Friday, March 30, 2007

What does the Kingdom look like on earth?

Because I decided a few years ago that I was going to teach, talk and live in and around the Kingdom the rest of my life on earth, I'm often asked this question: "What does the Kingdom look like on earth?" Most of the time you'll hear me labor on with words that are abstract and concepts that aren't concrete enough to put into practice.

In Matthew 25, Jesus becomes very pragmatic as to what it looks like. He says:

34-36"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'

37-40"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

If the Kingdom is only a place called heaven we go to after we die, then we miss the experience of communing with Jesus even now as we love and serve those in need around us. The idea that the Kingdom is in the future is linear thinking. I think Jesus here is showing us that the Kingdom is not linear, but cyclical. The Kingdom is a circle, all we do and are is given and received within that flow. What is given to others is actually given to Jesus. What is given to us primarily came from Jesus. Everything is in the Kingdom, nothing is outside of it. There is no separation of the sacred and secular, there is only the Kingdom and its war against the forces of evil on earth.
Ok . . . I better stop. . . I just made Jesus' simple and concrete statements abstract again.

Stop and notice the Kingdom around you today,

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Thanks Palmer

One year ago today, I got the call that Mark Palmer had passed after a more than year long battle with colon/rectal cancer. It was a day I'll never forget because honestly I never saw it coming. I was fully convinced that he would be healed in this life. I either was completely delusional or don't yet understand how to discern the Spirit. It propelled me to a year of confusion, pain, darkness and wonder. But, as Bono says, with every darkness there comes a dawn. I'm a different person now than I was a year ago. I am absolutely not afraid of death, at 34, I think that's a gift.

Therefore, I'm free. I'm free to create, I'm free to say "no" to the things that aren't best, free to love, free to wonder, free to serve, free to lead, free to be a good Dad, free to be a godly husband, free to be a compelling teacher, free to be a good friend, free to pastor and shepherd as the Spirit leads. Freedom is a by-product of living in the Kingdom. It is not w/out suffering, but it is freedom nonetheless.

On this day, I just wanted to say thanks to Mark Palmer. He spoke wisdom into my life. He taught me about the importance of Jesus' Resurrection. He walked holy lands with me. He prayed blessing over my life. He was one of my best friends. And even now, in a place not far away, he is cheering me on. He's catching waves on the river that flows from the Temple, I can see the smile on his face. Its what he lived for. And now, he lives that reality for evermore.

Thanks, Mark. I always wanted to be a good friend to you, I pray that I was. Your passing from this life forced a lot of us to grow up and I think the teacher in you would be proud of that. Landing Place is taking more ground, a true spiritual force of the Kingdom on King Ave. Everything you dreamed of. Your son, the little prophet, has annointing all over him. He lives in a community of protection and love, I suspect he has a bright future in the Kingdom on earth. You will never be forgotten, your life here is honored. Someday, on the other side, I would like to walk with you and discuss the Kingdom as we did here.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Chad Canipe

One year ago, tomorrow, March 10, Chad Canipe passed to Kingdom fullness.
I'm remembering him, thinking about him and praying for his family always.

Chad was kind, compassionate, faithful, consistent, loyal, contemplative, loving, creative and great thinker in the Kingdom.

Chad was such a good friend to me. He was so much of what I'm not and he made me better.

More than anything, I was envious and had nothing but respect for his relationship with his Dad. I've never experienced that myself and I always admired that relationship him and his Dad had. They had love, respect and were truly best friends. There are so many of us that have nothing but pain in regards to our fathers, their relationship is the way its supposed to look like. I'll never forget when Chad's Dad graciously brought me back to pray and talk to Chad while he was in a comma. Knowing that Chad could hear us well, even in his state of rest, his Dad on one side of Chad, me on the other, took Chad's hand and said something like, "you see, Chris, Chad is my hero".

Father and son, as God intended it to be.

I miss you, Chad. Teach me how to care for your family.

the Kingdom is Now . . .

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Way of Suffering

12-13Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. (I Peter 4 The Message)

Glory just around the corner eh? Some days those seem like pat answers to complex questions. Sometiimes, all I see is rain. The "I" in that last sentence is precisely the problem. For those who have to carry the weight of depression, it is our own perceptions that wrap us up so tightly. We can't get out of the way of our own faulty and broken perceptions. Walking through suffering can be a long and heavy road, it will strip you down to your bare essentials. I am in no way saying that I'm strong w/in it, but it is at these times when I feel extreme pain, that I know that I am alive and in the fight. And I think that stands for something.

The sufferings of Christ were not those of ordinary people. He suffered "according to the will of God" ( 1 Peter 4:19 ), having a different point of view of suffering from ours. It is only through our relationship with Jesus Christ that we can understand what God is after in His dealings with us. When it comes to suffering, it is part of our Christian culture to want to know God’s purpose beforehand. In the history of the Christian church, the tendency has been to avoid being identified with the sufferings of Jesus Christ. People have sought to carry out God’s orders through a shortcut of their own. God’s way is always the way of suffering— the way of the "long road home."
-Oswald Chambers

I may not like suffering, but I do want to be home. And my home is in Christ, I have no other.