The Joy of God

“Re-Visioning God and His World
Jesus’ good news about the kingdom can be an effective guide for our lives only if we share his view of the world in which we live. To his eyes this is a God-bathed and God-permeated world. It is a world filled with a glorious reality, where every component is within the range of God’s direct knowledge and control–though he obviously permits some of it, for good reasons, to be for a while otherwise than as he wishes. It is a world that is inconceivably beautiful and good because of God and because God is always in it. It is a world in which God is continually at play and over which he constantly rejoices. Until our thoughts of God have found every visible thing and event glorious with his presence, the world of Jesus has not yet fully seized us.”

When I woke up this morning I went looking for my copy of The Divine Conspiracy because I needed to read Chapter 3. It focuses on casting new vision about the world we live in…one where Christians believe in the JOY of God instead of only the WRATH of God. One in which those who claim to follow Christ know that this life is not about waiting for  rescue from this disgusting world…but instead about taking up residence on earth, planting our roots, and making improvements.

Oh sure…you can talk to me all day about how we are to be “in the world but not of the world” and quote Jesus’ prayer in John 17 at me. But don’t forget…that very same Jesus was the one doing the talking in Matthew 25. He said that we would hear “well done” based on how much we loved those who need something from us. How do you love them if you don’t LIVE here? How do you love them and create new meaning, intention, and opportunity if you are always focused on leaving and never focused on rebuilding?

I’m an excellent picture of this lately. I’ve been in Seattle for 6 months and I don’t love it. You know why? Because I’ve acted like a visitor. I haven’t acted like this is my home or that I belong here or that my covenant with God is to go where he sends me and make it better. Instead I’ve acted as though this is a temporary stopping point and that I’m just waiting for God to do something to rescue me from the darkest, wettest place I’ve ever been. See…THAT is visitor mentality. If I believed Seattle was my home, I’d tell you about all the beautiful things here like the water, the greenery, the architecture, the mountains, the city itself. THAT is resident mentality.

If we want people in our community to take us seriously when we tell them that Christians care about them, we have to stop acting like we are just killing time until the mothership arrives. Stop acting like a renter and act like a home-owner! Hang up pictures, paint the walls, get to know the neighbors. Unpack your suitcase and stay awhile weary traveler. Someone, somewhere, in your community needs a glass a water…and they need the glass of water served to them with a warm, invested heart rather than thrown at them as you sit on your stoop waiting for Jesus to return.

PS–Jesus asked me to remind you that your community includes gay people, single parents, the homeless, people of other nationalities (including illegal immigrants), those who worship differently than you, Atheists, the other political party, and people who don’t like Peyton Manning AND/OR Tim Tebow.

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