Sunday, January 30, 2011

Eternal Life is to Live Christ

Let us think for a moment of the tremendous standards of John. How are they attainable? I always say John hits the ceiling. He hits the very ceiling of Heaven. You can't go higher than John because of his standards. But how are they attainable? Now the essence of the letter of John is this: In the first verses he says that he is going to tell us about "that eternal life." He says, "That which was from the beginning" in verses 1 and 2. He says, "I'm going to show you about that eternal life." But the whole point about the eternal life that John is showing us is not some vague theory down here; it's a Person who walked on earth. That's his point. That eternal life which I am referring to is a Person who walked a life like this on earth-that's eternal life. Now, that's very important. It means it isn't some vague gift we receive just by grace. It's a life that is exactly like the life lived by Jesus. That's tremendous.

So the only eternal life is the perfect life. That's what he says. He says, "I'm going to show you a life which we handled, which we saw and we examined and we looked upon. And that's the eternal life. It's a Person who walked like this on earth."

Now this is the whole meaning of the letter of John. You now say that that Person lives in you, and you in Him. If He does so, He lives that life through you, so you're like that. My, that's a statement isn't it? That's exactly the whole message of I John. We've seen eternal life in action. Eternal life is that One full of grace and truth, as of the only begotten Son of the Father, Who walked this earth, and Whom we saw with our eyes. Now that's eternal life. Now this eternal life you claim lives in you. You say He's in you, and you abide in Him and He in you. If that is so, He is living through you exactly that same life. Is He? My, that's a challenge, isn't it? That's the whole of I John. He then divides that life out under three headings, to each of which he gives three sections. One is, it's a life of invincible faith. The other is, it's a life of continued holiness. And the third is, it's a life of perfect love Those are the three sections of I John. And he goes back to them again and again. That's the standard.

Karuizawa Japan Conference of 1954 by Norman P. Grubb
Topic: "Daily Walk in the Spirit"

Friday, January 28, 2011

“I was appointed a herald”

Among the various designations which the apostle Paul (the apostle of spiritual fulness) took for himself, was the designation ‘herald’. The word is not so translated in our versions, unfortunately, but wherever you find the word ‘preacher’ or ‘preaching’ or ‘preached’ you have in the original the word ‘herald’, ‘heralding’. Paul actually called himself that in both of his letters to Timothy, once in each. “I was appointed a herald” (1 Tim. 2:7); “Whereunto I was appointed a herald” (2 Tim. 1:11). Our version is ‘a preacher’, and the original idea of the herald was one who was called upon to make an official proclamation. He might be sent by the king to make a royal proclamation, or by a prince or by a magistrate or by a military governor, but it was an official proclamation he was called upon to make. Paul used that word in 2 Cor. 4:5: “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord”, “we herald Christ Jesus as Lord”, “we make the proclamation that Christ Jesus is Lord”, and the herald made his proclamation, and he did not ask anybody if they would accept what he announced; he did not make it optional at all. You can do what you like about it. You have to recognise this fact. What you do is your responsibility. This is God’s fact. “God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36).

All that is meant by Christ as absolute Lord in the appointment of God, in Headship, the Head of every man, the Head of the creation, and Head over all things to the church - all that which we have not yet ranged and understood, but all that that means of the perfect Headship, sovereign Lordship, of Jesus Christ in all things, in every detail, is the first basic factor to spiritual fulness. In so far as He has His place in us and in our affairs, that will determine our measure of spiritual fulness, or the measure in which God is with us. The measure of God in fulness is the measure in which Christ is Lord. Of course, that is so familiar to you, that you wonder why there is so much emphasis, but there it is.

From ~ The Ordinances of Heaven by T. Austin-Sparks 1888~1971 (Date of Publication Unknown)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Watch: The Daily Show features historic Turkey Creek, Mississippi

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bird Like Me
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

Last night the historic African American community of Turkey Creek, in Gulfport, Mississippi, was featured on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  Derrick Evans, a Bridge The Gulf contributor (read his posts here) who is also Executive Director of Turkey Creek Community Initiatives and Advisor to the Gulf Coast Fund, tells of how residents formed an unlikely alliance to protect their land.

