You Don’t Have a Holy To-Do List

But here is the good news: it is not your ministry, church or people.  You do not have to create and protect a personal legacy, but simply to distribute and guard Christ’s legacy entrusted to his apostles.  You don’t have to bind Satan and storm the gates of hell.  Christ has already done this.  We’re just sweeping in behind him to unlock the prison doors.  You  don’t have to live the gospel, be the gospel, do the gospel, and lead the troops to redeem culture and reconcile the world to God.  We are not building a kingdom that can be convulsed with violence like other realms, but we are “receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28).

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 119-120

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Jesus Did Not Come to Make Slight Alterations to Our Lifestyles

Jesus did not come to make slight alterations to our lifestyles.  He called us to live for a completely different kingdom.  To pick up His cross and live like He did.

Stop waiting on God to tell you to offer your life for the kingdom.  He’s already done that.  Instead, ask Him to show you how best to do it.

– Greear, J.D.; Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; page 155

The Challenge Inherent in the New Testament

Many lay people have remarked to me that from priests and ministers today they hear just about everything but the proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom.  they hear about race, pollution, war, abortion, ecology, and a myriad of other moral problems.  None of them prevents proclamation, but not a single one of them is an adequate substitute for issuing invitations to the banquet.  Are we hesitant to commit ourselves for the role of an eschatological herald because we’re no longer sure that we believe in that role – another way of saying that we never really did believe it?  Maybe we think such a role isn’t relevant, that people won’t take an eschatological herald seriously.  To be really a disciple of Jeus one must be as committed to the message of the Kingdom as He was, and to preach it whether or not the audience finds it relevant.

This is the challenge inherent in the New Testament.  If Jesus is to be believed, if His message is to be taken seriously, if God has indeed intervened with loving and saving mercy, then the message is supremely relevant and the issuance of invitations to the wedding banquet is supremely important.  But the fundamental issue is not whether the world considers it relevant; it is whether it is true.  And this can be decided only by a leap of commitment.  Once cannot be a disciple without being committed, and if there are many hesitant disciples today, the reason is that they have not yet made a decisive commitment.

– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, copyright 1990, 2000, page 164-165

People Who Can’t Be Insulted

When a man or woman is truly honest (not just working at it), it is virtually impossible to insult them personally.  There is nothing there to insult.  Those who were truly ready for the kingdom were just such people.  Their inner poverty of spirit and rigorous honesty had set them free.  They were people who had nothing to be proud of.

– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, copyright 1990, 2000, page 85

The Government of Christ’s Church Must Begin with the Lord

Our understanding of the government of Christ’s church must begin with the Lord himself and his kingdom authority.  He is the Head of the church; his rule is unique and incomparable.A second principle derives from the frist.  The church shows the organic life of Christ’s body: it lives as an organism, not just an organization.  The third principle is no less essential.  The church is not like the kingdoms of this world, for it is organized for service, not dominion.  All government in the church is stewardship: i.e. its leaders are servant-managers, who use their authority to advance the interests of those they represent and serve.

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours in Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 202

The Church: A Community of the Theo-Political Order

The church as the community of Christ’s kingdom on earth is a theo-political order.  While all things are under the rule of Christ, it is his saving rule that constitutes his kingdom (Colossians 1:13).  The church is the heavenly polis on earth, the new humanity whose hearts are circumcised by His Spirit.  Its breadth reaches out to all peoples; its depth renews the heart (Jeremiah 32:39; Ezekiel 11:19).  The ‘ethnicity’ of the church as the new Israel of God underscores its communal reality, which is not diminished but enhanced because it is spiritual.  We have no abiding city here; the church cannot be identified with the kingdoms of this world (Hebrews 13:14).  But we do have a city with foundations, whose builder and maker is God; the church exercises heavenly citizenship in the fellowship of the saints (Hebrews 11:10, 16; 12: 28; Philippians 3:20).  The community exists on earth but it is governed by the keys of the heavenly kingdom, with spiritual, not physical, sanctions (Matthew 16:19; Revelations 3:7)

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours in Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 189