Sunday, December 27, 2009



One of the topics Jesus taught from the beginning and throughout most of His teaching was the Kingdom. The Kingdom is all about God's presence among us. The Kingdom is the way of living life according to and in the presence of the King-Jesus. We seem to ignore this kind of thinking much of the time. I want to suggest three observations that may be helpful here.

FIRST-Jesus came to dwell among us-TO BE WITH US: "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means "GOD WITH US"). (Matthew 1:23) GOD WITH US! Christmas is all about God wanting to come down here and make Himself at home with us.

SECOND-Jesus called a few TO BE WITH HIM: He appointed twelve that they might BE WITH HIM. (Mark 3:14-15) Jesus set out to accomplish the work God, the Father, had asked Him to do-to be with the few the Father brought to Him and to teach them about His name. Jesus said: "and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:26) Imagine that! The love with which the Father loved Jesus can be in us and Jesus be in us at the same time!

THIRD-Jesus continues TO BE WITH US TODAY. Jesus shares with us the plan for continuing to dwell WITH US today: "If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever-the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home (our dwelling place) with them." (John 14)

Jesus also shares with us how He will show up and make Himself known among us. "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I will show up in their midst." Jesus will show up as a few of us gather in His name. He still is inviting a few for Him TO BE WITH THEM today!

You see, Jesus through His Spirit is present WITH US right now and welcomes us. After seeing how the Gentiles (the non-Jews) readily believed Jesus enough to follow Him, Peter said: "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him." (Acts 10:34-35)

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, Jesus gave His disciples one final command to make disciples of all nations and cultures. He envelopes this command with these words: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations." Then he said: And surely I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, to the very end of the age." (MT 28:19-20) He doesn't say I will be with you again someday. He says "I am with you always-right now on into eternity!"

Jesus came as Immanuel-TO BE WITH US and HE IS STILL HERE WITH US today, therefore: · We don't have to ask Him to be with us! He already is! · We don't have to ask Him to bless us! He already has! · We don't have to look for Him! He is invisible, but dynamically present! · We don't have to conjure Him up through powerful charismatic experiences! He is the one who has powerfully come to dwell WITH US! · We don't have to be anything other than we are! He wants to dwell with you just as you are!

A friend in Jesus recently said it this way: Jesus became like us so that we might become like Him and He came to live WITH US for a time so that we might live WITH HIM forever. And guess what? Forever starts the moment you realize that Jesus is Immanuel and you decide to follow Him.

Now to me, this makes Christmas the merriest of holidays! GOD WITH US started 2000+ years ago and He continues to be WITH US today. This is why I talk to Him throughout the day. This is why I am in a constant conversation with Jesus asking a very simple question, "What do you have for me today, Jesus?" And when I ask, He shows up. And when I don't ask, I don't see Him or even think of Him. Since I know God is WITH US, I am so much more at ease about my day. GOD WITH US!

An extremely effective way of seeing ourselves with God and God with us is to read through the Acts of Jesus. Beginning this Friday, January 1st, to begin the new year of 2010, we will be going through Acts for 28 days in a row and that includes weekends. Plan on joining me on this venture. You will be able to see Jesus more clearly in your life today and how He is working among His people. Come along this Friday and check Jesus out for yourself.