This prompts Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac to test a theory: that birds are treated better than black people in Mississippi.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


One Wedding and Six Funerals
What it can mean to participate in the life of God.
By Mark Galli

Connoisseur for Christ: Roberta Green Ahmanson
What inspires the art enthusiast to give millions away?
By Christine A. Scheller

Luminous Slice of China
In the historical novel City of Tranquil Light, ordinary missionaries transcend extraordinary circumstances.

Filling the Dad Gap
John Sowers addresses the root of many social ills.
By Katelyn Beaty

Miss America and the Bikini Question
Do modern-day pageants ask young evangelical women to compromise their values just an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny too much?


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Books to Note

Short reviews of recent books worth considering.

Small Faith, Great God

N. T. Wright
Inter-varsity Press, 2010
N. T. Wright reminds us that Christian faith is neither a mere assent to certain facts nor a sentimental embrace of religious identity. Instead, Christian faith is always determined by its object. The size of our faith is not what matters, but the greatness of the God who has accepted us because of Christ's work on our behalf. This reissue of one of Wright's early works contains a message that may be more timely today than when it was first released in 1978.—Trevin Wax
Handel's Messiah

Comfort for God's People
Calvin R. Stapert
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2010
The market for opera was fading, the fickle English public preferring parody over the real thing. So the resourceful Handel turned from opera to oratorio, supplementing his elegant and dramatic solos with powerful exclamation points of choral music. Handel couldn't have achieved the greatness of Messiah without Charles Jennens, who compiled these texts to fight the tide of spreading deism. Read this book, and you'll never hear Messiah the same way again.—David Neff
Who Chose the Gospels?

Probing the Great Gospel Conspiracy
C. E. Hill (Oxford University Press)
Sometimes the silliness is so, well, silly, you don't even want to respond—like the speculation in The Da Vinci Code that imperial politics and papal manipulation made the four Gospels "Scripture." Until people start believing the fiction. Thus the need for a book like this, in which New Testament professor C. E. Hill of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando patiently unveils the evidence that these four books emerged preeminent because the early church leaders were convinced—surprise!—that they were the most reliable accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus.—Mark Galli
Saint Peter

The Underestimated Apostle
Martin Hengel, translated by Thomas Trapp (Eerdmans)
Though Peter seems to drop out of the apostolic picture in the middle of Luke's Acts, he continued to play a crucial role, argues Martin Hengel, in forming both Jewish and Gentile Christian congregations. In this scholarly, accessible, and brief work, the late professor emeritus of New Testament and Judaism at Tۢingen University looks at Peter the theologian, mission strategist, and family man, and how married apostles contributed to the rapid spread of the faith. —Mark Galli
Closing the Window

Steps to Living Porn Free
Tim Chester (InterVarsity Press)
It's no longer news that porn is not only pandemic in the culture but also in the church. And it's not just the young man's problem, but that of older men and even of women. Church planter Tim Chester faces this reality practically and theologically. He offers a five-fold approach that incorporates honest self-examination, suggests effective accountability, and offers a God-centered vision that can sabotage the attraction of porn. —Mark Galli
American Grace

How Religion Divides and Unites Us
Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell
(Simon & Schuster)
At 573 pages (not counting 100 pages of footnotes), this is not exactly light recommended reading. But for those who like big studies of American religion, this is your cup of tea. In particular, the authors explore the relationship of religion and politics, and how that relationship has contributed to and detracted from America's common life. Religious neighbors are better neighbors than their secular counterparts, it turns out, but also less tolerant of dissent and supportive of civil liberties. So, yes, the book is full of surprising and seemingly contradictory findings. —Mark Galli
A God-Sized Vision

Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir
Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge (Zondervan)
Reformed wunderkind Collin Hansen (Young, Restless, Reformed) and seasoned historian John Woodbridge (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) team up to give readers a brief and energetic history of revivals. The fast-paced narrative notes time and again the men and women who had a "God-sized vision" for what Jonathan Edwards described as "the surprising work of the Spirit of God" in every age, on many continents.—Mark Galli
Navigating Your Perfect Storm

Bob Wenz (Biblica)
This pastor of 27 years and former vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals is dealing with his own perfect storm: In 2005, he was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, an incurable lung disease. So both as pastor and person, he knows about adversity. Thankfully, he avoids the narcissism usually found in this genre, and instead anchors the book in Jesus' farewell discourse, John 13 to 16. Add Wenz's uncommon sense and flashes of insight, and you have a solid and wise book on suffering.—Mark Galli
Re-Imaging Election

Divine Election as Representing God to Others and Others to God
Suzanne McDonald (Eerdmans)
Calvin College theologian Suzanne McDonald wades into the troubled waters of one of the most controversial of doctrines, and emerges not only alive, but with something fresh. Election is not about who gets into heaven and who doesn't, but, according to McDonald, about who is called to represent God to others, and more to the point, who represents others to God. She argues biblically for the prominent role of the Holy Spirit in election, and the priestly nature of the church's election: "The elect exist radically and instrinsically for the sake of the other," she says, "and to bring blessing to those who are apparently outside the promises of God." This is academic theology, yes, but one that speaks directly to the mission of the church.—Mark Galli
Passing It On

An Autobiography with Spirit
Susan G. Baker (Bright Sky Press)
As wife of former secretary of state and White House chief of staff Jim Baker, Susan Baker could have written a political tell-all. Instead, this godly woman wrote "an autobiography with spirit," chronicling how faith in God helped her cope as wife and mother in the public eye. A private woman, but never shy, Baker protested raunchy rock lyrics, organized against homelessness, coordinated prayer for First Ladies, and strove for healing in the Middle East.—David Neff

Related Elsewhere:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

King's Vision of Justice: Rooted in the Bible

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

By David J. Lull
    As we celebrate the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we remember how important the Bible was to him, and how deeply his vision of racial justice is rooted in the Judeo-Christian heritage. It was the Bible that led him to choose the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest over hatred, despair and violence.

    Dr. King often pointed out that it was Jesus' Sermon on the Mount that inspired the "dignified social action" of the civil rights movement. His notion of "creative suffering"
borne by civil rights activists who endured persecution and police brutality came from his Christian faith in the redemptive suffering of Jesus.

    Dr. King dreamed of a day when America lives up to its creed, when all people sit together at one table, and when freedom and justice reign. His famous "I have a dream" speech reaches its highest point with echoes of the prophet Isaiah: "I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low ... and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together."

    In words of the prophet Micah, he hoped that one day all persons elected to public office will "do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with [their] God." His hope for an end to war was rooted in Isaiah's vision that people will "beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks." Biblical promises of "peace on earth and goodwill toward all" were Dr. King's antidote to despair.

    To critics who accused him of being an extremist, Dr. King said that he stood in a long line of extremists, including the prophet Amos, Jesus, the apostle Paul, the Protestant reformer Martin Luther, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. For Dr. King, the question was what kind of extremists we will be
extremists for hate or for love, for injustice or for justice, for evil or for goodness.

    Dr. King's commitment to the Bible as his primary source book was nourished in his childhood when Bible stories told around the dinner table held the King children in awe. Those stories sustained him until the end of his life.

    In what was to be his last speech, Dr. King drew from the biblical story of Moses: "Like anybody, I would like to live a long life ... But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain, and I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land."

