The Kingdom of God is Like …

I’ve written two posts now on the kingdom of God, and I feel like we’re still only scratching the surface as we talk about “Living for the Present and Coming Kingdom” and “Unexpected People in the Kingdom of God.” As we seek to understand God’s kingdom and our role in it both now and in the future, one of the most helpful places to look is the gospel parables. Jesus began many of His parables, particularly in Matthew’s account, by saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like,” and then providing an illustration. We can still read these parables today if we’re curious to learn what God’s kingdom is like according to the One who the Father has put in charge of ruling it.

When explaining the parable of the sower to His followers, Jesus said, “The secret of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you” (Mark 4:11, NET). That’s what’s hidden inside these parables, and this secret is given to us as well if we also listen carefully to the Master’s words. Today’s post is a long one, but I think it’s important to try and look at all these parables together rather than splitting them up into a two-part post.

Something Small that Grows

One of the things Jesus taught in his parables was that the kingdom of God (a phrase used by Mark and Luke), also called the kingdom of heaven (by Matthew), starts out small. With Jesus’s first coming, the kingdom He introduced was not showy or big.

He gave them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest garden plant and becomes a tree, so that the wild birds come and nest in its branches.”

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour until all the dough had risen.”

Matthew 13:31-33, NET

Like the tiny mustard seed in the garden or the yeast hidden in 47 pounds of flour (NET footnote), God’s kingdom wasn’t all that noticeable at first. Even today, you’d have no idea it’s here unless you know where to look. One day, though, it will spread to cover the whole earth just as the tiny mustard seed grows into a 10- or 25-foot high plant (depending on which species Jesus was talking about) and yeast spreads to fill all the bread dough.

A Field of Wheat and Weeds

The idea of the kingdom as a growing seed extends into other parable as well. It grows behind the scenes, in ways people don’t understand until the harvest (Mark 4:26-28). It starts out as seeds of the Word sown into the world, which can then take root in human hearts (Mark 4:1-20). And it’s like a field where good seed grows alongside weeds.

He presented them with another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a person who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, an enemy came and sowed darnel among the wheat and went away. When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the darnel also appeared. So the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the darnel come from?’ He said, ‘An enemy has done this!’ So the slaves replied, ‘Do you want us to go and gather it?’ But he said, ‘No, since in gathering the darnel you may uproot the wheat along with it. Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burned, but then gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

Matthew 13:24-30, NET

Jesus later explains that “the field is the world and the good seed are the people of the kingdom. The poisonous weeds are the people of the evil one” (Matt. 13:38). This puts the kingdom in a broader perspective than we might usually think of, starting from the very beginning when God first “planted” people on earth and the devil first began corrupting them. This parable also talks about the time of the end, when God will sort good from bad, which connects it to the parable of the net Jesus shares a little later (Matt 13:47-50).

A King Who Trusts His Bondservants

The way that God will sort people out at the end of the age is a central theme in several of Jesus’s parables of the kingdom In one of these parables, Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner” who hired workers for his vineyard throughout the day and then paid them all the same wage (Matt. 20:1-16). Though he gave everyone exactly what he’d promised, the people who’d worked longest and hardest protested it wasn’t fair. The landowner replied kindly, reminding the men that they’d received what was agreed on and asking, “Are you envious because I am generous?” It’s a beautiful illustration of how God’s mind works differently than ours, and how much He wants to give people good things. Those who decide to follow Him later in their lives or closer to the end of the age will be given the exact same blessings He offers to those who’ve followed Him for decades.

God’s kingdom is full of mercy, but we must not forget there is also justice. You can’t have just one–justice and mercy always work together. “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves,” and who freely forgave one slave’s enormous debt simply because they asked for mercy. But when that slave devalued the gift and refused to show mercy to others, the mercy given to him was taken back (Matt. 18:23-35). God deeply desires to show us mercy, but His justice also demands that there are consequences if we refuse to respond to His mercy in the right and proper ways (specifically, in this parable, by showing that same mercy to other people).

