Under New Management

new mangementWho owns the Kingdom of God? Before you say ‘God’, followed by ‘that’s a dumb question’, let me include something Jesus says in Luke 12:32.

“Don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the kingdom.”


Wait, maybe ‘give’ in the greek means something totally different. Let’s check it out at blueletterbible.org.

 to give something to someone

a) of one’s own accord to give one something, to his advantage

1) to bestow a gift

b) to grant, give to one asking, let have

c) to supply, furnish, necessary things

d) to give over, deliver


So here’s my question to you: have you been treating the Kingdom of God like you are an owner?

I was a business owner for a period of time. I worked late, I worked weekends, I spent a lot of my own personal money to run it. I gave it everything I had.

When I went back to working for a corporation, I never, ever worked late. You couldn’t have gotten me there on a weekend with a cattle prod.

I didn’t care if that company made or lost a billion dollars. I did my job, and I did it well enough to get raises and promotions, but I didn’t really care about it.

Jesus talks about this difference in John 10:12-13 as it pertains to shepherds:

“A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.”

So let me ask you you again: do you treat the Kingdom of Heaven like the co-owner you are? Or are you just treating it like a meal ticket?

Is it so much a part of your life that it’s a part of your identity, or is it just something you do?

Personally, I wouldn’t trust me with God’s shoe. But God has given me so much more.

The difference between an owner and an employee is that an owner bears ultimate responsibility. There’s no one to pass the buck onto. If, as an owner, you don’t do the work - it simply doesn’t get done.

The Kingdom of God is under new management - you.

When people encounter it, are they going to want to become a co-owner with you?

Heaven's Perfection

In Brooklyn, New York, there is a school for children with learning disabilities called Chush. A few years ago, a father of one of the students, Shaya, spoke at a fundraising dinner for the school. He began mildly enough, thanking this person and that person. Then he startled everyone with an anguished question: “Where is the perfection in my son, Shaya? Everything done in heaven is done with perfection. But my child cannot understand things as other children do…Where is the perfection in that?” The guests sat silent.

“I believe,” the man continued, “that when heaven brings a child like this into the world, the perfection it seeks is in the way people react to this child.”

He then told a story. One day he and Shaya were watching some boys play softball. Shaya wanted to play, and the father went over and spoke with the pitcher of one of the teams. The boy was at first unsure. Then he shrugged and said, “Whatever. We’re in the eighth inning and behind by six runs. We’ve got nothing to lose. Sure. He can play short center field. We’ll let him bat in the ninth.”

Shaya was ecstatic. He shambled out to his position and stood there.

But by the bottom of the ninth, his team had fallen behind by two points and had the bases loaded. They needed a home run to make it work - only, Shaya was scheduled to bat. The boys conferred, and to the father’s amazement they handed the bat to Shaya. He stood over the base, clutching the bat askew, too tight. The pitcher from the opposing team then did a remarkable thing: he took several steps closer and lobbed an easy ball right over the plate. Shaya swung wildly and missed wildly. One of his teammates came up and wrapped his arms around Shaya from behind, and together they held the bat. The pitcher lobbed another easy ball, and Shaya and his teammate bunted it. It rolled right to the pitcher. All the players shouted for Shaya to run to first. He shuffled along. The pitcher could have had an easy out, but he threw the ball wide and far to left field. Shaya made first base. The players yelled for him to take second. Again, the catcher in left field threw wide and far, and Shaya made second. On it went, the other players all making home plate, Shaya loping along and everyone from both sides screaming themselves hoarse for him to run all the way. He touched home plate, and the ball came singing in behind him. The boys cheered madly. They mounted Shaya on their shoulders and paraded him as a hero.

“That day,” the father said, “Those eighteen boys reached their level of heaven’s perfection.”


Excerpted from Hidden In Plain Sight by Mark Buchanan

Dual Citizenship

I started reading a book called You Lost Me by David Kinnaman today. It’s one of those books which is depressing to read because it presents truths that you wish didn’t exist. It’s about young adults who leave the church - and often their faith - behind because of how frustrated they are. The worst part is that their arguements are pretty darn valid. In the book, Kinnaman refers to an idea which the church promotes a lot: being in the world, not of it.

