Tomorrow is Resurrection Sunday. I guess you know that if you are a preacher or a tie salesperson. People are going to places of worship tomorrow. Those of us who go every week need to be on our best behavior when others show up to see us.
Here is an evangelism program to begin and end with a heavy emphasis on salvation and very little schmaltz. Ready?
God created humanity. God likes people. In fact, God told people to be fruitful and make more people. This may be the only commandment of God gleefully kept to excess. Still, God loves people. God even loves the natural process of making people, apparently, since there is plenty of dirt from which God might have made more supernaturally, had the Deity so chosen.
Since God created people out of love, it might follow people will be most happy when in a proper love relationship with God. That is, we might have the most happiness we can possibly possess when we do the things that make God happy with us.
God gives us work to do. Sin frustrates the work but there is nothing in Scripture indicating frustration is God’s will. In fact, there is every reason to believe God wants any frustration we experience to be temporary. God refuses to let catastrophe overwhelm the human race. The Divine Parent cuddles up the human family in times of disaster, repeatedly protecting the human seed from disappearance, even in the times when humanity stresses the earth.
Repeatedly calling for human progress the God of the Bible overcomes even the stubborness plainly exhibited by religious followers. The faithful speakers of God’s voice portray the end of hatefulness and murder in exchange for a new living world of love.
When time is full, God sends into it Jesus, called the Christ. God protects the Christ from evil persons intent to defend their own positions at the expense of others. The Christ grows to maturity in a godly kind of home with self-sacrificing parents. When His time comes, Jesus the Christ sets out on a three year long traveling ministry during which He reaches out to all classes of persons, heals, feeds, even raises the dead, as a personal testimony of the kind of world God will one day remake this world to be.
When Jesus sacrifices His life on the Cross, the guilt does not belong to one religion, the Jews, or to one army, the Romans, but to every man and woman, boy and girl, who ever walk apart from God. Jesus dies in a nova-bright burst of love, an act at once substantive, for there is forgiveness in the act, and at the same time symbolic, for there is in His death the expression of how One Life can remake All Lives.
In the mind of God, death is temporary and life is durable. God raises up the body of Jesus the Christ, reanimating the Christ in perfect glory, scars and all. Jesus gives instruction to His closest followers, called the Church, and then returns into Heaven.
In the mind of God, separation is only temporary and community is durable. God the Holy Spirit fills up the Church with power to live out the Christ story before the world. The early Church lives the story so effectively, others around them start to call them "Christians."
Christians of the Church form millions of fellowships, organizations, Bible studies, et al, down through the centuries. Human faults are obvious, even in Christian gatherings, from the beginning. God works incessantly remaking humankind in the divine image, preparatory for the Day of Days, when the Christ restores all God creates to the intended state.
What is that intended state? Remember how we started? God creates people. God loves people. People are happiest, most fulfilled, when we do the things God loves.
What does God love? God loves His Son, the Christ, Jesus. God loves people enough that God’s own Son will live and die for women and men, girls and boys.
God loves for us, you and me, to embrace Jesus the Christ, accept His death as our life and follow Jesus the Christ. God loves it when we do what Jesus did.
Do you understand what it will cost to you to follow Jesus? Jesus teaches cost-counting before one makes a choice to follow Jesus. In fact, Jesus demonstrably makes the choice to follow Him one that is conscious and personal. Jesus does not try to fool anyone. He talks about personal sacrifice and self-denial repeatedly. We are finding out this is the only way we can co-exist on this planet at all.
Christianity, real Christianity is not much good for sissies. Understand it will cost you a lot to come this way. You will get a lot out of this path, no doubt, before we even get to the "ever-lasting" aspects but you need to know, the cost is pretty high.
I guess I should talk about how we probably do not make our way to Christian experience without some kind of Christian experimentation but this blog is already too long. Don’t think you are at rest until you rest in the Christ. Then be happy forever.