Feb. 28th, 2016 | Series: The Lord’s Prayer

Sermon Content

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

(Matthew 6:9–13 ESV)

THE LORD’S PRAYER: Kingdom Invasion    Matthew 6:10

We’ve been in a series over the last few weeks, looking at this Lord’s Prayer.  When Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them how to pray, Jesus responded by giving them the Lord’s Prayer.  It’s not a prayer that we’re intended, necessarily, to say every week or every day, although there’s tradition throughout the history of the church that the church has.  In fact, early followers of Christ would say this prayer three times every single day.  But it’s more of a pattern that Jesus gives his disciples to follow, rather than a prayer to pray every day.  He says first and foremost that we should address God as “Father.”  That when we think about God, the first thought that should come to our mind is that he is the divine good father who chases us down and runs after us and welcomes us home.  We should also remember that God’s holy and that we should go to God, not only with an acknowledgement of his fatherhood, but an acknowledgement of his holiness.  If any of us were to see God face-to-face, not covered with the righteousness of Jesus, we would be consumed by his perfection.  The person of prayer is the person that holds these two things in tension: the fatherhood of God and the holiness of God.

Then Jesus changes gears a little bit.  He says then pray your kingdom come, God, and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  As I was thinking about this part of this epic prayer that Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, I was reminded of my son who just turned three.  Reid—-he is the happy-go-lucky kid.  He’s our youngest of three kids.  He just turned three last weekend, which means that he went to bed a sweet, little boy and he woke up possessed!!  Those of you that have kids know this drill and whoever coined the term “the terrible twos” obviously did not have a three-year-old yet, because there is an avalanche coming for them that they have no idea about. Reid went to bed a sweet two-year-old and woke up a possessed three-year-old, so this is what his week looked like.  He decided that he only wanted to eat granola bars.  He woke us up, by cover of darkness, 5 AM, right in our faces……you know that drill as a parent when you wake up and your kids are right there!!  Oohhh!!!  He’s like, “Want a bar, daddy.” “I’m going to need to go to a bar if you keep this up!!”  Then he transitions into….alright, I’m going to branch out into the yogurt category.  I will eat granola bars AND yogurt.  Demanded a yogurt.  He was graciously brought a yogurt, in a little tube, and he outright refused it!  Pushed it across the table.  I’m like so that’s how it’s gonna be.  I took that yogurt and {slurping sound} popped it right in there.  He started bawling!!!  I want the yogurt!!  I want the yogurt!!  Just a normal day in the sanctified Paulson household. Kelly, my wife, was eating a salad for lunch and he told her, “You can’t eat that!  That came from outside.  Those are leaves.  You shouldn’t eat leaves!”  She had her hair up yesterday.  He said, “Mommy, I don’t like your hair up.  You gotta put your hair down.”  He said, “Daddy, I want to snuggle with you in bed.” {This is all last week!}   I jump in bed with him and start snuggling with him and he goes, “Get out of here!”  “Gladly, my child.  God bless you.  Good luck.”  Here’s what he’s doing.  He’s attempting to build his kingdom.  He’s exerting his will.  He’s decided that he has an idea of how the world around him should function and should relate to him and by all means, we should be on our tippy toes waiting to accommodate his every whim and desire.  Here’s the thing.  If my son got everything he desired, the world would be a disaster.  And if you got everything you desired……the world would be a disaster.

From the get-go in the Lord’s prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray.  And he teaches us to not only address God as Father and not only to remember God is holy, but immediately after that, before we ask Him for anything else, before we request that new car or that new house or that new whatever sparkly thing we need…….and we’ll get to some of that next week and the core desires of the human soul that we all have and we’re invited to pray about those things…….but before we ever pray about anything for us, we’re invited to surrender our desires. That’s the hard thing about prayer.  Prayer is encountering a God who is way bigger than us and surrendering our kingdom and saying, “God, my desire is not that you would build my kingdom and it’s not that you would do every single little thing that I ask you and it’s not that my life would go perfect according to my plan.”  But the second thing we’re invited to beckon, to ask, to petition God about in prayer is not for us, it’s for Him.  It’s for His kingdom.  Could we be honest for a moment and say that’s a really hard thing to pray, isn’t it?  Because we have to surrender our desires and our wants and our ideas of the way that we think the world should go and those are pretty ingrained in us.  Prayer, at its foundation, is acknowledging God as Father, remembering God as holy and then surrendering our desires and opening our hands to Him.  And saying God, what you want to have happen is what I want to have happen.  And sometimes we say that through gritted teeth, don’t we?  What I want to have happen, God, is ultimately what you want to have happen.

