While teaching during Summer Intensive Week for Samaritans and counselor about the call of this ministry to “TEACH THE KINGDOM OF GOD,” a common message kept resonating. God’s Kingdom, His story, and what Jesus did are simultaneously AWE inspiring, SHOCKING and filled with wonder. There are so many mysteries involved with the upside down messages and parables that Jesus taught about God’s Kingdom. Even his disciples were regularly perplexed, confused, or worse, disgusted to the point of “this guy is nuts and I’m outta here!” Suggesting that we must pray for our enemies and those who persecute us… what? Not so much, right? Jesus did things backwards all the time and it usually got him into trouble. He would hang out with rough crowd, diseased, and the poor. Jesus was the bomb.
People are filled with anger, depression, confusion, and a heaviness that can be debilitating. Our counselor training, groups, services, and ministries are needed more than ever, especially with the intensive media coverage of Robin Williams’ suicide and the Ferguson shooting in Missouri! Add the international concerns, Ebola, ISIS, and other terrorist threats; there really is only one path towards peace in this world: A bomb called Jesus, a bomb of peace. “Bomb of peace?!” Call me crazy, but wait there is more… always more.
There is a symbol that I think represents this King and His kingdom so well. A king who is so engaging and challenging at the same time. This symbol is called an interrobang, and it looks like this: ‽ The interrobang is somewhat forgotten English punctuation. It is a symbol actually found and used on old typewriters (yes, some of us used those back in the day #oldguy) and I like to think of the interrobang symbol as representing awe and wonder coming together. Personally for me, such a symbol is a strong overlay of both who God is – AWEsome and often a mystery… and God’s Kingdom – infinitely incredible and yet mysterious at the same time. JESUS, king of the Jews‽ You get the idea. Anyhow, it blows my mind. Whenever Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God, as he did many times in the bible, he painted with metaphors and word stories. Jesus, fully god, and fully man‽ There I go again :-).
So, as I was teaching and reviewing Kingdom truths, Kingdom dynamics of everyday life, and the reality of our need to engage and be active as we love God and love our neighbors as Christ commanded. Many today are caught in what many call the “tension of God’s Kingdom.” Every person is designed to be a loving, caring, engaged person in relationship with God… #wisdom. Jesus was always about Kingdom demonstration (His Father’s rule, reign, plans, and power), and proclaiming the good news of a new type of relationship with God: God’s Kingdom is near and available, yet few understood the words, messaging, and teachings that still challenge us to this day. I could write about this all day, but few will really read this far. So I will wrap it up with one important piece – peace‽
Many don’t know the most repeated command in the Bible is not about loving, it’s about not fearing! “do not fear.” DO NOT FEAR‽ As a prince of peace, Jesus came, shed his blood for us all, then left. And when he did, he left us with HIS peace. Fear is anti-peace. Jesus left us HIS peace empowered by His spirit the comforter, to teach and help change the way we think, feel and live.
So how can we be sure the Kingdom of God actually IS with/in us? Simple faith in Jesus and receiving his grace is the start. As a servant leader and warrior King, Jesus established a Kingdom beachhead some 2000 years ago. Now we share in that through faith in Jesus and what HE did. Remember, it’s all about Jesus and His grace. This mighty prince, came as a prince of what?… Prince of Peace. We are facing an increasingly intense world stage. And, we are commanded to love our neighbors, often with upside down methods to help others get right-side up. Turning people toward their purpose and potential often results in new passion. A Samaritan life is not always easy, but always fulfilled. Samaritans reach out and empower others to…
Find relationships vs. isolation – to become visible vs. invisible – to be engaged vs. disengaged – to live with love vs. judgment – to find humility vs. pride – etc.
And, it gets better. The crazy mysteries and interrobangs that make up God’s expanding Kingdom are accessible and available on earth, so that… WE might have a PEACE-full, satisfying, joyfilled life in the middle of the messes and chaos of life. PEACE‽ Peace that overcomes fear, worry, circumstance, persecution… you name it. Peace that is wonderful and strangely out of place, but working, always. Robin Williams needed that peace, and so do we.
What’s really cool is that God’s rule and reign are growing and Christianity has been expanding exponentially over this past century. So, as we collaborate with a God who is constantly re-establishing his Kingdom on this earth (as it is in heaven), might I suggest we seek a new sense of excitement and expectancy for God to ______________. Then, engage in fervency in the Kingdom, strengthened through peace, filled with confidence and intimacy with God through prayer.
Prayer … , just a suggestion my friend. You see, when God is finished and Jesus takes over on this earth, we will be… well, filled with awe and wonder, for sure.
May you find a His peace amidst the chaos. Seek first God’s Kingdom, shed your fears, seek your Kingdom calling, and trust the AWE and WONDER of a Triune God. To be continued‽