We’ve all heard the saying that we are “in this world, not of it” many times, I’m sure. It comes from Jesus’ prayer for his disciples in John 17.

But I think when we in Church say it, we tend to have the idea that we need to add the word ‘but’. We are in this world BUT not of it. The obvious emphasis being that we need to remember the fact that we are above and beyond this valley of tears we call earth. We are looking forward to eternity in glory with the creator of all, the source of light and truth and love and peace! We just have to endure this nightmare a little while before we wake up and all is well.

And I think that’s the wrong mindset. In the prayer we refer to, Jesus says this: “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15 - emphasis mine)

I think that instead of saying “In this world BUT not of it”, we should say that we are “In this world AND not of it”. We’re not trapped here in the previews, waiting for the movie to start. The movie has begun! God’s kingdom is here. God’s kingdom is now.

The two concepts of “in this world, not of it” are not either/or, they’re both/and!

Songs like “When I die / Hallelujah by and by / I’ll fly away” speak to an escapist mentality that clearly wasn’t the intention Jesus had for his followers.

Let’s not view this life as a prison sentence where we are waiting for our parole. Paul balanced these dueling ideas when he said “To live is Christ, to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21)

There wasn’t a “bad option” that he wanted to avoid. Both were good. Heaven AND earth. We are in this world AND not of it. Let’s not seek to be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.

We must build relationships in this world to have an impact. And relationships mean seeing eye to eye with people, not looking down on them. We are in this world just like everybody else is in this world. Let’s connect on that level, so that we can speak of the one who can make us to also be ‘not of it’.

Faith and Politics

I started reading ‘Bringing Up Girls’ by James Dobson yesterday, but I stopped after the first few chapters because I was getting annoyed with it. He keeps inserting political opinions into the text. That’s right, in a book about raising daughters, he wants me to hear all about his political leanings. Why do we do that in Christianity? Politicize our faith?

I used to think it was important for Christians to be involved in politics.

Then I became adamantly anti-political party and anti-politician.

I’ve now arrived at the place where the politics of this planet do not matter to me.  I’m pretty sure they didn’t matter to Jesus, either.

The people following him wanted to make him a king, but he wouldn’t let them.  About the multitudes who were starting to follow him, the bible says, “but Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature. No one needed to tell him what mankind is really like.” (John 2:24-25)

That’s why, when he was entering Jerusalem and everyone is cheering and giving him a regal entrance, Jesus ends up crying for the city. (Luke 19:41) He knew that days later some of the same people shouting ‘Hosanna’ would be shouting ‘Crucify Him!’ (Luke 23:21)

When he had a great crowd, instead of fomenting a political movement, he gave the ‘eat my flesh, drink my blood’ talk and many left him. (John 6:22-66)

When Pilate questioned Jesus about his rule, Jesus said “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36)

Jesus didn’t come to win a seat on the Sanhedrin and enact new legislation. Heck, he didn’t even care about unseating the oppressive Roman government which was occupying Israel.  He commends the faith of a centurion (Matthew 8:10), and even advocates paying taxes to this government oppressing his people!! (Luke 20:25)

I’m not saying you shouldn’t vote or do your civic duty.  I’m just saying I don’t think political activism is what we are called to.  In Galatians 5, where Paul lists the fruit of the Holy Spirit, he talks about the fact that those fruit can never be outlawed.  He’s basically saying that the genuine Christian life is above and beyond earthly rules and regulations.

Some may disagree with me here, and I’m okay with that. I just think when Christians get into the political game, they cannot accomplish what they are called to accomplish.  Getting abortion outlawed won’t change the underlying problems that cause a girl to get pregnant in the first place, and won’t help her be a good mother to her child afterwards.

If the law could save, we wouldn’t have needed Jesus.

We’re called to bring heaven to earth and the way to do that is not through politics and laws.

Okay, I’m done with this soapbox now, if anybody needs to borrow it…