What a great way to start off a new year! This past Sunday I introduced Freedom’s theme for 2011 with an incredible sense that destiny is truly unfolding. For the past several months I have been growing in the conviction that The Kingdom is what God wants us to concentrate on this year and beyond. I believe that our lives have been created by God for something far greater than anything this world can ever offer to us. We have been designed by God to become part of his spiritual kingdom and give ourselves daily to helping it grow. However, how much attention do we actually give to this focus?
It is easy to overlook the importance of considering God’s kingdom for every aspect of our lives. And yet, Jesus teaches us that considering the kingdom is to be our first priority in everything we do. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) In essence, the secret to enjoying a balanced and prosperous life is seeking God and finding out what he wants you to do. Practically, this directive seems to be simple to understand and yet hard to do for most people. Most common for us is the tendency to go about life without giving any consideration to what God thinks is the best course of action to take. We easily get consumed with running after and worrying about material things wonder why we lack joy, peace and overall purpose. God has given us a better way to live.
If you will take the time to explore the New Testament you will discover that the Kingdom of God is at the centre of Jesus’ teaching and ministry. His very first message to his listeners was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matthew 4:17) Jesus spent his entire ministry life teaching about and demonstrating the reality of God’s Kingdom and instilling the Kingdom focus and agenda into his followers. In my message on January 2nd I referred to some of the dozens of Bible passages that highlight the priority of being a part of and understanding the Kingdom of God. Listen to that teaching if you want a fuller context to what I am talking about.
My conviction is that many of you are interested in developing a Kingdom-consciousness that translates into a daily lifestyle centred on Christ. My hope is that you and I grow deeper this year in our understanding of and appreciation for the Kingdom. Every week we will be considering aspects of the nature of God’s Kingdom and the implications of those for our families, ministries, vocations and church.
On January 23rd I will be starting a series of messages on The Lord’s Prayer. My goal is to dig deeper into the pattern and purpose of prayer that Jesus has taught us as citizens of God’s invisible, spiritual, powerful and eternal Kingdom. I hope that you join me in this adventure of faith that will take us to a place of unprecedented growth in the things that actually matter to God. May this truly be the year of The Kingdom.