David J. Lull wrote "King's Vision of Justice: Rooted in the Bible" while serving as director of the NCC Bible Translation and Utilization Program. He now serves as Assistant Professor of New Testament at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Volunteers needed for Jan. 28 homeless count

Friday, January 14, 2011 at 4:14 p.m.
Two hundred volunteers are needed Jan. 28 to help conduct San Diego County's annual survey of its poorest population: Its homeless.
The Regional Task Force on the Homeless will be conducting its so-called Point-In-Time count on Jan. 28 between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., as part of a mandate from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which uses the information to allocate aid that will assist the unsheltered.
Results are included in city and county federal grant applications that are submitted to the federal department.
Volunteers, 300 of whom have already signed up for the effort, will fan out in teams, walking and driving, to conduct a visual count of people living in the streets that morning. Service providers will separately tally the number of people staying in shelters or other facilities. In addition, about 10 percent to 15 percent of everyone tallied will be surveyed by questionnaire.
Registration is available online at the website of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless,
In 2010, there were 8,574 found to be people living in shelters or on the street, and 4,599 of those without a roof, both figures up from the previous year.  • (619) 293-1335 • Twitter @SDuncovered

Embracing the Ordinary

Are we entitled to be beautiful?

My sister is losing her hair. Just some of it. After each of her three pregnancies, she’s lost a little, but this last one took a harsher toll, and she’s learned she has an iron deficiency that often results in hair loss. My sister and I both have very fine hair, so losing it—even just a little—has been an especially difficult reality to face.

My sister is beautiful. She’s not flashy or glamorous; rather, her beauty is a natural radiance. My sister is also wise and probably cause for 75 percent of my spiritual and emotional growth throughout the years. We had a conversation over Christmas that stemmed from her hair loss, snatches of which I’ve had running through my mind since.

It’s hard for me to remember a time when I’ve seen my sister as insecure about a physical feature than she has been about her hair. Yet God has been using this struggle to continue honing the orientation of her heart toward him.
She said to me, “As I’ve been experiencing this loss and growing in my self-consciousness, I’ve realized that I have an expectation of myself—almost a sense of entitlement—to being ‘above average.’ Even if I don’t necessarily feel that my attractiveness is above average, I’m always striving toward that end—like that’s the expectation I hold myself to. But when was I ever guaranteed ‘above average attractiveness’ in this life? Jesus himself had ‘no beauty to attract us to him.’ If he didn't demand to be attractive, what makes me think I'm entitled to be?”

She wasn’t being self-deprecating. She was really just considering this new possible reality: that for the time being, on this old earth, maybe she’s going to be ordinary. Maybe she can just be ordinary. The voice that’s led her to believe in a certain entitlement—to reach for something beyond who she really is—isn’t God’s voice. So she doesn’t have to factor it.

Of course it’s nice to look nice; it’s appropriate to be appropriate. Makeup is not of the devil.
But hearing my sister’s thoughts, which contain so much of God’s truth, has served God’s purpose (as his truth is bound to do): since Christmas, I’ve experienced a freedom previously foreign to me. It is truly okay to be ordinary.

It’s actually most likely that you and I were made physically ordinary. Yes, one day we will be given new and flawless bodies, and now our flawed bodies are divinely appointed to be vessels of God’s Holy Spirit, which is no small calling. But how we look—here, now? It’s just not true that we need to look better and better, whether better than we do naturally or better than other people. It’s not how we were made, and we don’t have to waste so much of ourselves on that pursuit. Praise the Lord for this insight!

Where are you in this journey? Do you long to throw off this false expectation and embrace the blessed ordinariness of this life?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Coronado Middle School
550 F Avenue
Coronado, CA  92118

Lisa Johnson
"Solutions For the Worn Out Woman"

Rev. Lisa Johnson is St. Paul's new Assistant Pastor. Lisa is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary. She will  focus on family ministry and young adult Christian outreach, as well as supporting our volunteer Sunday School leaders and assisting Reverend Neal Keller in the pulpit. Lisa and her husband Steve are the parents of two children - a daughter Ellie and a son Luke. 

Lisa grew up in Mission Viejo, graduated from Westmont College, and received her Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. She recently joined the staff at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Coronado where she is developing inter-generational programs that offer more opportunities for young families, youth and children.  She has spoken at youth and women’s retreats including Forest Home, sharing her rare ability of moving right past the surface of things to reach the deep places of the soul.

