Kingdom Living

Casting Vision for the Future of the Kingdom

Kingdom Living

Join Us for 40 Days of Prayer!

January 16th, 2022 · No Comments · Uncategorized

We begin 2022 in prayer…40 messages and prayers of gratitude. 40 days. 40 speakers. 40 topics.

I am not going to post the 40 days here and fill your inbox! Instead, I am going to point you to the playlist on YouTube in case you want to pray along with us at Backyard Church. 2020-2021 was rough…it continues into 2022 and we don’t want to lose sight of all the blessings we have from the Lord. May your 2022 be a year where your eyes are more and more attuned to the working of God all around!

If you want to follow along, you can do so at this playlist:

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Four Things to Prepare Us for Temptation (Matt 4:1-11)

January 9th, 2022 · No Comments · Uncategorized

When we read the temptation of Christ in Matthew 4 there are a number of things that were done in advance of Jesus’ temptation.

1 – He was led by the Spirit. The Spirit’s lead is essential for us overcoming sin. It is quite hard to sin while being led by the Spirit.

2 – He was fasting and praying. Disciplining our desires can help us fight temptation. He did this in advance of the temptation to be ready for the temptation. It is quite hard to sin while praying.

3 – The Word. Jesus knew the Word because He was the Word but also because He studied the Word. He did this in advance of Matthew 4 to be ready for Matthew 4. It is quite hard to sin while being in the Word.

4 – Commitment to truth – Jesus was committed to truth…He was/is truth. If we are committed to truth then we will be able to more easily spot lies.

Temptation is coming and when it comes it is often too late to prepare.

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Book Review: Real Life Theology: Fuel for Effective and Faithful Disciple Making

January 5th, 2022 · No Comments · Uncategorized

How often do you find a 13-in-1 theology book that is focused on making disciples? The answer is – Once. “Real Life Theology” is the one. The 13 mini books that have been compiled into this single large volume are written by people with terminal degrees and people who are interested not just in academics but in practical application.

Considering that the book is nearly 800 pages long I won’t have time to get into every aspect of the book but I do want to make a few general comments.

First, the authors are people who genuinely care about a few important things – God, the Bible, truth, and God’s people. That is an important start. Each author has a terminal degree.

Second, each book is written to be worked through fairly quickly, consisting of five chapters per topic with bibliographic information for further reading and extensive end notes on helpful resources cited in each chapter. The end notes alone are worth the price of the book.

Third, I can’t think of 13 more relevant topics than the ones they choose which include,

Book 1 – The Grand Metanarrative: God’s Story as an Invitation to Theology by Tony Twist and Mihai Malancea

Book 2 – God’s Word: The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture by Orpheus Heyward

Book 3 – Christian Convictions: Discerning the Essential, Important and Personal Elements by Chad Ragsdale

Book 4 – The Gospel Precisely: Surprisingly Good News About Jesus Christ the King

Book 5 – Faithful Faith: Reclaiming Faith from Culture and Tradition By Mark Moore

Book 6 – New Birth: Conversion and Baptism by Michael Strickland and Anessa Westbrook

Book 7 – Holy Spirit: Filled, Empowered, and Led by David Young

Book 8 – Disciple Making: the Core Mission of the Church By Bobby Harrington and Scott Sager

Book 9 – Kingdom Life: Experiencing God’s Reign Through Love and Holiness

Book 10 – Countercultural Living: What Jesus Has to Say About Life, Marriage, Race, Gender and Materialism by Carol Swain

Book 11 – The End: The Return of King Jesus and the Renewal of All Things By Gary Johnson

Book 12 – Truth About God: What Can We Know and How Can We Know It? By Richard Knopp

Book 13 – Eternal Security: Walking in Faithfulness By Bobby Harrington

Conclusion: What You Can Do Right Now By Bobby Harrington and Daniel McCoy

As you can see these are topics that are essential to a biblically well grounded disciple who is making deep disciples. These books can be bought all in one in the link above or individually by title on amazon. With a compilation from so many different authors it is tempting to get into comparisons or rankings but I won’t do that. Instead I will tell you that the book is worth getting, reading and using to deepen your walk with the Lord and share that knowledge with others. And that, I believe, is the intent of this book in the first place! The only adjustment I would have made to the book is…how do you include a book on eschatology and not put it last?!? 🙂

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5 Kingdom Predictions for 2022

January 1st, 2022 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

I believe there are big changes coming and they are only accelerating. COVID has made everything move faster than it already was. Here are a few things that I believe will happen in 2022 at a faster pace than ever before.