God entrusts us with a responsibility to live in a certain way while we’re here on the earth. The kingdom, which we’re part of now as we wait for Jesus to return, “is like a man going on a journey, who summoned his slaves and entrusted property to them.” The slaves (or bondservants, depending on the translation) who did anything productive with what the king gave them are rewarded abundantly; only the slave who did nothing to demonstrate his faithfulness is thrown out (Matt. 25:14-30). God deeply desires a good, eternal outcome for us, but a big part of how we’re judged is determined by us and how we choose to respond to what He is doing in our lives right now.

A Wedding

My favorite analogy for the kingdom of God is found in two parables (as well as other scriptures, which I talk about in my book God’s Love Story). In the first of these parables, Jesus said, “The Kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son” (Matt. 22:2, NET). Just that phrase holds a lot of meaning, especially when we think of Revelation 19 and the wedding celebration of the Lamb. The main point of this parable, though, isn’t to talk about the marriage so much as who will be there.

He sent his slaves to summon those who had been invited to the banquet, but they would not come. … Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but the ones who had been invited were not worthy.”

Matt. 22:3, 8, NET

You can click here to read the whole parable. As in several other parables we’ve looked at, Jesus is talking about the need for us to properly respond to God’s invitation if we want to be in the kingdom. There’s also a level of preparation involved, as the king expected all the guests to dress in wedding clothes for His banquet. It’s similar to the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25, where “those who were ready went inside” with the bridegroom “to the wedding banquet,” while the unprepared were shut out (Matt. 25:10-12, NET).

The Most Valuable Treasure

Jesus’s parables reveal how much He and the Father want to have all people in their kingdom, while also revealing we have a lot of influence over whether or not we’re actually included in that kingdom. God’s kingdom requires commitment and preparation from us, along with a change in our hearts to become more like God. He makes all of that possible and offers us ongoing forgiveness and support as we follow Him, but we do have to make the choice to actually live His way of life. With the importance of that commitment in mind, two more parables highlight the fact that all the effort we put into following Jesus’s command to “above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness” (Matt. 6:33, NET) will be worth it.

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure, hidden in a field, that a person found and hid. Then because of joy he went and sold all that he had and bought that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he found a pearl of great value, he went out and sold everything he had and bought it.

Matt. 13:44-46, NET

The more fully we grasp the true value of the kingdom of God, the more we realize that nothing else can possibly compare to it. Paul gives us an illustration of what this looks like in real life when he counted the cost of following Christ and concluded that the rewards will be so amazing any suffering we endure will be overshadowed (see Romans 8 and Philippians 3). Today, all of us who’ve received God’s invitation to follow Him have the chance to understand “the secret of the kingdom of heaven,” just like those disciples to whom Jesus spoke these parables so many years ago. Let’s use what we learn to live as part of His kingdom and pursue a faithful relationship with Him.

Featured image by Pearl via Lightstock

Unexpected People in the Kingdom of God

As I began studying the kingdom of God a couple weeks ago, I noticed there were several times when Jesus told his listeners that the kingdom wasn’t going to be full of the type of people they expected it to be. Rather, those who expected to get in wouldn’t make it and the people they’d thought wouldn’t qualify would be there.

Part of what Jesus was doing in these interactions was blowing up the idea that the kingdom belonged only to one ethnic group (Jewish descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) or only to those who lived perfect religious lives. There’s a much more open invitation than most of Jesus’s audience realized, and God wants all sorts of people in His kingdom. That doesn’t mean there isn’t something expected of the people invited, though. It’s just not exactly what the Jewish people who were involved in these particular interactions thought God wanted.

For those of us today who believe in God and read His Bible, the sorts of people that Jesus says will be included in the kingdom shouldn’t surprise us. Even so, it’s just as easy for us to get caught-up in ideas that don’t have much soundness in scripture, or to become complacent in our own righteousness, as it was for the people of Jesus’s day. And so as we look at these scriptures about the people Jesus says will be in the kingdom, perhaps they will challenge us to take a closer look at our expectations–and our own lives–just as they challenged Jesus’s listeners two centuries ago.

