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Monday, October 20, 2014

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God
Doctrines regarding the kingdom of God tend to err toward one of two extremes. One extreme assumes that the Kingdom accomplishes too little during the Church Age. The other maintains that the Kingdom accomplishes too much. Some emphasize the heavenly nature of the Kingdom, and expect little supernatural expression on earth. Since the fulfillment of the Kingdom is yet future, the Church may too quickly retreat from social and civic responsibility. Others locate the Kingdom primarily on earth. They claim that most of the supernatural power of the Kingdom is currently available to a militant Church and that the fulfillment of the Kingdom will occur during the Church Age. Both of these extremes must be avoided.


The Kingdom of God and the Kingdoms of Earth
The kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world exist side by side at the present time. However, these kingdoms will not be one and the same until Christ returns and the kingdoms of this world become “the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” (Revelation 11:15). The kingdom of God may operate within, but is not to be identified with, any present political system. Believers take the gospel of the Kingdom into the world so that individuals may voluntarily choose the lordship of Jesus Christ.
While revealing that all human government is currently, to some extent, under the influence of the evil one (Daniel 10:13,20; John 12:31; 14:30; Ephesians 6:12; 1 John 5:19), the Bible nonetheless teaches that government is ordained by God to maintain order and punish evildoers (Romans 13:1–7). Governmental authorities are God’s servants (Romans 13:6) whether they recognize it or not. Ideals of justice and decency found in government and society are the legacy of God’s grace in the world (Romans 1:20; 2:14). Though they may be in rebellion, the kingdoms of the world are yet responsible to God and must be called to account for injustice and wickedness.
Although the kingdom of God is not a present political entity, the citizens of the Kingdom are responsible to exert a positive influence on their society. While the Bible does not give clear guidelines for Christian action in combating the social evils embedded in the structures of our society, and sincere believers will differ on the means to be employed, Christians clearly are to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13,14). They are to be concerned about the needy (James 1:27; 2:16) and the oppressed (James 5:4–6). Filled with the Spirit, and given the opportunity to influence society, they are impelled to denounce unjust laws (Isaiah 10:1,2) and to seek justice and goodness (Amos 5:14,15; Micah 6:8).
At the same time, and without contradiction of their servant role, God’s children should be in the world, but not of it (John 17:11,14,16). The kingdom of God (God’s rule in our lives) is demonstrated in and through us by “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
The kingdom of God is not the blueprint for a radical cultural change based on some carnal theocratic or revolutionary agenda. Instead, it radically changes human personalities and lives. Through men and women who recognize its authority and live by its standards, the kingdom of God invades the stream of history. This process began with godly preflood humans, found early expression in theocratic Israel, drew near in the person of the Messiah, has been advancing through the Church, and will be completed in the dominion of Christ at the end of the age. 
Your Kingdom Come
Christ taught His disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10). The Kingdom is already among us in that it has invaded Satan’s domain and has assured final victory. The Kingdom comes in a measure whenever a person receives Christ as Savior, is healed or delivered, or is touched in any way by the divine. Yet the future consummation of the kingdom of God—the time when all evil and rebellion will be eliminated—is the fervent hope of the Christian. So with the disciples we pray, “Your kingdom come”—both now and when Christ returns.
The rapture of the Church, the coming of Christ for His own, will set in motion the events that lead to the consummation of the eternal Kingdom. “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). With John the beloved revelator we say, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). 

(Adapted from: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_downloads/PP_The_Kingdom_of_God.pdf) 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

HAITI: Day #3... Final Day


Today the team of 12 pastors from around the United States will be leaving together on an airplane to go back to the states.  However, the impact God spirit has made in our life will last a lifetime.

Behind me in this picture is the city of Port-au-Prince, the city hit hardest by the 2010, 7.0 magnitude earthquake. There were an estimated 220,000+ people that died (we saw the mass grave).  Currently in the city 86% of people are unemployed as well as living in slums like condition.  
The Hope for Haiti remains in the Lord! The power of darkness has been broken & the light of Jesus is shining forth. 

HAITI: Day #2

Today we were hands-on and touching the lives of literally hundreds of children.  We were able to feed 400 children at one orphanage/school alone the only hot meal they were have all day.

Below are pictures of some of the beds the kids sleep in, the schools that are educating them, the food that was fed, and the warehouse which Convoy of Hope distributes The greatest commodity of all… HOPE. You will see
their warehouse which provides the meals.

