Sunday, July 26, 2009

Focused Petition and the Kingdom of God

by Scott Rieger

What if we enthusiastically wrestle and embrace the idea that God is very much at work in the world, is far more committed to it than we are (John 5:17), and is looking for people to partner with him in this work. We, individually and collectively, have ideas and dreams but lack the resources to move forward with many of them. The arena where God's work and our dreams collaborate is found in Jesus' invitation to the Kingdom of God.

Definition: Kingdom of God (KOG) = Not heaven but God's gracious, generous activity in the world. The two Bible verbs associated with KOG are 1. Receive & 2. Enter....into God's gracious action and activity. The idea of building or advancing the KOG is not a Bible idea.

Our strategy becomes a two-fold approach:

1. Receive - seek to be transformed into spirit-empowered apprentices. A rather crude analogy of this would be my experience as a "apprentice" to my dad in his business. One of the major reasons that I had any success at all in business is closely tied to partnering with my dad for 7 years...apart from this "discipleship" I would not have been able to do much of anything. "Apart from me you can do nothing." Jesus.

2. Enter - as individuals of a community that values wrestling, risk, adventure with God. What if we began to offer up our ideas and dreams to God for critique, wisdom, direction, resource, empowerment - looking for synergies (the working together of two things, muscles or drugs for example, to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects) between his work and our dreams. The story of Jacob wrestling with the "angel" at the river Jabbok and refusing to let go until he receives blessing comes to mind. These would be focused, specific and measurable. To me the challenge here is to "cross" the river by wrestling with God.

Preparation for the Life to Come - Dallas Willard

Those who remain undiscipled in this age will not be developed as they should be for their responsibilities in the next age. I don't think, for example, that a person who steps into the next world as a child of God is going to have problems with rebellion against God, doing what they know to be wrong. But there is much more to our personality than that, because life is not just a matter of "not sinning." When people have lived a life of sin, that affects everything about them - their capacity to live in a social context or their ability to handle jobs and carry out projects - which I believe is what we will be doing in the age to come.

I do think Scripture teaches personal, though not moral, development in the life to come. I think the image of God in man is creative goodness, and that we are enlisted into God's cause. The clear teaching of Scripture is that we will reign with him forever and ever. We will serve him forever. So we need to understand that that is the capacity in which we will continue to grow. And we will never cease growing in that regard.

So, suppose you have the responsibility of running a solar system? That's going to be a demand on you, even though you're going to be running it with God! So the rule is, if you were faithful over two cities, take five. People who have matured in their relationship with god are going to have a much better idea of how to run cities with God. Those who have not will have a lot of learning to do. So I think our preparation now makes a lot of difference. Once you get over the idea that you are going to be warehoused for all eternity when you die, lying about on shelves, listening to harp playing on Muzak, you can see how it makes a real difference.


  1. Rieger writing on a blog!!!!!


  2. I'd love to see a follow up entry about how this would impact daily living and how you are incorporating such thinking into your daily living. That's always a challenge for apply these great ideas to daily life.


  3. Hey Hey Derek - this post came out of comments Scott made during Thursday prayer on the porch after prayerful reflection - and after a few beers - and we asked him to write up a summary for all of us in the tribe to ponder. We will talk much more as we seek to live into this challenge....Amen.

  4. See Scott. See Scott run. See Scott write. See Scott's blog response: Cultivating Awareness