The Sinners Who Know They Need God

Jesus was in the temple courts when “the chief priests and elders of the people came up to him” and started questioning his authority. As part of His answer, He told a parable about two sons (Matt. 21:23-46). At the end, He says, “I tell you the truth, tax collectors and prostitutes will go ahead of you into the kingdom of God!” (Matt. 21:31, NET). It must have been a shocking and offensive thing to hear, and it’s not much later that they crucify Him. This isn’t the first time Jesus had said something like this, either. After a centurion came to Jesus asking healing for his servant, Jesus told those following Him:

” I tell you the truth, I have not found such faith in anyone in Israel! I tell you, many will come from the east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 8:10-12, NET

The people who were sure they’d done everything right, who didn’t think they needed to change, who thought they were better than others–those people were told they’d be thrown out of the kingdom (Luke 13:24-30). Today, we also need to beware of complacency; of the Laodicea attitude that says, “I am rich and … and need nothing” (Rev. 3:17, NET). The sinners who know they need God have an easier time getting into His kingdom than self-righteous religious people do. We can’t expect to coast into the kingdom based on any human qualifications, or attending the “right” church group, or even the most rigorous keeping of God’s laws.

The People Who Do God’s Will

Let’s go back to the parable of the two sons, because Jesus says a lot more there than just delivering a warning about who will and won’t be in the kingdom. He also explains why.

“What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ The boy answered, ‘I will not.’ But later he had a change of heart and went. The father went to the other son and said the same thing. This boy answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, tax collectors and prostitutes will go ahead of you into the kingdom of God! For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe. Although you saw this, you did not later change your minds and believe him.”

Matthew 21:28-32, NET

See? It’s not about what we say we’ll do or believe. It’s about how we actually respond to God. The “sinners” getting into the kingdom do so because they listen to godly instruction, repent, change, and live according to the Father’s will as they live their lives going forward. The mistake people were making in Jesus’s time was thinking that one group was naturally more righteous–and therefore more deserving–than the other. While some also think that today, we also (and perhaps more often) make the mistake of thinking that we don’t need to be righteous–that we just confess Jesus and we’re automatically in the kingdom. Neither view is correct. God wants everyone to join His kingdom and He expects us to do His will. The kingdom is about His grace and our covenant faithfulness.

The kingdom of God will be … given to a people who will produce its fruit.

Matthew 21:43, NET

Those Who Are Changed by Jesus

The idea that God’s commands don’t matter any more today is absolutely unscriptural. Jesus didn’t do away with law, commands, or any part of the Word of God. Rather, He elevated them to a spiritual level. Under the New Covenant, we’re to live on that spiritual level, doing God’s will because our hearts are transformed to want what His heart wants. There are certain “fruits” that God expects from those in His kingdom.

Paul tells us that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-5). However, formerly unrighteous people can. Every single one of us has sinned and qualified as unrighteous before God (Rom 3:9-23). In order for us to become righteous instead of unrighteous we need to be washed, sanctified, and “justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11, NET). We all need to undergo a significant change in order to inherit the kingdom of God, both now and in the future.

And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven. Now this is what I am saying, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

1 Corinthians 15:49-50, NET

This change is fully accomplished at the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:51-58), but putting on Christ starts now (Rom. 13:14; Gal. 3:27). It doesn’t matter what your ethnic or religious background is or how unrighteous you might have been before knowing Christ. It’s one of God’s greatest miracles that He calls people who seem the most unworthy and unexpected by human judgements and turns them into His children (1 Cor. 1:26-31). He just asks us to follow Him and be faithful, and He’ll make us part of the people who are citizens of His kingdom.

