 

-Tim.

 

 

Both, And. It’s Not About One or the Other.

Ok Ok, so why even give an intro? Let’s just get right to it

 

I have this thought, and I know I’m not the only person to think about this. In fact many people have been wrestling with the way we do church (so to speak) for many many many years.  I’m just another person asking the same question.  Once again, these are observations, I’m not saying this is true for every individual church, but I think it’s a decent reflection on our church culture.  Here we go.

 

It seems like there are three sides to the church “divide” that I see.

 

1. Many people, are only interested in attending church once a week, showing up, sitting down, going home.  Nice, clean, simple, un-engaging, safe, and ultimately they are a consumer of the church and not a partner in establishing the kingdom of God.

 

2. Other people are completely hellbent on keeping their church the same as it has been for the past 50 years.  The carpet can’t change, the leadership can’t change, the way they approach things such as ministry can not change, and the music most CERTAINLY can not change.  These church bodies believe that the way they have been approaching church is the way it’s always been done, and therefore will not change close to anything about the way do it.  Usually their biggest focus is Sunday morning and events centered around the church meeting in its building.  When someone attempts to change something, or implement something new, there is usually an uproar.

 

 

3. Then you have churches that have grown up in the tradition, rejected that tradition, but not Jesus.  So they start something “new” (That’s funny) and leave the “traditional” church to start something “fresh” and “organic” and “cool”.  The problem here is that often times people like this throw the baby out with the bathwater.  The word tradition is banned from their vocabulary’s, and they do as much as they can to try and be different.

 

 

The first group I mentioned I’m not even going to address in this post, it needs it’s own day.  But these other two types (again, generalizing but you get the idea) are the ones I want to talk about.

 

You see I came out of one side, embraced the other side, and now I’m not so sure what side to be on.   but that’s just the point, we here in western culture have to be one or the other.  It’s impossible to embrace both sides because, well, we just can’ do it.  You’re either black or white, in or out, tall or short, traditional or  not traditional.  You can’t be both!  Ah but I argue that you can be.  In fact I say you need to be  both in order to get a full picture of the kingdom.

 

What do I mean? Well here’s what I mean.  A good friend once told me “Tim, sometimes you need to take in the meat and spit out the bones”, and that is exactly what we need to do with both sides of this coin.  Let’s start with a more traditional side and then we will move to the other, and then see how they can work together.

 

The traditional church (by traditional I mean since the the reformation, about the 16th century) has done many things well.  God has used it no doubt. I myself, am a product of the traditional church.  But in the same breath the traditional church has missed a few of the most important things.  discipleship, authentic Christian community, and solidarity.   The traditional church is losing numbers, and does not have a good standing with people in our culture.  The stereo types of a typical church goer is that they are anti-homosexual, pro – conservative, way too political, outspoken, and un loving (see the book Un-Christian).  This has done serious damage to our ability to reach out to our fellow human beings.  The traditional church almost unintentionally has become ingrown and stagnent.  So closed minded are some people in this movement it’s sometimes discouraging.  Seeing church splits over colors in carpet, drums in service, and things like it, have proven that the focus on this side of the coin started out as authentically living out ones faith, but then shifted to a type of legalism that is not flexible.  “this is the way we’ve always done things, why change it” is a great way to sum up the problem with the traditional movement.  They turn mole hills in to mountains and then die on that mountain.  Because of that, they have lost my generation in many ways.

 

The other side of the coin is more known as the emerging church movement.  This movement was really birthed out of the traditional movement but not in a positive way.  Most people in the emerging church movement see the church more as a fluid, living, breathing thing, then the traditional movements see it is.  They also are much more flexible with the way things are approached and done. For instance some of these movements don’t meet in traditional buildings, their service orders can vary, the music is much more flexible, and they are much more open to different ways to reach people for Jesus.  there is a problem here however.  Sometimes people in this movement are too flexible and the community that they attempt to create is usually somewhat on a superficial level.  More concerned with feeling good then the truth of God and his message to us, this movement will sometimes do things that are not in line with Scripture.  Often they also have no problem with throwing out the traditional movement, without examining it, taking the good from it, and using it.  Instead the mindset can sometimes be “Well they just don’t get it like we do”.  This idea is toxic and only creates division not unity.  Understanding the word, knowing the doctrines and history of the faith is lacking here, and because of that this movement can sometimes only go so deep.

 

 

Now to bring this altogether, the question we have to ask is why? Why does it have to be one or the other?  In fact if we beging to merge these ideas, the product is a church that is not only intentional on sunday mornings, it is intentional in life as a whole, flexible enough to know what things are perfectly ok to do differently, and solid enough to understand the doctrines and basic truths of the faith, not compromising on them, but understanding them better than ever, and learning how to communicate them to a dying world.

