Good afternoon from beautiful, Buena Vista, Colorado. While the youth are out on various activities, I’m sitting in my hotel room, at 28 weeks pregnant writing this blog to you guys back home. Before we get into the blog, everyone’s having a blast, learning lots, and being super safe, I promise! (Also, If you want to follow along with our trip, download the app Periscope & search forHcreekyouth)
This year’s Youth vs Wild theme is called “Kingdom” and we are studying what it means to live as members of the Kingdom of God, while in the midst of this broken world. The phrase “the kingdom of God” is used in the New Testament over 87 times, mostly by Jesus to His followers and to the crowds of people who followed Him around during His ministry. This phrase was important to Jesus and, therefore, should be important to us as well. However, it is a phrase that has become what I like to call “christianese,” we say it just to say it because it sounds good, without actually focusing on living it out. However, since the students are spending time this week learning more about the Kingdom of God, I thought it would be a blog-worthy post to remind us all the true meaning of this common phrase.
Jesus prays: “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven.” Matthew 6:10
What Jesus says here is so important! He prays that His followers would truly live as though Heaven is on Earth. He desires that the gifts of Heaven, the redemption, the grace, the forgiveness, and the unconditional love, be ushered out with great abandon into the deepest dark corners of the earth.
You see, what’s amazing is that Jesus gives us the ability to live whole, healed lives while in the midst of brokenness. This is the true miracle of Kingdom living. When people hurt us, we can forgive them. When circumstances let us down, we can be content. When life gets too difficult, we can still have hope.
I don’t want this to sound easy, because it’s not. But, it is possible. And it is a gift given to us by God. He could’ve just said “Nah-wait till Heaven for all the good things.” But, instead, He gives us His best, NOW.
Which has gotten me to thinking…. why? Why give us glimpses now instead of having us just wait till Heaven?
I think it’s because only through Kingdom living, with these great gifts of God, can we show others the difference that Christ really makes in our lives.
I used to think that being “missional” simply meant I just had to show people I was different from them by acting better than they did. So, when friends cussed, I didn’t. When people drank before they were 21, I didn’t. When girls wore 2 pieces, I wore a Speedo 1 piece (Heyyoo!). Not that any of that was bad, but when I think about it now, I realize I was missing a really big part of the picture.
Living missionally (or, living “Kingdom minded”) means we look different by choosing to forgive someone who has hurt us. It means we look different by having hope in the midst of a cancer diagnosis. It means we look different by caring for the needs of others over our own. These are the ways in which we usher in the Kingdom of God and these are the reasons why God has given access to it now, rather than keeping it all for Heaven. God wants us to use these Kingdom gifts to show others the difference He really makes in our lives, so they may desire to have these same gifts.
If you think about it, in Heaven we won’t need forgiveness, because no one will be hurting us. We won’t need to hope, because we will be surrounded by the fulfillment of Hope. We won’t need grace because (praise the Lord) there will be no more sin! So, I think that a good use of our lives here on earth should be to spend the heck out of these gifts, splurging on contentment, grace, and love for others now while it still matters. This is living as though the Kingdom of God is truly on earth.
Let’s be Kingdom bringers this week, y’all.