Jesus uses this term “kingdom.”  We ask God, would you allow your kingdom to come.  It’s a word that has a ton of misunderstanding that surrounds it.  A lot of us, when we think about the “kingdom of God,” think about a distant someday. We think about the day when God will come and set up His kingdom on earth.  It’s the same kingdom the Jewish people were thinking of and totally missed their Messiah.  We think of the kingdom that God will someday set up on earth.  He will.  Someday He will.  He IS coming back!   The Scriptures are unequivocally clear about this fact.  He is coming back.  BUT……the fact that God will come back and set up his kingdom in the distant future, does not negate the scriptural absolutism that God does reign right now!  We have this….the theologians would call it a “now, but not yet” reality of the kingdom.  It’s this God reigns right now, but just wait, someday He’s going to reign in a beautiful, masterful way.  So when Jesus steps onto the scene, He starts teaching.  I would invite you to read back through the gospel accounts and see if I’m not right when I say THE point of Jesus’ preaching and teaching in the New Testament is about the kingdom of God.  It’s about God’s reign in the here and the now.  He (Jesus) says:  From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, {This beautiful invitation.  Turn.  You can follow after Jesus.  Just chase after him.  Turn.}  …for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 4:17)    It’s not a distant some day.  It’s TOday.

The kingdom of God could literally be defined as the effective rule and reign of Jesus.  Think of it like this:  the kingdom of God is the place and the space where what God wants to have happen HAPPENS.  It’s where God’s…..who God is and the plan that God has for the world starts to take root and it invades the kingdom of this earth and the empires of the earth.   When Jesus says, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is near,” he’s saying that the kingdom of God is enacting war on the kingdom of Darkness.  The kingdom comes in opposition to and alongside of the kingdoms of this world.  They both exist at the same time.  So that’s why you go well, Paulson, I’m not so sure that the kingdom of God is at hand, because I open my news app or open my newspaper and see what’s going on in the world and it just doesn’t look like Jesus reigns.  To that I say….you’re right!  But, there are places all around the globe where the kingdom….this is one of those places where the kingdom is breaking out.  And one does not negate the other.  It does not.  So the kingdom of God, right now, is alongside the empires of the earth and when we pray God, YOUR kingdom come and YOUR will be done, what we’re saying is God, push back the darkness with your marvelous light.  Extinguish oppression and abuse and hate with your goodness, your love and your mercy.  That’s what we’re praying.

When I was a college pastor, I took some of my students up to a leadership retreat.  We had the chance to go to this natural hot springs.  It was up in Mammoth, in California.  There was this river that was ice cold, mountain run-off, snow melt.  Bubbling up in this little sandbar, there was this scalding hot water coming from the center of the universe {or wherever it comes from}.  It was so hot that you could hardly put your hand on it.  You dive into the river and swim across as fast as you can because it’s freezing.  Then you get to the part of the river that feels like a hot tub!  It’s awesome!  Was the river cold or hot??  YES!  Yes, it was.  The hot water was right along side the cold water and it really depended on where you sat.

So when Jesus says the kingdom of God is here, it’s at hand, we look at the paper and go I don’t get it.  Jesus would say back to us, “Well, pray my kingdom come and my will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  There are places where this is breaking out!  In Ephesians 2:2, Paul writing to the church at Ephesus says that enemy, Satan, is the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”  Earlier, in Ephesians 1:21, he said that Jesus is far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.    We live in this tension, friends, of the “already, but not yet” nature of the kingdom.  The prince and power of the air and yet the victory of Jesus and the choice is ours.  What kingdom do we want to live in?  What kingdom do we want to carry?  What kingdom do we want to be a part of?  Dallas Willard, the great philosopher/pastor/theologian, says it like this:  “Persons other than God, such as you or I, are still allowed on earth to have a ‘say’ that is contrary to his will.  A kingdom of darkness is here, certainly, and the kingdoms of many individuals who are still ‘trying to run their own show.’ All of this God still permits.”  And I would add….for a time.