Featured image by Anggie via Lightstock

Living for the Present and Coming Kingdom

What does the kingdom of God mean to you? Take a moment and picture it in your mind, as well as you can. What does it look like? Where is it? When is it? How are you defining “kingdom”?

For a long time, I’ve noticed that many Christians I meet seem to talk about the kingdom in two different ways. One group of people talks about it as something that’s here, in-progress, right now. “We bring the kingdom come” echoes through our radios, and teachings, books, and conversation reveals the idea that the kingdom is happening today and that we’re involved. On the other hand, some talk about the kingdom as something that will happen/arrive at a specific time in the future. Again, this view of the kingdom echoes through our music, sermons, books and conversation as we talk about the kingdom.

I’ve been going through all the New Testament scriptures talking about God’s kingdom, and I’m struck by the realization that Jesus talks about the kingdom in both senses. At one point He says, “The kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:21, NET), then He talks about the kingdom as something believers inherit after His second coming (Matt. 25:31-34). If we try to pick just one view or the other, we lose something important that God is trying to tell us about His kingdom. This kingdom is real and in-progress now, but it will not be fully realized and present until the future. Understanding this can have a profound impact on the ways that we live and worship today.

Kingdom-Building

We’ll return to what Jesus Himself says about the kingdom, but I think it’s helpful to start with looking at how one of the people that Jesus directly taught explained the kingdom to newer believers.

giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son he loves.

Colossians 1:12-13, NET

Paul says that believers have already been placed in Jesus’s kingdom by God the Father. The kingdom belongs to God, and He calls us to be there (1 Thes. 2:12). This has already happened, and is continuing today. Then, something else will happen after the resurrection.

For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; then when Christ comes, those who belong to him. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he has brought to an end all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

1 Cor. 15:22-25, NET

Jesus is currently ruling, running, and bringing about the kingdom, filling a key role the Father has entrusted to Him. The Father is actively involved as well, selecting and calling people into the kingdom. This kingdom is something we’re part of today and, if we remain faithful, we’ll also be part of the future, fully-realized kingdom at the time when all enemies, including death, are eliminated (1 Cor. 15:26-28) and the kingdom is subject to the Father’s direct rule (Rev. 19-22).

Aiming Toward the Kingdom

A frequent description of Christ’s ministry is that He came preaching Good News of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; Luke 4:43; 8:1; Acts 1:3). Over and over, He talked about what the kingdom of God is like (mostly through parables) and explained what people need to to do be in the kingdom. We know that our walk with God is a relationship, and we’re supposed to obey Him because we love Him, not because we’re trying to get something out of Him. That does not, however, cancel-out the fact that we are promised a place in the kingdom as a reward for following God faithfully. There’s no shame in joyfully accepting the gifts that God is delighted to give us.

Instead, pursue his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is well pleased to give you the kingdom.

Luke 12:31-32, NET
Living for the Present and Coming Kingdom | LikeAnAnchor.com
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This is a memory scripture for many, and seems simple on the surface. But how can you actually pursue the kingdom? Is it about living as if you’re there now? Or aiming for the future kingdom? Or maybe we should set the idea of pursuing the kingdom aside and just focus on seeking a relationship with God, since that might be easier to make sense of.

I’d been pondering these questions for over a week when I stumbled upon an idea from Jordan Peterson (through an Akira the Don song, of all things) that helped things come together. This quote is from his lecture series on Genesis, when he took a side-trip into the New Testament to talk about the “lilies of the field” passages in Matthew 6 and Luke 12.

The idea is that, if you configure your life so that what you are genuinely doing is aiming at the highest possibly good, then the things that you need to survive and thrive on a day-to-day basis will deliver themselves to you. That’s a hypothesis, and it’s not some simple hypothesis. What it basically says is, if you dare to do the most difficult thing that you can conceptualize, your life will work out better than it will if you do anything else. Well, how are you going to find out if that’s true?

