Wednesday, May 22, 2013

one foot in the Kingdom, one foot out

In April, Brian and I had the incredible opportunity to spend two weeks in Israel tracing the life and ministry of Jesus (to read more about why we went, click here). On a tour organized by GYI, we visited places in the order of Jesus' life and ministry starting in Bethlehem and ending with a walk through Jerusalem detailing passion week. I cannot fully explain the way that this trip put everything together for me.

As a result of the trip, I'm reading The NIV Harmony of the Gospels. Simply stated it's a scholarly attempt to put the gospels in chronological order. I highly recommend it. Although I've read the gospels in their entirety several times, this is different, and set against having just been to many of the locations, including Galilee, I am visualizing and processing the teaching of Jesus in new ways.

These photos were taken by Syava, a JV national missionary from Ukraine, who was with us on this trip. (We really like him!) This is the likely location of the Sermon on the Mount in the region of Galilee.

Add to that, at our recent Josiah Venture spring conference, Dave Patty's teaching was centered around the Sermon on the Mount. He entitled his teaching--Upside Down Kingdom. And, where did I find myself in the Harmony this week--Sermon on the Mount.

Here's what I'm learning. I often live with one foot in the Kingdom and one foot out. One of the things Dave emphasized last week was that the Kingdom is here and now. In order to fully live the way Jesus describes, we have to actually turn, step into the Kingdom (often change the way we think), and then step out and enter into the world that we live in. This gives us the power and truth to do the work of the Lord.

I love the Kingdom of God. I love Jesus, but I hate dying to myself. And, one of the places it stings the most is living so far away from home. I'm not sure a blog is a good place to share that because many of you don't get to see how much I love living here and truly how at home I am here in Czech. The truth is though, I often find myself thinking--I deserve . . . .

Following Jesus and living according to the secrets of the Kingdom is different from many of things that I think I deserve. It often goes counterintuitive to what I might naturally think. At the same time, it's not a "just survive this life" kind of way either. It is an eternal perspective way of thinking though. Sometimes, I honestly believe, if I just put in my time as a missionary, then I'll get to . . . . There are so many things about that way of thinking that are wrong. For one thing, missionary work is not some higher calling.

God is asking me to obey Him and to follow Jesus with my whole heart--with both feet in the Kingdom. You can pray for me as I stumble along!