Jesus invites us to pray “your kingdom come, your WILL be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  So we’re people that long for the reign and the will of God to take root in our neighborhoods, in our homes, in our workplaces, in our marriages.  We’re people that pray God, have your way.  Which begs the question: are there places where God doesn’t have his way?  Are there places where God’s hands are tied?  Are there places where God wants to do something but just simply can’t?  If we pray, your kingdom come and your will be done, there must be places that God’s will is NOT being done.  Right?  That’s true.  You don’t have to look that far to recognize that earth does not look like, is not a mirror image of, the picture we have of heaven.  It’s not.  So the followup question would be: so, Paulson, you DON’T believe in the sovereignty of God then?   You’d have to ask that if we were sitting over a cup of coffee.  And I’d take a long drink of coffee and respond, “No! Absolutely, I do!!”  I do believe in the sovereignty of God, I just simply don’t define the sovereignty of God as determinism. Philosophical determinism would mean God simply just pulls the strings and you and I are all just marionettes and God’s pulling the strings and He’s sort of controlling the world in that way.  That’s not what I believe the Bible teaches as the sovereignty of God.  The sovereignty of God means that God can do whatever God wants to do whenever God wants to do it.  The tension we step into is….God, it seems like you don’t want to do it all that often.  It seems like, God, that you don’t want to step in.  Why is that, God, that you don’t step in more in these types of situations?  Are your hands tied?  Or are you frustrated?  The question we wrestle with is this: how does Jesus answer this prayer?  We affirm that God is sovereign and that all of history is going to culminate at a certain point.  The Bible tells that very, very clearly….that God is indeed sovereign and yet, as people, we have freedom and responsibility and his longing is that we follow Him.  So God, how do you answer the prayer “your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven?”  How does that prayer get answered?

Here’s how it gets answered in the Scriptures.  Flip over to Matthew 9:35.  Listen to the way that the gospel writer, Matthew, records this portion of the life of Christ.   And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming {or preaching} the gospel of the kingdom…    This was his message.  So he goes and preaches the gospel of the kingdom and he heals every disease and every affliction.  So Jesus steps in and goes I’m going to be the answer to that prayer.  I’m going to proclaim that the kingdom of God is here, it’s at hand, it’s now.  And I’m going to display that through signs and wonders where people are healed and where freedom and vitality and life are restored where it was simply dead or dying and desolate.  That’s part one of how Jesus answers that prayer.

There’s a second part, though, of how Jesus answers that prayer.  Matthew 10:5-8 says this: These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’   Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.    So the first part of Jesus’ answer to that prayer—God, allow your kingdom to come and allow your will to be done and we want the kingdom of God to invade the kingdom of darkness—-is to preach it and proclaim it and then go live it.  And then He sends His followers out to do the same.  Part one of the answer to the prayer is Him.  Part two to the answer to the prayer……is US.  It’s us saying, we have been rescued from the dominion of darkness and we have been placed into the kingdom of light, the kingdom of love and the kingdom of peace and shalom and healing and goodness and grace and mercy and we can’t just sit on that!!  We have got to be people who then carry the kingdom into the world.  Jesus envisions a community of people who don’t just pray that his kingdom would come, but who proclaim and live that it is NOW!!  I love the way the great, 20th century theologian, Karl Barth, puts it: “To clasp hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of this world.”  That’s awesome!!! Because we just don’t pray and passively sit back.  We pray and we anticipate and we step in.  It’s never passive, it’s always participatory.   As we pray God, your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven….we start to be challenged to be, not just pray-ers of the prayer, but part of the answer to that prayer.  As the disciples were when they went and preached and lived the kingdom.

Here’s what prayer does on a very foundational and fundamental level.  Prayer confronts our desire to want to escape and it challenges us to embrace Jesus’ appeal for us to invade.  When we pray your kingdom come and your will be done, we acknowledge God, you have a plan…but we also acknowledge God, we have a part.  We carry that kingdom.  When we live in the way of Jesus in our workplaces, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in the area that God’s called us to have influence….when we start to live in the way of Jesus, we carry the kingdom and his kingdom comes in conflict with the kingdom of darkness and hate and abuse and oppression and it combats with light and love and liberty and hope.  And you’re part of that!

