Redeemer Ministry School Spring Classes

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If you want to take one of our Spring Redeemer Ministry School classes the cost is $240/class, which includes any books that may be used. Please call the church office to enroll. (734-242-5277)

RMS SPRING TRIMESTER – March 31 – June 5, 2009

TUESDAY – THURSDAY CLASSES
9:30 – 11 – Kingdom of God III – Josh Bentley
11:30 – 1 – Worship III – Holly Benner & Gary Wilson

WEDNESDAY CLASS
9:30 – 1 – Apologetics – John Piippo

FRIDAY CLASS
9:30 – 1 – Leadership – Jim Hunter & John Piippo

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Kingdom of God III – This class will study the moves of God in history. We can learn much about God and His Kingdom today by looking at how His Kingdom has come to earth in the past. We will focus on how the Kingdom of God has become manifest on earth when people have prayed “God, let your kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven.”

Worship III – Have you ever noticed how many different methods of worship are found in the Bible? Singing, clapping, dancing, building, shouting, kneeling, playing instruments, giving, serving… the list goes on! We are the Body of Christ, and God has fashioned each one of us to give Him a facet of praise that is unique from the person next to us. Creativity and Worship will explore how to find the creativity inside of you and to use that to honor God.

Leadership – This class will focus on leadership using Jesus as exemplary of the greatest leader ever. The nature of love and community will be seen as foundational to all authentic, relevant leadership. While we will look at some leadership books, leadership is not so much learned from reading books but from doing and practical application.

Apologetics – The word “apologetics” means “to make a defense of the hope that is within you.” (1 Peter 3:15) Students will look at the ways Christianity is under intellectual attack today and learn how to respond to these attacks. Issues we will especially focus on are: Why is there evil in the world if God is all loving and all powerful?; Why do we believe the Bible is from God?; Why can we believe Jesus is the only way to God when there are other world religions? How can we say that Jesus is God incarnate?

The Reality & Experience of Easter

We’re almost to Easter again. As I’ve been reflecting on this I see that, personally, I’m as moved by the resurrection of Jesus as I have ever been. For me, that’s saying a lot, since those first few Easters for me that came right after I decided to follow Jesus were amazing.

Easter is a whole-being-knowing-experiential encounter. That’s how I feel it and know it to be. Long ago I rejected the idea that “knowing” is some purely intellectual thing. I thank God for the human intellect. I also know that the human intellect cannot wrap its mind around God. Resurrection life cannot be captured in the steel nets of logic and literal language.

From 1977 to 1986 I spent nearly ten years studying language. Part of my language-studies were with Dr. Judith Levi, who was then head of the Linguistics department at Northwestern University. I took her doctoral class on linguistic semantics and was forever hooked. I got immersed in structural and post-structural linguistics, semantic theory, the not-easy-to-define notion of “literal” language, all the various tropes of figurative language, of which my focus and specialty became metaphor theory. Metaphor theory took me into paradigm analysis and metaphorical thinking. How deep could I go? Not deep enough, I am certain! Among the many thoughts I have about such things include this; viz., that experience cannot be finally reduced to sentences and words. There is “nondiscursive experience,” which means: experiences that cannot be discoursed (talked) about.

Which brings me back to the resurrection of Jesus. I believe, in a whole-being fashion, that God raised Jesus from the dead, in history. I can’t capture the whole thing in words. But here are a few that head, for me, in the right direction.

  • My life was forever changed in 1971 when I came to believe that God raised Jesus for the dead, and that this historical event had meaning for me today.
  • I had a “conversion experience.” Nearly every day of my life I remember what happened, to me. It was for me, in many ways, an “I can’t explain the thing but one thing I know – I was blind, now I see.”
  • I believe the Jesus-story is true. My ongoing historical studies, using scholars who have spent their lives on Jesus and studying Jesus, now take me deeper and deeper into the living Christ than I have ever been.
  • I’ll add that the story-as-story is viscerally compelling to me… today. It’s a story of love, choice, suffering, redemption, hope, and life. It’s true that other stories have had and yet have these elements. Even movies that have these basic themes are often called “Christlike” movies, or movies with “Christ-figures,” such as “Braveheart,” “The Matrix,” “Gran Torino,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Gladiator,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” and “The Lord of the Rings.” C.S. Lewis, himself a scholar of myth, said the four Gospels, as a literary genre, do not read like myth, but like history. Yet Lewis viewed the coming of Christ to live and die and rise for our rescue as the historical instantiation of “myth become fact.”