 

You see sometimes I think we put the cart before the horse, sometimes we get so focused on a specific day of the week, or a specific event that all we do is focus on that.  Then the other 5 days of the week are left empty.  The church is not nearly as active on a tuesday then it is on a Sunday.  Why is that?  You see it’s not that Sunday’s are wrong.  It’s that sundays can not be the end all be all, they can not be the focus.  Jesus, living life together, eating dinner together, getting in to the word together, spending nights in worship together, discipling people, is the focus of the church.  Not a once a week event we call Sunday morning service.  That should be a FRUIT of what we are doing in the week.  You see the Sunday morning service is great, and much needed, but it can’t be the focus of what we do.  The focus of what we do has to be the other 6 days of the week.  Of course this conflicts with our schedules that are overloaded, to which I say “welcome to this radical thing called the gospel”.  Now is not the time to be consumers of a Sunday morning service.  Now is the time to be partakers in the kingdom of God, and that INCLUDES Sunday mornings, it’s just not limited to that.

 

You see once we start combing the best of both worlds, realizing that community and discipleship are key to our faith, and out of that comes meetings and events.  Then we start to see the fullness of God, and how He wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives.  Let’s ask this question to everything we are currently doing “why?”.  Why do we have a Sunday morning service, why do we have small groups, why do we have worship.  If the answer is “just because” then we need to put it up on the chopping block until we figure out why we are doing it.

 

Let me sum this up

 

We need to start building bridges not burning them.  We are all part of ONE movement not a separate movement.  Your church is not THE church it is A church, this means that we need to start partnering with each other, not keeping in our comfortable corners.

 

My generation- it is not about throwing out the old and in with the new.  This is divisive and does not solve the problems.  Don’t start something new, instead be a part of the church, loving it, and working with it.  And enough whining and crying, start being the change.  It’s really easy to tell people what’s wrong when you’re not involved, just showing up on Sunday morning and leaving.  Instead engage, partake, and start getting involved.  Your church leadership is full and they don’t need your help you say? Who cares? start inviting people out to coffee, start hanging out, getting dinner, discipling, you don’t need the title “pastor” to pastor someone. Just go and do it.

 

Older Generation- Be patient with us.  Really, we are a bunch of air heads sometimes, thinking we know it all, and really have no clue.  we need your mentorship and support as we try and figure out what the heck we are doing.  Activate us, we want to be part of the solution, we want to open dialogue up and start brainstorming on how we can usher in the Kingdom of God through the church.  We need your wisdom and help as you pass the baton over to us.  Be flexible in things that really are not essential to the faith, teach us what we can’t compromise on. Ask us to coffee, ask us over for dinner, some times we need a little shove.

 

 

Hey! The Kingdom!

Rob, Kyle, and myself have been extremely busy, we’ve been a little slow in the post department. So until we can get some newer ones written I figured I’d put up a post I wrote a year ago on my notes in facebook.   I was just re-reading it for the first time since last year and wow I never new it was possible to encourage yourself.  Anyway check it out

 

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about the kingdom of God, about what is means here in America, here in New Jersey.  What does it mean to establish the kingdom of God?  This is a question that I have been attempting to answer (in my human ignorance), and I don’t think I can answer it in words, but I do think I can live it out. (more of that in a second)

 

 

That being said I can think of one thing that i see the Lord doing, I see the Lord calling out the true worshippers and I see Him calling them to a new level of relationship with Him.   The Lord is doing things in our lives, shaking us to our core.  Asking us questions like “will you REALLY follow me”, will you REALLY lay this down, will you really pick this up.  These are questions that have a common theme.  I believe that Christ is challenging us re-evaluate our relationship with Him.  I can speak from personal experience that the Lord is rocking me big time with this.  He has been challenging me to read His word daily, and to understand it.  I have been challenged to spend one a hour a day with Him and listening to His voice in regards to what I’m supposed to do with that hour.  It has been challenging but rewarding.

 

 

I’ve been realizing more and more just exactly how much my relationship with the Lord must not only be my foundation, it must be my entire house.  Without Christ being my absolute everything, I have no purpose to my life.   When Christ is not only the rudder to the ship, but my ship I realize that even in the choppiest of waves I am safe.  This is essential, it is ESSENTIAL that we armor up as the body of Christ, the enemy is on the prowl, continous distractions, causing strife, gossip among the church attempting to tarnish it’s image (and in many ways succeeded).  Family there is no more time for games, Christ demands our life and the question is are we going to submit to Him?

 

 

Where am I going with this you ask? Because before we talk about establishing the kingdom we need to be completely confident in our relationship with Christ, this is not to say that we are perfect,  God equips the called He does not called the equipped (because none of us are).  Until we realize his amazing grace on our lives, and until we realize our complete depravity we cannot move on and allow God to mold us in to who we were orginally created to be.

