Monday, September 22, 2008

Sept. 21 Sermon: Kingdom Vision

Sermon Text: Matthew 13: 32-33

Sermon Notes:
Acts 2: 1-12
Matthew 13: 31-32

Seed growing into a tree.

Orders meeting: last place you’d expect to be inspired for a sermon:
Kingdom vision: planting a seed with the vision that great things will come of it. In the Lord’s prayer, we say “as Earth as it is in heaven.”

We’re cognizant of the full grown tree in heaven, in fact it is what John saw in his vision recorded in Revelation…read text Rev. 21?

But, we’re not living with our bags packed. Jesus doesn’t ask us to shut out this world, he wants us to live with garden gloves on. We should live bearing the fruit of that tree.

Christ makes it clear that this life is what religion is about—give us this day our daily bread. Help us forgive—why because forgiveness makes the life you are living better and bigger and deeper.

We bear the fruit of that tree pictured for us in heaven, and the first followers of “the Way,” mentioned in acts. They understood that community embodies God, and that’s why they made the commitment to a radical life of community.

We live with the hope and the knowledge that the kingdom that is present in our midst, even if it is as subtle as a mustard seed, it is as potent—that seed, that hope, contains God’s designs for the world.

I would encourage us to think of ourselves as seed-nourishers, as gardeners, but the truth about mustard seed is that it grows whether the farmer wants it there or not. Mustard plant spreads and flourishes, sometimes despite the best efforts of the farmer, that’s why while we work for it, we also wait for it.

The Kingdom is coming—it is assuredly coming—sometimes the point of faith is re-orienting ourselves to the perspective that we “want” it to come.

We need kingdom vision and bird-hearts. We need to think of ourselves as beings who will find the Kingdom to be shelter and home. This may sound easy—after all who doesn’t like the idea of the sweet Buhlah land that we sang last week.

The Kingdom isn’t lollipop land. The kingdom involves us putting away much that we have grown comfortable with. We are “transformed by faith divine, we gain that perfect love unknown, bright in all thy image shine, by putting on the Son.” As Charles Wesley said in one of his poems—(which was part of our readings this week.)

Part of this transformation involves putting away distrust and self-centeredness. As I read to this couple I married yesterday, Paul says Love always trusts, it always hopes, it always perserveres.

Video, Nat’l geo photographer, story about him reading “random acts of kindness” and then wanting to pay the toll for someone on the golden gate bridge. Finally decided to do it, turned out that a shiny black porshe. Toll booth operator, you don’t know that person, do you? Made her day, porshed zoomed by, and the guy pumps his fist in the air, “woo-hoo.” Deciding to take a chance on hope and trust are the best “bets” we can make. This is living with Kingdom eyes. This is treating a stranger as if he were a brother. It’s living “as if” what we believe is true.

Living “as if.” Integral part of falling in love with what you are doing. At the “vision planning Sunday in a couple weeks, we’ll invest this same sense of hope and trust in the life of this congregation of believers. We are bearing the fruit of this community through accountability. It’s just an idea if we don’t have accountability. We must behave “as if” this church is going to help bring the kingdom into this community.

Story about the two chiseling marble in Italy. “chipping stone” o “building a cathedral.”
That is living with kingdom vision. You treat the seed as though it were the mustard tree. You treat strangers as if they were brothers. You live life with hope and trust.

Pray that God gives you the vision to see things as they are in God’s eyes. Pray for “Thy kingdom come, and thy will be done—on earth as it is in heaven.”

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