I think I could say more here. One thing I know – I do love God and His Son Jesus. I’m spending all my days and will spend the rest of my days pursuing Jesus and being pursued by Jesus. I have been forever changed and am yet changing. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. I know Christ and the power of His resurrection. It captures not only my head but my heart and soul; it contains what the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur called a “surplus of meaning.” It can be discoursed about yet ultimately is non-discursive. As it should be. As it now is for me, and today can be for you.

Want to Rescue Young Girls Out of Sex Trafficking?

WANT TO BE PART OF SOMETHING GREAT? Join me as we’re pulling girls and young women out of a life of sex trafficking in Bangkok. We’re working with NightLightBangkok, which is a business that gives employment to women, giving them jobs to make jewelry. (Go to nightlightbangkok.com for details.)

We raised $1.3 million in five months last summer and fall to purchase two buildings to be used as new factories for NightLight’s expanding, life-saving business.

My church also raised several thousand dollars on top of that to send Dan Boylan and Joe Laroy from our Monroe community to Bangkok to set up a renovation plan.

NOW, the plan is ready. We’re raising more funds to renovate these buildings, to include sending more people to Bangkok to do a lot of the work.

We’re having a FUND-RAISER at Redeemer Fellowship Church for the renovatin of these buildings. This will be a time of worship led by local musician John Standifer and a band of excellent local musicians. We’ll also have NightLight jewelry on display

This Sunday, March 22

6:30 PM. Redeemer Fellowship Church. 5305 Evergreen, Monroe, MI. 734-242-5277

How Many Americans Have a Biblical Worldview?

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Upon reading Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age, and teaching students about philosophy and religion for several years now in our community college, the newest Barna report on worldviews in America rings true to me.

Here’s how the Barna group defines a “biblical worldview.”

“For the purposes of the survey, a “biblical worldview” was defined as believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today. In the research, anyone who held all of those beliefs was said to have a biblical worldview.” (I think the thing about Satan causes a lot of people problems. Personally I believe in Satan. I don’t think I’d be a Christian if I thought Satan was not a real being.)

The survey results show:

  • Only 9% of all American adults have a biblical worldview.
  • The percentage of adults with a biblical worldview, as defined above, has remained unchanged for more than a decade.
  • One-third of all adults (34%) believe that moral truth is absolute and unaffected by the circumstances.
  • Just one-quarter of adults (27%) are convinced that Satan is a real force. Even a minority of born again adults (40%) adopt that perspective.
  • Seven out of ten adults (70%) say that God is the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe who still rules it today.
  • Young adults rarely possess a biblical worldview. The current study found that less than one-half of one percent of adults in the Mosaic generation – i.e., those aged 18 to 23 – have a biblical worldview, compared to about one out of every nine older adults.

 

The Barna Group’s studies conclude:

 

  • A person’s worldview is primarily shaped and is firmly in place by the time someone reaches the age of 13; it is refined through experience during the teen and early adult years; and then it is passed on to others during their adult life.
  • Although most Americans consider themselves to be Christian and say they know the content of the Bible, less than one out of ten Americans demonstrate such knowledge through their actions.
  • Christian families, Christian schools, and Christian churches would be wise to invest more effort and tangible resources into helping young people understand and adopt the core ideas of Christianity, and to reinforce those concepts through their own lives. Without such an investment, the current generational patterns indicate that the future Christian Church is likely to be one that has even less of a connection to biblical principles than is evident today.

