PetInsi 06-10-162      


Bringing the Kingdom of God into Your Everyday World


Jim Petersen & Mike Shamy

NavPress, 2003, 237 pp., ISBN 1-57683-338-0


Petersen is the associate to the general director of The Navigators and the author of Living Proof and Church Without Walls.  In four sections – biblical foundations, obstacles, life patterns, and personal cost – he offers lessons from the Scripture and his own experience about sharing your faith in real life.


“We all need to live for something.”  “…if we do not feel that what we’re working on somehow transcends the here and now, we find ourselves struggling with feelings of futility.” “We want to give ourselves to something that will outlive us.” (18)


To understand what life is all about we have to ask what God is doing.  “A futile life is one lived on an agenda that has no connection with God’s purposes.” (19)


“What is God doing?  He is creating an inheritance for his Son.  It consists of people of all nations.” (22)


“Throughout history, ever since these words were written [Ps. 2:8-9)], God has repeatedly acted on this promise to his Son.  A society builds a system that in time, shuts God out.  As the rebellion of its leaders hardens, the people in that society are deprived of any direct news about God.  At some point, God intervenes.  Suddenly, the repressive system is no more!” (22)


“We want people to see that this calling [to share their faith] is to be worked out within their existing relational networks where they are already positioned as insider.  God intends that every part of our daily life should line up with his purposes, to his glory.” (25)


“According to Jesus, the kingdom of God is within certain people.  It is not in our structures, nor in our organizations….  We observe it by watching its citizens….” “We see the kingdom by observing how certain people live their lives!” (30-31)


“In our value system, we don’t begin to pay attention to people until there are lots of them in one place together.  We count them to decide whether or not what is happening is important.” (31)


“We see the kingdom whenever we see people acting ‘kingdomly’; whenever, because of their love for God, they love the people in their lives.” (32)  “The witness of a single life lived under Christ’s rule is powerful.” (33)  “The message of the kingdom is amplified as its citizens live out their unique calling in community.  As they do the kingdom grows.” (34)  “Living out one’s kingdom citizenship here and now is foundational to one’s fruitfulness as an insider.” (35)


“He intended that the Israelites, by the way they lived, would reveal who he is and what he is like to all their neighbors.” (40)  “…God’s purpose was to reveal himself to the peoples of the world through a combination of both physical and spiritual generations, beginning with Israel.” (41)


“We are the body of Christ.  We are his way of getting around in this world today!” (56)  “…as a rule, we are called to follow him back into our own communities.”  (58) Living out your kingdom citizenship where you are is what it means to be an insider. (61)


When people become Christians and withdraw from their old relationships they forfeit their “field position.”  They become an outsider.  (63)


“The insider is a key player in God’s pursuit of the nations.  If a church planter wants to end up with insiders who carry the gospel into their families and circles of friends, he needs to begin there, with that idea in mind.” (68)  The missionary can get things started but only insiders can make the good news flow through their relational networks. (71)  “The gospel needs to be seen and heard to be understood by most people.” (72)  Insiders have connections, relationships and trust. (75)


“It [reaching people in your community] requires connecting with people where they are, on their turf, and at times when they are available.” (77)


“Discipleship is in our vocabulary and our programs today, but discipleship does not characterize our churches.  We, as a people, are not particularly intent on following Christ.” (82)


“I was surprised to discover how much space the New Testament devotes to this subject [legalism]. (103)  “The Pharisees…attached human rules to God’s Word and then treated both as having equal authority.  Legalism is an obstacle to faith because it opposes grace, which is the heart of the gospel.  Its rules become a false ladder to salvation.” (104)  “Legalistic rule-keeping is nothing more than a paint job that hides the real condition of the heart.” (106)


So what does God want of us by way of lifestyle?  The Scriptures identify behaviors that are always right, those that are always wrong, and matters that are right or wrong depending on the context.  According to Paul, sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, envy, drunkenness, are examples of wrong behaviors.  Love, joy, peace, and patience are examples of right behaviors.  (108)


“There is a world of difference between submitting to the Holy Spirit and submitting to human regulations.”  (109)


