Thy Kingdom Come

God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us his Holy Spirit, so that by his grace we believe his holy Word and live a godly life on earth now and in heaven forever.
[Martin Luther’s Small Catechism]

Jesus said, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near
[Matthew 3:2 and 4:17]

Reflecting on God’s kingdom is one that gives me great peace. When Pilate questioned Jesus, our Lord said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Which means nothing of this world can touch those who are within. And to be within is a gift of God through His Holy Spirit.

God’s kingdom is not a place,
With walls and buildings to embrace.
His kingdom is not a base,
That exists out there just someplace.

His kingdom is Jesus our Lord.
His kingdom is not of this world.
His kingdom exists without end.
His kingdom is our great reward.

God’s kingdom is here.
God’s kingdom is coming.
God’s kingdom is present.
God’s kingdom won’t disappear.

So,

Repent! The kingdom is near.
Hear this and turn from your sin.
Jesus the Lord died for you.
That in death you may never fear.

Building the Kingdom

If you look carefully at this picture of rocks, you will notice some unnatural formations. They are pillars of rocks that people have artistically created. I saw these recently and wanted to capture the moment so I could admire these man/woman made structures. Why, because the next time I come through, I doubt they will be there.

Mark 13:1–2 (ESV) ~ And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

The fact of the matter is this — those small stone pillars will not last. Someone or something WILL knock them down. They may last for a while, but eventually they will come down. The same with any man-made kingdom of this world. No matter how beautiful, strong, respected, adorned or solid, it will not last. Only that which is built by God will last, and last forever it will.

Church buildings are only that, buildings — they are not the Church. The Church is built by God through faith in Jesus Christ and held together, not by mortar, but by the Holy Spirit. When we begin to worship and admire and build buildings, over and above God, then we are doomed to be thrown down with the rest of the stones.

So…

Whose kingdom is getting your attention: your kingdom or His Kingdom?
What kingdom are you fixated on building: your kingdom or His Kingdom?
In what kingdom do you want to reside: your kingdom or His Kingdom?

To God be the glory through Christ Jesus our Lord!

In Your Kingdom

Holy God,

In this world,we are divided into political parties;
but in Your kingdom, we are one family.

In this world, we fight for political supremacy;
but in Your kingdom, You sit on the throne.

In this world, discourse is often hate-filled and divisive;
but in Your kingdom, we shout, “Holy, Holy, Holy“.

In this world, pride drives our lives;
but in Your kingdom, we are humbled under Your mighty hand.

It is no wonder, oh God, that this country is going from bad to worse.
More than ever, we need Your intervention,
and therefore I ask for wisdom and discernment for our elected leaders.
May they come together for a common cause.
May their discourse serve to unite people.
May they govern rightly.

In this world, leaders come and go;
but in Your kingdom, You reign forever and ever.

To YOU be the glory,
oh God,
always and forever,

Amen!

The Pastor -|—

Yours

Holy God,
Yours is the glory and honor and praise.
Yours is the Kingdom forever more.
You said a word and creation sprang forth.
You breathed breath and life sprang up.
And therefore, oh God, I ascribe all worship onto You,
oh sovereign King and Lord.

And so it is with great joy that I appeal to You this day.
It is with great joy that I fall into Your hands.
It is with great joy that I hope in You.
Bless my words and deeds
that everything about me points to You.
May I not seek advise from men but rather call out to You.
May I not worry and fret but rather find peace in You.
May Your Kingdom come.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Your Kingdom Come ~ A Prayer

Creator God,
to pray, “thy kingdom come” is to pray for our death;
the death of our old self
but New Life through Jesus.

May this kingdom come onto us as we hear Your most holy Word proclaimed.

But we also ask that we may feel a sense of urgency
to be agents of your kingdom message
and to be Your holy ambassadors in this world.
May we not take up residence here
but rather may we have a restlessness in our souls
that yearns to be home with You,
but not until we have accomplished that task You have for us.

And therefore…

…may we have holy eyes to see the outcast and forgotten.
May we have holy ears to hear Your children crying out.
May we have holy hands to serve one another.
May we have holy feet to go where you direct.

Oh God, mighty Father,
hear our prayer and send us Your kingdom.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Sunday Worship Prayers ~ God’s Kingdom

The preaching text for Sunday is Mark 10:17-31; the rich young man asking Jesus about what he needs to do to inherit eternal life. So the prayers today are Kingdom focused. Use them as you see fit that God may be glorified.