 

 

 

I digress let’s move on to the kingdom.    People estimate that there are about 300,000 Christian churches in the U.S (not including Catholic).  If the population of the U.S is about 300 million people, that equates to roughly about 1,000 people per church,  In a very real way the church has effectively communicated the gospel, the majority of Americans claim Christianity as their religious association (75%), this is quite an amazing feat.  However that’s where the positive ends, staticians estimate that out of those 75% only 4% hold a Biblical worldview.  What is that worldview? It’s the essentials! (The trinity, satan being real, the Bible being perfect and absolute truth).  This is a huge miss, because even though people know about Jesus, they still haven’t met Jesus, even though they know that christians are opposed to abortion, premarital sex, drug use, they still don’t understand WHY we are opposed to those things.   This is huge! What good is a list of things that are “sin” if there is no savior who points out a better way to live?    There is a new generation rising up (us!, twenty somethings) who are determing to explain to the world that there is a better way to live then the way they are living.  We are people who want to introduce people to a living God who doesn’t demand sunday morning church attending, but demands a lifestyle change, a lifestyle that is so free, so full of life, so full of people who support you, and a lifestyle of grace and redemption.  The kingdom is coming, and God has entrusted us broken people to establish it.

 

 

It is essential that we view our faith not as what church we go to, but we realize that we are doing the same work for the same God.  It’s not about one church, it’s about a kingdom menality, when I visit a church community, or when I have dinner with a christian I’ve never met I am serving the same exact God they are.  Could you imagine if the American church put aside petty differences (I’m not talking about core doctrines) and united and reached their community’s together?  Could you imagine a baptist church and a pentecostal church working TOGETHER to paint the local firehoue? Or to feed and clothe and love the poor?  If we believe in the same God who redeemed us then we need to start acting like it.

 

 

The idea of the kingdom goes beyond just the walls of what we call a church (which using the word church the way we use it is actually wrong, the Bible never refers to church as a building), the kingdiom goes way beyond Sunday morning, weds night, or youth group. It goes beyond what we are used to calling “church” in American society. The kingdom is established in relationships and over all lifestyle choices. Allow me to elaborate, first relationships.

 

Let’s get one thing clear, America does not want another product, they are not interested in a salespitch when it comes Jesus, and quite frankly I think they’re tired of hearing about Jesus. What America wants to see is an active Jesus, one who puts their money with their mouth is, one who preaches abstinence then actually practices it. People aren’t looking for robots, they are looking for humans who understand the struggles of the human condition and who can offer a way out. It’s a delicate balance,. We don’t want to preach the idea of christians are perfect and have everything together at all times because well, none of us are perfect. In the same breath we don’t want to preach the opposite idea either, that we can live however we want to live. I think the key is when we are genuine about who we are, this is best accomplished through a personal authentic friendship, one that still loves the person regardless if they reject the Gospel, I have a friend like that, I love him to death regardless of his rejection of the Gospel because I have no control over what he chooses to believe, and I trust God to work on his heart (what a relief).

 

The second is lifestyle. This is so absolutely key to our faith, not only because Jesus demands it, but because in a world of talk, talk and more talk, action cements the beliefs that we say we believe. Don’t fool yourself however, a lifestyle of Christ will only come out of a genuine love for Christ and a realization of his amazing love for us. After that, lifestyle will pour out of us because we wont’ be able to live any other way.

 

 

Just the other day me and some friends got to together at my house, cooked a full meal, brought out my moms best dishes and celebrated communion, we had the bread, ate a full meal then drank the juice (or soda in this case), the whole conversation was centered on things about God and the topics spanned from personal life, to the end times to everything in between. This is the lifestyle I’m talking about. Why not bring church to your home? I mean the church is made up of people anyway. So live as the church throughout the week. Often people will say “I’m too busy to do things like what you just described” but that’s the beauty of a lifestyle. The lifestyle is how you live, it’s where you live, the kingdom walks where you walk. YOU bring the kingdom WHEREVER you go! This includes work, this includes when you go out to eat, when you go to the gym. God has entrusted us with bringing the kingdom to the world and we bring it where we walk.

 

I believe however that the only way to effectively bring the kingdom to where you are is to have a group of likeminded of people that can support you and that you can support. Americans are realizing that things don’t satisfy, that there is more to life then a pension, big house, and lots of money. All over the place we are realizing that the promise of the next gadget to fix our life doesn’t actually fix anything and instead creates more problems. Living independently isn’t always best, and really what good is all of your stuff if you’ve sacrificed marriages, and your children to get it?

 

Find people who want in on this amazing task, initiate, start inviting people over all the time for coffee, or to do whatever it is you want to do. It doesn’t matter what it is, let your relationship s naturally mature and enjoy being the community, the church that Christ has called us to be. One that goes WAY beyond four walls on a sunday, one that goes way beyond the normal idea of a nice quite Christian American life. The two greatest commands we have from our Father is to love Him with everything, and love people. 1 Corinthians 13.

