Hopes | What hopes do you have for this election year? What kind of White House might get you excited to participate in government? Can you imagine a political culture that inspires its citizens to live as better neighbors, workers, parents and friends?
Miracles | When Jesus came to Galilee, he didn’t merely proclaim the kingdom of God with words; he also did mighty acts to show what it was like. He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” . Then, as we see here in Matthew 8, he cleansed lepers, healed servants, calmed storms and drove out demons.
Rumors | This was the character of the kingdom of God. In the midst of an oppressive government, the alternative kingdom of God would heal people and calm storms. Such joy accompanied his works that rumors about him spread throughout Galilee and even as far as cities in the Decapolis like Amman, Jordan (63 miles away) and Damascus, Syria (135 miles away)!  As people saw him perform these miracles, they marveled: “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” .
Callings | Today, God calls us to be citizens of His kingdom in our cities. We are to commit ourselves to deeds and words that say, as Jesus’ deeds and words did, that there is another ruler and another way of organizing the world. As Tom Wright reflects, “You commit yourself to the work of healing and liberation, both actual and symbolic. You commit yourself to freeing slaves, to loosening the bonds of debt, to bringing good news to the poor. And you commit yourself to doing those things, not as a grand social action which you will implement by your own energy and ingenuity, but in the power, and with the weapons, of the kingdom of God: by prayer and fasting, by truth and righteousness, by the gospel of peace, by faith, by salvation, by the word of God” .
Prayer | Lord, You reign as king and, at the end of this age, every knee will bow at your throne. Until then, however, by the power of your Spirit, we proclaim with words and deeds that your kingdom is coming. Therefore, let us seek you and, in our seeking, live to further your kingdom of healing and joy. Amen.
 Mark 1:15 ESV |  See Matthew 4:25 (mentioning that crowds followed Jesus “from Galilee and the Decapolis … and from beyond the Jordan” – 8 of the 10 cities of the Decapolis were not in Israel, including Amman and Damascus). |  Matthew 8:27 |  Tom Wright. The Way of the Lord: Christian Pilgrimage Today (p. 54). Kindle Edition.