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"Let this sink in. Hear what Paul is really saying. He is not talking about organizational structure or a membership covenant. He isn’t talking about a civic organization or a well-run non-profit. He is talking about a cosmic reality: those who become part of the Body of Christ...become part of the Body of Christ!"
"What to do, then, when there is nothing to be done? I stood there, helpless in the face of such poverty, and wondered: as a follower of Jesus, what is my responsibility to this woman who seems to have been forgotten by the world? Do I demand justice? Throw her over my shoulder and haul her out of there? Or helplessly move on?"
This is the power of resurrection. Isaiah says, “see, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” This is the heart of God for his people. Jesus wants to make a river run through the wasteland of your life, because when the Spirit flows people get raised and get filled and get healed and get sober and their wastelands get soaked. A new thing! We’ve seen a spiritual resurrection in Paul and a “fresh start” resurrection in Aeneas and now we’re about to see the full power of God come to rest over death...In Acts 9:37-38 we read, “about that time Tabitha became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. When the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, 'Please come at once!'...
I understand these people better than I want to admit. I know what it means to become so focused on the work and the politics and the systems and the next big book that’s going to tell us how to really do it right, that I can forget what Jesus is capable of and why he’s filled me with the Holy Spirit and what he’s called me to do. Somehow (I’m sure this is not the correct theological language), it seems like the Spirit leaks out. Or maybe I push him out. I know it has happened when I find myself telling God how big my storm is, rather than telling my storm how big my God is.
He is saying that those who get it will be the ones who realize we’re nothing by ourselves that what we want most from life won’t happen if we think we have to do it ourselves. It will happen when we let the One Who Is Enough serve us as Lord, and Messiah, and Friend.
Wait. Watch. Work. This is how it happens. One conversation at a time, one meal at a time, one prayer at a time, one bag of food at a time, one nail at a time, one kind word at a time in the name of Jesus. That’s how the Kingdom comes.
We have a hope, and it is not rooted in our circumstances; it is rooted in the plan —in the very identity—of God. For those of us who struggle, who live under gathering clouds, it is not a promise that God will answer all our questions. It is promise that He will not change on us. God’s character is eternal, his promises are safe, his nature is to love and his plans for us are good. “What is of God will last. It belongs to the eternal life. Choose it, and it will be yours.”
When is it time ...? The fourth chapter of Matthew inspires that question. This is the place in the story of Jesus where he decides the time is right to step into his public ministry. The Kingdom of Heaven has now come near, in earnest. A new movement is about to make itself known. And here, we learn how Jesus began the movement that changed the world.
So here’s the question: what does your life feel like right now? Are you doing that thing where you get up every day and walk through it, then fall into bed, get up and do it all again the next day … no change, no vision, no resurrection power? Are you existing … but not really alive? Do you realize there is an option? It is a choice to let the resurrected Christ live in you. And it is a choice to let the cross work on you.
The road that leads into the Kingdom of Heaven runs through fire and axes and water. That road invites us to separate the Kingdom of Self from the Kingdom of God – to let go of things that have no Kingdom value and clear a road for Jesus to come in.