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Beliefnet is pleased to present an inspirational devotional from the gifted Christian author Brian McLaren. This is week 5 of the 8 week-long devotional. If you missed the previous entries, stay subscribed to this feed to start over.
His coming surprises all expectations: born in a stable, not a royal court . . . raised by a carpenter, not a priest . . . preaching a message of “good news” that God’s kingdom is “at hand,” peacefully confronting and quietly invading all the political kingdoms of the earth . . . emphasizing love and reconciliation, not violence and revenge. He heals the sick, he teaches the crowds, he befriends the lonely, he accepts the rejected, he calls many into a new life as his disciples or apprentices . . . until he is betrayed, arrested, tortured, crucified, killed, and buried. But he defeats death and rises in a quiet victory, commissioning his followers to bring his good news to the whole world, inviting people of every nation to follow this new Way, knowing God as their Father, with God’s own Spirit living in them.

Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
(Mark 1:14-18)

13. If you were to write a creed expressing your personal confidence in Jesus, what would you say? Start each statement with the word, “I believe.” If you don’t have much confidence in Jesus, instead express your questions about Jesus with a series of statements beginning with “I wonder.”
14. Find a Bible and read Matthew 5-7 (the most concentrated example of Jesus’ teaching that we have). You can also read them online. Take a paragraph or two and render them in your own words, imagining that Jesus were speaking these words today.
15. If Jesus were to show up today, where do you think he would be born? What would he be like? What would he say, and to whom? What would he get in trouble about? How would he be killed? How and to whom would he reveal his resurrection?
16. Think of a group of people who have been harmed in the name of Christianity. Write a letter of apology to them on behalf of Jesus.
–Brian McLaren

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