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WHAT IS OCCUPY THE KINGDOM

 

   It is easy to become weary and frustrated, even fearful, when we see our society deteriorating around us. But when fear increases, faith decreases.  Jesus' most frequent command was to fear not. To prevent this, I think it is important to identity areas where we have some control and areas where we have no control

   Where we have no control, we need to relinquish it to the Lord through prayer as Paul instructs the Philippians in 4:6: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." After all, Jesus said in John 16:33 that we will have troubles but He's got our back: "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world."  God is sovereign.

   In those areas where we have some control, we need take the Holy Spirit with us and GO. Jesus' great commission was to GO ... and He will go with us, always and everywhere even to the ends of Harford County. And when we go as the one family of God, our witness is stronger (John 17:23) and we maintain the unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:2) that is at the very center of our Father's heart.  Indeed, GOD begins with GO!

   Community transformation comes on the two rails of prayer and service tied together by love. ServeFest and Global Day of Prayer are movements of the Spirit. It is what happens after each event that is as important as the day itself.

   Just a few recent local examples of the fruit from bringing the Holy Spirit on the rails of prayer and service with love tying them together.  
       1) From serving together at ServeFest, two churches, with different worship expressions, sharing building space, sometimes even worshiping together, always taking the Gospel as one. 
       2) A church gaining trust with area schools through for several years of ServeFest now being offered expanded opportunities. 
       3) A group in transitional housing gaining community acceptance by serving with them in neighborhood yardscaping. 
       4) A Baltimore City Police District dropping from second highest in crime statistics to last as prayer-walking and community service came from the churches.  We, the church, need to be laying down more track, rails of prayer and service tied together with love, from our worship places into our neighborhood.

   And it doesn’t have to wait to begin in your church organization!  What would happen if all the Christians in your neighborhood, from all denominations, came together to take responsibility for the Kingdom coming where you live?  What would happen if God’s family prayed together for the ground on which you lived?  What would happen if God’s love is expressed by all believers in the community through personal caring, sharing, and praying for your neighbors?  That’s not a new model. That’s the expression of the earliest church response to receiving the Good News – Acts 2:42-47.

   Perhaps the only way we are going to see real transformation in our communities is when we go in love, taking the Spirit through service and prayer, to be Jesus’ hands and heart in them.  We need to OCCUPY THE KINGDOM of heaven now.

Established in Love  * Enabled in Prayer  * Engaged in Service

Howard Magness


highertogether@comcast.net

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"We now no longer camp as for a night, but have settled down on earth and forgotten heaven.  We have adopted Christianity merely as an improved method of agriculture.  We have built for this world a family mansion, and for the next a family tomb." - Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American philosopher and author, in Walden (1854)

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