This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
The future is not something God is working toward; it is where he is working from. The future is a virus that is looking for any way to break in. God starts from the end back. He works back from the future. We never see God coming; we see him going. The future is invading the present. God is not caught off guard. We need to talk about futures that have already happened. Because God is not off guard, he has already made provision. John 4: the disciples were in the bubble. Insular. Verses 34-35: four months more and then we'll get serious about mission. Our strategic plans are sometimes nice ways to say no to God. What do you look at? Problems, tasks. Jesus sees opportunities. Whatever we see determines what we're working on. Jesus did what he saw his father doing. What are you seeing God doing? Are you responding to that or your job description, people, etc. We've been taught in the modern era that we see God in a book. He is there, but our vision needs to be mightily expanded. We are insular. We've built a parallel universe. Instead of intersecting all the avenues of culture (arts, government, finance), we've built a separate domain. We have our own music awards, radio stations, bookstores, cruise ships. We eat with people like us, vacation with people like us. We go in for port calls but we scramble back. We need the capacity to see beyond ourselves (John 4:34-35). The biggest problem the disciples had was they grew up in church. Most of us need to get over our church experience. In a lot of Christian crowds, there are relatively few new disciples. This should scare us. If God had given the Pharisee's line, John 3:16 would say, "For God so loved the church…" The Pharisees talked about the kingdom of God too, but they thought it was all about getting enough people to behave. People who think we will bring in the kingdom by fixing the culture – only Pharisees think like this. Pharisees – "You want God, come and get it." Religious people are always a problem for God. Dress like us, become like us. Pharisees had their own subculture. We are the Pharisees. Everything we love to hate about the Pharisees is what the culture sees in us. They don't associate Jesus with his followers. There are people who come to every seminar I teach looking for a better way to do church. That is NOT the point.