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Monday
Mar262018

Christianity Is About Him, His Message, and His Kingdom

My wife and I along with another couple and a few single folks are heading to Cape Verde just off the coast of West Africa. Our plans are to host a Pastors’ and retreat for mostly bi-vocational pastors and their wives who are working full-time jobs and pastoring a local church. Most of these pastors are poor and don’t have any time to spare between working a full-time job and pastoring a local congregation.

Our hope is to bring encouragement by treating them to a weekend in a nice hotel while instructing them in how to be a Christian leader in their communities.

Several times during the weekend we will have meetings where a message will be shared. As in the United States churches are so independent from other churches and we are separated by theological doctrines and practices. So our first message of encouragement to the pastors of Cape Verde will be centered on our calling as Christians. That calling is not about our churches, our denomination or our theological positions; our calling is fixated upon Him, His message, and His Kingdom.

One could argue that our beliefs as a church do set us apart from others who may not believe exactly like we do, but is that a core belief of His Kingdom?  The Bible is quite clear that our division will only destroy us and will not contribute to a strong unified front to bring the message to the world.

Matthew 12:25-26 “ Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?"

Jesus also said that one of the best advertisements for His Church is that we have love for each other.

John 13:35 "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Okay so division is not His message nor is it a core belief about His Kingdom, so why do so many churches live within the boundaries of division when it comes to other Christians?

Many people I know would say that division is necessary if there is heresy involved within their beliefs. I would agree with that, however, most of our differences have little to do with heresy, but more to do with our differences of opinion on doctrinal issues that do not change the idea of salvation in Christ alone. There may be some fine lines here, but I know I had to undo a lot of theology I learned as a young believer. I know believers today who won’t budge off of their denominational training, even when there are no Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals or Catholics mentioned in the Bible. The fact is that most denominations teach doctrine from their own traditions and much of it comes from some reformer in their distant past. It gets so convoluted that some people actually think that Jesus somehow is a Christian and just the mention that He was a Jew, and will return someday as a Jew, makes them angry. The Bible is a Jewish book, and Christianity is a continuation of Biblical Judaism. This is why I say our calling as believers is not about our churches, our denominations, our theological traditions, or our ministries. It is not about the size or success of our ministries because those are the influences of this world they are not a concern with God. God calls us to Himself, His message and His Kingdom. God has always been concerned about the heart and our capacity to place Him first in what we love.

My encouragement to those pastors in Cape Verde will not be found in the praise for any success in ministry, but in their capacity to love and obey God. Our emphasis as Christians often has been misplaced with our priorities placed on the wrong things. Easter is a great time to reflect on the meaning of the cross and the empty tomb. It is a great time to once again return to Him, His message, and His Kingdom.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

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