When Christ says: “Mine!”

There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!'” – Abraham Kuyper

This side of eternity, the cry of Jesus is a soft beckoning one of incredible gentleness.

It is a quiet, persistent whisper that is never overbearing nor annoying. It is posed as a question: “Will you trust me with your life?”. And it is asked with the utmost respect and dignity for your freedom. And this creator of the universe stands knocking at our door. Like a gentleman. Never needy, never intrusive or manipulative.

It is a whisper easily missed not because of it’s inability to be clear or heard, but because of our distractedness and our fickleness. And because of the ease with which we are enamored with lesser things – glittering and gaudy, promising but never delivering.

And the time will come, when he splits the sky. Then this same cry – will be a thunderous call.

It shall be a call that is all-consuming and all-pervasive. He will stand no more as a gentleman in waiting. But as a conquering king, he will split the sky in unbearable majesty and breath-taking beauty.
Every ear will hear him. Every eye will see him. Every tongue will confess. Every heart will bow. To Jesus Christ the King of the universe.

It will be a call that ushers in an eternity in which there will be no more tears, no more shame and no more pain. His reign and rule will be complete. Over every society and country, institution and government. Every business and every sphere of society. Every family and every household. Every mind and every heart.

And the critical thing is that now, this side of eternity, we get to choose.

We get to choose. What a glorious mystery this is. We get to choose to open the door to Jesus Christ. We get to choose to submit. We get to choose trust. That’s what it comes down to. We will not submit to someone we do not trust is good and for you.

And it is a choice you make with your heart one step at a time. One inch at a time. There is grace at every inch. And before you know it, you are totally consumed. At the same time with great delight, you will find yourself completely free.

The Son of God is worthy of nothing less. Worthy is he to receive the reward of his sufferings. Somehow perfectly justifiable is this fact – the greatest act of sacrifice in all of history also demands the greatest return for it.

Your kingdom come
Your will be done
Have your inheritance
But first start here
Start with my heart.

Morning musings on light and a coming kingdom

The picture is the view out my room window. The winter solstice was a bit more than 2 months ago now and in the early mornings the light has been steadily increasing. My 6am wake-ups are met with a hint of light in the sky now.

We live in a day and an age where the light is increasing, and the darkness is also increasing. We are all called to be part of the increasing light. To be people of the light. I believe this should play itself out in a number of ways: We are to be people who physically open their windows, pull up their blinds, people who live in transparency and openness and authenticity. We are to go to bed early and wake up early. We are to be persistent and ruthless about shining the light into darkness in our hearts and in our relationships.

And we know that the kingdom of light is coming and is overtaking and overcoming all other kingdoms and darknesses. It’s dominion will be complete. That sounds scarey, but unlike any kingdom this earth has seen or any kingdom that man has tried to build, it’s not a kingdom that enforces itself top down in any sense – by the setting of rules and restrictions, standards and perfections. It is a beautiful kingdom that influences from the bottom up. There is an irresistible drawing and beckoning. And before we know our walls are melted, our hearts are yielded and we find ourselves submitted…and free. It is an internal revolution before the external. Hidden and unseen before it is displayed. And in that sense it is so beautifully authentic.

It is a kingdom that we are caught up in – there is no sense in which we could have conceived of any of it or in which we could make it happen. And yet it is a kingdom that invites full participation, full responsibility and fullness of desire.

And though we may struggle to see it at the moment, as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, the momentum is building and this kingdom comes.

 

 

 

The wondrous dance of divine sovereignty and human freedom.

We must be sure of the reality that human beings have complete freedom and free-will. And yet in and the fullness of human freedom, God is completely sovereign. I don’t believe God has a plan B, he is far too sovereign. Jesus was not plan B. Somehow in the glorious dance of divine sovereignty and human freedom, both are fully in expression, and in this sense you cannot possibly miss out on what is God’s plan A for you.

The words of Joseph to his brothers in Pharoah’s palace come to mind:

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today (Gen 50:20)”

Disobedience is not a cause for you to miss out on that God has for you. He is far too good to us, and far too sovereign. This reality doesn’t take anything away from the fact that we actually were disobedient. And this is the beauty of this ‘dance’ – divine will does not smother human freedom.

This is our hope – that there is redemption in every fall, hope in every valley, life in every death. When we look upon the events of crucifixion of Christ, in what was a great display of human ignorance and arrogance, lay the greatest redeeming act in the history of the universe. In that one event, in the fullness of human disobedience, hatred, pride and ignorance, the son of God was crucified by men. In that same event, in the fullness of divine design and goodness and redemption, the race of men was redeemed by God.

We are without a doubt the most blessed race to ever exist for the fact that we have perfect reason for the fullness of hope in every moment, and in particular in the darkest moments of our lives.

And so in such a way, we can see that in the beautiful reality of the Kingdom of God, there exists the space for the fullness of responsibility and accountability and yet a fullness of rest, peace and joy.

The place of the word and prayer for the Christian

What I have to say here is rather radical. It feels that way to me and I’m the one writing it. Perhaps I write to remind myself as much as getting a message out.

We must find ourselves in the position and posture where the realities presented in the word of God, and the realities of the Kingdom of God are more real and more tangible than any other reality. They must be more real to us  than the reality that social media constructs, than the reality that is provided to us by western capitalism, than the reality that mammon and houses and possessions gives us. Kingdom realities are primarily unseen realities, and are not generally tangible in the physical realm, and yet when you get a taste or a sense of them, you cannot deny their existence and in particular you cannot deny their ‘rightness’ for the human being and this world.

How do we get into this position and posture? We find it in a place of prayer in reading the Word of God.