Lisa Johnson will motivate, inspire and challenge you to revitalize and renew your spirit. 

Tickets $15
Send check to Coronado Coffee at
941 Orange Ave. Box #120, Coronado, CA  92118

Monday, January 10, 2011

Two Cathedrals, Two Ideological Blogs

Voice of San Diego “Morning Report” January 10th, 2011

On Saturday, two progressive young thinkers launched Two Cathedrals, a new blog for a left-wing perspective on local San Diego politics (or as they call it, a "fact-devoid, ideological spam blocker.") In case you were curious, the name hails from a memorable "West Wing" episode.

Two Cathedrals joins San Diego Rostra, the right-wing forum, in trying to provide a platform for people to share their points of view from that angle. CityBeat recently called Rostra a "virtual meeting place of sorts" for local conservatives.

More and more, groups are realizing that they can't hope to get their message out via a media that still is losing resources and control over public discourse. Rather than just passing along messages from partisans and activists, we believe professional journalists need to focus on making sense of what these leaders say and finding out the things they don't want to say.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Temptation and Sex

Norman P. Grubb

Sex is by far the greatest problem in nearly all our lives and in the lives of our converts. It's by far the biggest curse as well as blessing of the world. Unless and until we've handled the sex problem to the bottom in our lives and found a way through, we are neither ourselves on safe ground nor can we lead others on to safe ground. It's our strongest instinct; our strongest appetite. It's love in its physical level- God is love, so that's strong! We're enticed by every appetite. An appetite is a desire. Now it's rightful to desire food. It's natural to enjoy food. When we see a nice thing on the table, it's natural to say in appreciation, "My, that's nice"-that fried chicken or something. That's natural; we've an appetite and that's all right as long as it does not become illicit. Then it becomes greed. As long as the enjoyment is a minor matter and the major matter is that we're just eating to keep our bodies fit, that's all right. To enjoy is the minor matter; the major matter is the big objective, but if we live for the enjoyment, then we are getting illicit; it's becoming greed.

The same with rest. We all like to lie down, stretch out, and rest. We like to; we have an appetite that likes to rest. That's not wrong; we should enjoy our rest. But as long as that is the minor motive and the major motive is that I must rest to keep fit, it is legitimate. But when we just go on resting and resting, we become slothful.

Now sex is the same. Now the proof that sex is the dominant factor in life is that the whole world shouts sex at us. Nothing is comparable in this world. For everything which possibly can draws attention to illicit sex. The advertisements, the pictures, the way people dress, all center around the exposure of the female form because that is the chief temptation to man. Women have their own sex temptations. They have to be faced to the bottom too. Men have theirs starting through the eye. "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart." And the whole world is set on diverting my eye to look, and desire to look, on something that stimulates me sexually.

Karuizawa Japan Conference of 1954
Topic: "Temptation"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Tarnished Silver Anniversary

January 4, 2011

What is destroying marriage in the West — and what has sustained my husband and me through several potentially marriage-destroying events.

A silver anniversary isn’t what it used to be. I know this from experience, having celebrated mine last month, but the data speaks for itself. According to a 2005 U.S. Census Bureau report, only 33 percent of us reached the milestone 10 years ago, whereas 70 percent of those who married in the late 1950s did. For previous generations, a 25th wedding anniversary was as much a simple consequence of time as it was cause to celebrate. Surrounded by as many divorcing and non-marrying loved ones as I am, I was a little embarrassed to draw attention to our special day. And like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son, I harbored some resentment about this fact. Read more here....

Monday, January 3, 2011

Survey Reveals Americans' 2011 New Year's Resolutions

As the calendar shifts from holiday celebrations to January, a new survey from the Barna Group explores what Americans describe as their New Year's resolutions. Do Americans make such commitments and are they successful? The nationwide survey provides a snapshot of people's personal growth priorities. Find out how your own priorities for this year compare with the national averages. 

