We Need to Reduce…

We need to reduce the distractions and voracious consumption.  Many things we do as “something more” aren’t bad in themselves.  Yet collectively they contribute to a whirling buzz of confusion that keeps us from fixing our eyes on Christ and his kingdom and his ordinary means of grace.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 177

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Four Common Threads in the Analogy of Christ’s Kingdom

What are some of the common threads we can draw together from Jesus’ organic analogy of his kingdom?  First, it is his kingdom.  Second, there is no personal relationship with Christ, the Vine, apart from his church, the branches.  Third, the growth of his kingdom (and each member of it) is slow.  Who would ever have imagined that a tiny mustard seed would become a massive tree with branches filling the earth?  Yet it isn’t something you can measure day by day.  Fourth, it takes a lot of work.  The gardener is always doing something to tend the vine in view of his harvest.

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 173

Is It Not Time for that Day to Dawn?

Talent has been Christianized already on a large scale.  The political power of states and kingdoms has been long assumed to be, and now at last really is, as far as it becomes their accepted office to maintain personal security and liberty.  Architecture, arts, constitutions, schools, and learning have largely been Christianized.  But the money power, which is one of the most operative and grandest of all, is only beginning to be, though with promising tokens of a finally complete reduction to Christ and the uses of His Kingdom… That day, when it comes, is the morning, so to speak, of the new creation.  It is not time for that day to dawn?

– Howard Bushnell

as quoted by Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 255

The Funeral is the Prelude to the Unending Wedding Reception

Apart from God’s grace, the gravity of our sin never reaches above the level of shame and our happiness never crosses the threshold of momentary pleasure.  Christ’s kingdom, however, is full of mirth, because of the joy of forgiveness.  The funeral is prelude to the unending wedding reception.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 214

These Are the Spirit’s Weapons in the Kingdom of Christ

Word, baptism and the Supper: these are the Spirit’s weapons in the kingdom that Christ is building.  Throughout our warfare in this life, the Spirit brings us back to our location “in Christ”, signified and sealed in our baptism and our shared meal.  Through these means of grace, the Spirit not only gathers us together in Christ but continues to build us up into Christ as our living head.  In this way, the church is no longer merely one voluntary association alongside others, but the only truly cross-cultural communion of saints in the world.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 202

In the Absence of Christ’s Visible Reign, It Is Easy to Substitute Ourselves or the Church

It is easy, in the absence of Christ’s visible reign in the flesh on the earth, to substitute ourselves or the church.  What we are doing right now on earth becomes the front-page news.  However, we miss the whole point if we fail to see that it is still what Jesus is doing that is the big news.  He ascended to heaven in order to rule and subdue history to his gracious and holy designs, dispatch his Spirit to sweep sinners into his victory parade, and to spread his kingdom of peace to the ends of the earth.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 178

Do This Until We See

Partaking in Communion involves a recognition that for Christians, the benefits of Jesus’ sacrifice include communion with both God and one another.  And in faith, Christians are to part take of communion until one day they see Jesus and sit to eat with him as friends in his kingdom.

– Driscoll, Mark and Gary Breshears, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2008, p. 126