But we only offer the things that we carry.  June 6, 1944.  The Allied troops stormed the shores of Normandy. You’ve read about this.  It’s called D-Day.  Over 150,000 Allied troops bravely and boldly got out of their ships, swam to shore and started to fight against an enemy.  An enemy who said life doesn’t matter.  An enemy who said if we have the power, we’re going to oppress rather than serve.  The Allied forces said enough is enough. They stormed the beaches of Normandy—150,000 men that day.  Nine thousand of them lost their life.  Here’s the deal, friends.  It would have been way easier to just stay in the boat.  It would have been so much easier to just try to escape rather than to invade.  Invasion is costly.  Invasion takes determination.  Invasion requires that we live differently with a different value, a different ethic and a different perspective, but in proximity with people who need this message.  Invasion is dangerous!  We would absolutely celebrate the people that got out of the boat, that stormed the shore with this message of freedom.  General Dwight D. Eisenhower said this at the time:  “The eyes of the world are upon you.  The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”

Around that same time, there was a now-Christian author who writes about his experience about growing up in Nazi-Germany.  He was a part of the state-sanctioned church.  Their church butted right up against and was in back of the train tracks they used to transport prisoners to concentration camps.  Jewish people packed these train cars and as they were in worship services, they would hear the train cars go by and they would hear the whistle blow and they knew that the train was coming.  When the train came into the station, they would hear the screams of the people on this train.  And the church just lamented this reality, but felt like their hands were tied.  What they did was time the singing and the service to be at the same time that the train would come into town.  When they heard the screams of the people, they just sang louder.  It’s this tendency we all have to escape rather than to invade, to play it safe rather than to take ground, to protect ourselves rather than to be part of the solution.  I don’t know about you, but I think there’s areas in our lives and in our nation and in our environment right now where we’re just singing louder.  I want to appeal to you on behalf of the Scriptures, on behalf of God, to say that it cannot be!  We can’t go down like that!  The “prevent-defense” worked for the Broncos—they won the Super Bowl.  It will never work for the church!  It won’t!  You and I have everything we need to be the type of people that push back the darkness with the love of Jesus.  His spirit lives inside of you and there are pockets that you have access to where they need to know that there is hope and they need to know that there is healing and they need to know that there is forgiveness and YOU are God’s person to answer the prayer “thy kingdom come and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  He’s going I’m giving you that message, church, carry it!  Live it!  Proclaim it!  Invite people into it with his power and for his glory.

I want to answer that question—what does it look like to be the type of people that really, truly invade rather than escape.  Here’s the first thing I want to point out:  Escapism looks for a path to leave; invasion looks for a way to love.  Let me just point out to you, Jesus, in this penultimate prayer where he teaches his disciples to pray, says your kingdom COME and your will be DONE.  He doesn’t say hey, take us away to your kingdom.  It’s not a prayer of escape.  It’s a prayer of invasion.  It’s not hey, Jesus, would you get us out of here; this is getting really tough.  It’s really hard.  We’re facing some serious persecution here.  His disciples were undoubtedly about to walk right into that.  The prayer is not “get us out of here;” the prayer is “allow us to be the type of people that bring what’s THERE down here.”  That’s the prayer.  For too long, the ultimate hope followers of Jesus have carried is an escape to a disembodied existence before God where we could get out of the place and He goes that’s not my plan.  My plan is I invade.  My plan is my kingdom takes hold and takes root on “earth as it is in heaven.”  So the Apostle Paul, in writing to the church in Philippi, says this: For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.  Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.  {He’s saying I’d much rather die and be with Jesus, but He’s got me here!  And if he’s got me here then there’s a reason he’s got me here.}   I am hard pressed between the two.  My desire is to depart and be Christ, for that is far better.  But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. (Phil. 1:21-24)   So as much as what is in me wants to be there, I know that God has placed me here.  If He’s placed me here, I’m not going to look for a way to leave, I’m going to look for a path to love.  It’s so much easier to say I want to find a way out than I want to find a pathway to love.  Some of you are in marriages right now where you’re saying listen, it would be way easier to just leave.  Let me take a time out and say that there are some instances where you should.  But there’s also some instances where it’s just not meeting your needs and it’s not meeting your desires and the world doesn’t seem to be revolving around you in the way that you want it to and to you I say, please, take it before the Lord and ask Him if this is a time to leave or if this is a time to love. Because it’s way easier to just say I’m outta here than it is to say I’m going to look for a pathway to love.