With greater intensity than that which the world throws its consumerism, individualism, hedonism at us, we must throw ourselves (via prayer) into the realities portrayed for us in the word of God about the Kingdom of God. It is the only good, sustainable and significant reality. The war is real and it’s happening, whether we know it or not.

…until our faith becomes sight

And so Jesus is not coming back to find a half-hearted, luke-warm bride still living for the faux-realities constructed by a gaudy and glittering but empty world. No, Jesus is far too beautiful, far too captivating, far too able, and far too worthy. And he shall split the sky to find a praying and singing church, that he has made pure and spotless, operating in the fullness of the first commandment and living fully in the unseen realities of the Kingdom which by then shall be seen. She will be whole-hearted, pure and spotless, radiant in the purity of her heart, blazing in her desire, and stunning in her beauty. Because He will do it, and He is able.

 

The Coming Revolution

Jesus declared  “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near.” in Mark 1:15. This is not a lofty and inaccessible declaration that is not grounded in reality.

I am deeply convinced that this kingdom will not be a small thing, but that it will be a political, economic, cultural, social and religious revolution of worldwide proportions.

It is a kingdom in every sense of the word but it’s power is based on nothing that this world bases is power on. It is not an external, an overarching, top down entity that forces itself upon the people and upon current structures.

Rather it’s influence is bottom up, like clear and pure spring water from the ground, it purifies everything it touches. Meekness and humility are this kingdom’s primary characteristics. It melts away all barriers with it’s gentle strength and unyielding love. it gives life and freedom to all to see and be and do as we were made to.

So in one sense, this post, which in some ways is a public declaration is antithetical to it’s nature. Such a kingdom needs no such announcements. It needs no enforcers.

The kingdom revolution, is first and foremost a revolution that begins internally. It begins in our hearts. And a generation is being raised up who hold this reality increasingly in their hearts – who will say: “first be the king of my life. first be the king of my heart, first be the king of my mind, first be the king of my soul.” This is a generation that is walking in greater and greater levels of freedom and authenticity, clarity and purpose, humility and selflessness. This is a generation that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.

It’s simple.

Simplicity. I have been gripped recently by the significance of simplicity. Not only the necessity of, but the beauty and freedom of, simplicity.

The problem with “dichotomy”

The rational and logical worldview that was brought on by the enlightenment and modernism still pervades our thinking today: in concept of the ‘dichotomy’ of things. There is a separation of things in two mutually exclusive fields, where A cannot be A if it is non-A. The mind is separated from the body – the mind thinks and the heart or the gut feels. And so it would seem logical that the world works in such a fashion.

The problem with this kind of thinking (that began with Plato and is Greek in it’s origins) is that it is essentially reductionistic. It reduces things/people/life to being the sum of all the parts. In this reduction, where the spheres are separate and not intersecting and interacting, you lose meaning and significance. See, Jeremy Lung is far more than his brain, and his personality, and his hairy legs put together. The suburb of Epping is not merely houses+cars+people+etc. There are dynamic and ever changing unlimited relationships and interactions within these spheres that make it the beautiful whole.

I believe this concept of ‘dichotomy’ expresses itself in problematic ways: for e.g. Life is separated into what you NEED to do and what you WANT to do, particularly for us Gen Y’ers. And when we are not doing what we WANT to do then we are unhappy. It also reduces the significance of doing things we NEED or HAVE to do. I’m not discounting the fact that there are real needs and wants in a person’s life, but if we could perhaps think of both as necessary in the scheme of the whole, we would be a generation alot more content, and certainly much more productive.

Indeed ‘dichotomy’ is a very real concept in the church, where our lives can be separated into what is “holy” and “secular”. That going to church and praying and reading the Bible is “holy” and going to work and eating, sleep, weeing, shaving is “secular”. In this assessment of things, the “secular” activities lose real meaning.

The significance of “unity”

I believe the Hebrew mind and the Hebrew worldview was one that advocated this unity and wholeness. The Hebrew conception of the world was a womb WITHIN God. It’s one of unity and wholeness. We see this in the Trinity, where each unit has it’s distinct sphere and function, but they exist as a whole.

Indeed, in western medicine, we have dichotomized physical and mental and spiritual health. Physical sickness is seen as purely a function of physiological pathology that is completely unrelated to mental and spiritual issues. And yet anyone would be able to tell you that stress causes disease, and the psychological IS linked with the physical. Lesser known are the links say between bitterness and cancer. Indeed in my own healing and journey through ezcema, a physical skin condition, it was the resolution and healing of mental and conditions that brought physical healing.

The solution of ‘the Kingdom’

And all this musing I am doing is simply because I am trying to introduce the idea that life was made to be coherent and meaningful and whole, that life and wholeness is meant to be simple. And in this coherence and wholness, we find significance. And it is found in a life with Jesus.  I deeply believe that life finds its wholeness and fullness to the extent that we do one thing. You see “only one thing” is required in the Kingdom of God. You do that one thing and everything else falls into place. To the extent that we do one thing, your life finds unity. Your passions, your desires, your work, your ambitions, your talents. You do this one thing, and it is not as if your life won’t consist of doing many things, but that everything will fall into place as a whole, as a consistent, beautiful and meaningful whole.

The more we follow Jesus, the more we sit as his feet, we realise life becomes increasingly coherent and SIMPLE. It doesn’t stop being complex in that we still eat, drink, work, play, sleep, love, cry. But perhaps it does become more simple and what a beautiful simplicity it is, what a freeing simplicity it is.

And a generation will arise that pursues one thing, and in that one thing, they shall find fullness and meaning and freedom and significance and life. Life to the full. Just as he promised.