Jesus is Lord


We often think about the Lordship of Christ through a macro lens: the King of the universe, seated on the throne in heaven with earth as his footstool. While this depiction is true, it doesn’t lend itself to an everyday impact. The imagery can cause us to imagine a God who is distant and not Lord over everyday life.

“Jesus is Lord” is a statement of truth in the macro sense, but also one of surrender. It is an oath of allegiance to the rule and reign of Christ. Although his kingdom is not of this world, his rule over us encompasses every realm.

We need to think about Jesus’ lordship not just as reigning above every authority, but in every sphere. His Lordship applies to our homes, families, relationships, occupations etc. Realizing this takes us in a different trajectory than the world. It is easy to slip into the same progressions in life as the world, but the way of Jesus is different. There should be an obvious difference.

The renewing of the mind transforms us from the rule of sin to the rule of Jesus. The world’s motivations pervade all aspects of life. A search for worldly success can be driven by any mix of motivations laid out in Colossians 3. Following any motivation on this list is a clear sign Jesus does not reign over a part of our mind.

“5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,  free; but Christ is all, and in all.” – Colossians 3:5-11

It is easy to get caught up in pursuing success the same way those around us do. For most of us it is the only way we have known. How could we expect to know differently?

When I was in my last year of my BComm majoring in finance, I was given a clear warning from the Holy Spirit. The path I laid out was to pursue corporate law. My immature drive at the time to compete and win would have fed a lust for power and greed. I was granted foresight into how my life would unintentionally turn from the Lord in a pursuit of worldly success if I made that decision.

Instead, I finished my degree and ran off to California to intern at a wonderful church in Fresno, fleeing from the temptation the other road presented for me. This was a moment of submission to the rule of Christ. A fear of the Lord gripped me in the moment of revelation and there was no way I wanted to choose a path that would lead me away from him.

If Jesus is Lord, the rules and patterns of this world are no longer what we follow. That moment in University showed me the patterns of this world were embedded in me despite my desire to follow Jesus. My decision making process and pursuits could not simply be trusted. My motivations needed to be submitted to another kingdom and put through the grid of the second list in Colossians 3:

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:12-17

The maturing of a believer is an awakening of the mind to the many discrepancies between our confession of “Jesus is Lord” and our mental pathways. In time, the Holy Spirit reveals to the willing the discrepancies so our minds may align with our confession.

Our “Jesus is Lord” confession upon conversion is not negated by this discrepancy. Our heart’s desire in that moment is to serve the Lord, and we succeed on a macro level. But sin leaves wreckage in its wake. The continued exposure to a world that celebrates sin reinforces the old paths, making it difficult to live entirely under the reign of Christ.

This begs the question, “Do my actions, decisions, and desires reflect Jesus as Lord?” If a job promotion is offered, or an opportunity arises, this is the question we must ask. If you come into a large sum of money, your decision needs to be put through this grid. If you want to marry or date someone, ask this question. How you discipline an employee or respond to a superior must be put through this grid. Relations with friends, families, strangers, and persecutors must all be subject to the rule of Jesus. This question reveals whether your confession is a binding oath or whimsical.

Over time, this question becomes internalized. Your grid becomes scripture as you consume it. As your mind is further renewed, you find more often your internal motivations reflect the Lordship of Christ. But even the most mature must not move away from testing which king they serve with their decisions, not out of fear of failure but a fear of God, a strong desire to reject the way that leads to destruction.

Does this sound daunting? That is why we rely on the Holy Spirit and ask him to lead us, not just once, but in every task and situation. We trust him to outline our misalignment and to renew our minds.  We are still being redeemed and are not equipped without the Holy Spirit, without the full armour of God, to make true our confession that Jesus is Lord.

The filling of the Holy Spirit is not an added bonus. The Holy Spirit is our passport, marking us as citizens of heaven. He is our guide to life in the kingdom of God, and the power by which we can live under the rule and reign of Christ.

Finding Treasure


Did you know the treasure I have found in Jesus is worth everything to me? The sacrifice Jesus paid is worth life itself. To be made right before God and brought into relationship with the living God, let alone the inheritance I will receive, is worth everything. What Jesus has done is good news, and remains good news even when we find out  the cost is to give our lives as a living sacrifice. To live in full obedience to a good God demands we lose our lives so we might receive life eternal.

For the past few months, I haven’t been able to move away from contemplating the cost of following Jesus. It is important to know what we are gaining in following Jesus but also the cost. It costs our lives to follow him but in this we are not paying for all Jesus has done. There is nothing we could give that can pay the cost of salvation.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

Matthew 13:44

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

Matthew 13:45-46

In both of the parables about discovering the kingdom of God, the cost to acquire it is everything they had. They found the treasure and got rid of everything to obtain it. It was of that great value and importance to them.

