What does it mean to be part of God’s Kingdom? Don Williams says, “When we make Christ the Lord of our life, we are delivered from Satan’s kingdom, delivered from God’s wrath, and delivered into God’s kingdom.” In his book, Start Here, he addresses a lengthy list of attributes that he says are essential to kingdom living and kingdom ministry. According to Williams, in order to be successful kingdom builders, we must integrate these essential attributes into our day-to-day lives.
Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:7, “You must be born again.” The journey to kingdom living begins with salvation, but it doesn’t end there. To be Christ imitators, we must become “Spirit people”—people led by God’s Holy Spirit. It’s a life-long process called sanctification, and as Williams points out, the secret to becoming sanctified is in surrendering everything we have and everything we are, allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish what we can’t accomplish ourselves.
Start Here is basic in its message but radical in the extent to which it adopts the message. It contains teachings that have been promoted by the Christian Church for centuries—some of which have become quite controversial today—such as the ministry of healing, deliverance from demonic activity, and the “signs and wonders” brought on by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Williams recounts miraculous events that have been recorded throughout church history, and others that continue to be seen today, as evidence that we must discerningly embrace all of the manifestations of God. He says, “History can’t be reduced to our own mindset or limited experience.” The power of the Holy Spirit is still available, but we must be willing vessels through which He can work.
“As we grow closer to His heart, we draw closer to what’s on His heart: people.” Williams reminds us that the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit are given solely as tools for ministry. “All gifts given to us by God are to be given away. We are to invest what we have received into the lives of others.” Though God loves us intensely and has created us uniquely, the ministry He has called us to is not about ourselves—it is about God and about promoting His kingdom through the power He has made available.
Start Here is easy to read but it isn’t light reading—nor is it for those who take their Christianity lightly. Instead, it challenges the reader to consider a sacrificial commitment that engulfs every area of life, and it calls the Church to a level of living that mirrors the early believers in the book of Acts. Williams says, “Jesus’ plan is for the Church to be an instrument of His kingdom and to do Kingdom work.” He says the Church needs to be apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, nurturing, and equipping, just as the early Church was.
“All equipping is for the work of service, or ministry. Ministry is not the territory of a few; it is for the whole Church. It is simply ‘service’—getting out of ourselves, into others and serving them with the serving heart of Jesus.” This calls for a radical change in the Body of Christ and a radical change in the heart of every Believer. And it requires that we lay aside our preconceived notions of what Christianity is and allow God to reveal the influence and authority He has made available to His people.
Start Here is a thought-provoking book that asks the reader to consider the extent to which he or she will allow God to be Lord. It promotes a life of service and sincere sacrifice to the eternal building of God’s Kingdom.
Williams is a Vineyard pastor who was formerly a lecturer in religion at Claremont McKenna College in California and an adjunct professor at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. He has a bachelor of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a doctorate of philosophy from Columbia University. – Nancy K. Brown, Christian Book Previews.com
You've already made the most important decision of your life: to accept Christ and begin a new walk of faith. But now you have questions. Is there more to being a Christian than forgiveness of sins? What does it mean to be a part of God's kingdom? And what do you do next?
Author Don Williams answers these questions and more in this dynamic book outlining the essentials of the Christian faith. Start Here takes you on an illuminating exploration of the Kingdom, God's purposes in it and the calling to be a part of it. As surrender becomes your lifestyle, you will discover that real worship lies at the heart of Kingdom living. Whether you are a new believer, or one interested in growing more mature in the faith, you'll find practical steps for furthering your spiritual journey here.