NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Ken Hemphill believes more Christians should experience the life-changing power of understanding God’s purpose in history and the part He wants them to play in His Kingdom.
Hemphill, the national strategist for the Southern Baptist Convention’s unfolding Empowering Kingdom Growth emphasis, believes too many Christians miss out on the joy and fulfillment of being God’s people when they could be part of His supernatural work in transforming lives and revealing His glory to a lost world.
In his new book, “EKG: The Heartbeat of God,” Hemphill traces God’s Kingdom through the pages of the Old Testament and the teachings of Christ. He shows how it exploded in the early church and cascades into our time. B&H is the trade publishing arm of LifeWay Christian Resources, which is partnering with the SBC Executive Committee in the EKG emphasis.
“Kingdom questions are among the most important a Christian will ever face,” Hemphill noted. “Few are more crucial to our understanding of why we’re here and what we should be doing with the brief time God has given us.”
A DAILY REALITY
Being God’s people means aligning our hearts with God’s, Hemphill said, yet too few Christians experience His power in their daily lives.
“Knowing what truly ignites the heart of God is something we desperately need to understand, yet we have such a hard time recognizing it. We don’t always know it when we see it. We don’t always live by it when we do. And we don’t always realize it when we’re missing it,” he said.
Living and serving in the Kingdom of God is exciting and life-changing, said Hemphill, former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas and author of numerous books. “It will impact every area of your personal life. Even standing in line at the checkout counter no longer seems like a humdrum waste of time but potentially a Kingdom opportunity.”
The greatest shame is for Christians to live out their days without ever experiencing what God had in mind for them, Hemphill added.
“A lot is at stake if we fail to grasp the meaning of the Kingdom for us,” he said. “We miss the joy of participating in God’s supernatural work, the exhilarating freedom that comes from radical obedience, the opportunity to experience God’s abundant provision. Saddest of all, we miss God’s purpose for our lives.
“Whatever our situation, wherever we are, however we feel about our relationship with God, it is never too late to discover what it would mean to be a Kingdom person — and to experience the adventure of a lifetime.”
THE QUEST OF A LIFETIME
Obeying Jesus’ admonition to seek the Kingdom first (Matthew 6:33) is life’s key quest in finding one’s purpose on earth, Hemphill said, adding that a Christian in search of God’s Kingdom must travel the pages of the Bible.
“We see God’s Kingdom best by opening our Bibles and letting God speak to us through the pages of His story, through the lives of His people and through the love of His Son,” Hemphill said. “But we aren’t inventing a new model or lifestyle. We’re building on what God already has shown us.
“That’s because the Kingdom has always been there. The Kingdom has been God’s plan and purpose for all eternity, and He has painted it from one corner of the Scripture to the other.
“The Kingdom has always been central to our relationship with God, for it has always been His means of relating to us,” Hemphill said. “His purpose has always been to raise up a people who would embrace His mission, embody His name and obey His Word.”
‘THE ONLY REALITY THERE IS’
A singular focus on God’s Kingdom clarifies a Christian’s calling, invigorates everyday life and deepens one’s relationship with God and others, Hemphill said. Wholehearted investment in God’s Kingdom changes the world.
“When I think about the impact that faithful obedience to God’s Word could have on our world, I am overwhelmed,” he said. “You become an instrument in the hand of the sovereign God of the universe.
“To live with this kind of Kingdom focus is not merely one choice among a long list of priority-setting options and life-management techniques. For the believer in Christ, living in the Kingdom is the only reality there is.
“The Kingdom of God is everything,” Hemphill said. “And living in the Kingdom is God’s purpose for you. For me. And for all of God’s people.”
“EKG: The Heartbeat of God” is available through lifewaystores.com. A new discipleship study using the book, “A 40 Day Experience, EKG: the Heartbeat of God,” will be available through LifeWay stores and online in August.