 

Any typos/grammatical errors are not my fault

 

– Tim Whitaker

A Glimpse of what Living in the Kingdom Looks Like – Tim Whitaker

Happy New Years everyone.  I wanted to share a thought I’ve been having today, so here it is.

Every year my friend Jerry hosts a New Years Eve Party that lasts from 10 P.M New Years Eve to 10 A.M New Years day.  Of course people stay till 4 P.m New Years day, in fact that’s where I am typing from now, At Jerry’s house.   Keep this thought in the back of your head.

The Kingdom of God is awesome, and it’s hard to completely define, but one thing is for sure, when the church (the people) realize what their mission is as God’s people, to usher the Kingdom of God on to earth and to declare the gospel.  They start to change everything around them.  It is so important for us as Christians to realize that when we are gathered together at any time, from Sunday Morning, to dinner at a friends house, we are participating in the Kingdom of God here on earth.  When we realize that everything we are doing here on earth has major spiritual implications, we then realize that even things we don’t always see as “spiritual” activity’s are now completely spiritual.  Let me give you an example.

at 12. A.M the ball dropped, I screamed happy new year with 60 people and we ran outside banging pots and pans for about 15 minutes.  After that we came back in and danced our hearts out for the next 45 minutes.  The bass was booming and people were dancing, and in that moment it was Holy.  It was Holy because we realized what we were doing.  We weren’t just dancing.  We were dancing with Jesus, we were participating in the Kingdom of God celebrating a new year.  Guys who never dance, were right in the middle looking like fools (mainly me), and did not care at all about how they looked.  Because the point wasn’t the individual, it was the group, it was the collective group celebrating together a new year.  At that moment the church of God was gathered in someones house, blasting music and being goofy human beings laughing, dancing, and singing all while God was right in the middle.

The night didn’t stop there, it was filled with discussions about the church, missions, and the gospel around a camp fire with new friends that we met that night.  While people were discussing around a fire outside, other people were in a heated mario kart tournament, others were asleep, others were reading, others were upstairs eating.  By 4.30 there was a massive poker tournament while a few friends cooked breakfast for everyone and by 8 we had transformers 3 on.  At this point me and my cousin Joe left to go sleep at his house for a few hours, but people were at Jerry’s house until 4. p.m.  And now about 10 of us are back at Jerry’s watching the football game.   Some are playing poker, I’m typing a blog, and others are wearing Giants jersey’s and cheering their butts off.  It’s wonderful because as I look around I see the Kingdom.  I’m seeing a glimpse of heaven.  Community, conversation, unity, all with God in the center of it all.  Without our faith it’s empty.  Without Jesus this weekend was just a nice party.  But because of what Jesus did on the cross, because we are able to be restored to God, this weekend was Holy.  This weekend the Kingdom of God was at Jerry’s house and it was a blast.

If we limit our view of our spirituality to just “spiritual” things then we miss out on 90% of what God is trying to show us.  Let’s face it even the most devoted Christian is in a spiritual setting at the most maybe 4 times a week.  If we assume that God only works in those times, then we assume that in the other times, God is not really interested in what we are doing.  We assume that God isn’t interested in talking to us, or walking with us when we are doing things like grocery shopping, or watching a movie, or working out.  We separate (not necessarily on purpose) our spiritual time from our “non” spiritual time.  This however is a foreign idea in the Bible.

First there is no word for “spiritual” in the Hebrew scriptures.  For the Jewish people everything they did had spiritual implications because we are spiritual beings.  the word breath we see in Genesis 2:7 doesn’t just mean to literally breathe. It also means spirit.  So when God “breathed” in to man he gave man his spirit.  We are the only created being that is part spiritual (breath of God) and part physical (from the dust). This truth should completely change the way we see the word “spiritual”.  Everything we do is spiritual because we are spiritual beings.

When you connect the dots you see quickly that the Holy spirit is the presence of God dwelling inside of us.  That means that wherever we walk, the Kingdom of God is walking with us.  God is not limited to the times that we have decided to make more spiritual than others.   This is not to say that Sunday mornings, youth group, other “church” events are bad.  Not at all, but what I’m suggesting is that it can not stop there.  Because God doesn’t stop there.  Wether we choose to believe it or not, God is going everywhere that we go.  That means that now everything we do God is a part of.  When six of my brothers and I are sitting around a table playing poker, God is right there with us in the middle of it.  When I’m watching football, God is right there with me.  Why not talk to Him?  God doesn’t need us, but He desires us.  He created us for His pleasure and He desires to know us, and he desires us to know Him.

What that looks like is for another post. 🙂

Blessings.  Where you walk, the Kingdom of God walks.

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