Thursday, June 30, 2011

Only in the Kingdom

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14

Greetings from Estes Park! I'm here with Tony Gapastione and Rod Toews at the Evangelical Covenant Annual Meeting. Tonight, Tony is being ordained as part of our denomination. To see this happen live, click here. It will be broadcast TONIGHT (Thursday, June 30) at 6:00pm PDT.

  • Last Sunday will be forever etched in my mind. It was a dream come true in many ways. In each of the worship gatherings Heaven came down, we experienced a glimpse of the Kingdom of God, and the great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) were roaring. Baptisms will do that, and nine baptisms...well, it is just over the top! I say with jaw dropped and simply thought, "Only in the Kingdom, God!"

    • Only in the Kingdom does a young girl testify that she wants to let the world know that she loves Jesus, and in all her innocence and purity, adults are both encouraged and convicted by her faith.

    • Only in the Kingdom is a 30-something, immigrant, un-churched woman led to Christ. She discovered the true liberty her foreign religious upbringing never allowed and is growing in Christ. In her beautifully shy way, when asked what difference Jesus is making in her life, she summed it all up with one word: "Freedom."

    • Only in the Kingdom is a 30-something de-churched mother led to Christ from considerable chaos and declares iwth such clarity that through the power of Jesus she is living into a purpose and new life that she once thought unimaginable.

    • Only in the Kingdom is an un-churched 20-something, who as the old song goes, was looking for love in all the wrong places. She finds true love and security in Jesus and steps out of a confusing sexualized lifestyle into a new family and new identity. As she emerges from the water, her arms lifted up in triumph that said it all, "Victory!"

    • Only in the Kingdom is a late 30-something father of two, who because of some poor decisions made, eroded God's design for his life and family. But then God's grace touched him and, long story short, God brought beauty from ashes. Picture a wet man in a baptismal tank, having just cried, talking about the power and grace of God, his wife and two small kids joining in a circle of prayer around him. Priceless!

    • Only in the Kingdom is there a father, hugging his wet teenage daughter, who had just professed faith in Christ and been baptized. Before he prayed over her he testified that six years ago, because of some poor choices, he walked out on his daughter and their relationship was severed. Now they are both born anew in Christ, reconciled, and the love he has for her is beyond words.

    • Only in the Kingdom are people coming to the baptismal tank during the close of the worship gatherings, placing their hands in the water to renew their baptimal vows and telling Jesus, "I would do it all over again if I could, and I give you my life anew."

    When Paul talked about a kingdom-transfer where there is redemption and forgiveness of sins, don't take that for granted, Church. Don't ever underestimate the power of the Gospel! As we learned last week in Colossians 1:6, "all over the world this Gospel is bearing fruit and growing." What a privilege to witness this in our community! Talk about Renewal!

    We continue in our Renewal theme this Sunday, exploring Colossians 1:9-14.

    Remember, this Sunday is our PCC Block Party! We meet for one gathering at 10:30am, and then the party continues. Come ready to mingle with guests from our Community Center, School Age Child Care, Preschool and surrounding neighbors who will be with us. Let's allow God to create God-sized stories through us all this weekend.

    I love being your pastor.