1 – We will see more people leave professional ministry. This will happen at a record pace.

2 – Some of those who leave will start house churches and be bi-vocational or find income not from church work.

3 – We will see more hybrid churches – house churches with an online presence for others who want to stream content to their own house church. Our Safe Harbor and Patrick Mead are doing this well.

4 – There will be an increase in persecution against the church and Christianity in 2022 (which will make house churches even more viable).

5 – I believe we will see more miracles than we have seen in the past. It isn’t that God is necessarily doing more but that we will have the eyes to see.

What do you believe will happen in 2022 from a kingdom perspective? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Doctrine is Only As Good As…

December 29th, 2021 · 8 Comments · Uncategorized

Doctrine is important but it can be easy to have doctrine as an end until itself. We want the truth. We want to know the truth…we want true biblical doctrine. But is that enough? I used to think it was but I don’t think so anymore. There are people out there who know biblical doctrine and are absolute stinkers. What good is doctrine if it doesn’t result in actual biblical outcomes like character formation, growing in love of God and neighbor, benevolent deeds that come from generous hearts? Doctrine without the corresponding spiritual growth, development and actions is dead.

If you had to complete the sentence, “Doctrine is only as good as…” how would you complete the sentence? I want to hear your thoughts and I will share my answer in the comments.

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What We Know About Christmas

December 25th, 2021 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

I don’t know if Jesus was born on December 25th…

I don’t know if there were three wise men or thirty…

I don’t know if the room with the animals was part of a house or a cave or something else…

There are many other things that I wish I knew with a higher level of detail but what I know is true…what is most important in the Jesus story is what we know with a high level of clarity – that God became flesh and dwelt among us! God in flesh!

I know they beheld his glory and died telling his story.

I know he was born in the humblest of circumstances…a king born into poverty!

I know people came to worship him because he was and is worthy of our highest praise.

While God didn’t choose to fill in the answer to all of my questions, He still choose to do the most marvelous and wonderful thing….an event unimaginable…omnipotent God contained in a fragile baby!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that the focus continues to be on the coming of the enfleshed God!

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Only God Can Change Hearts

December 23rd, 2021 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

It must have been my training in psychology paired with a bit too much pride that in my younger years I really thought I could change a heart and mind. In psychology you are trained in methods of getting to the bottom of people’s issues and equipping them to make the needed changes to make it through difficult life situations or even deal with psychosis. It can be very easy to think that you have the ability to do things that no human being really has the power to do. The person in therapy is actually the one who has to do the hard work of life change…the therapist can help guide but that’s about it.

When it comes to evangelism and Bible study it is very important to remember that we are just guides. We don’t change hearts. We don’t change minds. That is God’s work, not ours.

In 1 Corinthians 3:6 Paul writes, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.”

We can help align things for people to grow but we cannot change hearts or minds. We cannot do what only God can do.

In Acts 16:14 we find Lydia come to Christ. Paul was part of the equation but Paul didn’t have the power to open her heart. Only God can do that,

“The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.”

Paul did the teaching…God opened her heart.

God also showed Paul where to go and who to talk to, like the Spirit blocking Paul’s way then giving him a vision of a man from Macedonia. God can still show us where to go and who to talk to today. We see this all the time in our church plant.

