The Kingdom of God
I've just been working on Sunday's sermon which is called "Not All It Seems." See Matthew 11:1-11.
The biggest issue people have with God is that He doesn't do what we think a good God should do.
The Jewish religious experts were looking for a warrior-king to set their nation free. What they got was a baby in a manger who grew up calling them nasty names. So they killed Him.
John had expectations of Jesus. I suppose being locked in prison for being the one who clears the way for the Messiah can cloud your judgement a bit.
Jesus confronted the expectations that people had of John.
Everybody thinks they know the way God should be moving and who He should be using.
Everybody thinks they know what the Kingdom of God should look like, what the presence of God should feel like.
And it's all based on our limited experience and imagination.
Needless to say, God is bigger than that.
So in a remote country town God breaks out in a tin shed.
One person has a real-life vision of an event that brings true unity of the church.
Another has a dream that transforms her understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.
Others dare to ask big "what if" questions that show the heart of God.
Then people in the community start to take notice. Just one or two at first, but they turn into a torrent of people whose curiosity and imagination are piqued.
A letter from a community organisation praising us for doing what others cannot.
An atheist comes into the church to buy into our water project.
Musicians and dancers, photographers and painters start to see God is here.
A drop of rain, multiplied, becomes a trickle and then a creek, a river, a flood.
If you multiply what God is doing in one place by the millions of believers around the planet, you see a world slowly being changed for the better.
The kingdom of God is advancing relentlessly across the globe, a flood that cannot be held back.
It doesn't look like anyone ever envisaged- except God who knew exactly what He was doing.
We thought fancy building would do it, or great music. We thought TV shows and multimedia.
But all the time God was dreaming of a people who would just listen, trust and obey.