Out of my mind…Happy New Year to each of you! I am so excited about the coming year—trusting that God is going to guide us and empower us in new ways as we seek Jesus’ kingdom!
In this new year, our brand new boards for NWYM will really be kicking off their first-ever ministry plans. New people are being added to the NWYM staff as we work to expand and deepen our ministry to local churches and beyond. I have hope that there will be signs of new fruit from this ministry we have been called into together—new people finding Christ and welcomed into our local church communities, new churches being planted, new ways in which we are all increasingly transformed into Jesus’ likeness, new ground broken because our peacemaking, justice work, and compassion ministries are touching lives and needs in our world.
All of this talk of “newness,” however, is not a result of recent innovation. Rather, I think it springs from our renewed emphasis on a very old priority—the kingdom of God. Over the past few years and around the Yearly Meeting, I’ve heard many of you begin to re-emphasis the importance of being people who seek God’s kingdom in all that you do. We are to be the people who live willingly and joyfully under the reign and rule of Christ in our personal lives, in the life we share in Christian community and in our approach to the world. Jesus, we declare with boldness and humility, is Lord over all creation. Right now! He reigns…even though not every knee will yet bow. He reigns…even though human “rulers” presume to act as if they have power. He reigns…and so those of us who recognize his rule may live freely and joyfully as people who know their citizenship is in heaven.
I am mindful today that our work is to seek the kingdom rather than build it. It seems to me that when Christians try to take on the task of establishing or making something that is only done by God…trouble ensues. When we try to “build” the kingdom, we often wind up tying it to the values of a particular political party. At times we have justified violence or coercion as a way to hasten our efforts. Efforts to build the kingdom seemed to be doomed from the start because they generally are much more about us and doing things our way than about Christ.
But when we seek His kingdom…then our focus is on Him…and what He is at work doing in all of creation. In this way, our task gets simplified—to know and obey him and to join whatever he is doing.
So how are you seeking the kingdom in your life? In the life of your family? At work? Through the worship, fellowship and service that goes on in your local church? Is seeking the Kingdom of God the consuming passion of your life as you face into the coming year?
Pray with me, please, that God will bring forth His kingdom through us in the coming year!
p.s…Our theme for the 2008 NWYM sessions will be “Bring Forth the Kingdom.” Tony Campolo will be joining us that week as our main speaker. Makes plans to there—July 20-24 at George Fox University.
Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church is a covenantal community of evangelical Friends churches that make Jesus Christ known by
- Teaching and obeying the whole gospel as revealed by the Holy Spirit and recorded in Scripture
- Loving and mutually supporting each other; and
- Equipping and releasing people to continue His mission in the world