Born from above

Some things require a change in your perspective for them to make sense. Take this sketch: do you see a duck or a rabbit?

Is it a duck or a rabbit?

I’m not sure which one you saw first–if you’re like me, you saw the duck, and you couldn’t see the rabbit until you turned your head left and imagined the duck’s beak as the ears. In reality, they’re both there, but unless you change your perspective, you’d probably only be able to see one.

The Kingdom of God is a bit like this optical illusion. Take some of these statements by Jesus and his apostles:

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:11

“But... Read more

A reason to sing in a time of fear

The last time I sang in public was two Sundays ago. It wasn’t really something I could contain; it burst from inside of me. You see, I had just said “hello” to a stranger walking past me. I realize this sounds a little strange. To explain what was happening in that moment, I have to explain what I realized in that moment, and how that realization changed the way I interact with the world.

The story starts, as everything does these days, with COVID-19. Like everyone else, my own life has been altered by the steps that our society is taking to attempt to flatten the curve. But at least for me, the changes to the rhythm of my life have been less jarring than the sense of fear that seems to permeate our society. Of course, fear is not an unreasonable feeling right now. Our cities have become empty,... Read more

Announcing "The Kingdom Breaks In"

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... Read more

Imitating Jesus' suffering

In a previous post, I introduced the question “How should we imitate Jesus”?. There are several ways we’re called to do so, but we’re going to start by looking at how we’re called to imitating Jesus in suffering. As Jesus-like qualities go, this is a pretty intense one, and one that isn’t going to make much, if any, sense unless you’re coming at it from the right perspective. If you haven’t yet, I’d recommend you take a look at my post entitled “aliens for Jesus”. In that post, I discuss the key concept of citizenship that permeates who Jesus is and what he taught.

Jesus: treated horribly, loving consistently

Let’s start our discussion with the key passage that answers our initial question: “How should we imitate Jesus?” Peter spends a lot of time talking about suffering in his first letter, but let’s jump to... Read more

Jesus' demolition project

The Bible is full of one-liners. These little sentences can be pithy, profound, or just sum up what was said in the preceding paragraphs. They can also be extremely easy to remove from their surrounding context. It’s easy to do this because they’re so good on their own! But there are two challenges with this approach. The first is that, removed from their context, it can be easy to twist or misunderstand the meaning of the one-liner itself. [This is the point in the blog post where I could go on a long tirade about false teachers, the importance of studying the Word of God on your own, etc. etc. But that’s not what we’re going to do today.]

The second challenge in removing our favorite Biblical one-liners from their context is more subtle. One sentence can say a lot–but on its own, it can only say so much. Quite... Read more