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A Blog Post

The Kingdom Comes

 

Commissioned to go “plant a church”….

Sent out to go “help” an impoverished, underresourced community….

Called to serve in a place that most would not choose…

Just look for the big label "AVOID" to find my neighborhood in Atlanta

Just look for the big label “AVOID” to find my neighborhood in Atlanta, and what the rest of Atlanta thinks of it.

What does “plant a church” even mean?

What are the measurable results to “show” for your work?

How do  you know if you are even making a difference?

We want to see the Kingdom of God come on earth as it is in heaven.

But what does that even look like?

Jesus said   “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” (Mark 40:30-32)

The Kingdom of God starts small, grows big, takes time, and is a work of God, rather than a work of human hands.

Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21)

The Kingdom of God is intangible, immeasurable, and invisible, for it abides within human hearts. The only physical manifestation we see of the Kingdom of God is the evidence of individual lives being yielded to the Lordship of Jesus to be moved at His impulse into the places he cares most deeply about.

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. (Matthew 11:12)

The Kingdom of God “forcefully advances” simply as individuals start seeking after God and His Kingship in their lives.  We “lay hold of it” as we find Him and follow Him wherever He leads.

A building, a program, a large number, a class, a ministry…these are all simply evidences of people moving at the impulse of the Holy Spirit in people.  They are not the measurement of it. 

So when we’re prayer walking our streets at 7:30 am and my neighbor is taking out the trash and tells me that she’s about to march up to the school and give them a piece of her mind about how they (seemingly) mistreated her granddaughter and how she needed prayer that she wouldn’t get violent, and we gather by that trash can and pray for the situation….

The Kingdom Comes.

And when I drive by that afternoon, and ask her how the meeting went, and she tells me, “You know what? After we prayed, I just left it in God’s hands, and didn’t even bother with going up there. Jesus just gave me peace about the whole thing.”

I want to shout from the rooftop,

“The Kingdom Comes!”

Girls raise by their grandma are not to be reckoned with around here.

The school had a more peaceful morning because of that prayer walk…and they didn’t even realize they had God to thank for it.

And when we stop to pray with Quinton at the bus stop and get to talking about how “life” sucks us dry, but how much we need Jesus, our Living Water, to fill us up and refresh us again, and he says, “That is exactly what I needed to hear before I went to work this mornin’.  It’ll raise every hair on this bald head o’ mine, thinkin’ ’bout how Jesus is willin’ to do that…”

The Kingdom comes.

Some of our faithful early morning prayer walkers

Some of our faithful early morning prayer walkers

And when the lonely girl from New York, shows up at the pregnancy clinic, hoping she can get an abortion, and comes away from that place with a new look on motherhood, as well as a new “family” of Believers willing to love and support her through the process…

The Kingdom comes.

A loving Body of Christ is being formed in this place, ready to welcome and love any new individuals needing community

A loving Body of Christ is being formed in this place, ready to welcome and love any new individuals needing community

And when elementary children start their own school prayer meeting, and kids are reading the Word of God and praying for their school before class starts…

The Kingdom comes.

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After watching “War Room”, my kids, plus some buddies started a school prayer meeting on Fridays

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Seeing them step forward to lead, but also stumble along in the process, is a joy and a challenge as a mother

And when leaders in your house church are mad at each other over…chicken wings ?!?!? and you show up on their front porches to deal with the conflict Biblically instead of the natural anger-gossip-run-from-the-situation type of way….

The Kingdom comes.

I'm so thankful for the leadership helping to direct and teach these kids...even amidst miscommunication.

I’m so thankful for the leadership helping to direct and teach these kids…even amidst miscommunication and need for reconciliation.

And when area pastors and ministry leaders gather to pray together on Wednesdays, and there is a unity, and oneness and a crying out that none of our ego’s, and our ministry “Babel”s would get in the way,  but that only the Name and Love of Jesus would be lifted up in each of our respective areas of work…

The Kingdom comes.

Danny and one of the community pastors. The unity and love that is growing amongst the pastors is nothing short of the move of God's Spirit.

Danny and one of the community pastors. The unity and love that is growing amongst the pastors is nothing short of the move of God’s Spirit.

And when a mere three hours after a prayer meeting for God to redeem and restore the physical spaces in our dilapidated-building laden community, and I drive past people landscaping a tiny church’s yard, with its brand new white sign…

The Kingdom comes.

The church property is getting fixed up

This church property is getting fixed up

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and a new sign is out front (pictures was snagged while driving by on a rainy day)

And when I stop and tell them that what they are doing is an exact answer to prayer, and they introduce me to the pastor and Danny and I get invited to share the testimony at their church and share with them a common heart for our community and a unified partnership is formed…

The Kingdom comes.

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Pastor Owens welcomed us right into their service and church family

And when this mom simply stays home with her three young boys when there are “so many needs out there” and reads to her kids, and teaches them the Scriptures, and does their laundry and cooks their dinner, and simply trusts the harvest to the Lord of the Harvest…

The Kingdom comes.

Nurturing these little ones (and teaching them) is just as important as teaching all the other little ones in our community.

Nurturing these little ones (and teaching them) is just as important as teaching all the other little ones in our community.

And when this pastor husband, actually takes Sabbath on a weekly basis, just like God commanded to, and doesn’t think he’s so important as to have to work seven days a week (even though the to-do list runs a mile high)….

The Kingdom comes.

Training in jui-jitsu is now part of his Sabbath rhythm. Taking care of mind, soul, AND body.

Training in jui-jitsu is now part of his Sabbath rhythm. Taking care of mind, soul, AND body.

And the very fact that we are learning that success in God’s Kingdom is immeasurable, it’s not numerical, and is often what is least expected shows that…

the Kingdom comes..

right here within these human hearts.

 

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Sunday evening, May 8 from 5-8 pm, we will be having our first Celebrate Grove Park, community celebration. Please pray for this first monthly meeting to become a rich time of food, fellowship and worship for all the member of our community. Pray that the Lord would gather whoever needs to be there to be fed both physically and spiritually.

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