Two Monroe Men Who Were Trapped In Bangkok

 

I got reacquainted with a missionary friend of mine this past summer, Jeff Dieselberg of Nightlight-Bangkok. (nightlightbangkok.org) Jeff had been a student of mine in a class on prayer that I taught at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. I had not seen Jeff until then. It was so good to reacquaint with him and meet his wife Annie.

Annie and Jeff made presentations at a conference I was at (hsrm.org) about what God has called them to do in Bangkok. I was greatly moved as I heard about this incredible Kingdom of God thing that rescues young women out of the sex-trafficking industry and gives them jobs in a factory that makes jewelry. I felt God tell me “John, you have to do something about this and help in any way you can.” A number of people who were there from my church felt the same way.

 

I presented this to our HSRM Service Committee that was putting on this conference. We all seemed to recognize the heart of God regarding what Jeff and Annie are doing. They have a waiting list of women who want to leave prostitution, but they have no more room in their current factory. Their need was: another, bigger building. 

 

We agreed that we wanted to support this, so at our next all-conference meeting I told the 400 people there about this. Jeff and Annie’s ministry, Night Light Bangkok, needs another building. Let’s help them get it! 

 

Shortly after the Dieselberg’s returned to Bangkok they communicated with me that, not one, but two buildings had become available. The cost for both: 1.3 million dollars. And it was needed soon, otherwise these buildings would no longer be available. The next four months proved, for me, to be very adventurous and faith-building. We at HSRM raised $1.3 million, and sent it off in increments to Night Light Bangkok. The two buildings now are secured, debt-free! God provided. I stand amazed.

 

My church, Redeemer Fellowship Church, then raised several thousand dollars and sent two of our “extreme makeover” home experts to Bangkok. How pumped we were when, on a Sunday morning last October, we prayed for Joe Laroy and Dan Boylan as they prepared to fly from Detroit to Bangkok. The Dieselberg’s welcomed them, and Joe and Dan spent the next week evaluating the two buildings, drawing up blueprints, estimating renovation costs, and lining up contractors to do the work. Plus, they came up with a game plan for any teams of volunteers who felt Godcalled to go to Bangkok and help do some work.

 

When the week of their labor was over, they were packed and ready to fly back home. Minutes before they were to arrive at the Bangkok airport they found out that 5000 Thai protestors had taken it over. All flights had been cancelled. The protestors were demanding that Thailand’s president step down. Joe and Dan were caught in the middle of a coup! When I heard the news my heart sank. My good friends were over there, and now it’s out of control and I don’t know what is going to happen. They remained there for another 15 days until, finally, the coup was completed and the protestors left the airport.

 

While they were there they spent their time doing personal work on the two buildings. And, they got an education about life and trusting in God that’s proven valuable to the both them and us. During that time I could not help but wonder if this was going to be one of those stories that ended in something tragic.

 

On March 22 my church is doing one of what is going to be a number of fund-raisers for Night Light Bangkok. Jeff & Annie need funds to renovate the buildings. They need it now. Once funds are secured, we have the game plan re. the steps of renovation, in order of priority.

Part of me sometimes thinks how absurd this is in a time of economic decline. But all of me saw God provide 1.3 million dollars in just 4 months. I conclude the following:

·          God is not in some panic room over the economic situation

·         God has not stopped being God

·         There are thousands of young girls being sold daily to sex-addicted men every

day in Bangkok

·         They need to be rescued – now

 

I hear God saying – “Let’s go for it!”

 

Nightlightbangkok.org

 

NEEDED FIRST:

Priority #1 – Jewelry Shop

1. Glass walls – $2000

2. Air conditioner – $1500

3. Electrical – $1000

4. Showcase – $2700

5. Total – $8200

 

This will open up a showroom store which is needed for display and sales.

 

Priority #2 – Kitchen and Coffee Area for Customers

1. Remove existing kitchen

2. Replace with new cabinets and countertops

3. Snack bar area with chairs

4. Labor and materials approx. $6000

If you want to donate to this please contact me at Redeemer Fellowship Church – 734-242-5277.