I had a friend say to me the other day–if so-and-so gets elected, I’m out of here!!  I’m going to Canada!  I’m like dude, you need to do your research, because what you’re fearing is what’s already there!  I’m like come on!  I am sick of followers of Jesus who say if it doesn’t go my way, I’m outta here.  I want followers of Jesus who say we will be a beacon of light in the darkness and we will carry the hope of Christ to the places it is not and regardless of how bad it gets, we will not lose our voice and we will not lose our calling to be people of grace and truth and the mercy of Jesus in a world, hear me, friends, that desperately needs it!!  We cannot be people who value escape more than we value influence.  So, escapism says I’m going to value insulation.  Invasion, however, is built around influence.  Escapism says I’m going to insulate myself.  I’m going to build a bubble and live in a bubble.  I can control the bubble.  You need to ask me if you want to come into my bubble and if I don’t like you or don’t like what you’re going to say and I disagree with you, I will have my bubble and you’re not allowed to come into it.  Well, guess what happens when you live in your bubble?  You don’t get to interact with anybody outside of your bubble.  And if you don’t get to interact with anybody outside of your bubble, can you please tell me how you plan on being a light to a dark world?  So when Jesus says pray thy kingdom come and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, it requires, friends, that as the people of God who carry the kingdom of God with us that we are the type of people who say that as difficult as it is and as hard as it is we’re not going to value insulation more than we value influence.

Here’s the area that’s hardest for me.  It’s hardest for me when it comes to my kids.  Because I want to protect my kids.  I want to say hey, don’t climb that and don’t fall, although there’s some trees they should climb…..without a helmet.  There’s some trees they should climb and there’s some falls they should take and they’re going to be better for it in the end.  But as a parent, I find myself wrestling between protecting my kids and wanting to protect my kids and feeling a calling from God to protect my kids and preparing them.  Preparing them to be agents of change and to be agents of influence and to live a life of purpose in this world that they’re going to live in.  As parents, Kelly and I have come to the conclusion that we want to raise kids who are invaders not escapers.  So there’s some things that I’d love to protect them from, but I know it’s more important that they’re prepared so I’m going to let them go there and it might be a little bit sharp and it might be a little bit difficult, but I’m going to shepherd them through it and I’m going to love them through it and I’m going to point them through it because I want to raise invaders not escapers.  I want to raise a generation that storms the gates of hell and who invade the kingdom of darkness with the marvelous light of Jesus.  That’s what I want to do as a parent.  I feel like I’m in good company because that’s what Jesus was about. Here’s what Jesus says:  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10)  That’s his mission. And every time I load my kid onto the bus in the morning, my prayer is Jesus, would you use him for your mission.  Would it be easier and safer to do something else?  Yep.  But I desperately want my kids to be part of the mission of God. William Temple put it like this: “The Church is the only institution that exists primarily for the benefit of those who are not its members.”  Who has God called you to influence?  Who are you praying for, “God, let your kingdom come and your will be done in {insert whoever, whatever} on earth as it is in heaven?”

First, we said that escapism looks for a path to leave; invasion looks for a way to love.  Escapism values insulation; invasion is built around influence.  Escapism operates in fear; invasion walks in faith. The invitation of “thy kingdom come and thy will be done” is saying back to the King of kings and the Lord of lords that we surrender it all.  We long for your kingdom and we long to be used as people who carry the goodness and mercy of Jesus into really, really dark places.  Did you know that you cannot pray this is fear has gripped your heart? You can’t pray this is fear has gripped your heart.  We were talking as a life group about this idea of God being holy and God being other and yet us not having a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of adoption by where we can call our God “Father.”  One of the people in our group points out well, yeah but Jesus said:  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matt. 10:28)  {Anyone got a tattoo of that one?!}  What’s Jesus saying?  Jesus is saying that we are going to be aware of how small we are.  You cannot run from that, you cannot hide from that and so we’re going to place our fear or reverence or awe in something and what we choose to “fear” or revere or worship will be the thing that defines our life, so Jesus tells us to fear the right thing, to live in reverence and awe of the right thing and it will, in turn, free you to walk in the way of God.  But for too long followers of Christ have feared the wrong thing.  We fear what people will think of us, what people will say about us, how we’ll be received and how we will be either celebrated or not celebrated and we’ve got to start fearing the right thing and revering the right thing, friends.  Because escapism operates in fear.  Invasion, storming the beach says we will not live in fear, we will live in faith.

