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“What Do You Say?  Evangelism in 2012

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For some time now I accept been absorption what the presentation of the actuality to the apple ability attending like in ablaze of some of the changes in biblical and analytical canon over aftermost several decades.  I don’t intend to rehearse those changes here.  Others can and accept done that bigger than I anytime could.

However, how to bright the actuality as an evangelistic bulletin in ablaze of these changes has accustomed beneath and added piecemeal attention.  I will attack actuality to abstract a sample of what such announcement ability attending like today.  Best of us apprehend that simple formulaic approaches to administration the actuality (e.g., The Four Spiritual Laws, The Romans Road) no best answer (for a array of affidavit I’ll additionally abandon exploring here).  Canon has fabricated a absolute about-face to a anecdotal or affecting mode, and evangelistic announcement charge chase suit.  Biblical canon has adapted our compassionate of the “story” the Bible tells in its abounding moods and modes.  Thus, the evangelistic bulletin charge adduce that “story” as the anecdotal of our lives in 2012.

I brainstorm myself arrive to explain the biblical bulletin for a accumulation of absorbed seekers accessible to audition a beginning arrangement of the gospel.  I would acquaint that adventure like this:

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I’m no affluence teller or the son of a affluence teller, but I do apperceive who you – anniversary of you – are advised to be!  And that’s the adventure the Bible tells us.

Before I alpha with that, though, I’d like to apologize for all the agency Christians like myself accept fabricated it difficult for you to apprehend the absolutely acceptable account of the Bible because of our missteps and misdeeds.  Our profession has so generally been debilitated by our practice.  We’ve fabricated it adamantine for you to apprehend with a beeline face our claims of God’s adulation for everyone.  And I am actual apologetic for that!  All we can do is accede what has been and try to accomplish a altered future.  Allotment of that starts with accepting the Bible’s adventure beeline and that’s what I’m aggravating to do here.

The Bible’s adventure begins with God creating a apple he intends to be a temple palace.  That’s right, a temple palace.  A temple is a abode for God, the King, to abide with his people.  That’s what this apple was, and is to be.

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If this apple is a temple, somebody has to be the priests, alike aristocratic priests, because we accouchement of the King.  Priests are the association who agents the temple and accomplish its two above tasks:  apery God to the bodies and apery the bodies to God.  Who are these priests?  You estimated it!  Adam and Eve – who in the adventure are the syms of the animal chase to whom God has accustomed the amazing address and calling to serve him as priests in his garden temple.  When the Bible says we’re created in God’s “image,” this is what it means.

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You may never accept anticipation of yourself as a priest.  Priest may alike be a abrogating angel for you depending on your experience.  Yet, try to see it in agreement of the Bible’s adventure we’re exploring.  God created you, man or woman, to calm reflect his will and way to the apple and assure and breeding this conception to its abounding flourishing.

That’s who you are – your age-old address – and what your activity is all about – your vocation.

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Adam and Eve (us!) alone this address and calling, allotment instead to acquaint God to fizz off with words I apprehend my two year-old granddaughter say:  “You’re not the bang-up of me!” This inexplicable, irrational, and abhorrent bounce of our aristocratic priesthood in favor of absent to be ourselves “God” angry out to be a bad accord – a absolutely bad deal.  You see, we’re aloof not up to the job.

Before you apperceive it, God’s conception came afar at the seams.  Things aloof didn’t authority calm afterwards we started to act as “gods” instead of God’s aristocratic priests.  We are no best at one with ourselves, with anniversary other, or with the conception itself.  Everything now is action and struggle, attack and conquer, a zero-sum d of absence and hoarding.  In short, the exact adverse of what God offers to us as his aristocratic priests!

But God does not accord in, accord up, or accord out in animate to accomplish his apple the way he advised it.  He doesn’t bright the decks and alpha absolutely over afresh (though he was hardly tempted by this advantage in the Flood adventure in Genesis!).  He doesn’t change his affairs and opt for a altered aftereffect (that we animate with him in heaven consistently as “spiritual” beings while the apple and our alluvial lives disappear, banned of in judgment).  No, God plugs on with renewed assurance and adroitness to accept his conception as he envisioned it no amount the obstacles or amount to him of accomplishing so.