And, come to our fund-raiser worship night Sun. night, March 22, 6:30 PM. Redeemer Fellowship church, 5305 Evergreen, Monroe, MI.

I Left Facebook Today

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I left Facebook today after being on it for a year. Whew! And Yeahhh! No more getting tagged and poked and whatever else happens there.

Facebook IS a cultural phenomenon. It DOES say something about our world. It expresses the kind of world we live in. Go to facebook.com and you’ll read the words “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.” Yes, and no, and maybe. It depends on what you mean by he words “connect” and “share” and “the people in your life.”

Facebook’s own statistics are here. As of today there’s 175 million “active users.” An average user has “120 friends on the site.” So much depends on the meaning of “friend.” My experience is that there’s little authentic community on Facebook because real friendship and community demand things Facebook cannot deliver. There’s a shallowness and voyeurism here that is systemic and structural. No one, on my understanding of “friend,” can have 120 of them. But I don’t deny there are millions and millions of people out there who are looking for just one real friend.

Here are some definitions and understandings of “community.” For example, “In biological terms, a community is a group of interacting organisms sharing an environment.” The Jesus-idea of “community” gets expressed in the biblical Greek word “koinonia.” This word comes from the root word “koine,” which means “common.” Authentic Christian community means: sharing what we have in common, which is Jesus. Jesus’ environment is called the kingdom of God. I’m in a small group in my church that has met for many years. It’s a shared “kingdom of God environment” that, for me, cultivates and grows authentic friendship and community. We meet every week, face to face, sing together, study the words of Jesus together, pray for each other, sometimes even laying hands on each other as we pray, and eat and play together. This works best when we are face-to-face, not face-booked.

Greg Guffield, host of Fox’s Red Eye, says that “Facebook is a place that turns adults into teenage girls. “Instead of making things,” he says, “We’re telling people how great Gossip Girl is. Would your grandfather go on Facebook? Probably not. I think we’ve become a country thirsting for attention–Facebook is basically Googling yourself for people who don’t have enough hits to warrant it.” Being a television personality, Gutfeld will go on for the occasional ego-stroke, but admits, “It’s all pointless. A Facebook friend won’t shave your back.”
I left Facebook less than an hour ago. I see chunks of time appear for me and Linda (my closest friend). I’m outta here! I feel the freedom returning.

Bethel School of Supernatural Evangelism Coming to Monroe

The School of Supernatural Evangelism will equip and empower the seasoned and the most timid believer to demonstrate Jesus’ love in power. If you hunger to see God move through you to display real power that touches lives with His love, you don’t want to miss this school.


Miracles, healings, signs and wonders commonly occur during and as a result of this effective training. Led by Chris Overstreet, Bethel Church’s Outreach Pastor, you’ll hear from many of the senior staff and members of the established Bethel outreach team.

Come learn from these experienced leaders how God can use your personality and gifting to give people an encounter with the real power of God that will change their lives eternally. You too can have an effective, powerful outreach ministry in your community.

TEAM:

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CHRIS OVERSTREET
Chris is Bethel’s Outreach Pastor. He is passionate about an intimate relationship with Jesus, out of which flows a lifestyle of ministering the Kingdom of God around him. It is common for miracles, salvations, and life transformations to be taking place as a result of Chris living his life, and encouraging and equipping the Saints for the work of the ministry.

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DANNY SILK
Danny is the Family Life Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, and brings a wealth of pastoral experience and gifted insight to the ministry. He is an extraordinary communicator and is well known for his practical and humorous style of teaching.

Through anointed teaching and counseling, he focuses on cultivating a culture of community by strengthening interpersonal relationships in the body. Danny also serves Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry as a guest lecturer and overseer of the counseling training for both first and second year students.

