5 Sure-Fire Ways To Impact Lives For The Kingdom Of God

Soldiers in the Kingdom of GodOne of the underlying themes present in history is the advancement of an ideology and the rise and fall of empires and kingdoms.

This is one of the reasons that the Jewish people were confused when Jesus came as a servant willing to die so that all mankind could live.  They were expecting a conquering King to free them from Roman oppression and to restore the throne of David and the glory of the nation of Israel.

When Jesus came to redeem all sinners so that they might become part of the Kingdom of God it turned conventional wisdom about what a kingdom looked like on its head.

One of the reasons I chose the title “Words For The Kingdom” for this blog is to indicate that you are part of building the Kingdom of God. You are a servant and soldier of King Jesus.

Even though Jesus has not yet come back to establish his rule here on earth, you are no less his servant, and he is no less your King.

He has each you here for a reason.  So what is that reason?

Is Your Life An Adventure?

God asks us what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made.   And then, leaning over to us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.”

Bob Goff in Love Does

adventure awaits

Do you believe that you get to live a life of adventure?

Attitude and experiences can be funny things.  If they stink, chances are you will believe everything around you stinks.  Unfortunately we often allow our attitude and our past experiences to dictate what we believe about our future experiences.

I love the quote above by Bob Goff.  If you haven’t yet read Love Does you should. After reading it I am half-tempted to load up my family and drive across the country just to sit down and hang out with him.  It is just the kind of crazy, whimsy-filled adventure that Bob would appreciate.

I like this quote because it reminds me that God created you and I in a very specific and amazing way.  He made my heart break over certain things and he made me love certain things and he made me passionate about certain things.  He made you unique and specific too.  You know what gets you excited and ignites a fire in your bones.

Why would God make us this way?

I think it is because He wants to use us to complete this great and crazy adventure called life.  You see, just because we are Christians, and just because we are called to walk the narrow path and take a stand on things doesn’t mean that our lives can’t be filled with wonder and rapture and adventure.

I believe we are fully alive and most where God wants us to be when we are living the great adventure he planned out for us.  I think the attributes of God are most exhibited in us when we live a life of adventure.

Consider these adventurers:

  • Abraham packed up his family and stepped out to follow God on faith
  • Moses took a ride in a basket on a river, was raised as royalty, then became God’s spokesperson for a fledgling nation
  • Esther saved that nation from destruction by being bold and brave
  • David stepped up and destroyed a giant with a stone, a shout, and faith
  • Nehemiah built the wall up around Jerusalem with his broken heart
  • Jesus turned the world upside down with ideas that were contrary to convention
  • Peter walked on the water, confessed Jesus as the Son of God, denied him three times, then became the rock on which the church was built
  • The disciples devoted the rest of their lives following the adventure that was kindled in them
  • Paul became the greatest missionary after a blinding encounter on the road to Damascus
  • John was exiled to an island where he was given the Revelation of things to come.

Will your name be added to this list?

There is no reason it couldn’t be.  If we kept adding bullet points we could put name after name on it.  Martin Luther, C.S. Lewis, Spurgeon, Moody, Billy Graham, Mother Teresa.

I can name people in my life that have responded to the passion that God put in their hearts and have lived a life of adventure.  I have their names on the list.

I want my name to be on that list as well.

I want your name to be on the list too.

I am trying to live my life in such a way that I do hear the words,  “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I want more than that though.

I don’t mean to be irreverent, but I think sometimes we only focus on the meek Lamb and overlook the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

My Jesus is a Warrior and he is calling me to a life of adventure.

So the question is, are you living a life of Adventure?

If not, what are you waiting for?

Go.  Heaven is watching and waiting.

 

 

Catalyst14, Andy Stanley, And The Importance Of Vision

Andy Stanley Catalyst

I just had the privilege of being able to attend the Catalyst Conference.  Over the past two days I was encouraged, uplifted, and challenged by dynamic speakers.  I have so much to write about to share with you some insights that I believe will help you impact the Kingdom of God.

The picture above is Andy Stanley closing us out and encouraging us to create a vision statement for our lives.  If you have signed up to receive my posts by email, then you have received a free tool to help you identify what the mission is that God has given you and how to identify your spiritual gifts and abilities to live your life according to that vision.

I believe that one of life’s greatest tragedies is the believer who doesn’t know the vision God has placed in his or her heart.

Often this type of believer will be busy, probably within the walls of the church, but not necessarily producing the fruit God has created them to produce.   He or she will get caught up in the business of life, but will not fulfill the mission that God has made them uniquely suited to accomplish.

At the start of the conference, Andy asked the following questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What breaks your heart?

He posed these questions because as leaders he wanted us to begin to identify in our life and ministry the things that we needed to change based on what breaks our heart.

