Saturday, November 10, 2018

An Ongoing Invitation

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 AMP)
Jesus is good at inviting people to live as he did, but the Church does not yet excel at this practice. Our most noticeable attempt and success at invitation is expressed through some of our efforts in evangelism.  We've learned how to throw out the welcome mat and establish a short-lived atmosphere of invitation. Then quickly afterwards, we change our tone and bring others into our world of obligation.

Somewhere along the line, we lost the concept that we were not only invited to see and enter the kingdom, we’ve been invited to run the race all the way to the finish line, and that we should invite others along with us. As Jesus tells us, this race carries a light burden because he is the one carrying us. But he can only carry us as far as we ask him to. If we stop and camp out too long, the burdens pile back up.
“Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8 AMP)
When we turn the smile of invitation upside-down, it becomes the frown of obligation. Still, many of us have learned how to force a smile while trudging through a life that we feel obliged to live. Even worse, we've learned to don an undeserved smile, thinking we’ve somehow achieved something without God. All these examples represent lives lived below what's been provided for us. 

So how do we transition ourselves from a life of obligation towards a life that draws us forward? Jesus already gave us the answer. He invited us to come, and to continue to both ask and to seek, with the promise that we will find. He calls us forward, beyond the obligations he already fulfilled, so that we can find the open door to more. “More” is what he died for, and more is what he provides so that heaven can show up here on earth—you know, like that prayer we all know (MT 6:9-13). 

Once we ourselves become established, we're able to cultivate a transformed environment so that others can move forward. Those who have yet to pass beyond the mire of obligation will always question why they're “doing all the right things,” yet aren’t living the abundant life that Jesus promised. Fortunately, there is more!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Invitation > Exchange > Transformation…Rinse and Repeat!


The Gospel is an invitation. It is a royal proclamation of what God accomplished for the world. Within that proclamation is an invitation to believe this Good News. Until we accept that invitation, we can’t even see the Kingdom. 


After accepting that invitation, our citizenship papers are rewritten. We now have legal rights and a view to see that citizenship fulfilled (John 3:3). We have not undergone an upgrade, but our eyes become open to an exchange—his life for ours, making us a new creation.


Transformation is the ongoing process of entering the Kingdom (John 3:5). The same faith and the same power that allowed us to recognize and accept the invitation for the exchange, enables us to be transformed. The more mature we become in the Kingdom, more becomes accessible to us.

Transformation happens within the midst of life’s circumstances and life's circumstances make way for the process to continue, over and over again—producing an overflow that invites others into the process.

The Process

Life isn't always quite that simple. In fact, sometimes these processes overlap in such a way that it's difficult to discern one from the other. What's important is that we continue to accept each invitation, recognize each exchange, and allow the life it produces to change us and the world around us. 

His life in us is the hope of glory (Col 1:27). Glory is when the atmosphere around him affects the atmosphere around us.