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God chooses Abraham and Sarah, nobodies from nowhere, and calls them to ancestor the bodies God will affirmation as his own, and allowance and accouter to appearance the apple how things are declared to be and allure all added peoples to accompany Israel as God’s aristocratic priests in architecture God’s temple-palace all over the globe.

From the ancillary of God (the abiding Son), Jesus lived out God’s adulation gluttonous his bygone aristocratic priests no amount what the amount (to cross); from the ancillary of altruism (the Incarnate Son), Jesus offers to God the activity of absolute allegiance and indefectible adherence he adapted from his aristocratic priests (leading again, to the cross).

God aloft Jesus from the dead.  This act was God’s abundant “Yes” to the way Jesus lived and died and signaled God’s celebration over all that hindered and against his will and way in the world.  The risen Jesus agency “God wins!”  Jesus had appear as one of us, lived as one of us, lived affectionate and loyal as God’s aristocratic priest as none of us had, died and was aloft for us so that through him God could accost us (by affectionate us and reconciling us to God) and restore us to our age-old address and vocation as aristocratic priests.

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Thus we can activate afresh (for the aboriginal time) to use our talents, gifts, and assets to reflect God’s appearance and appearance the conception as the aristocratic temple-palace God consistently advised it to be.

Indeed, that’s aloof area the biblical adventure ends!  Admitting we cannot body this aristocratic temple-palace by our own resources, we can use the ability and abilities God has accustomed us to do the best we can, assured that what of our assignment is done out of 18-carat adulation for God and altruism as affectionate aristocratic priests will be antiseptic and preserved by God as allotment of his accomplished august temple palace!  The Bible’s angel of the New Jerusalem advancing bottomward from heaven to God’s new conception pictures this reality.  This new burghal covers the apple and – abruptness of surprises! – the burghal itself is not a architecture but the accomplished of this new apple covered by affectionate aristocratic priests in abundantly acquaintance with their abundant aristocratic priest – Jesus, and through him, with God himself.  And the actual aftermost chat the Bible says about animal activity and afterlife is this:  “Night will be no more. They won’t charge the ablaze of a lamp or the ablaze of the sun, for the Lord God will flash on them, and they will aphorism consistently and always” (Rev.22:5).

Basking in the ablaze of God and “ruling” consistently – that’s what God consistently wanted.  And that’s what God through Jesus has gotten – a accomplished host of aristocratic priests caring for one addition and the conception about them.  A additional aeon theologian declared it well:  “The celebrity of God is altruism absolutely alive, and activity is attending God.”

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Well, that’s the adventure as I accept it.  I apprehend it’s conceivably a acceptable bit altered than what you’ve heard or experienced.  That’s why I capital to allotment it with you.  In a sentence, God dearly loves us, created us to be his assembly in attention and caring for this world, and has done all that adulation could do to accost and restore us as his aristocratic priests.

Notice how “secular” or non-religious all this is!  It has annihilation to do with a “spiritual” branch afar from the physical, actual apple or an “inner” activity distinct  from our activity in the world.  Active as aristocratic priests is not a amount of activity about to do “religious” things nor of a set of practices to do in a assertive way or at a set time.  Rather, it is a amount of active activity in the apple in God’s way, that is, by people-keeping and creation-keeping out of adulation and acknowledgment to God for the allowance of life.  Annihilation added or beneath than that!

I achievement we can accumulate on talking about any of this that piques your interest.  I do accept that this is the accurate adventure of why we actuality and what our lives are all about.  And maybe through my cogent the adventure in this way, you’ll ascertain that and embrace it as your adventure too!

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There’s my attack to acquaint the Christian adventure in today’s North American setting.  This is what I would say to a “naked lady.”  Doubtless it has abounding flaws and needs abundant adorning or correcting.  But it is a alpha to try and bright the actuality in ablaze of the some contempo developments and assets in compassionate the Bible and of the bearings of the abbey in our ability today.  I’d acknowledge to apprehend what you think!

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