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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

"Citizen" (Rob Peabody)

TITLE: Citizen: Your role in the alternative kingdom
AUTHOR: Rob Peabody
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Monarch Books, 2014, (192 pages).

What does it mean to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God? Is it simply a label to denote our citizenship status? Is there something more to simply being called "citizens?" For pastor Rob Peabody, director of the Awaken movement in Northeast London, it means a fundamental change from awakening to passionate living. It means not simply possessing a citizenship certificate but to be seized with an urgency of God's call and a fervency to live in accordance to the hope we have in Jesus. Anyone who reads this book will be re-awakened to the beauty and power of Christ, and what it means to live in Jesus. For Peabody, the Damascus moment was in Jerusalem in a hotel balcony on March 2008. Gripped with a "holy discontent," dismayed at a "Golden Ticket Theology," and awakened to the reality of Kingdom citizenship, Peabody lets loose his convictions in a 192 pages book filled with stories, historical flashbacks, biblical injunctions, and personal testimonies of what the gospel means when we begin living in an alternative kingdom. From mere citizenship, we begin to appreciate how the Early Church and believers were persecuted and forced to live as colonies. Being awakened means not becoming stuck in a colony but to continue to grow toward Christlike communities that help one another discover the beauty of God and one another. Such communities are not restricted to Christian circles divided by race, ethnicity, or cultural distinctivenesses. It means learning to let Jesus the King be all our our attention that whatever differences we may have would seem so small compared to the unifying power of the Cross of Christ and citizens of the Kingdom of God.

Citizens of the kingdom are not called to simply play it safe and mind their own businesses. They are called to be risk takers in all matters of faith, and to live passionately for the gospel. Peabody states that "citizens of the Kingdom should be the most risk-taking people on the planet." Battling the status quo syndrome is a necessary process in order to rid ourselves of the idols of "safety, security, comfort, or self-protection."

Citizens of the Kingdom also has an obligation to practice allegiance to God in Jesus Christ. Allegiance is to a Person, and based on this allegiance, all other associations we have in the world are to take a distant second or third or fourth. Otherwise, instead of God's word that is discipling us, it will be the world's cultures that would be discipling us. Instead of us being formed into God's image, it would be us being formed in the world's images. Citizens of the Kingdom have a choice to make every day. It's a Jesus or nothing scenario. Peabody takes time also to describe about "Part-time citizens" who are often people who seem content just to participate or work in Christian programs and events. Following Jesus is more than those Sunday activities. Following Jesus means a "re-examination," a "rethinking, and a re-committing" to Jesus. Instead, Christians are called to be ambassadors everywhere we go, to be the shalom for communities we live in, in anticipation of the Final Shalom that accompanies Christ's return again.

I remember the acronym for FAITH which I thought is appropriate to summarize what this book is all about. It is "Forsaking All I Take Him." I appreciate the wise words of CS Lewis, who writes that "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." This book definitely ranks among the libraries of biographies, testimonies of faith, and the rallying cries of people such as Leonard Ravenhill, AW Tozer, CT Studd, and many other missionaries who let their living does a lot of their talking. If there is one thing necessary for readers of this book, it will be to do something about what we have read. For the rest, it may be to simply pick up this book and read. Who knows, we will see more re-awakened people in the weeks, months, or years to come.


Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Kregel Publications and Monarch Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the kind review, Dr. Yap. Blessings!