Theme: The Culture Climate
Culture is like a climate. It's there, but we don't really think about it. I mean we think about it when we want to go to Florida because it's too cold in the North. We think about it when it's so humid we can't stop sweating. But for the most part, we just accept whatever the climate is because that's what it is. In nature, we really have no choice, right? Yet climate determines if things live or die. Palm trees make it in Florida, but not in Pennsylvania. Palm trees are on my mind because my 21 year old daughter wants to live where they live. I suppose if certain trees need certain climates to live, so do people.
So Sunday I shared some ideas from Scripture about the culture of God's Kingdom. It's fascinating to me how many times the word "kingdom" is mentioned in the New Testament. I think over one hundred times. For me, the most striking time it's mentioned is by Jesus when he says, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" Matthew 6:33 (NIV). God's kingdom is His reign and God's righteousness is His approval. Jesus says don't seek attendance and offerings first, but seek his kingdom and righteousness first. Wow, that gives such clear direction. Don't seek results, seek something greater, a kingdom culture. So my question is if there is a kingdom, then what is it's culture? What is the climate of God's kingdom?
Well, we know Jesus boiled it down to two things for sure, love God and love your neighbor. So let's start there. These two things should be at the top of the list. It's so easy to lose sight of why we followed Jesus to begin with. We get so busy and responsible and tired and those things make it hard to remember why we followed Jesus in the first place. What do you do in this crazy time of life? Maybe get back to the simplicity of the culture of God's reign and approval. Maybe it is focusing on loving God and loving people. This is something we can choose to do. And these two choices create a life giving climate where people can grow. And it is something that anyone can focus on regardless of the circumstances in this world.
So our prayer this week comes from John 17, where Jesus prays for us. Jesus prays first for His disciples and then for us, those who would come to believe through their ministry. In this prayer, Jesus prays for the culture of the kingdom which begins with loving God and loving our neighbor. I think it is a prayer for us to pray as we enter 2021.
Scripture: Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
Prayer: The Culture Climate
“Heavenly Father, we cannot control the world. But we can make choices to identify and live out the culture of Your Kingdom. So I pray the words of your Son Jesus today. I pray that in this divisive time all of us may be one, Father, just as you are in Jesus and Jesus is in you. May we all be in you God so that the world may believe that you sent Jesus. This is loving You God. And Father, Jesus gave us the glory that you gave Him so we could be one. Bring us to complete unity around the cross of Christ. May we put all the petty differences aside in light of the cross and love others like never before. Father, give us the courage to focus on the culture of your Kingdom. Help us to love you God and love one another. Help us to be brought to complete unity so people can experience the life giving culture of Your Kingdom. In Jesus' Name, Amen."