Resolution Reasoning

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Family of God

by T. Austin-Sparks 

The Divine thought is surely not to have companies of Christians constituted by a New Testament technique, or system of doctrine and practice, any more than it is to have congregations, preaching-places, or just meetings. Primarily it is to have spiritual families; and a Divinely governed and ordered family will express its life according to what is true doctrine and right practice. Thus, when it is time for His people to take spiritual responsibility, if the Holy Spirit had things on His right basis, He would distribute them so that new spiritual families are brought into being. This is organic growth as differing from organised expansion which is so unsatisfactory in its resultant spiritual measure. How much safer and purer is this Divine method. For one thing, it starts from the inside and not from without. Its bond is mutual love, not doctrine. It grows by spiritual birth or organic oneness, not by adherence or "joining". Its success is not determined by its size or numbers, but by its spiritual life and inward measure of Christ. 

There is nothing professional about a true family; neither is there anything artificial or formal. What a true natural family would be in every respect, as to its own inner corporate and family life, and as to its growth, testimony, work, and multiplication of itself in new families in due course, so the local companies of the Lord's people ought to be; for God intended His visible institutions to embody His invisible, spiritual, and heavenly thoughts and principles. But it is all spontaneous and vital, not organised and technical. We cannot go further here with this Divine thought, but we ask; May this not be the Lord's object in allowing or causing that ever present sense of inadequacy, limitation, and dissatisfaction in "organized Christianity"; and may this not lie behind His permitting of so much destruction in the realm of the traditional framework which has really come to take the place of the true spiritual family? There is nothing like an emergency and suffering to bring down to the bedrock things; and the bedrock of true Christian experience is that, beneath all else, the Lord's true people are a family - "The Church of the firstborn ones".

The first thing that the Lord Jesus said on His resurrection was "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father". When the meaning of His resurrection was made good in the coming of the Holy Spirit, we find that the believers in Jerusalem were spontaneously constituted a spiritual family, "breaking bread from house to house". Later, reference was made to one local company as "the Church in thy house". Let us remember that only two spiritually responsible ones are essential to be the starting-point of a family. May this not be the principle behind the sending forth at the beginning "two by two"?

But let us ever remember that the Lord has a governing object in mind in the family, and that the family is not an end in itself. Spiritual fulness is His end, not only spiritual fellowship. Much loss has been suffered by the Lord and His people by other forms taking the place of the spiritual fulness. Beware of substitutes. Beware of letting go something of the measure for which you have been apprehended. This is one of the perils of isolation and scattering from the family where your home has been. The one powerful bond of a true family is that the desire and will of its head governs all its members. If the Lord's desire for spiritual fulness governs us all, it will be a safeguard or guiding principle, and motive-power which delivers from many personal and lesser interests or considerations which would eventuate in limitation and disappointment. We are quite certain that spiritual fulness is only possible by emancipation from the artificial and man-made system of procedure which obtains today, and a return to the simple but powerful basis of organic life kept pure by the direct government of the Holy Spirit, as it was at the first. 

Well, beloved, the Lord open your hearts to all that is of Himself, and our prayer is, in the words of an Apostle, that "none of you should be deemed to have come short".

First published in an Editor's Letter in "A Witness and A Testimony" magazine, Mar-Apr 1941 Vol. 17-2

The Lord’s Prayer

Posted on by Sam
Jesus taught his disciples to pray in the following outline:
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.1 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done,1 on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread,1 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Mt 6.9-13 – ESV).

We pray to the Father.  Simple enough.

