I love the fireworks of 4th of July celebrations. One of my favorite summers was when I ran a fireworks stand with some of my students (and my Jamaican brother in law). I like the thought of living in a nation of freedom, where I am free to think and speak as I wish. A nation of possibilities for everyone. It truly is a privilege to have been born and to live here in the United States. One that I appreciate deeply.
But I’m also a citizen of another nation. We don’t claim independence, but rather complete dependence on our King. The preferred way to get things done is not democracy, but rather allegiance to the will of the King. We have no elected representatives, but there is a man whom the King chose to mediate between Himself and His people. This Kingdom is where my primary alliance lies – it is the Kingdom of God.
I’m reminded lately, that these two kingdoms are not the same. The United States of America is not the Body of Christ. “Americans” are not His chosen people – those who choose to follow Him are. Throughout the history of humanity, God has sought to bless all nations, not just one. Even ancient Israel was shown favor in order to extend that favor to the rest of the world. And so, He has chosen people from every tribe and nation to carry His standard and establish the presence of His Kingdom.
There is an argument brewing in America about whether we are a “Christian nation”. Definitely, our nation’s founding had certain Christian principles at its core*. But just as definitely, we are not a nation full of Christians. The danger in claiming this Christian nation status, is that we fail to recognize the need to continue to establish the presence of the Kingdom of God here in America.
This is a great country, and I’m so thankful to live here. But we cannot afford to equate America with Jesus’ church. Enjoy your Independence Day celebrations, but don’t forget as great as this nation is, her citizens still need a savior.
Vince Antonucci is a church planter who recently moved from Virginia Beach to Vegas. (Yes, that Vegas.) He has a book coming out called Guerilla Lovers about surprising people with the love of God. Apparently, his wife got an advance copy…
She loaned their car to a total stranger!
This is the kind of love that will shock and awe a world that is looking for the real thing.
“What we might think of as a random outreach is anything but random when God is guiding it.” – Dino Rizzo
This quote from Servolution
is perfect for our upcoming coldwater
mission. We are going to draw a direction or maybe spin a compass or something to “randomly” choose a direction. Then we’ll pull a number out of a hat to “randomly” choose a distance. We’ll drive. We’ll pray. We’ll serve. We are going to have to trust God to guide us to the people and places that need us. And that is where the randomness is anything but random. God is already at work in each of the places we’ll go. Like a matching set of magnets, He is already working to draw together the capacity of our group and the needs of the people and communities we’ll visit.
There was pretty good feedback from the meeting last night and I’m really looking forward to the group taking shape. I want to make sure that God is putting this team together and praying that He will convince each person He wants to come. No coercion, no manipulation – just an invitation to join God in His mission to restore humanity to His Kingdom.
Student ministry always has had an air of flexibility for me. There’s always been an extent to which I’ve just had to roll with the tide and change plans quickly when needed. Honestly, that’s one of the most attractive aspects of youth ministry for me. But nothing I’ve ever done in youth ministry has ever felt or seemed as “random” as this. Nothing has had more potential to allow us to see beauty birthed from chaos so immediately and tangibly.
I hope you’ll join us in praying for coldwater – above all, that God is guiding and that we are following. May we see Him in whatever random chaos we jump into!