It’s a Kierkegaardian leap of faith. There’s no way you’re going to find out whether or not that’s true unless you do it. No one can tell you, either: working for someone else is no proof that it will work for you. You have to be all-in in this game. The idea is, “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” It’s like, that’s actually a fairly important caution when you’re talking about not having to pay attention to what you’re going to eat or what you’re going to wear. What it’s essentially saying is that those problems are trivial in comparison.

Jordan Peterson, “Biblical Series VII: Walking with God: Noah and the Flood”

One of the things Peterson points out is that Jesus is saying we need to live right now in a way that aims us toward the kingdom. That’s also where righteousness comes in, as we seek to mimic God’s character and live as if we are already part of the kingdom Christ is building now and will complete in the future. Anything else is so much less important that it’s like it doesn’t matter. The kingdom should be so valuable to use that we’re willing to let go of whatever’s getting in the way of us being there (Mark 9:43-50; Luke 18:24-30).

Living for the Present and Coming Kingdom | LikeAnAnchor.com
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Citizens of a Heavenly Kingdom

The Bible talks of us as pilgrim travelers here on this earth and as aliens in a foreign land. When we covenant with God and give our lives to Him, we transfer our citizenship to heaven (Phil. 3:20-21). God is our king now, today, because Jesus “loves us and has set us free from our sins at the cost of his own blood and has appointed us as a kingdom, as priests serving his God and Father” (Rev. 1:5-6, NET). For us, the kingdom of God is real and relevant today, and it is also the goal we keep in mind to help bolster our faith.

These all died in faith without receiving the things promised, but they saw them in the distance and welcomed them and acknowledged that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth. For those who speak in such a way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. … they aspire to a better land, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

Hebrews 11:13-14, 16, NET

Our loyalties should lie with God. His kingdom is the “country” we should think of as our true home. That’s a key part of what it means to be all-in, seeking His kingdom and righteousness. It’s not about what we get; it’s about knowing who we are in Christ and committing ourselves to being part of the family He and the Father are building.

The Beatitudes, Part One: Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit

We’re only two weeks away from the first of the fall holy days on God’s sacred calendar. Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets, also called Rosh Hashanah) is on September 19th this year. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) follows ten days later. Traditionally, those ten days and the month leading up to Yom Teruah are a time of reflection and self-examination for Jewish and Messianic believers.

There’s been a lot to distract us lately. I wanted to bring my Bible study back to basics, and also use that as a tool to look at myself and how I’m doing as we move into this fall holy day season. Today’s post is the first of a series on the Beatitudes. As an interesting note, I looked up the word history for “beatitudes” in the Online Etymology Dictionary and found that it comes into English “from Middle French béatitude (15c.) and directly from Latin beatitudinem.” It means “a state of blessedness” not, as some clever speakers have said, a “be-attitude” (as in, an attitude you’re supposed to “be”).

No Glory In Ourselves

The beatitudes come at the beginning of the sermon on the Mount, which Jesus delivered to His disciples after withdrawing from the multitude and traveling up onto a mountain (Matt. 4:23-5:2).

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt. 5:3, all scriptures from WEB translation)

Jesus had a few Greek words He could have picked that would translate into English as “poor.” The one He used is ptochos (G4434). It means “reduced to beggary,” destitute, helpless, powerless, “lacking in anything” (Thayer’s dictionary). This does not refer to someone who is poor but still able to earn a subsistence. The ptochos have nothing (Zodhiates’s dictionary).

Adding “in spirit” means Jesus isn’t talking about physical poverty, though. Being “poor in spirit” involves acknowledging our own spiritual helplessness. We don’t have to be destitute physically, but we do need to realize that none of the physical stuff we have (or don’t have) can stop us from being spiritually destitute. Read more

Titles of Jesus Christ: David’s Son

Over and over in the gospels, people cry out to Jesus, “Have mercy on us, you son of David!”

Why is the Messiah’s title as David’s son the one that blind men and a Canaanite woman latched on to as they asked for healing? (Matt. 9:27; 15:22; 20:30-31; Mark 10:46-48; Luke 18:35-39). Why did the people shout, “Hosanna to the son of David!” when Jesus entered Jerusalem, and why did that make the chief priests and the scribes so indignant? (Matt. 21:9, 15; Mark 11:10). What is the significance of this title?

