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A Word from Mike…

Kingdom Lenses

As I have pastored churches and been involved in associational ministry over the years, I realize the challenges we have in remaining Kingdom focused (Kingdom, meaning ‘God’s broader work beyond the parameters of the local church’). With our strong emphasis on the local church, sometimes we miss the proverbial forest for the trees—we often miss the fuller picture. We may know that there is more to the work of God than we are experiencing, but we just struggle, sometimes, locking-in on exactly what that is. Though, we indeed, practice most of ministry in the local church context (as it should be), we must remember that we are inter-connected with the larger Body of Christ. Our independent spirit as Baptists, particularly Baptists in America, can make it feel natural to do our own things without heightened sensitivity to God’s wider-ranging purposes. Virtually, everything we do in the local context needs to be viewed with Kingdom-oriented eyes. 2 Corinthians 8-9 provides an example of this concept. The Macedonian saints had many challenges in life and ministry, but their awareness and concern for the needy saints in Jerusalem compelled them to send resources to them, when they, themselves were in such desperate straits. They were viewing their own situation through eyes fixed on the needs beyond their own. We have recognized this need and thus, we have national, state, and associational connections. But, even with these, it is not uncommon to give our money to the cooperative program, attend denominational events, and yet continue to ‘miss the forest.’ It can become like paying taxes…we just do it and move on with life.

            In the movie, National Treasure, the leading characters were trying to decipher a treasure map, on the back of the Declaration of Independence, that would lead them to untold treasures hidden deep under New York City. They found, though, that they could not read all the necessary clues on the map without a special pair of glasses believing to be fashioned by Benjamin Franklin. Once the glasses were employed, they could determine the full meaning of the map; without them the thing that they sought after remained forever hidden. The point is that they needed help in seeing what was not naturally visible. The natural eye could not pick up what was really there, just waiting to be discovered. The Bible is like that map in that it contains all kinds of information and clues—and outright directions from God. While some of them are obvious and need little deep insight, other parts require help. We need spiritual lenses that give the ability to see and understand more clearly. The Holy Spirit in believers provides that ability in the spiritual realm. When we allow Him to expose what is really in His book, He will show us things about His will that we just were not previously able to see. I don’t pretend to know what that would mean in your context, but I am confident that God is able to affect our vision for ministry to where we would never be satisfied with viewing it from natural eyes again. Are we up to the challenge?

 

Blessings as we continue to serve the Lord TOGETHER!

 

 
 
Mike Manning        
Director / A.M., Harmony Baptist Association
2001 S Cherry St. Pine Bluff, AR 71601
501-581-9776 cell  -  870-534-1021 office  -  870-534-4625 fax

 

 

Pastors' Lunch will be held at 11:30 in Pine Bluff at El Sol on Thursday, March 23rd. Join Brother Mike and others for a time of fellowship.

 

 

 

 

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