“…living as agents of Gospel transformation”
It’s a high calling. To be used as agents of change in this world is a calling not to be taken lightly. I have been waiting to post this book review for weeks, and I am thrilled to share it with you today! Ed Stetzer’s newest book Subversive Kingdom releases on May 1, 2012, and I would highly recommend that you pre-order it or buy it the first moment you can. I was privileged to receive an advanced reader copy, and I’ve been indulging in the rich truth packed within its pages. You don’t want to miss this one.
Let me just give you a snippet from the back cover:
“Ed Stetzer turns conventional Christian living on its head in this inspiring, instructional guide to the kingdom of God…it’s about rescuing lives, changing assumptions, and subverting a world gone wrong – actively engaging with God in advancing His redemptive purposes.”
Are you intrigued yet? I couldn’t help but pour over this book as I read it, taking notes, highlighting numerous sections, and being challenged to my core. When I think of being an agent of change used by God in this world to bring His kingdom down to earth, I’m truly amazed at the possibilities. If we took this calling seriously and caused change in our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities, our churches…this world would look so different. Here is my list of highlights from the book, my top ten take-a-ways from this incredible read.
1. “The Kingdom of God is a radical rejection of every value or point of view that keeps people in bondage to untruth, blinded to Christ’s mercy.” As subversive agents of God’s Kingdom, we are to rebel against the current rebellion, the rejection of God and following after Him. We are to go against the grain, swim upstream, and refuse to blend in with a world that refuses to exalt the one true God. We are called to a radical rejection in order to bring about change.
2. “We must resist being merely familiar with the Word, and drink it as if our life depends on it.” Simply put, we are far too easily pleased. We choose to be satisfied with what the world has to offer, and reject complete fulfillment in the secrets of the Kingdom that God has chosen to reveal to us. We’re far too easily pleased with religion as opposed to relationship with God.
3. “So in this sovereignly ordained meantime, we have an obligation to represent what the Kingdom of God looks like, as seen in stark contrast to the world around us.” Christ’s Kingdom was inaugurated in His death, burial, and resurrection. It will be consummated at His return. In the meantime, we have a high calling to fulfill – to show people who He is and how He loves.
4. “Even if you only knew that Christ was returning at some time in the next five years or so, how would this knowledge alter your activities in the meanwhile?” God not only wants us to be prepared in our waiting for His return, but He desires that we be active in the waiting. Be faithfully present. Where has God planted you? Be faithful there.
5. “God’s standard is complete conformity to His rule – which creates quite a dilemma for all of us.” Daily integrity and righteousness, holy living and purity…that is God’s standard. Anything less is falling short. Let’s cease comparing ourselves to the world and begin comparing ourselves to the Word.
6. “God has made relationships His chosen delivery system for the gospel of hope.” We are called to live differently, to respond differently. Actively engaging in the culture around us but acting differently than it does causes huge Kingdom sparks and people notice.
7. “We simply cannot serve successfully as agents for the Kingdom of light while simultaneously harboring pockets of darkness in the shadows and corners of our hearts.” Idolatry is just as prevalent today as it was in the Old Testament. Any form of it will drain your joy and limit your effectiveness for God’s Kingdom.
8. “What is the King’s mission? What is my role in the King’s mission?” These two vital questions should immediately follow your embrace of Jesus Christ and your desire to follow Him. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. The heart of God is all about redemption of His people. How are you playing a role in the story of redemption?
9. “We are the church. Where the world comes to window shop. To see if they’re buying it.” The church is the means by which God’s Kingdom is to be revealed on earth. How are you representing Him? Because, the truth is that you may be the only Jesus that your neighbor, co-worker, friend, family member ever sees.
10. “Are we a good sign of what life with God is supposed to be like?” If you’re not pointing others to God’s Kingdom, to His love, to His embrace, you’re a bad sign. As subversive agents of change, we must represent Him well.