It would be easy to gloss over Jesus’ title as David’s son, simply taking it as fulfillment of a few prophecies that said Messiah (the Hebrew equivalent to “Christ,” which means “anointed”) would come from King David’s descendants. But the Biblical writers treat this as a highly significant fact, and I think it’s worth looking into more closely.

Fulling A Covenant Promise

I’ve talked about the covenant aspect of Jesus being descended from David in several posts already, including “Inheriting Covenants.” The Lord made a covenant with David that He would establish his offspring’s kingdom forever, and that connected with the promise of Messiah (2 Sam. 7:12-15).

Yahweh has sworn to David in truth. He will not turn from it: “I will set the fruit of your body on your throne. If your children will keep my covenant, my testimony that I will teach them, their children also will sit on your throne forever more.” (Ps. 132:11-12, all verses from WEB translation)

David’s descendants eventually fell into disobedience and lost the physical kingdoms of Israel and Judah. But Jesus — a sinless, obedient son of David — inherited the covenant promise. According to Peter, David actually knew that would be the end result of God’s promises to him about his descendants. Read more

Lessons From Sukkot

My family and I just got back on Thursday evening from a wonderful Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) gathering in eastern Pennsylvania. While it was packed full of spiritual lessons, there wasn’t much time for the sort of personal Bible studies that typically end up becoming blog posts on Saturdays. So today I’m just going to share a few lessons I learned this past week:

  • I can organize people. If I’d known agreeing to plan a singles/young adult activity would have ended up involving 30+ people doing 5 different activities I would have probably wanted to hide under a desk. But it all went really well and I had lots of help from people who volunteered (or had someone volunteer them) to lead some of the activities.
  • The only ancient text with anywhere near as many copies still around as there are for the Bible is Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Stacked together, the existing copies for both those works would only be a few feet tall. In contrast, a stack of all the surviving Biblical manuscripts would be so tall it’s nearly outside earth’s atmosphere. Wow! (One of the speakers shared this fact in a Bible study about the reliability of the Bible.)
  • Spending a week with my boyfriend (who joined my family and our church group for the Feast) does not make living an 8-hour drive apart any easier. I suppose it’s a good thing that I miss him so much, though, since otherwise I’d have to re-think whether or not we should be dating. In related news, my new favorite love song is “Over And Over Again.” They played it at the dance our church group hosted and not only is my boyfriend a really good dancer but he also sings ❤
  • The “fear not” reminders just keep coming at me. On the second day of Sukkot someone gave a message about why those who are “fearful” are lumped in with murderers, sorcerers, etc. as people who won’t be in God’s kingdom (Rev. 21:8). The Greek word means “timid” or “cowardly” and carries the implication of faithlessness, as in a Christian who is too scared to act in faith doesn’t trust God enough. Thankfully, we serve a God who embodies the kind of love that casts out fear and who has the strength to help us overcome fears. That’s a reminder I need as I prep for giving my second seminar (I’m actually speaking in front of people again!) in a few months.
  • It’s always interesting to look back on sermons, Bible studies, and conversations at the Feast and find common themes. This year, I noticed an emphasis on shifting our focus as we move toward God’s kingdom. Instead of just focusing on, “How can I get into God’s kingdom?” we should be thinking about, “How can I be the kind of person God wants to bring into His family?” Those thoughts are related of course, but one’s focused on what we get out of our Christian walk and the other is focused on becoming like God in how we live our lives and interact with other people.

I’ve got a few other thoughts on things I learned and heard this Feast/Sukkot, but they’d be better served by each having a blog post all to themselves so we’ll wait on that. I hope you’ve all been having a wonderful week and have a fantastic weekend! I should be back to more of my usual posting routine by Monday, so I’ll “see” you then 🙂