2008-08-15 - Deliberate
Matthew 11:12 (NIV) From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.
Last Sunday, President Bush was in China at Beijing's Kuanjie Protestant church, Bush said no country or government should "fear the influence" of freedom of worship.
When I first read our President's quote, I thought, "No! No! No! Don't tell them to make the church in China like America! Don't make it so easy, so make them become a church that does nothing, risks nothing, accomplishes nothing and impacts nothing or no one."
The underground church in China is a vibrant force that is advancing Christianity far greater than our often lackadaisical churches are here in America. We are fat and happy. Comfortable in our nice buildings, sitting back praising a God that has blessed us beyond measure, yet our bestselling books are on how to get more, have more, accomplish more and do more - but more of what? It is certainly not more "forceful" in advancing of the kingdom of Heaven.
Is being forceful being obnoxious? Of course not. Rather, it is being deliberate and passionate about doing our part in God's plan for us. It is taking some risk. It is getting off the pews and doing something for others and God; it is impacting the dark world around us with the light that God has given us.
Now, don't get me wrong here. I am not advocating that any government should be allowed to enter a place of worship and imprison - or worse kill people for practicing their faith. But I am pleading for us, as Christians, to be a vibrant risk-taking force that stands up to culture and lovingly and actively seeks to advance the church that God designed.
In what part of your life is God calling you to be a forceful person? What are you doing to advance the Kingdom?
Father, help me and show me what you want me to do to be a force in advancing your kingdom, in Christ's name, Amen.