Kingdom Impact

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STREAMS OF IMPACT

Water is recognized as the most powerful element on earth. It covers most of the earth and accounts for the majority of what’s inside us. In one sense, water is life. Given how essential it is, no one questions their need for it, its purposes, or its many forms. Why don’t we question our need for water…? Because, it speaks for itself. The cool satisfaction of thirst quenched in the heat, the crisp crunch of walking through a fresh snow, and the smell of summer rain do all the talking.

Kingdom impact is just like water…and it starts with you and me. Just like a flowing stream shapes rocks over time, the Kingdom is meant to flow through believers and shape our hearts. God consistently uses family, teachers, and friends to influence and shape us. Yet, often times the streams of impact God uses to shape us become rushing rivers moving too quickly to swim against. When mistakes, accidents, and bad decisions occur, it can begin to feel like we are swimming upstream. Other times, the streams become storms and all we can do is hold tight to our faith. In God’s perfect wisdom, our world is not exempt from devastation, disaster, and death. In fact, the Washington Post reported that in 2017, $265 billion dollars of damage came from hurricanes. That’s the toll powerful water can produce.

ELEMENTS OF IMPACT

So what does this have to do with Discovering the Kingdom?

The first element of Kingdom Impact is recognition. Take a moment to reflect on how you understand the Kingdom, what you believe about it, and where you have seen evidence of it. Then consider if you have ever recognized the Kingdom separate from power.

The second element of Kingdom Impact is representation. God has called believers to serve as governmental ambassadors no matter what alliance, business, or church we’re part of. As we discover the Kingdom and begin to recognize God’s intended impact, representing His cause follows.

The third element of Kingdom Impact is relationship. Kingdom relationships are the practical, present evidence of our eternal family. Not only that, the relationship element of impact is what carries God’s power. The scriptures say, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).

If recognizing the Kingdom, representing it, and working together with others of a like-mind promises the presence of Christ, I’m all in…for there is nothing more impactful than the presence of God.

PRACTICAL POWER

Paul writes these words to the church in Corinth, “ For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power” (1 Corinthians 4:20). From his words, we can gather that making a real impact means stewarding power, not just talking about it. While stewarding power takes intentionality and training, stewarding Kingdom power takes Christ.

I grew up playing competitive sports. In that, part of my training was to practice every day (sometimes on my own, with a few others, or the whole team). No matter what my daily practice looked like, I would always think about what my coach told us. He would wisely tell us (especially when we didn’t feel like practicing) that practice does not make perfect…practice makes permanent.

No matter where you are in your relationship with God, start practicing! Whether you’re on your own, with a few friends, a home group, or a group of colleagues, start practicing Kingdom recognition. As you grow in this area, step into representation and eventually relationship. I am confident that you will see God’s impact at every step.

Remember…”You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water” (Rabindranath Tagore). It’s time to get our feet wet!

Lindsay Fleming is the State Administrator for the North Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (NC-C3). At heart, she is a God-inspired expressionist. Her driving passion is expressing revelations of God through prayer, writing, and design. Lindsay’s work can be found at PropheticGrounds.com.  Lindsay can be reached at office@NC-C3.org.

 

The Kingdom, WITHIN

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Aliens, these people could be aliens! That was an actual humorous thought occurring in my mind as I sat there in the huge conference room at the base of a major hotel located on the Northside of Atlanta.  It was January 2007 and I was attending my first conference focused on God being involved in our work life.  Though I had been walking with the Lord for 12 years at that point, and attending a biblically-based Spirit-led church, God-at-work was a brand-new concept to me.  In that gathering, for 3 days I listened to leaders operating in various areas of society (Business, Government, Entertainment, Family, etc.) sharing stories of real experiences involving the Power of the “Kingdom of God” in all aspects of their lives, including professionally.

After facing the reality that I may not be “in Kansas anymore,“ I figured I better consult my “Owner’s Manual” immediately to see how these ideas aligned with the Word of God.  I had my Bible with me and I began to take a fresh look at the Gospels to match in real-time what I was hearing from the speakers.  

I didn’t even get out of the first book of the New Testament before I realized that all Jesus was talking about was this “Kingdom of God”.  In fact, in the book of Matthew the Kingdom of God is referred to over 50 times.  Somehow I had overlooked this for years.  It was beginning to look like the “point” of the Lord’s Gospel was this Kingdom.

But it was in the book of Luke where Jesus‘s words launched the full-scale assault upon my paradigm…

The Coming Kingdom
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The Kingdom of God does not come with observation;” nor will they say, “See here!” or “See there!” For indeed, “the Kingdom of God is within you.”
Luke 17:20-21

Within you?!  What does that even mean? How does that work? And the questions began to stack up my mind.

