The following thoughts come from my friend, Tim King:
No Fear or Much Fear??
Much of the impetus in Bible prophecy today is a by-product of what we would see as ‘old-style’ religion. What we mean by this is that instead of telling the story of an infinite love (God) who casts out all fear, religion has become preoccupied with ‘controlling’ its constituents through fear and obsessed with living by the standard of an old law that taught, “do this and live… fail to do this and die.” Where is the good news in that?!
Ask yourself, has your experience with conventional religion delivered you from fear and the pressure of ‘doing it all correctly’ or has it placed you in a situation where you sense a constant pressure to ‘get it right’? Most of us would say, “Yes, the latter.” This is a great problem because we all know that, try as we may, we simply cannot get it right. (We’re thinking that God knew that all along!)
Two things strike us about the way this grand story of deliverance is being told today. One, the church has become so institutionalized that it’s main concern is self-perpetuation and Two, it is teaching that WE are all caught up in some sort of end-time scheme that is playing itself out in our lifetime as if what we see on the pages of scripture was written directly to us – versus, for instance, the seven churches of Asia some two-thousand years ago (see the Book of Revelation, for as best as I can tell, these churches no longer exist today!).
A Movement of Kingdom Seekers
Throughout history it has not been the church in its official role that has most changed or impacted the world, rather, it has been kingdom citizens – sometimes individually and sometimes collectively in smaller groups or movements. But it has not been “the church” corporately, for what we recognize as the church today has largely become a sectarian model of how to divide and ‘not’ conquer. In short, too often the church has become the delivery system of fear versus the place where all such fears may be laid to rest. Try as we may, it just seems that something is missing.
While our institutional churches are hammering away at us to be more obligated to them, more dutiful in our commitment and more loyal in our allegiance, something deep inside of us is resonating for more love, encouragement, forgiveness and mutual sharing – not to mention acceptance. These are things that institutions find hard, if not impossible, to deliver – however, these common graces are the sum and substance of what communities are in step with the heart of God are all about… and that is our aim through the Presence conversation.
More Reflective of Victory?
God is calling forth kingdom citizens today. It is a call for each of us to leave his or her religious baggage at the door and embrace that the victory is won – God has given us a new way to live, one that relieves us of the burden of controlling life and inspires us to rest and trust in him versus ourselves.
Contrary to much religious teaching today, this old world did not just come to an end overnight, at the cross. Clear at the end of our New Testaments we see that this world was still in the ‘process’ of fading away (Hebrews 8:13). This means that something else was in the ‘process’ of coming into its fullness. We see this as the
Hope of righteousness (Galatians 5:5), the full Presence of God – the time when all enemies were defeated in a kingdom not dominated by this world, this dimension. It is a kingdom that has come in its fullness and of which we are now a part if only we are willing to search and to see.
Actually, it is not unlike our Bible ancestors so long ago who climbed the mountain and looked into the Promised Land – God called it a land flowing with milk and honey.
Sadly, the majority report was focused upon the “giants in the land” and once again fear and self-reliance got in the way of the people of God entering their rest.
We have the same choice today – do we see, believe and rest in the living Presence of God as Scripture reveals it – or do we focus on the giants in the land so prominent before a preoccupied self? Do we have a diluted cross and savior or one that reigned through the cross event and victoriously reversed the blow dealt to humanity through the garden sin of Adam? We believe it is the latter. Through Christ we have been reconciled to God.