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Friday, April 30, 2010

My Sermon Topic for Sunday: The Church Has a Kingdom Heart

I'm up to the sermon plate for the first time since we've been meeting. A little scary to be honest.

We are doing a 12-week series called: The Dangerous Church: Exploring the Edge of Risk So We Can Be the Church to Serve the World.

My talk focuses on the notion: The Church Has a Kingdom Heart. I will be using two texts: Matthew 6:10 from the Lord's Prayer, and Mark 12:29-31 where Jesus responds in answer to a scribe about what are the greatest commandments. these two texts encapsulate what I want to say.

I also will use a passage from Shane Claiborne's book Jesus for President:

We need conversion in the best sense of the word - people who are marked by the renewing of their minds and imaginations, who no longer conform to the pattern that is destroying our world. Otherwise, we have only believers, not converts. And believers are a dime a dozen nowadays. What the world needs is people who believe so much in another world that they cannot help but enact it.
He gets at the core of what it means to have a kingdom heart, I think: our deepest longing ends in "your kingdom come, your will be done here as it is in heaven." And our way of life is to love God with all we are and love everyone else as ourselves.

So our primary identity is that of a Jesus follower, surrendering to and becoming enculturated in the ways of God; they become our deepest longings and what we give our best and most to. Our hearts incline toward his and we "incarnate" the kingdom here and now through loving and serving the world. We see it begin to come into view, not completely, but hints of the better world linger as we love and serve.

The dangerous church heads toward the edge of risk. It has to. The community of Jesus followers in the world must enter the sheer mess of humanity, loving God more than even life itself, and a bewildering array of people who don't share the same inclination of the heart, even violently so sometimes.  Being willing to absorb rejection, mockery, disappointment, fear, indifference, unabated sacrifice, and hopelessness involves costly risk. But sharing the mess anyway, and stubbornly offering the hope we have in us that a better day and kingdom is coming reveals the essence of the Kingdom heart.

Join us: 3-5PM, 70 Main Street, 2nd Floor, Northampton, MA.

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