A NEW DAY

Over the years following that earth-shattering encounter in Atlanta, I traveled the globe and discovered the simple Truth that the Treasure I had been seeking over the course of my life, had been hidden inside of me and other people all over the earth.  For too long we have been looking up and around for the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom isn’t coming TO us…that has already been accomplished.  It is now coming THROUGH us. As we grasp this truth of the Gospel of the Kingdom, we will see the manifestation of what Jesus was referring to in these words…

The Parable of the Leaven
Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
Matthew 13:33

The more we become this Truth of the Gospel of the Kingdom, we will see the “leaven” of the Kingdom begin to work into every area of our being. Eventually, the leaven will move into every area of our lives as it appropriately, powerfully impacts the people and environment around us.

For many of us, our day and age has been considered to be what the Bible refers to as the “last days”.  Regarding God’s plan for this era there are many details we can spend our lives disputing.  What Believers can know for sure, is that for 2,000 years the Kingdom of God has been, literally, right under our noses; it had been deposited within our earthen vessels.  The question we each need to answer daily is…

What are we going to do with it?

Matthew Fleming is the State Director for the North Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (NC-C3). Matthew has a strong vision for the functionality of the Christian community as believers endeavor to operate in unison.  He believes alignment and co-laboring from a united reality will be the catalyst for sustained Restoration in our world.  Matthew can be reached at Matthew@NC-C3.org.

The Kingdom is Like….

7mountains_illustration-800x480As we enter a new year, the C3 theme for January is Discovering the Kingdom.  Many of the parables Jesus provided in the gospels started with, “the Kingdom of Heaven is like..”  In fact, Matthew 13 contains many of the Kingdom parables. In them, Jesus compares the Kingdom to a man who sows good seeds, a grain of mustard seed, a treasure hidden in a field, a businessman in search of something rare, precious, and valuable beyond measure… These are just some of the ways Jesus explains what the Kingdom is like. So why would Jesus teach us about what the Kingdom of Heaven is like when we are here on Earth?

Discovering the Kingdom

The definition of kingdom from dictionary.com is, “domain over which the spiritual sovereignty of God or Christ extends, whether in heaven or on earth.” As we allow Jesus to rule and reign in our lives, we begin to understand the part of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:10, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  This prayer will influence those around us through our everyday lives as we pursue the Kingdom

Recognizing the Kingdom

To help recognize the Kingdom, there has been much written in recent years about the seven mountains of Kingdom influence, which include family, religion, education, arts and entertainment, government, business and media.  Each of these spheres of influence have the potential to greatly impact society, either positively or negatively. For example,when Christians begin to view the mountain of religion as the sacred mountain and the other mountains as secular mountains, a secular/sacred divide can be created which limits our influence in the world as Christ followers.  Paul speaks to how to properly view all of society in regard to the Kingdom in Colossians 3:23-24:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

This verse teaches us that all we do should be sacred and whatever sphere of influence we are called to, we should do it as worship unto the Lord. When we understand this principle, we see the Kingdom of God as covering all seven mountains and eliminate the secular/sacred divide.

Manifesting the Kingdom on Earth

Like many other beliefs in life, application is the key to realizing potential.  We can know what to do, but until we apply knowledge practically, the benefit is limited.  This principle is reflected by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 4:20, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” As we depend on Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, we become instruments of His righteousness that can impact the world in a powerful way.

We at C3 are entering 2018 with great expectation of what God will do in our lives to impact communities as we work together to mobilize the Christian community for a thriving world.

Jamie Jordan is the State Director for the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3). His passion is to see unity and excellence exhibited within the Christian community.  Jamie can be reached at jjordan@Stravicom.com.

Celebrating a New Year

cinnamon-stars-2991174_640.jpgFrom the team at C3 we pray each of you had a Merry Christmas and are preparing to enter 2018 with a heart ready to receive all our Heavenly Father has prepared for us. The journey of celebrating Christ throughout the year starts with a heart actively pursuing Him.  The often-quoted verse of Jeremiah 29:11 is a great verse, and we should also include verses 12 and 13 to get the whole picture of the blessing He has planned for us:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

The Celebration Begins with Relationship

The celebration of embracing the plans He has for us begins with a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ and seeking Him with all our hearts.  This season God has been teaching me the simplicity and importance of John 15:1-8:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Abiding in the vine, or an intimate relationship with Jesus is necessary for us to embrace the fullness of the life our Heavenly Father has prepared for us. This relationship is critical, but can easily be substituted with activities that lead us to believe we have a relationship with Jesus. In my opinion, one of the most sobering verses in the Bible is Matthew 7:21-23, which shows the difference between activity and relationship:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to
me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

These were people doing magnificent work in the name of Jesus, but had no relationship with Him and were called evil.  My 12-year-old son asked me how you can know someone, but not have a relationship with them as reflected in this verse.  I used the example of Bill Gates, a famous person who greatly influenced society and has much written about him. We can read about him, gain valuable information about him and know so much about him that we feel like we know him, but if he walks into the room he would not know who you are because you have not spent time with him to build a relationship.