Opening prayer
It is our joy to enter this place of worship this morning. It is our joy to come into this place with our brothers and sisters in Christ to praise Your holy name. It is our joy to come into Your presence to worship You. And as we enter this time of worship, dismantle the walls of our kingdoms, that we have built, and grant us the faith to embrace Your Kingdom, oh God, through Christ Jesus our Lord. May we see Your beauty and flee from our filth. May we see Your holiness and flee from our sin. May we see Your power and flee from Satan. May we see Your love and flee from our selfishness. Holy Father, loving God, mighty King, establish us in Your Kingdom now, through the blood of Jesus, and cleanse us from all impurities. Receive our praise and hear our prayers as we joyfully assemble as Your beloved children. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Prayer before preaching
It’s Your Kingdom I desire, oh God. It’s Your salvation I seek.
It’s Your Kingdom I long for, oh God. It’s Your mercy I need.
It’s Your Kingdom I want, oh God. It’s Your love to which I cling.
And because it is all about Your Kingdom, I desire, seek and need Your Holy Spirit. I need the wisdom that only comes from You. I need Your strength through which I can truly be bold. I need Your Words through which faith and life are created. May Your will be done as I faithfully engage Your most holy Word. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

May God bless your day as you enjoy the hope of the resurrection; looking forward to eternity in God’s glorious Kingdom.

The Pastor -|—

The Call to Follow Jesus

[18] While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. [19] And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” [20] Immediately they left their nets and followed him. [Matthew 4:18-20 ESV]

The call to follow Jesus is one where you relinquish control of your life and trust the One whom you follow; namely Jesus. It’s not a life where you call the shots. I was recently speaking with a group of young men when one asked me how long do pastor’s stay at churches. I responded, “That depends on God”. He smiled and agreed and that was the end of his inquiry. My guess is that he heard all he needed to know; basically, the call to follow Jesus is not one you get to control.

The call to follow Jesus is one of trust. You may not get the whole picture. Often times God operates on a need to know basis. The call may simply be to go to such and such a country or to such and such a town. God may not lay everything out in black and white but rather in a muddled, garbled mess; one that starts to make sense as you move along God’s path.

The call to follow Jesus is not necessarily one of worldly riches and comforts. And this is the one the gets a lot of people. I need to provide for my family. I have to pay the bills. So you may be hesitant to listen to God’s voice because you are afraid of what it might say (even though deep down inside you have been hearing it already).

The call to follow Jesus is one that may lead to friction in worldly relationships. Family may be upset that you are moving so far away or putting your family in a difficult financial situation or moving to an unsafe part of the world. Close friends may express sadness and maybe a little pressure to stay close. Some may call you crazy and think you have fallen off your rocker for “following Jesus”.

The call to follow Jesus is one of discipline and refining. God may bring a period of darkness in your life in order to draw you deeper in Him. God may be refining out impurities in your faith in order for you to minister in a new way. God may be convicting you of a sin that needs to be addressed in order for you to better glorify Him.

The call to follow Jesus is one of leaving peace of mind in order to bring peace to those in chaos.

The call to follow Jesus is one of Kingdom advancement; not yours, so therefore the hesitation for some.

The call to follow Jesus is one of great joy for those who place their complete faith and trust in God almighty through Christ Jesus our Lord. For when the Jesus follower does this it is because they know it’s not their knowledge or skills or wisdom or strength that will get them by. It’s God and if God is for you then who could possibly be against you?

The call to follow Jesus takes prayer, patience and persistence. Prayer in order to receive your true marching orders; patience to wait on God’s timing; and persistence to keep at it during periods of darkness and difficulties.

The call to follow Jesus is one of fishing for people so the nets of God’s kingdom are filled to overflowing and then some. Those first disciples had no clue what Jesus meant by “fishing for men” or how to go about doing it. They simply responded to the call to follow Jesus and trusted him. And you know something? They did it and the net continues to be filled.

The call to follow Jesus is a call to participate in God’s plan of redemption and God’s plan is NOT going to fail. So drop your nets and go. Follow Jesus wherever HE goes.

Holy Father, You have called me to follow You. You have called me to faith. You have called me to share the Gospel through Word and deed. You have called me to obey. Grant me the faith to listen and follow that you may continue to be glorified. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—