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KEVIN DEDMON
Kevin has been in pastoral ministry for over 20 years and has a B.A. in Biblical studies and a M.A. degree in Church Leadership studies from Vanguard University. Kevin is currently the director of our Firestorm ministry, which sends teams to local churches for the purpose of demonstrating the revival culture of Bethel Church. These teams impart, empower, and activate the church to live naturally in the supernatural, so that the atmosphere in both the church and the community is transformed. Kevin is also the director of Bethel’s vocational ministry deployment, providing placement opportunities for graduating students and alumni of our School of Supernatural Ministry. He teaches Kingdom Keys and New Testament Revival Theology in the School of Supernatural Ministry, as well as providing pastoral oversight in the second year class.

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SETH DAHL
Seth is currently the Sidewalk Sunday School Director at Bethel Church as well as oversees the transportation ministry.  He is a 2nd year graduate of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Seth spent 4 years working with Metro Ministries in New York City, a ministry that uses over 55 buses to reach 20,000 children each week.

His vision is to see a generation arise that encounters God and does the works of the Father; who will in turn minister to their family, schools and communities, aiming at citywide transformation.

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ANNE EVANS
Anne is an Overseer of the weekly Friday Night Strikes and Bar Ministry at Bethel Church as well as being a coach for Bethel’s Firestarters Class and a member of both Bethel’s Prophetic Intercessary Team and Healing Rooms Team.  She is currently a Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry 3rd Year intern with Chris Overstreet.  She has a passion for prophetic evangelism and regularly leads teams out into the marketplace to share the Father’s love.

Her calling, as a mother to the Body of Christ, is to help birth and raise up sons and daughters into the kingdom through encouragement, teaching, and activation.

May 20–23, 2009

LOCATION:
Redeemer Fellowship
Monroe, Michigan
www.redeemerministryschool.com
Google Map Link

REGISTRATION:
$135 individual
$215 couple

REGISTRATION QUESTIONS:
SSEregistration@ibethel.org

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FACILITY AND SURROUNDING AREA:
SSE@redeemerministryschool.com
734-242-5277 ext 22

SCHEDULE:

Wednesday
7:00pm – Worship
8:00pm – SESSION 1

Thursday
9:00am – SESSION 1
10:15am – Break
10:45am – SESSION 2
Noon – Lunch Break
1:30pm – Worship
2:00pm – SESSION 3
3:15pm – Break
3:45pm – SESSION 4
5:00pm – Dinner Break
7:00pm – Worship
8:15pm – SESSION 5

Friday
9:00am – SESSION 1
10:15 – Break
10:45am – SESSION 2
Noon – Lunch Break
1:30pm – Worship
2:00pm – Outreach Preparation
2:45pm – To The Streets
5:00pm – Dinner Break
7:00pm – Worship
8:15 – SESSION 3

Saturday
10am – 12pm Pastors and Leaders Q&A (optional)

Twitter & Our Super-Face-ial Culture

Twitter and Facebook are emergent properties of our culture. They are now with us and will soon be gone, to be replaced by something that will make them seem as archaic as a newspaper, and at a cultural speed that would make Alvin Toffler drop his jaw in awe.

I’m on both of them. I like getting instant photos from my son and daughter-in-law who work in Japan. I feel enormously thankful for something as simple as e-mail (remember that?), which keeps me connected to them. It’s far better for me to be able to contact them via their Vonage setup that allows me to dial a number in Ann Arbor that connects me to Takayama at no charge. Amazing!

Yet… I resonate with what Julie Manga says in her nytimes letter “140 Characters In Search of Some Meaning.” “Twitter cuts both ways. There is certainly something refreshing about (apparently) uncensored, direct communication among people. But while perhaps intended to connect and inform, Twitter and other similar venues (like Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and reality TV) can become an addictive distraction in life. They can be yet another means to dissipate our attention, get caught in seductive details and take us away from being present in the moment of our own lives and to the issues that affect our lives… I am not a Twitter-basher. I simply offer a caution that we be self-reflective about its impact on our lives personally and as a society.”

