Heartland Vineyard Church is in its second year of offering School of Kingdom Ministry, a 29 week course where students study their Identity in Christ and the Ministry of the Holy Spirit. Roi Lene and I are both enrolled as students, as are Amos Groenendyk, our new Student Ministries pastor, and his wife Alison, as well as about 30 other students. Rod Wallace and Sammee Bean are doing a fantastic job of leading us through our course work.

School of Kingdom Ministry has been developed by a good friend of the Heartland Vineyard, Putty Putman from the Champaign-Urbana, Illinois Vineyard Church. Our class is in its 5th week, and so far, it has proven to be informative, interesting, challenging, and even in some respects provocative.

The goal of SoKM is to assist the church in equipping Spirit led disciples who have a Biblical Worldview, a Kingdom of God theology, and an identity sturdily fixed in Jesus Christ. Topics like power evangelism, prophecy, physical healing, as well as emotional healing and deliverance are a part of the course work.

Our class meets every Monday evening from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and is a wonderful mixture of building our faith intellectually as well as activating our faith practically.

Last Monday, Putty, teaching via video, was addressing the fact that when Jesus came to the earth, His primary message was the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ teachings, many through parables, were designed to help his listeners understand that the Kingdom of God, the rule and reign of God, had invaded a broken and desperate world. God was intent on setting all things wrong back to right. Jesus not only taught with words but taught through the demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit as he would heal the sick and cast out demons and then declare, “the Kingdom of God is here.” Putty went on to teach that the Kingdom of God, though inaugurated at the first coming of Christ, will not come in its fullness until the second coming of Christ. So, from the first coming to the second coming of Christ, we live in a time called the “last days.” It is a time in which our enemy Satan continues to war against the people God loves, even though he is defeated.

Colossians 2:13-15  And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Christ)

Satan is clearly defeated. But until the return of Jesus at His second coming, the fight continues.

Putty used a clever metaphor to describe this ongoing battle here on earth. Though in reality, our enemy is defeated, the battle rages on. He used the picture of people playing Monopoly. The game usually takes 3 hours to play but after the first hour, everyone pretty much knows who is going to win. Someone has bought the prime properties on the board, purchased the utilities and railroads, and placed houses and hotels on their properties. It will take another two hours for the total victory to be realized, but the win was decided long before.

So it is with the spiritual battle being waged on earth. We know who wins, but the victory has not yet been fully realized. Until the full reality of conquest by Christ, we as God’s sons and daughters participate with our Father in Heaven to dismantle the Kingdom of Darkness, even as Christ did during his earthly ministry. We as God’s people were not just saved from something (hell) but we were saved for something. We have a mission. Our mission is to EXTEND the Kingdom of God into every realm of our influence.

When we come in contact with people, whether they are family, friends, co-workers, neighbors or even strangers, who are suffering with sickness, discouragement, addiction, oppression, shame or the consequences of sinful behavior, it is our privilege, as well as our responsibility, to inject into their brokenness the Kingdom of God.

Next fall, we will begin our third year of SoKM. I want to encourage you to make plans to enroll and gain valuable instruction that will make your life more complete in Christ.

However, you don’t need to wait to take a course to extend God’s Kingdom. Simply be willing to ask a powerful question to those that are wounded by a broken world. “May I pray for you NOW?”