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continuing the conversation – the value of the kingdom

September 28, 2008

Today was one of the hardest sermons I’ve ever preached.   Jesus parable(s) about the treasure and the pearl look us in the eye, pull our face in close and demand, “Quit trying to live for both kingdoms – God’s and yours – because if you truly understood what God’s kingdom was you’d gladly leave everything you own for one hint more of God’s.”  This is the kind of thing Jesus got killed for preaching.  

God’s Kingdom is a place here and now where…

– No one ever sheds a tear without a shoulder to shed it on.

– Nobody has to worry about making it to the end of the month because we’d all gladly sell our stuff to help you make it.

– You never have to act like you have it all together because everyone breathes grace.

– The presence of God in our midst is overwhelming to the point of… not even knowing how to describe it here.

– Jesus being made famous is everyone’s greatest joy so we sing and talk and paint and write about our Hero all the time.

Now, I think about all these things and for some inane reason I still find myself clinging like an addict to worthless things that keep me from experiencing the fullness of this Kingdom.  It truly drives me crazy.

What do you think it is that keeps us from being willing to give everything to gain this Kingdom?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Sir TW permalink
    September 29, 2008 8:16 am


    I’m sitting here listening to Rich Mullins (I’ve just this last week come to the point where I can listen to him again) – between the words God spoke through him and the words he is speaking through you – thank you Josh. Call me later on if you have time.

  2. Cindy permalink
    September 29, 2008 3:42 pm

    Thanks, Josh for reminding us the better Kingdom is in God’s presence

    Living in God’s presence through our daily walk – I know this is often a challenge as we have to be in this world (work, school, family situations, play, etc.) but I have also found that everyday I ask God to keep reminding me to do His will, keep reminding me to look to Him through all situations; He never lets me down. When times seem impossible to deal with, He steps in even stronger and lets me know how very close He really is. We have to know that any distractions Satan throws our way is meant to keep us from showing God’s love to those around us and to steal our joy, so we gotta stay focused on the TRUTH/GOD – and never be satisfied being “a little bit” spiritually minded. God wants us to have it all – all of Him, that is – He is all we need!!!
    I love you, BRIDGE FAMILY

  3. howertonjosh permalink
    September 29, 2008 5:32 pm

    We love you too, Cindy! Thanks for your wise comments.

  4. Mary Bea permalink
    September 29, 2008 10:28 pm

    I’m sorry I missed this yesterday, (but hey! I got to play with Play-Do!)

    I think two things stop us…I say us…maybe just me….a lack of the feeling the freedom to be a little radical NO matter what people might say or think–…and the other reason might be that we are too attached to what we already have…we are already so blessed we find it hard to imagine there is something beyond that…we get satisfied with the goodness we have experienced already and quit reaching for more…

  5. Cindy permalink
    September 29, 2008 11:40 pm

    Wow, Mary Bea! I never thought of it that way before. I think that is so true.

  6. September 30, 2008 2:27 pm

    I like what Mary Bea said. It reminds me of a Steven Curtis Chapman song that describes what we do as “playing Gameboy standing in the middle of the Grand Canyon” or “eating candy sittin’ at a gourmet feast”

    Wish I could’ve been there Sunday.

    What keeps me from giving everything up for the Kingdom? Lack of faith in His Power to be all that I need all of the time, and foolish self-worship in my own ability to “handle” things. If we really had faith in His Power to be allsufficient, then we would give it all up. I think we all try to trust ourselves and our own ability to “handle” difficult circumstances instead of giving in, letting go, and trusting that He can do ALL things and that His ways are greater than our own, that His ways are THE Best.

  7. howertonjosh permalink
    September 30, 2008 6:22 pm

    We missed the Wandells on Sunday, Andrea! Looking forward to an evening together soon.

  8. Becky permalink
    September 30, 2008 10:12 pm

    Wish I could have been in service this week ~ but I had fun with the kiddos in my class! The question at hand reminds me of when we were trying to make the decision for Jimmy to go to seminary. No matter how many times we went over the numbers in our heads in MANY different scenarios we just couldn’t work it out. We always came to the same conclusion: we can’t do this. Well, we were right! Through the many scriptures the kids and I were reading during school and the many stories we also read of people giving everything, and I do mean everything, to live the life the Lord wanted them to I began to become very convicted that we were trusting in the wrong people. We were trying to work it all out instead of handing it over to the Lord. Hard to give up all control when it involves feeding and clothing your kids. Sad how many different scriptures and true stories/autobiographies it took to open my eyes. But then in hindsight it is just amazing! I was just thinking last night as I was loading groceries into my truck how often the Lord provides exactly what we need when we need it…like food when we have just so much money left before the next paycheck. And that is with me half-heartedly praying for His provision. Man, what in the world would He do if I truly prayed and asked and trusted and believed…?

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