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God in Our Midst

Written by Ed Stetzer on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

There is a pervasive consumerism in the church today.

Although a large majority of evangelical Christians agree that they should share their faith, most report that, actually, they don’t. That’s not really all that surprising given today’s pluralistic cultural setting. Research shows that a pervasive spiritual consumerism has led to a buffet approach to religion. People simply pick and choose from an eclectic assortment of beliefs, practices, and rituals. Longing for transcendence or a connection to “the god within,” postmoderns feel free to construct their own god—one that they can feel at home with and connect with on their own terms. Admittedly, it’s hard to know how to go about sharing the good news of Jesus in this context.

But maybe the stubborn longings for transcendence, connection, and a place to call home point to a backstory that makes sense of it all. If such a narrative exists, it deserves a hearing, and those who know and live this story have both the responsibility and privilege of sharing its message of hope.

The narrative of the Bible tells just such a story where God’s purpose from the beginning has been to dwell—or tabernacle—in the midst of the people he has created. Even a brief survey of the Bible reveals that the presence of God with his people is a major theme that threads throughout Scripture. The biblical story opens with God’s creation of a people who reflect his glory and a place where he dwells in communion with them. The Lord blesses the first couple, giving them access to his unmediated presence and a global commission to fill the earth with worshipers. Tragically, their subsequent rebellion results in a broken world and eviction from God’s presence in the garden-sanctuary. ...

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