MODGNIK… what do we know about it? It’s one of the great mysteries of historic Christianity. It’s a completely upside-down way to understand God. It’s confusing, yet beautifully simple. But don’t worry, all will be revealed about this new series at Eastside!
What was your favorite mystery book to read growing up?
Jesus was certainly anything but a go-with-the-flow kind of guy. He taught and modeled an against-the-flow lifestyle. He taught things like: “If you want to be great, SERVE others.” “If you want to be rich, GIVE more away.” “If you want to be known for love, LOVE your enemies.” But perhaps the most countercultural teaching Jesus ever taught was: “If you want to be truly happy, you have to turn around and move UPSTREAM toward God, our true source of life.”
More Is Less
Have someone read Matthew 6:9-13.
The kingdom of God was central to the teaching and mission of Jesus. He told all kinds of stories using metaphors and parables to describe and expand our understanding of God’s kingdom.
When we pray the words “your kingdom comes” we’re simply praying, “Oh God, may up there come down here!” We pray for Your kingdom to be expanded from heaven to earth, that your will be done here, just as it’s done there is heaven.
What is a kingdom? Someone said that a “kingdom” is your sphere of control where you rule. It’s this empire that you control, that’s set to your tastes, likes, purposes, values, and character. It’s an environment arranged according to how you like it.
What is your kingdom? Where do you rule? How does it reflect who you are?
God’s kingdom is the place that perfectly reflects his character and his values. It is His domain where things operate the way He likes them to. Therefore, God’s kingdom is a place of joy, truth, grace, healing, compassion, forgiveness, and peace.
God’s kingdom is a wonderful place, because He is wonderful. But God’s Kingdom is so different than any other kingdom on this earth. It’s upside down and backwards from what we would think.
This week we took the word Kingdom and looked at it backwards – MODGNIK.
Have someone read Matthew 16:24-26.
M is More is less.
You want the adventure of a lifetime? Then loosen your grip, give up control, surrender to God’s leadership and wisdom. When you do that your life will be a thrilling ride of purpose, passion, joy, peace and deep satisfaction.
It’s counter cultural, but in this upside-down backwards kingdom of God, more is less and less is more.
What part of your life is the one you grip on to most? What would it look like to give up control and surrender to God?
Have someone read Philippians 2:3-7.
Jesus redefined greatness, saying that in His kingdom greatness is not something you ascend to. Rather, it is something you D-escend into. This goes against our culture in every way.
The first step toward greatness in your life is making the decision to lay your ego on the altar. Start each day asking the Holy Spirit to remind you throughout the day, that you are not the center of the universe. You say, “Today, in regard to my own self-importance, my own ego, I choose to have the same mindset as Jesus, who laid down his ego even though he actually is the center of the universe.”
In verse 6 the word in ‘very nature’ God is the Greek word ‘morpha’ which means ‘the essence.’ Jesus was the very essence of God, yet He made a choice. He said, “Even though I could, I’m not going to cling to my divine rights. I’m going to open my hands, let it go, lay my go on the altar, and surrender fully to the will of the Father.”
Jesus laid down His self. He crucified his ego and nailed his self-interest to the cross, saving us all from ourselves. And in His Kingdom, all He is asking you and me to do is put O-thers first.
Share a place in your life you recognize the need to put others first.
This is not only a kingdom of selflessness, but a place where G-enerosity flows.
Have someone read Luke 6:38.
There are all kinds of studies that show that the happiest people in life are those who give themselves away. Research shows that people who are generous with their home, their hospitality, their food, time, and money tend to flourish in life. People who volunteer, coach, mentor, serve others tend to thrive. Putting others first is real core value of this Kingdom.
As deeply fulfilling as that kind of life is, it’s still not about us. It is all about God working through us. We are just gratefully representing Jesus, bringing His up there kingdom down here.
This weekend was our Annual Serve Day, where over 1500 people gave their time and talents away. If you participated, share your experience and observations.
Some people make vision boards each year with pictures of what they want their life to look like. What would your life look like if you were to let generosity flow and put others first?
Matthew 5:16 (NLT) says, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
In God’s ingenious design of the church, He gave us all different gifts, gifts that we can use to glorify God, letting others see what a life transformed by Jesus truly looks like.
Jesus tells some really great stories how the kingdom of God really works. He tells stories about lost sheep, lost coins, and lost kids. He says the kingdom of God is this radically I-nclusive place where everyone is welcome.
Have someone read Colossians 2:13-14.
God swings the door open wide and through Jesus Christ looks beyond our faults, flaws, and failures. Instead of giving us justice, which is what we deserve, He gives us grace and unfailing love
Who is someone in your life that needs to experience God’s grace? How can you reach out to them this week?
Have someone read John 12:32-33.
The people of Jesus’ day were looking for the kingdom of God to come. They were expectantly looking for a powerful king to show up. They had a picture in their minds of a ruler who would be an economic savior. They were longing for a political messiah, a strong military conqueror who would come and obliterate Rome.
In John 12, Jesus was talking about a cross and laying down His life. He would be taking the punishment for the sins of the world. It went against everything they knew or expected. Because our King is unlike any other king. He’s a King who voluntarily gave Himself on a cross for us.
This week start each day asking God to remind you that are you are not the center of the universe. Each morning pray, submitting yourself and your day to Jesus.
If your group was unable to participate in Serve Day last weekend, consider finding another way you could serve others as a group. There are opportunities available at eastside.com/servelocally
Pair off and spend time praying for:
Help to live a life surrendered to God, one that has an outward, generous orientation.
The people you identified as needing to see God’s grace. Ask God for the opportunity and courage to reach out to them