I think when we read these stories we get caught up solely on the great value and miss the part where everything else in their life is now gone. It has been taken away but they leave rejoicing because of what they have found.

It reminds me of the story of the rich young ruler who approaches Jesus with a desire to follow him (Matthew 19:16-22). He faces the cost of having to sell his possessions and give everything he has to the poor. This was a high cost and we are left wondering, why did this guy have such a high cost of entry into the kingdom of God? 

The conclusion I have come to is this is what Jesus requires of us all. He does not always require us to give all of our physical possessions and wealth away, but the things of this world are no longer to have a hold of us. To enter the Kingdom of God we must surrender the entirety of our lives to him. Jesus just pointed to that big idol and said you need to give that up to follow me.

He does the same thing with each one of us. I know this isn’t a popular topic. But Jesus doesn’t just add to your life, he tells us to remove things we pursue and find comfort in apart from him. It blows a hole in how we often view the blessing of God. Please never forget that what we inherit in this is far greater than anything we give up. What we give up is good for us, but it is a cost when it is demanded we hand it over.It is a cost because we are blinded by the trappings of this world. Our eyes are fixed on the here and now, and it is hard for us to see what God can give beyond the physical things in front of us.

I am reminded as I write this of Jesus’ response to James and John (or more specifically their mother in Mark 10:35-45) following their request for seats of power beside Jesus. His response is not of granting this request but of asking if they are prepared to drink from the same cup of suffering he is to endure.

There is a constant warning of persecution that Jesus gives his followers. These are not just empty words but a promise of what is to come for those who follow him. There is no expiry date on this. There will always be people who hate Jesus and take it out on those who follow him. 

I think it is time we start acknowledging that words like blessing have to be understood not through a lens of the world but through that of God (particularly found in scripture). We should maybe start looking at the heroes of the faith who were persecuted and without worldly wealth as living a blessed life.

I am not making an argument to search out persecution intentionally. I am trying to set up a life that holds everything of this world with a loose grip, willing to let it go as directed by God, even if it is painful trusting in a good God who sees the need for us to be rid of certain things, or enter into certain situations.

There is an inherent cost to following Jesus. It is renouncing all other masters, for with Jesus there can only be one master. That is not the way we are used to living. We treat ourselves and many others as Lord of our lives. We experience the cost when we reach a situation where we confront a love of money and have to let go of it. The cost is letting go of the way our lives pursue that love of money.

We see the cost in the lives of the disciples, giving up occupations and leaving their homes to follow Jesus in scripture. But the cost doesn’t end there. Frequently they are faced with a worldly desire they have to let go of to embrace Jesus.

It is the same for us. Not only was there an initial cost to follow Jesus, but our lives ongoingly present a cost to following Jesus. We no longer serve the gods of wealth, power, status, or family. We come into moments of conflict regularly where we must count the cost as followers of Jesus and believe the treasure of Jesus is worth more than what we see in front of us. 

The pursuits and desires we are bombarded with in this world are no longer what we follow. We have given those up and are set on the path of the Kingdom of God. It is narrow with many seductive offshoots, but we must not turn away from the path. For the treasure that lies ahead is of value beyond comprehension. We get to experience a taste of that treasure here, but what awaits is unimaginable.

Eyes Set on Eternity


I was chatting with my friend the other day, and realized how little we think about the fact that this life is just a breath in comparison to eternity set before us.

There are so many people who have a hard time wrapping their heads around the thought of a God that would allow all of this sin and destruction in the world. The understanding of a God that would allow this suffering to continue does not make sense to them alongside the character of a loving and gracious God.

God, in creating us, knew there would be a need to save us from our own actions. God created the world without sin, without destruction or decay. The entrance of sin corrupted everything. But God was prepared with the plan of Jesus, so that man could choose to experience life as God intended, free from sin and destruction. God came to experience the pain of this life, so that we, having chosen sin, might have eternity as he intended and created it.

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

We get to experience life to the fullest, eternally, with just a moment of suffering. This is the gracious plan of God from the beginning. When we lose sight of eternity, suffering loses meaning and becomes heavier. It engulfs us and steals our hope.

How are we to endure suffering if we see no end to it? If we only see life in this world, why would we not just live our best life here? These questions drive us when our eyes are not set on eternity. We live for this life by the standards set in this world. It may not be intentional, but the world’s message will be the one we focus on and follow.

Throughout the New Testament (and across the globe today) we see stories of believers persecuted, tortured and put to death for their faith. An interesting aspect to Paul’s letters is he doesn’t ask God to deliver him or other Christians from this torment, but rather strength to endure it.