As we enter the New Year, let us spend time to cultivate the relationship with Jesus that we were created to enjoy.  As we abide in the vine the Holy Spirit can flow through us to produce the fruit that will benefit us and those in our circle of influence.

The Abundant Harvest

 The picture painted in John 15 is one of our Heavenly Father attending to the branches to ensure they produce much fruit.  We must be firmly attached to the vine to allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us to produce the fruit as outlined in Galatians 5:22-23,

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

However, even as we abide in the vine there will also be times when the branches must be pruned to produce even more fruit.  This can be a painful process, but the results are of great benefit as the fruit of the Spirit is manifest for all to enjoy.

2018 can be a wonderful year as we walk out the principles of John 15 in our everyday lives and unite with others that share these values to positively impact our communities.  We pray God’s richest blessings on you and your family in the coming year.

Jamie Jordan is the State Director for the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3). His passion is to see unity and excellence exhibited within the Christian community.  Jamie can be reached at jjordan@Stravicom.com.

Celebrating Christ

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And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were terrified. But the angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news
that will cause great joy for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you:
You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel,
praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2:8-14 NIV

Tears sprung to my eyes when I read this passage during my quiet time one morning. Such a quiet evening, sheep bleating in the night – shepherds faithfully standing watch. Imagine their surprise when the whole world above them exploded with joy and celebration at the announcement of the Newborn King. What a terrible, wonderful sight the angels made against the backdrop of an inky sky. How could the host of heaven contain their joy any longer? The One all of Heaven longed for and adored had come to earth to make His dwelling among men.

You’re Invited

“I am the good shepherd;
I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 

just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—
and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

John 10:14-15

These simple shepherds received an invitation to meet the one true Shepherd of their souls and the salvation of all mankind. Can’t you hear the heart of the Father? “Go and see the One who has been born to you.”

The angels told them what to look for – a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Imagine if the angels had told them just to find a baby wrapped in cloths. That was customary during their time and would have been a difficult task with all the souls in Jerusalem due to the census. But finding a baby in a manger – well, that was something entirely different. It’s not every day a child is born in a stall.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven,
the shepherds said to one another,
“Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened,
which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph,
and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
Luke 2:15

They found Him, just as the angels promised.

The Father made sure His Son would be easily accessible to these searching shepherds. Other than His parents, they would be the first to gaze upon His face and adore Him on earth, just as He was adored in heaven.

When they had seen him, they spread the word
concerning what had been told them about this child,
and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God
for all the things they had heard and seen,
which were just as they had been told.
Luke 2:16-20

The joy of the angels had become their own. Their immediate response was to go and spread the news everywhere that the Messiah was born. When Christ is unveiled to the humble in heart, praise and adoration joyfully break out.

Celebrating Christ

Through this remarkable story I see many ways to celebrate Christ.

We can shout it to the world that King Jesus has arisen in the darkness, just as the angels did long ago. We can look for Him as one would search for precious treasure alongside the shepherds and kneel in adoration at His feet. We can silently ponder the mysteries of Christ within our hearts as Mary did. In joy we can go and tell all who will listen that the Messiah has come.

Birthed in the darkness of night, our Messiah came to die. It was His earthly assignment to abolish sin and give the Father the greatest gift of all – a relationship with you. Just as the angels rejoiced the night Christ was born,

Heaven still rejoices when hearts turn from darkness
to say yes to the Light of the World
Luke 15:10

However you decide to celebrate this next Christmas Day, I pray that from the time your eyes open until you close them again in sleep that you will be keenly aware of the depth of God’s love and adoration for you. I pray this Christmas that you would be found fully satisfied in Him.

“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power,
together with all the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19

Lori Anderson-Bowen is the Charleston SC-C3 Prayer Team Leader and serves as the Prayer Ministry Director at Seacoast Church in Summerville, SC. She is passionate about hearing the voice of God and seeing people walk in freedom daily through the ministry of prayer. Lori is also a business partner with SC-C3 and is the proud owner of Andowen Photography. You can contact her directly at lori@andowenphotography.com