Dear First Pres,

   “It’s a crazy, mixed up world.” That’s what my best friend used to say on a regular basis. When he’d see something in the news that was disturbing, when we’d talk about people we couldn’t understand, or when we’d witness one of our friends or family members struggling with the messiness of life, he’d say, “It’s a crazy, mixed up world.”
   Sure, it’s a bit simplistic, but it’s true. Things in this world aren’t as God ultimately created them to be. And our congregation is not spared from this reality. Just in the last few weeks, a congregant is mourning the death of his granddaughter to COVID, others are dealing with the advancement of humanly incurable diseases, and others are processing the end of a long, drawn out criminal case that deeply wounded families in our congregation. Please be praying for God’s peace and healing in our congregation. As Christ-followers, we are not spared from the brokenness of this world. But we do hold with hope the ultimate answer: the Kingdom of God.
   We’re in the midst of a short sermon series simply titled, “God’s Kingdom.” If you missed Sunday’s message, I encourage you to watch it online. I did my best to define and describe what the Bible teaches us about the Kingdom of God. In summary, here’s my working definition of the Kingdom of God: The Kingdom of God is the reign and rule of Christ Jesus made manifest in the world. Put very simply, it’s when things in our lives and in our world go the way that Christ, our King, would want them to go.
   The good news is (as Jesus proclaimed and demonstrated in his life, death, resurrection, and ascension) the Kingdom of God has come in Jesus and is coming in fullness through Jesus. The Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven, is the eternal hope, the confident expectation of all those who are in Christ Jesus. It’s the reason we don’t despair. It’s the reason we don’t grieve without hope. It’s the reason we don’t fear when the earth gives way (Psalm 46). And, it’s the reason we aren’t apathetic to the world’s brokenness. It’s the reason we don’t set up a Christian ghetto to escape the world. In the midst of our hope that the Kingdom of God will indeed come on earth as it is in heaven, Jesus instructs us to seek it first in our lives. That’s why it’s our vision as a church, and that’s why our mission is to do the things that lead to God’s Kingdom coming in and through us.
   The good news of Jesus is that, through Him, God is turning this crazy, mixed up, broken, and upside down world into a redeemed, righteous, new creation. He does that in us individually as we surrender our lives to Christ in repentance and faith. He does that through us in small but transformational ways as we live in obedience to Him. He does it in the world, even now, through His gracious and sovereign care. And He will ultimately do it through the judgment and restoration of the Risen Christ when He returns.
   So, in the midst of a crazy, mixed up world today, may we heed the words of Jesus. “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14:1). And may His Kingdom come in Fresno as it is in heaven. 



Pastor Jeremy