The suffering of the believer gives testimony to their faith in Jesus. This holds true across beliefs. Beliefs are exposed in hard times and only that which is worth clinging to withstands the pressure. It gives testimony to what is important to that person. For a follower of Jesus, what is important is only that which is given by Christ himself. Discovering this comes through turning your eyes on Jesus rather than the things of this world.

This life we are living matters not because it is our only one, but it is where life eternal begins. We should not be setting ourselves up for life here, but for living with Christ eternally. These two options are drastically different. The things that matter in the kingdom of God are very different from what matters here. We will not be bringing with us any of our stuff, our jobs, or even our relationships as they currently exist.

Knowing what is important for eternity is important. Knowing God is important! Becoming like God is as well. So is bringing people along with us to life with Christ.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Romans 8:18-21

We should not expect this world and life focused on the eternal to share the same values, motivation or pursuits. In fact, because this world has been corrupted by sin, we should expect they will be at odds. We will see those who know life eternal persecuted. But do not lose heart. The greatest of hardships can not compare to the future glory. The way of this world has no glory to look forward to. This is the best it gets.

Setting our eyes on what is unseen and eternal allows us to take heart in persecution and when looking at the pain surrounding us. Eternity brings hope. Endless days free of this pain are ahead for those who choose it in this life. No suffering should tempt us to give that up for this short time on earth. The more we know God, the more we have to hope for.

So where are your eyes focused? Is it on the future glory, or the glory this world has to offer? Is your focus status, power or wealth? Or is it on the riches or eternity with Christ? What does your decision making process reveal? What does your bank account reveal? What does your calendar reveal? Take heart. There is eternal sharing in the inheritance of Christ to look forward to.

Exiled in a City God Loves


I just returned home from a conference a couple weeks ago and I am fired up. The CAPITALYZE conference highlighted city-reaching movements across the globe to inspire establishing the kingdom of God in our cities.

There was so much to take away, but one passage in particular has stayed with me. It was quoted over and over at the conference and theologically clicked for me. I am now fired up to see the Kingdom of God established in Halifax, and my city transformed in every sphere.

The passage Jeremiah 29:7, takes place after Israel has been conquered, and the people have been taken into Babylon (in exile).

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
Jeremiah 29:7

Since advent I have been sitting in the reality that we do not belong in this world. We are anticipating the day of the return of Jesus. We are a people who are in exile, not belonging to this world, but living in it. This is the same state the people of Israel were in when Jeremiah receives this word from the Lord. God equally has a desire to see this land, these people surrounding us, prosper.

This earth we are on is our place of “exile”. It is not our home, and we are waiting for the day when Jesus returns or calls us home. But while we are waiting for that day, God wants the earth to encounter his kingdom. While we are here, we are to seek the peace and prosperity of our land through welcoming the kingdom of God.

We need to be asking God the question, “What would it look like for your kingdom to come to my city?” If we want good soil for people to receive the gospel, we need to be asking this question. His kingdom being established, on a personal and corporate level, is what will bring people to know the living God!

God has always had this on his heart. He actually created the earth as a good, well-functioning place, a land at peace (shalom). As the church works towards a city filled with peace, the glory of God is on display. God is more on display through our engagement in the land than in our separation. To be a set apart people is not to disengage, but to “seek the welfare of the city”.

I am fired up to see what God wants to do in my city. This will take the whole church united to see this through. It is time to see the kingdom of God established and not our own kingdoms grown. I love the local church and the unique expressions of worship they express. As much as I love to see my own local church grow and thrive, there is something larger we are a part of.

The task before us as the church is to see the kingdom of God established in every sphere of our region. The places we find ourselves as believers should be changed by our presence. We should be praying as Jesus taught us to: “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This is not a prayer for God to work separate from us. We are to know what it looks like to have his kingdom established. We are to pray specifically for those things. We are to engage in practical efforts (together as the greater church) to see things happen. We will not be working at cross purposes from other believers if we are all seeking the kingdom of God to be established here.

So how do we go after this daunting task? It may seem overwhelming. Do you know anyone who loves Jesus on your street? In your neighbourhood? At your school? At your place of work? Why not ask them to pray with you? Say hey, want to pray together for the kingdom of God to come to our shared space? Let’s gather together as believers (not just the same church or denomination, Catholics or Protestants, Charismatic or Non-Charismatic) and listen to what it would look like for the Kingdom of God to come. How can we be a part of this work?

For me, I am excited about what this will look like in Halifax. I want to see his kingdom come in Halifax as in heaven. I long to see all believers together seeking the peace and prosperity of our city. I long to see my neighbours see Jesus as king, reigning over Halifax in goodness and justice.