Some people are now LIVING on Facebook. On the rare occasions I make an appearance, there they are, as if they’d never left, sitting in the living room of “online friends” waiting to say hello. Are they married? Do they have children” A job? Are they “on the job” when they twitter? Do we really need to know that, right now, Mary “is disappointed” and Bob “wonders if Friday will ever get here” and Katie “is a fan of Old Navy” and Jason and Jenni “ended their relationship?”

Thomas Merton, were he alive today, would never live like this. Merton never watched TV, yet possessed an uncommon wisdom about life and the world he lived in. If we become a total Facebook-culture that’s what we will lose, because it’s what’s beneath the face that actually matters. Face-to-face is better than face-book. To meditate is better than to twitter. There’s a ministry of presence and a ministry of absence (Henri Nouwen). There are some things that are not for the whole world to know. Beides, most people could care less that Angie “is now angry and going to bed.”

Help Monroe’s Salvation Army Raise $9000 to Get $18,000 More!

Yesterday I met with Jim Alban of the Salvation Army-Monroe. Jim told me about an opportunity the SA has to raise matching grant funds. If the SA can raise $9000 by March 9, they may be able to get an $18,000 grant. That’s $27,000 for the price of $9000!

All the funds will be used to help the needy right here in our Monroe community.

If you would like to help meet this need please contact: Jim Alban – 734-241-0440 (Salvation Army); 734-652-8799 (cell); james_alban@usc.salvationarmy.org.

(Here’s the entire SA news release below.)

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The Salvation Army reallocates $3.45 million to aid newly unemployed

Charity appeals to communities to match funds

Des Plaines, IL—The Salvation Army in 11 Midwestern states has reallocated $3.45 million dollars to be pumped directly into local Salvation Army services. The funds are designated for direct service needs for families and individuals who are in crisis as a result of unemployment occurring after October 1, 2008. Salvation Army units that wish to apply must show community support by arranging for a 50 percent match with the local faith community, civic organization, and businesses. The local Salvation Army applicants also must provide a cost-containment plan that analyzes expenses, eliminates waste and delays non-essential/new spending. The deadline for applications for these funds is March 9, 2009.

Continuing to meet needs

While meeting the ongoing needs of the poor without discrimination will continue to be the its focus, The Salvation Army expects economic conditions to increase aid requests from new clients by 15 percent during 2009. These new funds are expected to be utilized by 65 percent of Salvation Army units in the Midwest, or Central Territory (more than 225 locations in 11 Midwestern states).

“In many instances, former donors are turning to us, asking for help they always assumed was for others. This is a new population, impacted by situational poverty, who have been formerly employed and with housing,” said Colonel Carol Seiler, Coordinator for Strategic Ministry Planning for The Salvation Army in the Midwest.

“We know there will be 225 communities where The Salvation Army currently has a presence—and the local faith community and other civic groups and businesses are being asked to provide a letter of intent for 50 percent matching funds,” Seiler concluded.

The grant money will be divided among the units whose grant applications show the greatest need. Up to 125 high demand areas will receive $18,000 grants and as many as 100 moderate demand areas can receive $12,000 grants. The $18,000 grants need to be matched by $9,000 in community based contributions, while the $12,000 grants will require a $6,000 community-based match.

Donors wishing to help with the community match portion of the grant should contact their local Salvation Army to initiate a letter of intent. Supporters may also donate directly to their local Salvation Army at usc.salvationarmy.org

About the Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination since 1865.  Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children.  About 83 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in nearly 5,000 communities nationwide.  For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.

Greg Boyd On the Kingdom of God

I used this great quote from Greg Boyd this morning. It’s about the Kingdom of God.
“People with a non-Kingdom mindset (“‘pagans”) instinctively try to find their security in whatever they think will ensure that their self-interests are met (minimally, food, clothing and shelter). They “run after” these things. This is why they serve money and why they worry incessantly. But Kingdom people are to “run after “only one thing: the reign of God. Part of what this means is that we should trust that God will provide for our basic needs and not worry about ensuring our own self-interests.”