Thy “kingdom come” coupled with “your will be done” are synonymous.  God’s “rule” is his “will” being carried out.  And, where is the rule of God carried out?  “Heaven” and “earth.”  God issues his decree “from the bench” so to speak, in heaven, and it is carried out on the earth.  Now, Jesus is not saying that unless this is prayed, it won’t happen.  God’s rule has always been the norm.  So, what is the difference here?  The answer is to be found in the expression: thy kingdom come.  What kingdom?  God’s.  Hasn’t it “come” before?  Yes, it has always ruled.  God has always ruled in the heavenlies, and he has always ruled the nations.  The OT is replete with this notion.  So, what’s this “coming” all about?
It has to do something with the fact of the kingdom’s manifestation.  The kingdom, which has always been expressed in the OT, would come about in a new way.  If we understand Jesus to be firmly rooted in the OT Scriptures, then we must go back there to see if the Prophets were expecting the arrival of God in a way that He has not arrived before.  In short, to keep this simple, Jesus is praying for the arrival of the salvation and kingdom of God outlined in the Prophets.  He is praying for the arrival of Isaiah 40-66, Ezekiel 40-48, Zechariah 14, and the other myriad of passages that are in parallel with that material.

“He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. 17 He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. 18 According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment. 19 So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream,1 which the wind of the LORD drives. 20 “And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the LORD (Is 59.16-20).

Thy kingdom come!  And so it has.  We believe that this coming refers to the events of history surrounding the Jewish War in 66-70 AD.  But, the prophecy does not end there.  Is 60.1-ff shows what happens as a result of this coming.  There is a recreation that takes place, not instantly, but gradually.  The nations are no longer gathered and ruled over in terms of their entering into judgment.  They are ruled over and gathered in terms of their redemption.  God’s will is being done on earth as it is in heaven.  The Purpose of God (his will) is now being displayed, and the results are the salvation of the nations.  Is 60.1-ff (which is rehashed in Rev 21-22, verbatim in some places).  The language of Isaiah 60 and 61 is the language of restoration and recreation.  That Purpose has now come, and is coming.  Wherever the Christian stands, he should pray: thy kingdom come!  In your houses, businesses, neighborhoods: thy kingdom come!

Unlike before, where God’s kingdom ruled on earth, the display of it “worked wrath”.  Now that the sin issue is dealt with in Christ, the kingdom of God “on earth” can take on a new-creation dimension it was not able to do before.  I do not mean it was “not able” in the sense that something prevented God from being God.  The reason it was not able to do what it now does is because of that which God himself had set up.  He judged sin.  He decreed the reign of the Sin and the Death.  He added the Law in order to increase the Sin.  This was his kingdom at work on earth.  But, “there was no one to intercede.”  There was no “salvation” upon the earth.  It is this aspect of the coming kingdom Jesus taught his disciples to pray for.  Where God and Man together can rule and reign together on earth, bringing all things on earth into submission to God’s kingdom.  David had tried this, and Solomon had reached the zenith of trying it, only to fail.  Jesus succeeded.  He crushed the powers and disarmed all authorities.  God’s power was now fully given the Last Adam (the First Adam of the New Creation), to Man himself.  Because the Last Adam, unlike the First Adam, shared as equal in the Divinity of the Godhead, it was now eternally secured to Man.  This time, the kingdom (dominion) of God and the rightful dominion given to Man can now accomplish the original Purpose: subdue all things to the glory of God.

This, then, is the will of God, and it is to be displayed on earth as it is in heaven.  All we need to ask it, how IS it in heaven, currently?  Pretty good, I imagine.  God’s redeemed have been gathered to him.  His son has been married off with the Bride.  His people now dwell with him, enjoying the Feast.  We see glimpses of that reality here on earth, too.  But, we don’t see it all that way, yet.  You now have your marching orders.  One day, the earth will reflect as it is in heaven, where the two shall become as one.  In our hearts, in our carbon-based lives here on earth, it is already reflecting it.  In the Church at large, it is already reflecting it.  Our mission, like Isaiah 61 tells us, is to “rebuild” what Sin and Death have destroyed.   To enter into the Purpose of God in the process of recreating a new heavens and a new earth.  This is the impossible-for-man-but-possible-for-God-mission that he has called the Church to do.  All things have been given to us.  All things are guaranteed to work for the good of God’s Glory and Purpose.  We can’t fail (Rom 8.24-ff). 

Anyway….food for thought.