The need is great, BUT OUR GOD IS GREATER!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

HAITI: Day #1

Those of you who are not aware, I'm currently on a trip with Convoy of Hope down to see their feeding programs and their agricultural programs in the nation of Haiti. I left for the airport at 3:30 AM this morning and flew out of BWI. We made it to Hades by way of the Miami airport. Upon arriving maybe we were picked up by national workers employed by the Convoy of Hope.

I am actually quite surprised by the depth of the need and the severity of the property across Haiti.  The pictures below are from the orphanage and school which Convoy of Hope has partnered with and feeds over 70 children a day in this one location alone.  But actually began sometime before the earthquake.

This is the orphanages story:  The lady that runs the orphanage was simply walking down the street wearing two young boys came up behind her stuck a gun in her back.  She asked, "what do you boys need."  They replied, "we just want some food."  She then asked the boys how many other children were just like them needing food.  Their reply is what started the orphanage… "there are many of us!"

Below are a few pictures of the result of one lady who heard God's call to take care of the "least of these."







Monday, September 29, 2014

ASKING POWERFUL QUESTIONS

With a house full of kids, there is no shortage on the downpour of questions each day.  However, I've noticed that they often ask the question, but have no real interest in the answer.  Perhaps my answers are too long, or too boring... OF COURSE, my kids are also not too impressed with most of my questions:  Is your homework done? Did your make your bed?  What did you learn at school today?



What have I learned?  The RIGHT question matters.

I've learned over the last few years about the benefits of powerful questions.  These types of questions are not leading or manipulative, but help bring clarity and direction.  Powerful questions keep us from the virus of advise giving, and believes in the potential of the other person.

However, there is an ART of asking the RIGHT QUESTIONS.

1.  Observe:  Being able to ask good questions, involves the ability to observe person's life within context.  Too often we are obsessed with the immediate, and therefore never talk about anything truly important.  Keen observation leads to powerful questions!
2.  Listen:  Turn off the flow of words and truly listen.  Not half heartedly, but truly listen with the intent to hear.  It is amazing we miss because we haven't worked hard enough at listening.  Focused listening will improve your performance at work, in your marriage, with friends and with your children.  Good listening is by no means passive, in fact, it is draining.  Listening is extremely active.
3.  Wait:  Relationships are built on trust, and trust is the basis for honest questions and answers.  Infact, the level of honesty is in direct correlation to the level of trust. This can't be rushed.  Wait for trust to develop. Waiting also involves the correct time to ask the questions.  Growing up my mom knew us kids would talk at night because we didn't want to go to sleep.  Take advantage of these times, that are often inconvenient to you.
4.  Follow:  I've learned that just because I have an answer (my perceived answer), the person I'm talking to might not be asking that question right now.  The right words at the wrong time are always wasted.  Instead, follow where they are leading in the conversation.  You will hear key words or phrases that will reveal their fears, hopes, dream, frustrations, etc...  Although you lead with a question, you follow where they lead.
5. Refrain:  It is always tempted to ask questions out of inquiry.  It is valuable to ask yourself, "Why am I asking this question?"  Is it for your benefit (cause we are all a bit nosy) or are you asking the question for their benefit.  Powerful questions only emerge as we are acting in the best interest of the other person.
6.  Focus:  Powerful questions are rarely if ever general questions.  What happened at school today?, is an example of a general question.   It doesn't focus on a certain subject or group of friends, nor does it bring clarity to my children.  A question my kids love to answer is "Who did you play with at recess today?"  Since this is 1 or 2 word answer, it must be followed up with an open ended question.  For instance, "How did you spend your time at recess?"  It is amazing where my kids take me in review of their day when we have this type of discussion.  If you need some help with this, I thought that this is a good link on asking Open Ended Questions.

Finally, I thought it would be helpful to give examples of what powerful questions:
  1. What’s are the 2 most important areas of your life right now?  
  2. How did you come to that conclusion?
  3. How are you investing in these areas of priority?
  4. What projects or goals are you working on at the moment?
  5. What challenges are you struggling with at the moment?
  6. How can you word that goal more specifically?
  7. How can you measure that goal?
  8. How would you describe your relationships?
  9. What areas of your relationship are you most proud?
  10. If you could add "something" to your relationship, what would be most helpful?
  11. Is there anything you forgot to do before leaving for school?  (making the bed always comes up)
  12. What do you see in your future?
As I have learned to ask better questions, I've also learned to ask myself powerful questions.  It has helped me to guide my thoughts to more productive, and in a positive direction.  The right questions lead us to the right answer.

As you evaluate your questions to others, also consider what questions you need to be asking your self.

In fact, perhaps we can help one another.  Please respond with a POWERFUL QUESTION that we may ask ourselves.  I love learning from others!