Well the days are long and the years are short. I can hardly believe that Fall is in full swing. Even though the change in temperature is only felt at around 5:30 AM, I am glad for the change in season. Each time a seasons changes, I am filled with hope and expectation.
And this change of season reminds me that we need to change. A couple weeks ago, I called everyones attention to a sermon Jerry William's preached a few weeks back on Life in the Kingdom. I think it is one of the most important messages we've had at our church in a while. I think it is important because it highlights where we are at, what God is giving us, and what we must do to protect what God is giving us. Much of it centers around changing our thought life. God wants to move us from a hyper-critical, judgmental mindset, to one that delights in showing mercy, honor and love to others.
Where we are
The city we live in (one that I love dearly) can tend to be very critical, judgmental and love to look good on the outside. In that environment, coupled with the fact that we are human, it is easy to be critical and judgmental towards others.
What God is giving us
He is giving us His kingdom! In fact, He delights in giving His kingdom to His kids (Luke 12:32). God's kingdom, roughly stated, is "where what God wants to happen, happens." And when we experience His kingdom (joy, peace, mercy, love) we can bring people into an experience of what God is actually like.
We must protect this house (sorry I just had too)!
Jerry exhorted us to take our thoughts captive in regards to one another and other churches. In layman's terms he more or less said to quit being critical of everyone and everything. And when we do that, we will start treating people like God treats us (free from condemnation, delighting to show mercy, giving love instead of criticism).
What I am asking you to do
As your spiritual shepherd (this is my job description in 1 Peter 5:2), I am asking you to do two things - Listen to the sermon again! You can fast-forward through the part about me and Joshua talking about the building. And then go and buy Bait of Satan by John Bevere. The elders and staff have all read it and are trying to practice it. The basic premise is to forgive people like God in Christ forgave us. So! The church will buy the book for you in you don't have the cash to do so. Let Rachel Clarke know if you need the book.
I believe if we start protecting our minds from judgment and criticisms and start forgiving one another from our hearts, we are going to experience more and more of God than we have before.