The Voyager: Encouragement for Life's Journey
Below you will find articles from our Church's leadership meant to encourage you and give you insight into questions about life, faith, and God.
IfWhen I was a kid I spent hours and hours in the cornfields and woods behind our house. I had forts and hiding places. I knew where to find berries, and good climbing trees and where to cross the river (also known as the irrigation ditch). There is something about discovery and exploration that is written in our bones. When we are caught up in discovering our Father it is easy to take the perspective of a novice – I’m having too much fun exploring Him and his Kingdom to worry about being an expert!
If you’ve stopped discovering it’s because you’ve stopped exploring. If you’ve stopped exploring then you’ve stopped growing, taking risks, and finding treasure.
If you’ve stopped exploring it may be because you think you’ve figured it all out – discovered everything there is to be discovered. Maybe you’re even offended with people who claim to be exploring where you’ve never been. “That’s not on the map!” or as we frequently hear “That’s not in the Bible!” Are you sure? Maybe you just don’t see it because you’re not looking with exploration in mind – only to defend the territory you’re familiar with.
Several times in the Gospels Jesus uses parables to describe what the Kingdom of God is like. In Matthew 13:31-33 the Kingdom is a mustard seed that starts small yet grows big and leaven that works through the whole batch of dough. The Kingdom of God is always increasing (Isaiah 9:7) and the knowledge of his glory is filling the earth (Habakkuk 2:14), giving us more and more territory to explore!
In Matthew 13:44 the Kingdom is a treasure hidden in a field and the man who finds it sells everything so that he can buy the field. Have you ever wondered what he was doing in someone else’s field? Maybe the same thing I was doing as a kid. Exploring!
There is something about the Kingdom that compels us to move, to grow, to risk and discover. If we just hunker down with our one talent until Jesus comes back we are missing it! In Luke 19 Jesus tells a version of the parable of the talents in which the servant’s reward for stewarding and increasing his investment is to be given cities to rule. That’s our role in the Kingdom! To rule and reign with Christ!
“For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17).
“You have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10).
This verse in Revelation 5:10 is interesting because it shows us the tension between the past action of having been made a kingdom (in the Greek it actually says that we have been made kings) and the future tense that says we “shall” reign on the earth. I know that some teachers like to put the entirety of this verse in the millennium. I’m not saying that there isn’t a future glorious reign when we will be given “cities” to rule. However, just like in the parable of the talents there is an already and not yet aspect to reigning. In fact, the parable seems to indicate that way we reign now will determine what we reign over later. If we are faithful with the talents he has given, he will give us cities to govern.
Reigning now isn’t sitting back on our throne and admiring the Kingdom, although we are seated in heaven in Christ (Ephesians 2:6). Reigning now means we are taking risks, investing, exploring and discovering new territory. It’s what the 72 disciples did when Jesus sent them out in Luke 10 and they returned to him excited about what they had discovered! Jesus rejoices with them saying, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will” (Luke 10:21).
Discovery is what keeps us childlike novices with nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s what keeps us dependent on the Father because we may not know what is coming around the corner but we know that he is faithful! It’s what keeps the awe and wonder in our hearts as we see some new aspect of the Father’s nature and the way he thinks.
I know that familiarity is more comfortable then discovery. Being familiar with something is what makes us experts. The problem is that things that make us comfortable breed a false sense of reigning. We think that we are the master’s of our own domain but we’re just sad little people stuck in a box. Comfort is a counterfeit for reigning.
The good news is God is shaking everything that makes us comfortable so that we will embrace the only thing that is unshakeable… His Kingdom!
“At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ This phrase, ‘Yet once more, indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:26-28).
We may think that we are secure in our familiar little box, but really the only secure place is right in the middle of discovery. That’s what the writer of Hebrews is saying in Chapter 12. You’re not coming to what you’re familiar with, to what you can see with your natural eyes and touch with your natural body, to what you know with your natural mind. This is all new – a whole new reality. You are coming to that which is heavenly and supernatural. Yet it’s more real then what you see with your natural eyes. It may be scary to those of us use to relying on our natural senses and empirical evidence. Expertise is safe. But if we really believe that God is a good Father then we will grab hold of his hand and step into the unknown. After all, there are no experts in the Kingdom of God. There are only children and explorers.
Article by Pastor Shawna Carpenter