On Sunday, August 15, 2010 – my church, Willow Chicago welcomed our new Campus Pastor, Jon Klinepeter and his family. Below are bits of the message he shared with our congregation on Sunday.
The Kingdom of God is not just a future certainty but a present reality.
When we align ourselves with the love of Jesus – we are aligning ourselves with the Kingdom of God.
Every time there was a societal or religious margin that told someone they didn’t belong, Jesus went beyond it. Jesus’ love knew no margin based on background, ethnicity, sin choices… Jesus never met anyone who was beyond his love. There wasn’t a margin that Jesus wouldn’t crash through to show his love for someone.
Love breaks the rules and is somewhat unapologetic about it. It says to religious and social rules “I don’t care!” Choosing the Kingdom of God makes us appear foolish, child-like, dangerous, and unwise. How naïve and crazy Jesus must have looked and felt on the cross.
I want other churches to think we are crazy… because I don’t care what other churches think of us.
If the lost in this city think that we are amazing at loving -then we are living out what God has for us. If the poor and broken in this city know that our love is not just theoretical in prayer, but is tangible in action, then we are arriving at what God has for us. If the gay community in this city feels first our Love, then we are arriving at the kind of community that God has for us.
To the outcasts, the single moms, the people who are told they don’t matter, the people who live in neighborhoods where they are told that the color of their skin defines what they will ever be, we’re not going to just reach a hand. We will step beyond the margins and embrace them in our Kingdom of Love.
We break all the rules… especially the religious ones. We will infuse the sacrificial love of Jesus into our city.
I’m excited about the possibilities of how God will continue to use Willow Chicago. I’ve only had a few brief conversations with him, but already I see he has a great heart for compassion and reconciliation that is bold and authentic. If you would like to check out the audio of the full message it can be downloaded or streamed here: The Kingdom of God