The answers to these questions are the foundation for determining what type of life you will lead and what type of impact you will have on the world.  Each person’s answer is unique.  Andy’s heart was broken because people don’t wake up excited to go to church on Sunday mornings.  His wife Sandra’s heart was broken because there are over 400,000 children in foster care in America.  Your answer will be unique to the heart that God has given you.

At the close of the conference, Andy offered the following:

3 Ways To Make A Change That Sticks

  1. Craft a laser-focused vision statement
  2. Cast it over and over and over and over until everybody knows it
  3. Organize everything you do to that vision statement

I have found that these things are so important in my life.  I know that if I don’t have a vision for my marriage, my wife and I can easily be tossed about by the prevailing winds of life.   I know that if I don’t have a clear vision for my ministry, then I can easily do good things instead of focusing on the great things God has gifted me for.  I know that if I don’t have a clear vision for my kids, then I open them up to worldly influences and influencers.

This is such an important message because it is so easy to get off track.

I think one of the most effective schemes of the devil is to get us distracted from the vision of fulfilling our God-given mission.

Think about this for a moment.  The devil doesn’t have to induce you to sin.  He just has to keep you busy doing the things that don’t matter.   He doesn’t have to destroy your marriage, he just has to keep you from going down the path that God has given you and your spouse.  He doesn’t have to lead your kids down the wrong path, he just has to keep them involved in good things that may not be the best things.  He doesn’t have to make you broke and destitute, he just has to keep you chasing more money in a good job that may not be the job God wants you to serve in.

For these reasons it is so important to determine your vision.

You must know where God is calling you to go if you are to create a clear vision for how to get there.

God has created you and equipped you to complete a mission that is tailor-made for you.  He has given you all the tools that you need.  He is by your side.  He alone knows that if you will simply clarify what it is you are called to do he can do great and might things through you.

You may not see the effects of your work here until you stand before God in eternity, but when you do don’t you want to be sure that you spent your life living out your vision and doing the things that mattered to God.

I know that I do.

If you are unclear about your mission, please sign up for my posts by email and I will send you a tool to help you identify it and begin living it out with vision.

 

 

My Dad, A Carpenter By Trade, Taught Me Who I Am

Hand and hammer

Carpenter, by trade

Sometimes it is hard to pin down exactly what our mission in life is because we don’t really know ourselves all that well.

My Dad had a friend named John W. Kelso.  They met while they both worked at a lumberyard.  Dad was around 40 and John was about 20.  They formed a friendship that lasted for the next 25 years.

I just heard John tell the story that every morning, Dad would come up to John and introduce himself, as though they had never met:

 


Hi.  I’m Bill Barnett, Carpenter by trade.


John said that they would go through this routine each morning.  You had to know my Dad’s sense of humor to fully appreciate the story.  He loved a good joke and always had a smile on his face.  He would have enjoyed giving John a hard time just because he could.

I wonder how many of us could identify ourselves as my Dad did?

  • Jesse Barnett, Writer by trade
  • Jesse Barnett, Teacher by trade
  • Jesse Barnett, Minister by trade
  • __________, _______ by trade

For many of us, we go through one day after another with no clear cut understanding of who we are or what we are meant to do.

I can remember my Dad telling people that we met that we were “trim carpenters by trade.”

I asked him why he made a point to tell people that we are trim carpenters.

He said, “If you can do trim (or finish) carpentry, you can usually do anything under that.  It tells people that you have an attention to detail and a level of skill that they might not have realized that you have.”

I like the idea of knowing who you are 

and what you are about.

If you have a clear understanding of these two things it often helps your life run much more smoothly and along a path that you choose instead of a path that others choose for you.

My Dad knew he wasn’t a plumber by trade, so he stayed away from plumbing.  He knew that he wasn’t an electrician by trade, so he called his friend Harry who was.

I try to keep this in mind as I go about my life and my vocation.

  • What am I called to do?
  • How can I use my talents and abilities to fulfill my purpose?
  • What do I need to say no to in order to focus on my calling?

I have to realize that I am called according to God’s purpose.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Many of us are familiar with the first part of this verse but may not pay too much attention to the last part.  We have been called according to the purpose God has for our lives.  Of course the initial purpose for our lives is to be conformed into the image of Christ.

I believe God uses us in a variety of ways to make his purpose for us complete. No circumstance, no situation, no thing in life is too difficult for God to work for good.

My Dad knew who he was.  He was Bill Barnett, a Carpenter by trade.

But more importantly than that he was Bill Barnett, Child of God.  Redeemed by the blood of Lamb.  Now he is walking in eternity with Jesus.

He knew what his mission in life was and he fulfilled it.

He made an impact on all those he met, but most importantly he impacted his family and his friends.

What about you?

What are you here for?  What are you called to do?

What is your mission?

Let me know in the comments.  I would love to hear what you have to say.