He executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. -Psalm 146:7-9

Sunday, April 6, 2008

For the sake of the KINGDOM

"From the beginning, God has called us to tend the culture as we would tend a garden. He defined the parameters for Adam and Eve and gave them a mandate: God “took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” He commanded them "to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it."
Just as God brought order out of chaos during creation, He commanded this man and this woman, made in His image, to pursue and maintain order as they established their family, who eventually would populate the earth and create culture.
We were never called to merely focus on ourselves in a pietistic ghetto. Man’s responsibility was to tend creation, so that it would be fruitful, and for man himself to be fruitful. When they were planting seeds, digging irrigation, creating economic systems, or establishing governments, they were fulfilling their calling as men and women made in the image of God and called to create and “subdue.”
So it is today. As we are fruitful, we must tend to our families and society at large, just as Adam and Eve were to tend to their garden.
Abraham Kuyper, one-time prime minister of the Netherlands and founder of The Free University in Amsterdam, brought great clarity to the meaning of this mandate: “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, ‘That is mine!’

I am so thankful, I really am ya'll at the way the LORD just continues to reveal himself to all of us. Today kevin and I began the beginning of what we would call "intentional kingdom living" amongst our neighbors. This past week we were greatly challenged by Richard Pratt at our annual missions conference to not be ashamed of this POWERFUL GOSPEL we preach as well as to live out side of our "Christian Ghetto's"... you know, hanging out with that same ol christian crowd, inviting those same ol christian friends over for dinner night, after night, after night, then waking up and thinking, " how did I take part in advacing the LORD's kingdom today"? ( ok..maybe you dont think that..same point)

We invited our neighbors over today for some good ol cooking after worship service. In my crock pot there was roast, I made homemade mash potatoes from scratch ( WATCH OUT NOW!!), fresh salad, mixed vegetables, some yummy Sister Schubert rolls, and yes, fried chicken ( for those that were not crazy about having roast)..and ladies and gentleman, no cook out is complete without my husbands homemade MACARONI AND CHEESE ( you would not believe how many ask us to come over for dinner only to have him cook this!! seriously, the crowd goes wild over this!) For dessert there was brownie pie topped with cool whip ( thanks morrisons for this idea!! )

I can tell it was different for them( our neighbors) to all be at the dinner table eating together.. I can tell that they were trying to figure us out.. kevin has mentioned to me how one teenager would make comments about me cooking for him, and just serving him. When I mentioned to the mom today how I cook for my family all the time she kinda gave me that look like "sista you have lost ya mind cookin for that man like that.." ( i know the look, I have witnessed it in my family growing up..better yet, I am sure my husband has witnessed it coming from me those early years of marriage, THANK YA JESUS for sanctification! ) :)

As the day progressed I had a total of 14 people in my home today! The family went home and told other memebers that came by our house how good the food was and how I cooked, so they decided to come over as well !
THe LORD I tell ya, all for the kingdom is all I could think about.. How this is all for the kingdom. That brought me so much Joy, I had so much peace, and love in my heart having my neighbors over. I pray they saw Christ, I prayed that the time that they had with us provoke them to faith in GOD . I listened to the stories they had to tell about the crime and abandonment that goes on in our neighborhood. I was able to see their hearts. It was real. No pretending, no automatic answers because you grew up in the church and you know what to say,, no flattery of the lips. SOME REAL TALK from real people. The best thing for me about this afternoon was that I sat and looked in the face of other IMAGE BEARERS of GOD. The ones that we forget about as we care only about our own schedules , children, place of worship, marriages, failures, hurts and our own needs. I love Pratt's view of KINGDOM THEOLOGY..
God created us in His image, COMMANDED us to be FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY to raise up other image bearers to build/ advance GOD's kingdom here on earth.. Kevin and I wanted to start this in our home, by sharing the gospel in word and deed with our neighbors in hopes of them becoming christians and one day continuing on the legacy of preaching the gospel to all the nations. Please pray for all those that were in our home today, as well as for those that we plan on having in our home every sunday. God is at work here... and I cant wait, for the opportunity to share with all those that don't know him, that HE has promised to restore all that locusts have eaten, the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm..( Joel 2)! May we all preserver in this great battle for God's kingdom here on earth.

Father, who would have thought that I would know you this way. I had heard of you in the past and I just did'n believe that you were who they said you were. Now, look at me, I am apart of your kingdom, looking at others in the face who believe the same lies I once did. This compassion I have gives me HOPE in how POWERFUL your GOSPEL is. IT CAN TRANSFORM the HEART OF ANY KING! Oh, how I pray you would call them out of darkness and into the light. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you through serving my neighbors. What an awsome thought that I could have just entertained an angel. Give me more opportunities that would bring you GLORY and not myself.

"Whenever you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers, or your relatives or your rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and it be a repayment for you. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For it will be repaid to you in the resurrection of the just." (Luke 14:12–14)