This past July, I was privileged once again to be the evening speaker for a special group at Renewed Heart Ministries. This is a group that meets under a large circus tent each summer for ten whole days to worship, learn and grow in what it means to follow Jesus.
The series I shared this summer I chose to title, “Putting Jesus Back into the Gospel.” Just a few of the topics covered are: The Gospel as Jesus defined it; the ethics of enemy love and forgiveness; Jesus and kingdom-of-this-world patriotism; Jesus’ teachings on nonviolent noncooperation as a means of changing the world; the nature of the New Testament ekklesia; concern for the poor in an age of accumulation; and more! (You also can find this series at https://renewedheartministries.com/AudioPresentationSeries.aspx?series=37.)
Each of these topics, when rightly understood, give our picture of God a healthy dose of what I like to think of as “Jesus steroids,” transforming our understanding of the Father into the image of Christ. (See John 14.9.) If we will allow them to, the ethics Jesus taught will change our impressions of God forever.
Remember, the picture we get of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is of an itinerate teacher traveling the countryside and inviting all to a radical new way of doing life here on earth that He called “the Kingdom.” This new way of doing life was rooted and grounded in a radically new way of seeing God, seeing ourselves, and seeing everyone else around us. It was revolutionary to those who caught it, and it still remains so to us today.
For all those who attended: Keep searching, digging, and even at times, struggling to keep Jesus at the center. It is so easy to allow other things than Jesus to define us, to give us meaning, to give us a sense of worth and security. Jesus asks for that place alone, though, in our lives. Stay centered in Him, and go enlarge the Kingdom.
And for all those who were praying for this event too, thank you so much. I received one powerful testimony after another of how Jesus and His Kingdom were changing people’s lives. One of the most memorable was from a Vietnam veteran who, though it was a genuine struggle, came to terms with the peace teachings of Jesus. In the end, my new friend saw Jesus was really showing us a better way, a force more powerful, and he was looking forward to experimenting and growing in his newly gained insights. Again, thank you. We could not do what we do at RHM without your support.
For Christ and His Kingdom!