This means that we desperately need God’s help if we are going to be effectual in seeing lives changed. I personally believe this work is the work of the Holy Spirit. It won’t come by us having the perfect Bible study approach. It won’t come by us being persuasive. It won’t come through hellfire and brimstone sermons…only God can open and change hearts and minds.

If we are going to be effective, we need to admit that we cannot do the work of evangelism without God’s help. We are doing the light lifting…God is doing the heavy lifting! Once we come to grips with that we can focus on our part of the process and lean hard on God, expecting Him to do His part! Then expect God to show up big!

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Book Giveaway – “The New Testament In Its World” By N.T. Wright

December 10th, 2021 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

We are giving away a copy of N.T. Wright’s “The New Testament in Its World“! This is a $40 MASSIVE book and a wonderful read full of rich resources. My goal is to break 3500 Wineskins YouTube subscribers by the end of 2021. We are just over 3400 as of today…If we do that, I will give away a copy to someone who subscribed in December. So go ahead and subscribe, tell a friend and let me know you subscribed in the comments if your subscriptions aren’t public!

The truth is…I am going to give a copy away anyway because I don’t want strings attached 😉

Here is the subscribe link.

Please share far and wide…the channel is growing with over 400 videos for you to watch or share! Looking forward to an amazing 2022…things are going to get serious in a good way!

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When Church Becomes the Messiah

December 9th, 2021 · 16 Comments · Uncategorized

One of the biggest issues I have seen over the years in Churches of Christ is that in some corners of our movement the church replaces Jesus as Messiah and Savior. That is never taught in an overt manner but it is the logical conclusion of some of our arguments.

Jesus is the only savior…the only name by which we must be saved. But you have to be in a church with the right (biblical) name to be and/or remain saved.

Jesus is the only savior…it is by coming to only Jesus to find salvation and no one else. But you have to be in a church that worships correctly for his salvation to “stick”.

Jesus is the only savior…he is the only way to have your sins forgiven. However, if you are in a denomination that means you are in error and that means you are perpetually in sin so you can’t be saved. Jesus can’t save that!

Many more examples can be cited but the result is the same…being in a church other than one labeled a church of Christ is insurmountable for Jesus to save.

This line of thinking results in this conclusion – the church you are in trumps Jesus’ salvific efficaciousness.

This is a false teaching of another gospel – that the gospel is that salvation comes through the work of Christ + joining the right kind of church. Anything short of that makes Jesus’ work a moot point.

Israel wasn’t looking for a church. They were looking for a Messiah. The church is not to be confused with the Messiah nor is the church a trump card over the salvific acts of Jesus. That doesn’t lessen the importance of the church. It just keeps everyone in their proper lane with their proper (biblical) purpose.

If neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus? Can being in a non-church of Christ church condemn us? Can our participation with denominations put us in a position Christ is powerless to work with?

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Ezra, Grace, and the God of the Impossible!

December 4th, 2021 · No Comments · Uncategorized

I have been studying Ezra for Sunday and I am just blown away by how God took impossible situations and worked tremendous good out of them.

A pagan king gives God glory and decides to send God’s people home. He gives them provisions for the trip. He even gives them articles that had been long lost as they had been stolen from the temple before it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587BC. Not only that, their foreign neighbors in Persia also heaped blessings on them as they walked out the door to go back to the promised land.

The Jewish people in exile couldn’t have planned this. They couldn’t have orchestrated this. It was all grace…unmerited favor. Grace is at its best when God provides for us in ways that are impossible for us to provide for ourselves.

Jesus Christ is God’s ultimate gift of grace. He gives us two things (actually far more) that we could never provide ourselves – forgiveness of sins and the promise of resurrection. Without the grace of God we would be lost in sin and have no hope of resurrection.

How can you and I go throughout our week looking to grace someone? How can we provide what others cannot provide for themselves? It might be a good deed we do in Jesus’ name…it might be sharing the gospel with them to bring them closer to full life in Christ!

Let us go throughout our week and world with our eyes open to see the limitless opportunities to show grace to those around us – we might just give someone something they could have never attained on their own!

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