Ariel Bowers
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This year's Advent them is "Your Kingdom Come". (Wondering what Advent is? Click here) It seems such a fitting theme for a year that has seen turmoil and unprecedented global uncertainty due to the pandemic. Pastor David spoke in one of his Daniel sermons about how God shows Daniel an earthly view (the limited amount we see) and a heavenly reality that is playing out unseen around us. We long for that heavenly reality to be made manifest here on earth!

In Advent we see that the coming of the Kingdom of God is slow, contested, unexpected and yet complete. The weeks preceding Christmas are a fitting time to highlight the tension in the Kingdom of God as we wait for the Messiah.

SLOW: Sometimes it looks like God’s kingdom will never come. We pray “Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” But how slowly it seem to move, how long the waiting is! From our perspective, we wonder if His kingdom will come at all. Like the nation of Israe, we long for God’s kingdom to come the way the prophets promised!

The truth is that the kingdom of God has come through Jesus and is coming- but it is not fully here. Let us be willing to acknowledge the slow Kingdom coming, and yet, take HOPE. When we see it from God’s perspective the advance of His kingdom is inexorable. He is moving and His Kingdom is coming in people’s hearts.

CONTESTED: King Herod was furious and threatened when he was told of a new King. Through the gospels we see forces come against the true King at every step in His earthly ministry. Let’s recognize that the kingdom of darkness may have places or strongholds in our lives and in our world, but be at PEACE. He has “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” Colossians 1:13. The light has come into the world and the darkness has not overcome it. 

UNEXPECTED: “His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts.” The way the King comes at His birth is unexpected: an angelic announcement to a peasant girl, the timing of His birth during the census, the shepherds and a heavenly host. Jesus continued to usher in the Kingdom in unexpected ways through His earthly ministry; even John the Baptist had questions. “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:11, Isaiah 53:3)

This Advent He might come to us in ways we don’t expect. Know JOY. His ways are perfect (2 Sam 22:31, Romans 12:2) and He has come that we may have life, and have it abundantly.

IN FULLNESS: Nothing is lacking in His power, in His purposes, in His plans or in His LOVE. We can experience the fullness of kingdom living now through His Spirit, and His plans for the restoration of the world are unfolding in His power and His faithfulness and He will make all things new.

Credit goes to Vineyard School of Worship for the first three points of this Advent theme (Slow, Contested, and Unexpected). They have put together three great videos on this theme you can see here.