“The Bible identifies two laws, or principles, that will guide us in our deciding what to do when we are confronted with a decision over a doubtful matter.  The two laws are the law of love and the law of self-control.” (110)


We are caught in a consumer economy.  Whether we need stuff or not we keep buying it.  “And that means keeping up the helter-skelter pace to earn the money for our purchases.  The consumer is being consumed by the product.” (123)


“…we have joined the stampede in pursuit of consumption and personal fulfillment at the expense of everything else.” (124)


“We need to remember that, before anything else, we are citizens of the kingdom of God.  He calls us to align our notions of progress and success accordingly.” (125)


“…being an insider isn’t about adding one more activity to an already frantic life.”  “This calls for a change in paradigms—a full-scale reorienting of our mind.  It means operating on a different set of values—a departure from the mindless rush to keep up, to walking in tune with God’s purposes.  It is replacing one way of life with another.” (125)


Obstacles that threaten our ability to live as an insider include fears, scruples, busyness, and our feelings of personal inadequacy.  (129)  Most of our feelings of inadequacy are rooted in Satan’s lies by which he tries to control us. (130)


However we need our inadequacies.  “Without them we will never understand our need for true strength.”  “Spiritual fruitfulness does not come out of our feeling strong and self-assured.  Spiritual fruit can only come from the Holy Spirit.” (136) 


“It happens all the time.  God does the work—and we take the credit.  And every time we do, we mar the picture.  We touch his glory.” (138)


“The truth is, we are all weak.”  “We all struggle with multiple inadequacies.  But that is no reason to consider oneself disqualified from engaging as an insider with others.” (140)


“Life is a window of opportunity in an eternal existence.  God is creating a people.  He is gathering them from every corner of every nation to share eternally in his kingdom as members of his household.”  “We are an insider to various relationships within which God intends that we glorify, or reveal, him.”  “This is a purpose bigger than life.” (143) 


Seven life patterns of an insider’s lifestyle: taking little initiatives, praying and responding, serving and being served, teaming up, conversing the faith, letting the Scriptures speak, and midwifing conversion.  (144)


“If people are going to see the kingdom of God today, they will have to observe it in its citizens.  It is revealed as Christ’s rule in our heart is expressed in our actions.” (146)


“As we pray, God will guide us.  Prayer isn’t just talking to God.  It’s interacting with him.  It involves listening.  It includes being predisposed to respond to what God puts in our heart.  Prayer often leads to action.  It is not a sedentary activity at all.”  “There are times as I’m praying for someone that I know exactly what I’m supposed to do next.  But the idea frightens me.” (155)


“Prayer is a request for the Holy Spirit’s active participation in a situation.” The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and righteousness and judgment.  (155)


“Serving is another of those simple ideas that is foundational to fruitful insidership.  Simply put, it is meeting another person’s need because we are motivated by a desire to express love and gratitude to Christ for his unspeakable service to us.  This kind of service speaks volumes without our saying a word.” (163)


Paul’s first concern was for the Christian’s actions.  Then Paul wanted them to converse in a manner that caused people to want more.  And be ready to respond. (171)


Don’t hijack a conversation to make your pat presentation!  Instead slip in a bit of something that intrigues interest.  Curiosity makes people want more.  When it’s satisfied, the search is over. (172)


“The more we understand how the gospel affects us in our daily affairs and relationships, and the more we learn to converse about this in everyday language, the easier it becomes to let people in on what it means to know God.” (174)


“Questions are like keys that unlock the storehouses of the mind.”  Find the subject someone likes to talk about and let them talk.  (175)  AND LISTEN!       “Good listeners honor people through their attentiveness.” (176)


“Your goal is clear.  You want everyone to get a fresh look at Jesus—one that has not been embellished by traditions or preconceived notions.”  (189)


There are only two questions we need to ask as followers of Christ: Who is Jesus? and What does he want of us? (189) 


Being an insider means living our life from the perspective of the Great Commandment. (210)  “Much of it can be done as we go along in the course of an ordinary day: things like taking little initiatives, praying for people, and serving them.”  (212) 



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