This Beautiful Mess – Chapter Five

December 15, 2007

books / spirituality

Chapter five of This Beautiful Mess gets me right here:

When Jesus talked about building the kingdom, He never talked about us building it or advancing it. Never. He said, “The kingdom is…” He simply invited His followers to see it, embrace it, believe in the unfading reality of it – and join in what His Father was already doing in the world.

I’ve said here before that I’m a Pentecostal. Sort of. I met Jesus in a Pentecostal church, and I attended a Pentecostal college to earn a degree in Pentecostal ministry. I have a theology that is profoundly influenced by Pentecostal theology and experience. And that’s a great thing.

Pentecostals often talk about building the kingdom. Evangelizing the earth. And so on. It’s rare to hear Pentecostals talk about seeing the kingdom, embracing it, and joining in what Jesus is already doing. That phrase, join in what Jesus is doing, has gripped me for several years. I have been fortunate to know Pentecostals (and non-Pentecostals) who get what that means. I’ve talked about it. Thought about it. Prayed about it.

And that’s become my passion for life. To know what Jesus is doing, and join it. I remember reading in one of Brian McLaren‘s books or articles that he was told by a mentor to always seek the forefront of what God is doing and just get involved with it. I resonate with this. It’s a difficult thing to seek, but it’s a worthy thing to seek.

It’s difficult to throw off the desire to keep doing things, and building things, and achieving things, and think about being things. And that’s what this chapter is talking about. It takes the focus off of me. It puts the focus on Jesus.

The chapter has me again when it says:

Choosing to live in the kingdom dimension creates some major shifts in our thinking. One of those is the shift from advancing to embracing.

Here, Rick McKinley is talking about that desire to move “to the next level.” I have prayed that prayer so many times. There’s a constant desire to reach a new level of whatever it is that we’re trying to achieve. Here, though, he’s talking about living in a new dimension.

The dimension of the kingdom, where Jesus has already placed us. There is something significant in that thought. If we live in that dimension, we don’t need to be constantly comparing ourselves and trying to achieve the next big thing.