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As it is in Heaven

September 11, 2007

One of the things that we are undertaking here is to revolutionize culture. I mean we are challenging the standard of earth with heaven’s standard. If we were to try to attract the world to Jesus by becoming relevant to their culture, we would be moving in the wrong direction. I am deliberately calling people away from all of their previous commitments and understandings to commit without reservation to the cultural standard of heaven as it is revealed in the Bible.

It is not easy to question the beliefs, customs, practices and social behavior of our nation, but it is really needed. Think about it.  The world is disgusted to hear that the culture of the church does not differ from theirs.  The church has adopted the culture of the world. You have, no doubt, seen the statistics about divorce, morality, spirituality, character and on and on. Worse yet, you have probably seen the worst sort of failings in those who are called to lead the church. How would you like to be a part of heaven’s answer to this?

Kingdom culture goes right to the question of, “What is God doing?” As the song puts it, “We will go where He goes, say what He says, and pray what He prays!” I am not condemning the church or its leaders, because I do not believe that is what God is doing.

Heaven models finding ways for the prodigal to come home, even if you must bear the cost yourself–like Jesus did. We do not see him leveling blame at people for being in bondage to the devil. Instead, he sets them free and encourages them to walk in the things that he created them for. Even though this strategy did not always result in freedom for the individuals he was ministering to, he offered the chance anyhow. Consider Judas, who was a thief before he was put in charge of the offering bag. Did Jesus not know what he was? No way, Jesus knew what was in men without asking. He was offering Judas a chance to become something more. Judas did not choose to take the offer.

Forgiveness is one part of heaven’s culture and has to be exercised towards yourself before you can take it to others. When you don’t let yourself off of the hook, it is called shame. Jesus paid the whole price for you to walk out from under shame. The devil will try to convince you that you are forever tainted by…whatever. We need to realize that that is not from God. Forgiveness and redemption come from God through Jesus who bore all of the blame and shame that we deserved.

The same is true for people who have offended and hurt us. They need to be let off of the hook. The mission that Jesus was on, and is still on, is destroying the works of the devil. Although people hurting people is one of the major themes that the devil employs, we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers.

Let me put it another way. The culture of heaven is more concerned with maintaining relationships with people than with rules and regulations. We are told to maintain the unity of the Spirit, but some people add all kinds of junk to that. Do you know people who are willing to destroy relationships if someone does not agree with their favorite ideas about the faith? That is what Jesus said that the Scribes and Pharisees of his day did. They were too interested in their interpretation of the law and in their rules, and too little interested in the presence of God and his love for his people.

The presence of God, and his love have enough supernatural power in them to transform everyone who comes close. Lets let go of the culture of the world that keeps us from putting our full attention on Jesus, and with passionate, abandoned love for Jesus chase him until we catch him!

Pastor Randal

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