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FIRST-PERSON: EKG: What is it, anyway?

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. (BP)–As a member of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Empowering Kingdom Growth Task Force, I am hearing more and more people ask what this is all about. Is it a new program and, if so, how does a Southern Baptist participate in it?

Well, in a sense it is a program — God’s program for His work in the world! You don’t have to sign up, order any materials or take a course to be a part of God’s Kingdom growth. Just open your eyes to what He is doing all around you and get in on it!

In Matthew 11:12, Jesus said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it”(NIV). The Greek word for “lay hold of” is the same word used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 of the church being “caught up” at the rapture.

Do you get what Jesus is saying? The Kingdom of heaven is on the move.

It’s the realm where Jesus reigns as life, and that Kingdom can’t be stopped. But it can be joined. But only by those who refuse to miss it, who reject a life lived in their own power, who “take hold” of it with all their might! We’re not meant to wait for Jesus to take hold of us at the rapture. We’re meant to take hold of Him now!

I’m afraid we often miss the advance of the Kingdom because we really don’t believe that God is always on the move, always at work around us, always inviting us to be a part of His amazing adventure. But that’s Who He is! He loves you desperately and longs to see you live the life of passion He has designed you for in His Kingdom. He rejoices to show you His love and power.

A few months ago I went on a mission trip to the Middle East. There I met a man named Joseph who had given his life to Jesus years ago. He asked me if I would pray for his brother to be saved.

I asked him where his brother lived. When he told me, I couldn’t believe it. He lived in America — in the same city where my parents lived! When I told my parents about this, they shared the prayer request with others and found that one of their friends had been praying for this man’s salvation for eight years! My dad and I went to the restaurant where this man worked and, before we left, he had given his life to Jesus!

What an amazing God we serve! He has a mighty Kingdom plan as big as the universe, but He will go to almost any lengths to seek out that one person on this crowded planet who needs Him.

And He’s seeking you today. He’s got something big to do in you — and through you. He just wants to know — do you believe Him? And are you ready to take hold of His mighty Kingdom? When you do, you have just joined Empowering Kingdom Growth!
John Avant is senior pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ga.

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