The video version of this newsletter is also available.
Tele-Seminar – Beverly Lewis and I discussed Kingdom impacts in an interview, “Have fun, make money and love people.” Listen to the recorded version here. Ray Edwards and I did a second interview that is just as good. Both are about an hour and give a great summary of marketplace ministry.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but ofrighteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Rom 14:17-18 NIV
Hierarchies – I usually think of the Kingdom as outside myself: conquering new mountains, warfare, inheriting my land, etc. That model naturally esteems hierarchy and leadership. Corporate, civic, church and political organizations are always vision- and leadership-oriented… “Here is our vision, come and join us.” The whole process creates servants who are measured in terms of their ability to be faithful in another man’s vision. It actually draws away from our own heart’s desires as we mature.
Hearts and life – Serving another man’s vision is fine while we’re maturing; it’s a great learning and disciplining environment. But, after some number of years or decades, the Lord starts pointing out the desires in our own hearts and we can no longer sit in the pew or put up with the boring job. Many try to tamp down their own vision, and discipline themselves to be good soldiers. The difference between staying in the rut and finding “that which is your own” is a life and death transition for your spirit (the letter kills). We either learn to follow the writing on our hearts (Heb 8:10, 10:16) or we begin to wither away.
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant- — not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:2-6 NIV
Life really starts when we get connected with our own heart’s desires and we start to lead others on the basis of their heart’s desires. It’s a totally different paradigm – God calls it the Kingdom, and it has three distinctive earmarks: righteousness, peace and joy.
Righteousness – in the growth phase, we define righteousness in terms of our ability to be good servants and to make the master happy, whether that is God, our manager at work, or our pastor. After we begin to mature, the process of keeping others happy becomes a diet that we can’t always keep. The process of pleasing others outside the desires of our own heart eventually becomes tiring and drains our spiritual vitality. Real righteousness is simply becoming you, the way God created you, fulfilling the dream God wrote in your heart. Doing what you enjoy most and calling it righteous is both truth and an amazing religious paradox at the same time. It’s not generally taught in seminaries, schools or our corporate culture. However, it is righteousness in the Kingdom. It feels like a jailbreak when you first give your heart permission to go there. The fruit of such a life is the real proof. Wealth and ministry flow from a heart that is free to be itself in the Kingdom… like rivers of living water.
Peace – In the discipleship phase of work or spiritual growth we are learning new things and climbing corporate ladders and competing with others for promotion. Comparing ourselves with others always robs our peace. The only measure we can use resides right in our own hearts. Our hearts are at rest when we get in touch with our own purpose in work and Kingdom. Then our work and ministry feed us instead of drain us, and we concentrate on being ourselves instead of trying to copy the success of others.
Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5 for each one should carry his own load. Gal 6:4-5 NIV
Joy – It’s a lot of fun to see your personal dreams come true. Especially when you know it’s a dream that God is sharing with you. Life becomes an exciting adventure and we have the sense of doing what the Father is doing. I have never had so much fun or laughed so easily… having fun, making money and loving people.
I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. John 16:23-24 NIV
The lifestyle of competence – Feeling the righteousness, peace and joy that come from setting your heart free from rules and refocusing on your dream is a party. The next surprising result is that you become a lot better at what you do – more competent and more confident. When we really connect with our hearts, we are aligned from the inside out – We are more creative, spontaneous, and alive. We can love more deeply because we can connect others with the desires of their hearts. We see life and people more clearly and prophetically. And the best part is that anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant- — not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:4-6 NIV