MODGNIK... what do we know about it? It's one of the great mysteries of historic Christianity. It's a completely upside-down way to understand God. It's confusing, yet beautifully simple. But don't worry, all will be revealed about this new series at Eastside!
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Jesus’ Kingdom is not like an earthly kingdom; it’s a backwards, upside down MODGNIK KINGDOM that looks completely different than we would expect.
Our idea of kingdom is shaped by what we see on TV and read in history books, and some of us are disappointed with Jesus because we are confused about what it means to follow Jesus and be part of the Kingdom of God.
Some of us have confused it with the American dream. We think the end result of following Jesus is a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house, two cars, 2.4 kids, and a dog, all behind a white picket fence in a good school district.
Others of us have confused it with going to church, saying a prayer at Thanksgiving, growing up in a Christian home, being a spiritual person, doing good things, or being a “good person.”
Still others may be confused about all the brands of Christianity: Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, non-denominational, Episcopalian, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, and just plain unorthodox.
And a lot of people would say, “I don’t want to be a Christian at all because they’re a bunch of backwards, stuck-in-the mud moralists who seem to exist only to judge others and suck the fun out of life.”
But none of those things is really what Jesus invited us to. Jesus invited us to follow Him and become a part of His upside down, inside out, backwards kingdom where we pray, “Oh God may up there, come down here.” The kingdom of Jesus not only makes life better, it makes us better at life.
When you think about following Jesus, what does it mean for your practical day in and day out life? This isn’t a question about whether you read your Bible regularly (although that’s important), it’s a question about the impact that following Jesus has on your normal, “non-spiritual” activities.
Have someone read Matthew 7:9-12.
Our world and culture are divided culturally, politically, racially, socially, religiously. But there is a single universal ethic espoused by Jesus that all of us can agree on: Do to others what you would have them do to you. The problem, of course, is that we’re not doing a very good job living this out.
In the New Testament of the Bible, there’s a 2-word phrase that keeps coming up over and over again, “One another.” It’s used 59 times. When we see the same phrase repeated throughout the Bible that is a clue to us that this is important to Jesus.
Honestly evaluate your day. How well have you kept the golden rule today?
Have someone read Acts 4:32-37.
“Encourage others” is one of the three “one another’s” we looked at this weekend. To encourage others is to put courage in them. You give them hope, confidence, and spirit by your words and actions. After Jesus died and rose again, believers left behind their jobs and lives to come together. This was exciting, but there was a need for resources.
One of these believers, Joseph, was nicknamed Barnabas, which means “Son of Encouragement.” He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles. This incredible gift helped them do more in less time.
Barnabas was also the one to meet with Saul—persecuter of Christians who later spread the good news of Jesus all around the known world—when others were fearful of him. Barnabas helped give hope and life to the man who ended up having a huge impact for the kingdom of God.
Have someone read Hebrews 3:13 and Hebrews 10:23-25.
Who is someone you need to be intentional about encouraging this week?
Have someone read John 13:3-17.
Jesus is in the Upper Room the night before he would be arrested and washed the feet of his disciples. He was saying “serve others,” the second “one another” we looked at this weekend. When we walk through life like this, looking for a way to serve others, it changes our perspective.
Serving others is part of God’s upside-down kingdom and will bring joy like you never knew before. Perspectives are changed when we sincerely give back and put others first. When we think, “How can I serve others?” we stop walking into situations thinking “What can you do for me?” This shift is life-changing and allows us to be part of the bigger story of what God is doing in the world.
Have you ever prayed, “Lord, how can I serve you today?” and had a situation present itself? If so, share with the group what happened and how it impacted you.
Have someone read Romans 12:10.
Honor is not something we talk about much anymore. It means giving others high regard and praise. Honor is showing respect to them.
Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood) was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the 1997 Daytime Emmy Awards. During his acceptance speech, Fred gave the audience 10 seconds of silence and encouraged them to use the time to think about someone who had impacted their life. Then he honored the people who had impacted his life.
Take 10 seconds now and think about someone who helped you become the person you are today. Go around the circle and have each group member honor that person by sharing about him or her with the group.
Honor someone this week with a text, a post on their Facebook wall, a handwritten letter, an email or a phone call. Next week share what you did with your group.
Pair off and:
Pray that God would bring people to mind that you can serve, honor or encourage.
Thank God for the people He has put in your life that have encouraged you and helped you to become the person you are today.