Which Way the Kingdom?

Castle Crossing- Wales

Have you ever noticed that unless we very intentionally do things differently, the gravity of the familiar tends to cause change to slide backwards into same?

Yes.  That.  That moment when all you are doing is looking outwardly incredibly successful, but there is this inexplicable pull in the spirit away from what is usually deemed as success.  Bigger is always the proof of better, right?  Multiplying as fast as we can, adding more warm bodies to our meetings, packing out the space and then building a bigger one to do it all over again.  This is the hallmark of successful ministry, right?

Not always.

I just finished spending an hour with some people with very big hearts on air over at Moody radio.  {Praying friends, THANK you!  I feel like I am the one who got most encouraged.}

Now please hear me.  I am all for growth.  It is simply how we sometimes measure growth and success that can obscure the real goal of the Gospel. What if the growth God is looking for is deeper instead of broader?  What if success means spending our lives to pour into a small number of people strategic to heaven?

The greatest successes in the Kingdom cannot be measured by externals.  Real success can only be measured in faithfulness to Jesus and obedience that is the overflow of a heart in love with Him.  I for one want to make sure I am successful at the right things.

If we measured Jesus’ ministry by the standards often levied on ministry success in modern day America, He would have been an utter failure from day one. 

  • Jesus preached to multitudes {Score.}.
  • But then went into hiding. {Fail.}
  • Performed miracles {Score again.}
  • Then took His disciples away from crowds to mentor them. {Seriously. Jesus hello, how about some evangelism here?}
  • Thousands of the hungry found Him anyway and He told His disciples to make a meal happen. {Ok feeding the hungry, score again.}
  • Multitudes fed supernaturally. {Double score.}
  • But just as they were about to promote Him as king where He could have some real power to make things happen, in the middle of international PR opportunities, Jesus disappears.  Again. {Epic fail. Really?  You are at the height of ministry success and Jesus You short-circuit it intentionally?  Really?}

Jesus spent His entire earthy ministry doing the exact opposite of what many of us would consider the successful move.  Turn down influential platforms, run away from publicity, choose to focus on a rag tag group of ruffians who didn’t make the cut.  The unwanted, the passed over, the despised, the wholly imperfect. 

He picked them to pour into and through them He changed the world.

My life has had many twists and turns I didn’t expect in the last 2 years.  Some of those twists threatened to twist my very soul and wring from it dreams and promises and the hope that comes from them.  But I can say today, I am grateful.  Grateful for the twisting and the turning because I would not be where I am, who I am without it.

All things friends means ALL things.  God works ALL things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  Sometimes our deepest calling is only realized after the world as we have known it falls apart.

A while ago some friends and I started a season of open meetings, worship and teaching.  The meetings grew exponentially overnight and everything screamed success.  It even looked a little like a church being planted. The only problem with that was I had no peace about growing in that direction. The bigger things grew, the more unsettled my spirit became.  So at our peak of 60-80 crammed in a home, we disbanded.  What God was doing in that setting was finished.  To continue would be building our kingdoms instead of His.  At the height of success, we followed Jesus and walked away.

It is an upside down Kingdom Jesus has given us.  Where true heights of influence can only be born from obscurity.  Where low is high and loss is gain and everything is opposite to the way we think it can and should happen. 

When we are cursed, we bless.  When what we hold dearest is stripped away, we offer more.  When others speak against us, we don’t return the favor.

We live in the light of His gaze for an Audience of One.

Please always remember: You dear one are loved.  You are significant.  Your life lived in love-based obedience to Jesus can change the world. One yes to Him can make history without trying.