Monday, July 06, 2020

Born in the USA...Born Again in the Kingdom of God (Part One)

I’m blessed to have had many profound life defining epiphanies. Indulge me a few moments please, while I share the highlights of a few of these definitions.

Like many of you reading this, I was “born again” into the Kingdom of God. I did not have a single moment altar call experience, but I found the reality of Jesus Christ as a high school kid searching for a way out of a world of internal misery locked up in me. I grew up in a home with significant addiction issues and the “new birth” pains in me led me to a Love in Christ for which I am forever grateful. Trust me…this is a very long story made very short for this blog. 

Now on to another epiphany…

I went to a denominational Bible College who taught me an appreciation for listening to the Holy Spirit…an internal, beautiful, supernatural GPS, if you will. That denomination began the process of ordaining me when (drum roll please) I followed the Holy Spirit to work for a beautiful expression of the Kingdom of God outside the aforementioned denomination. My relationship with them was terminated due to my failure to keep the Kingdom of God as the sole property of their organization. Broke my heart…

But what began as a flood of tears for the loss of that relationship, has evolved into one of the best decisions of my life… and a pattern setting epiphany for my future. The Kingdom of God won my affections, yet again.

You might say, I was born again…again.

Which brings me to another new birth epiphany. After a 38 day fast my wife and I discovered a spiritual family, 1200 miles away, who taught us the phenomenal beauty of the Kingdom of God! And, with yet another long story made short, we happily jettisoned doctrinal/theological confines that had been restricting our full embrace of the Kingdom. 

And you might say, I was born again…again…and again. See a pattern developing here? For the sake of time and space, I’ll need to condense the next few epiphanies…

One day while preparing a sermon on my passion for Pro-life, my internal GPS (Holy Spirit…remember?) whispered, “While you may wax passionate about this, remember there will be women in your audience who have had the heart crushing experience of an abortion. See them with the eyes of Jesus.” 

New birth was the result of months of training myself to walk in that revelation. 

Years later, a local Republican party leader called me and invited me to pray at a George W. Bush reelection rally. Initially, I was all a flutter…but then another request was made; “Could you provide your church’s email/mailing list so we can contact them?” I simply refused to cross that ethical line… and my invitation to be seated on the platform with a President was withdrawn. 

Born again…and so, my political persuasions bowed to a Higher Power.

Fast forward to the night President Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed by our brave military. When I fist pumped the air, my Holy GPS alerted me; “Recalibration required.” And my life turned abruptly toward a more profound and lovely revelation of the Kingdom of God. 

You see, part of the life in the Kingdom of God is a journey toward, “…they will turn their swords into plowshares…learning war no more…those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” I could’ve remained in the safety of my spiritual womb…or be born again to the Kingdom of God.

More currently, I found myself completely surrounded by an association of people of faith whose mantra was something like this: “Christianity is the same as and equals conservative Republican politics. God has chosen a new President and this is prophetically affirmed.” (See January 11, 2020 blog ~ "This Was Bad Behavior...")

My GPS went off like a tornado siren. 

In this context I have witnessed an avalanche of correlations and equalizations to our nation as it relates to the Kingdom of God. Most are subtle, some are not. I’ve learned an awareness of the subtle hybrids and the blending of America and the Kingdom of God…such as churches where they fly the flag of the USA with the Christian flag symbolically lower as an expression of submission. 

An easy way to apply this is to try this exercise: If the King of any third world nation said, “Our country is the closest thing to the Kingdom of God on earth. We believe we are God’s gift to the world. God has told me I am His chosen and my nation is a chosen people. I’m fairly certain we would laugh him to scorn. 

And yet, similar statements have been made about the USA. “A City set upon a hill” and “the last best hope on earth” to name a few… but these are truths that only apply to the Kingdom of God! 

On a smaller scale, here’s condensation of another example; “the Democrates/Left are an evil force seeking to destroy our nation! Christians must speak up.” Read that again. Just typing it makes my spiritual GPS spin… 

Christians are present in the Democratic Party too. Christians have left-leaning ideas as well. Christians are not the sole possession of any ideology. And the only nation Christians are called to speak up for is…the Kingdom of God. Right leaning and left leaning Christ followers might rally AS ONE declaring, “Jesus Christ is Lord. We have no king but Him.”

I love the USA, but I love the Kingdom of God more. I love our fledgling form of government, but I love the Government that rests upon the shoulders of Jesus more (Isaiah 9). The USA has phenomenal freedoms, potential, and blessings seldom seen on the earth. I know I won the birth lottery when I was born in the USA…

But now, I must chose to be born again into the Kingdom of God. This is a Kingdom of Love seeking full expression “on earth as it is in heaven.” I have discovered that what our King said is profoundly true, “No one can serve 2 masters” (Matthew 6:24). Another way of saying that is, “You can only serve one Higher Power at a time.” (Dr. John MacDougal; Being Sober and Becoming Happy).

My loyalty to Kingdom values will always supersede my love for country. “For God and country” will never be my motto…

 “For God and Kingdom Come” is where I have planted the flag of my heart. 



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