kingdom

Five Ways To Live For The Big Kingdom When You're Busy

Image Last Sunday, we talked about our desire for more and that following Jesus means living in his kingdom rather than continuing to build our own. In praying for our response to what Jesus said to us, I'm concerned that some of us might think that living for more is impossible because our lives are busy and we can't afford to do more than what we're doing right now.

So let's make sure we're on the same page with Jesus. First, ask him how he wants you to live for the big kingdom. Second, pick up a copy of Paul Tripp's book A Quest For More and take notes. Third, remember that your everyday life matters to Jesus.

Living for the big kingdom is about how we listen and respond to Jesus in the next ten minutes.

What does that look like? We have a rhythm of life that we call BLESS that helps us follow Jesus by loving the people God has put around us. I think it provides five ways for busy people to live for more:

  1. B - Begin with prayer. The next time you're in between tasks, take a few minutes to pray for the people and situations going on around you; ask for help to live beyond your natural wisdom and energy. Prayer both primes the pump for the rest of your life and is the single most powerful and effective way to change the world around you.
  2. L - Listen. Be curious and pay attention to what's happening around you. Perhaps that means reading the news or reading a mom blog. More likely, it's listening and looking out for the places where life simply isn't the way it's supposed to be.
  3. E - Eat. You're going to eat a few times today. Once a week, have a meal with someone who is different than you. That might be someone younger or older than you; could be someone at work who looks different than you; might be someone who doesn't know Jesus. Start with people you think you'd get along with. Ask questions. Learn their story. Encourage them.
  4. S - Serve. As you're spending time praying, listening and asking questions, you'll probably see places that you can help them. The simple act of picking up an extra shift, taking kids to school, providing childcare so mom and dad can get away for a few hours, and a million other things that help the people around you - this is big kingdom living.
  5. S - Share. Following Jesus by living for the big kingdom is a curious life. It's the life we were all made to live. How will you respond when someone thanks you for helping them or wonders why you wanted to grab coffee?

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Three Ways To Pray For God's Kingdom To Come

Image As a church, we want to pray throughout 2014 for God's kingdom to come to Athens. I was reading Paul Miller's fantastic book, A Praying Life, and he mentions three kingdom prayers that we seldom ask:

  • Change in others - because it feels too controlling...too helpless
  • Change in me - because that feels too scary
  • Change in things that I don't like in our culture - because change feels too impossible

Miller lays out some helpful suggestions for praying for change in these areas on our own and reminds us that our underlying struggle in prayerlessness is an overconfidence in our abilities and a lack of confidence in God. Simply put, the reason we don't pray is because we don't trust God.

One additional practice to help us grow into kingdom prayer is to learn to do this together. Every week across our city, our church hosts prayer groups that we call community groups. They're great places to pray because you're in an extended family environment - eating a meal together - with the express purpose of connecting relationally and growing spiritually. So here are three ways that I'd encourage community groups to pray:

  • Change in us - pray for the things we share that we want God to change in our lives
  • Change in our church - pray for the things we see in our church family that we want God to change
  • Change in our city - pray for the things that we don't like in the people and places around us who don't know Jesus (yet)

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Sermon Review - Jesus and Children (Luke 18:15-17)

Image Big Idea: Will we trust Jesus with our helplessness and with the needs of the orphan and the unborn?

Summary: When parents bring their infants to receive a blessing from Jesus, his disciples try to keep them away from Jesus. Jesus takes it a different direction, inviting the children to come to him while reminding us that everyone matters to Jesus. Seizing on the opportunity to make a point, Jesus asks whether we will trust him with our helplessness the way that a baby trusts their parents? And since we're near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, this story is a good place to talk about the orphan and the unborn.

Next Steps:

  • Whenever God speaks, we respond - either in obedience or disobedience. Doing nothing is disobedience.
  • Obedience to God is built on repentance and faith - honesty about our sin and hope in Jesus' work on our behalf.
  • The Holy Spirit fuses God's message to our life. How are you supposed to respond to what you heard this week?
  • Who is helping you follow Jesus this week? Discipleship in isolation is a recipe for frustration.

A few ways we can help you as a church:

  • If you're in a community group, take time to pray this week for the orphan and the unborn.
  • There will be lots of news over the next ten days about abortion. Pay attention.
  • Pick up a copy of Russell Moore's Adopted For Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches. Pay attention.
  • Press into the needs that are immediately around you - in our church, in the city, in your neighborhood schools.
    • Thank you for the big and small things that you're already doing. Everything matters.
    • If you're not sure what to do next, email us (info@missionathens.com) and we'll start a conversation.

Build What You Love. After the gathering, we had an all-church meeting to say 'thank you' for 2013 and to encourage all of us to 'build what we love.' And what we love is helping each other follow Jesus together as a family. Are you connected relationally? Where are you serving? Let's build something great together.

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