Announcing "The Kingdom Breaks In"31 Dec 2019
It’s my great pleasure to announce an actual name to this thing that I’ve been doing for the past four months. More than that, though, I’d like to explain why this blog exists: why I’m writing it and what I hope you can gain from it.
I’m curious what you think of when you first hear the phrase “The Kingdom Breaks In.” Maybe you imagine an army crossing over the border into enemy territory. Maybe you think of a guy with a crown crawling through a window to steal some jewelry. Or maybe nothing much comes to mind at all.
The first image that comes to my mind is a door to a dark room that suddenly bursts open and reveals brilliant sunlight. The sunlight is almost blinding to look at. It touches every corner and crevice of the room, exposing all of the room’s contents and even changing them by its illumination.
In the culture that I’m in, “the kingdom” is a term synonymous with “the church.” By “the church,” we mean primarily the members in the church–disciples. But that phrase “the church” also carries with it a whole set of behaviors and rituals performed both collectively and individually that serve to define what it means to be a part of the whole. We hint at these behaviors/rituals when we say things like “Only in the kingdom [would something like that happen]” or “In the kingdom, we ____.”
Why does this matter? Well, beyond the fact that the kingdom of heaven isn’t just the church, it can be easy for church membership to come to mean something less than what Jesus meant when he said: “anyone who does not give up everything they have cannot be my disciple.” Put another way, it can be easy to diminish the standards and the scope of what it means to be a member of Jesus’ kingdom. By standards, I mean the height of the expectations we hold ourselves to in a particular area of our lives. By scope, I mean the specific areas of our lives that are affected by our membership in the kingdom.
Here’s another image of the phrase “the kingdom breaks in.” It’s like in the often-repeated story where the protagonist meets a mysterious figure who possesses knowledge about a world the protagonist knows nothing of. As they learn more, they begin to see the world with new eyes until they realize that the life they once knew is forever replaced by a new reality.
I’m writing this blog because I think Jesus was a bit like that mysterious figure, and that the kingdom of God was his paradigm-changing message. When he first came, he started preaching “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 4:17). It wasn’t a side gig: he said that “I must go and proclaim the good news of the kingdom to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent” (Luke 4:43). He dedicated most of his time teaching to explaining what the kingdom is and what it means to be a member of it. And when his enemies killed him, it was as a would-be king (John 18:36, Matt 27:37). Jesus came to proclaim his kingdom–and a wild thing it is, for its standards are otherworldly and its scope is every corner and crevice of our lives.
I’m writing this blog because this message is burning within me: being a member of Jesus’ kingdom is far, far, more than dutiful church attendance, being kind to your coworkers, and forgiving the guy who cut you off. It is even more than sharing your faith with a thousand people and baptizing them so they can go to heaven when they die. Being a member of Jesus’ kingdom means to live like you’re a citizen of heaven, right now. It means embracing an eternal, heavenly perspective in everything you do. It means accepting a standard for every area of your life that will demolish the status quo.
When you read this blog, I want you to learn, be equipped, and be inspired.
First, I want you to learn about what the kingdom of God is and what it means to be a member of it. Sometimes we’ll look at a specific topic, like how we’re called to respond to suffering and persecution, and others a particular mindset, like what our attitude to sin should be. Either way, we’ll dive into scripture and see what it says–connecting themes across chapters and books and trying to understand what these radical words have to do with our actual lives.
Second, I want you to be equipped to handle the word of God correctly and not let any old Joe Preacher lead you astray. Jesus and the apostles warned us that there’d be people who would seem good but who wouldn’t preach the truth. It’s not a scare tactic: it’s a reality. The only way you’re going to be able to tell the truth from the lies is if you know the Bible for yourself. Beyond just providing information, I’m going to try to share principles, tools, and techniques that have helped me on my own journey.
Finally, I want you to be inspired. The life that Jesus calls us to is hard, but it’s full of deep meaning and hope. By bringing us into his kingdom, Jesus is actively restoring us and molding us into his image. And he is using us to be his voice of restoration and redemption to the whole world. The gospel is cheapened (and misrepresented) when it becomes a “get out of jail free” card. We’ll be actively exploring how what Jesus preaches is so much more than that.
I’m excited to be on this journey with you. While I don’t have a comments section on this blog, I do want to hear from you. Let me know your thoughts or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time!