Here’s why that’s so important.  Because some of the areas of darkness that God is going to call you to walk into will not lose their hold overnight.  It’s not going to be easy.  This last week, we celebrated “Slavery Awareness Day,” where we remembered 27 million slaves that are still in the world today.  Most of them in two industries—one of them is sex slavery, the other is child labor.  I can just tell you that if you’re a person that prays “thy kingdom come thy will be done” and THAT’S an area that’s placed on your heart, the kingdom of darkness is not going to let go of its hold easily.  It’s not.  And you can’t walk in with fear, you’ve got to walk in with faith.  If you’re the type of person that says listen, I’m going to invest in the homeless community around us and I’m going to serve with “Family Promise” or I’m going to serve in “Celebrate Recovery” to bring hope and to bring freedom to the many people that have hurts, habits and hang-ups in our neighborhood and in our church, that darkness is not going to let its hold go easily.  It’s not.  As followers of Christ, we have to be people who remember who we are and walk in faith rather than in fear.

Finally, escapism finds reasons to complain; invasion looks for ways to bring about change.  When I’m focused on the things I fear, I start to complain.  I’ve just noticed that in me.  When I’m focused on the things I fear, I start to complain, but when I’m focused on the God who says I’m bigger than your fears, I start to be a person that God uses to influence and bring about change in his beautiful world.  So here’s a few diagnostic questions for you.  1) Do you think about how bad the world is getting or how much potential there is with the gospel? Which occupies more of your thought base?  2) Do you focus more on what could go wrong or how God might move?  What occupies the space of your soul?  3) Are your thoughts more consumed with the people against you, or on the ONE who is for you?  Here’s what I’ve noticed.  It’s so easy for me to escape into places of fear and of wanting to leave and of wanting to control that I lose the mission of God that we get to carry the kingdom into really dark, really broken, really hurting places.  That is an absolute honor for us and we cannot shrink back at the darkness.  We must be people that carry the good news and the hope of Jesus into his broken, yet beautiful, world.  That’s our calling, friends, as followers of Christ.

I want to encourage you to be the type of person that invades rather than escapes and that we pray with conviction and then we act in confidence.  And it’s going to look different for every person around you.  Some of you it’s going to be praying for your neighborhood and then throwing a block party on Memorial Day to get to know your neighbors that you’ve lived next to for a decade and don’t know their names.  Or it’s going to be we’re going to invite some of our kids’ friends over for a barbecue.  Or I’m going to share my faith at my workplace.  Or I’m going to start having a time of prayer before work and I’m going to invite people to come with me.  Or I’m going to volunteer and serve at “Family Promise” or “Celebrate Recovery” or with the refugees that are coming to our area.  Some of you, it’s just going to be, listen, God, I want your kingdom to come and your will to be done so I’m going to turn off my phone when it’s time to be done with work and I’m going to be present with the people around me and I’m going to genuinely look for ways to serve them and love them.  It could look really different for every single person in here, but the principle is this:  we are called as followers of Christ to not just live in the kingdom, but to carry it.  Jesus preached the kingdom and lived the kingdom and he invites his followers, you and I, to be a part of his mission.  Friends, please, please, please….let’s not value escape more than invasion.  Let’s look for ways to love rather than leave.  Let’s look for ways to be an influence rather than insulate ourselves.  Let’s look for ways and encourage each other to walk in faith rather than in fear. And let’s look for ways to BE the change rather than being voices of complaining.  Let’s pray.

I just want to create some space for you to just sit for a moment.  Take a deep breath.  God, what are some areas that you would have us be light.  What are some of the beaches in our life that we need to just storm with your love and with your grace and with your mercy.  Father, in so many areas and spaces in our life it would be a lot easier to leave than to love.  So Lord, help us be people of invasion.  For the person in this room that’s thinking of giving up and leaving, would you give them the strong sense from your spirit today that they’re called to love.  For the person, Lord, who’s just living in fear….fear of what people will think about them, fear of their past catching up with them, fear of the future and anticipating what might go wrong, Lord, I pray that, by your Spirit, you would stir in them a refreshing of faith today.  Lord, for all of us, it’s easier to complain than to be part of the change, so give us eyes to see and ears to hear what places you’re calling us into that we might be beacons of light and beacons of hope, that we truly, genuinely would see your kingdom come and your will be done in the broken, beautiful places in our lives and on this earth as it is in heaven.  It’s in the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.