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May 20, 2011

Just a Reminder: Our Next Blog Conversation Will Be In the New Heaven/Earth

May21-2011_judgement you'll need to look up our NHNE ("New Heaven/New Earth") URL once you get there.

Tomorrow is Judgment Day, "guaranteed" by Family Radio.  A CNN/Money article yesterday looked at Family Radio and passed on interesting tidbits, like their net worth (a robust $72 million) and an informal guess by Family Radio's receptionist that 80% of Family Radio's employees do not believe that Saturday is Judgment Day.  ("I don't believe in any of this stuff that's going on, and I plan on being here next week," a receptionist at their Oakland headquarters told CNNMoney. A program producer in Illinois told us, "We're going to continue doing what we're doing.") 

What's your take on "evangelistic urgency," on "today is the day of salvation?"  Clearly, Family Radio's predictions aside, thousands of Americans will die between now and the end of Saturday, so they will face their own end of the world.  Are you motivated by such things? 

Many people trying to follow Jesus whom I talk to are ambivalent.  While many of them do--back to our conversation on Rob Bell--very much believe in the ultimate stakes of heaven and hell, I often hear that "evangelistic urgency" just doesn't work for them.  It puts weird relational dynamics between them and everyone they know.

Urgent-notice I'd agree with that, while still saying that, nonetheless, I actually am very motivated by the urgency of the task.  In any individual relationship, I rely on prayer and friendship and enjoying the deep conversations as they come up and hoping--with all that being done--for the best for my friend.  "Today is the day of salvation" does, in fact, seem like more than any individual relationship can bear, in my world at least.  And yet as a means of laying down the stakes for how I'll be focusing my energies for the rest of my life, "today is the day of salvation" not only seems just about right, it seems perfectly calibrated for me.  I do want my life to be about opening up as large a portal to heaven--as it were--as possible for as many people as possible.  I think about this a lot.  My sense is that it has little to do with me being a pastor--I thought about all of this equally as much in the many years of adult life where being a pastor was never given any thought at all.  It captivated me from my very early days of following Jesus, and it hasn't abated.

How about you?  Judgment Day tomorrow or not, do you find any helpfulness in "gospel urgency," in ultimate stakes, in "today is the day of salvation?"


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