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GOD WORKING THROUGH HIS PEOPLE TO RESTORE THE WORLD, PASTOR SAYS
For those who despair about the world as it is, Hal Shrader has a message: God is working through us to restore the world as weve always imagined it should be.
Many people need that hope, the Mennonite pastor noted Oct. 16 at Bluffton University, quoting biblical passages from Genesis to Revelation that reinforced his premise. Including verses from the books of Exodus, Isaiah and Hebrews, those passages also reveal that God wants people to partner with him in the restoration process, Shrader said.
The lead pastor of Trinity Mennonite Church in Glendale, Ariz., was the speaker at Blufftons Spiritual Life Week Forum. He is also speaking at other campus events this week, whose theme is "Esperanza: Trusting God in an Easy Mac World." Bluffton sets aside one week each semester as Spiritual Life Week.
"From the beginning, God is the one who brings light from darkness," and order from chaos, said Shrader, recounting the first verses of the creation story in Genesis. And once evil "entered the picture" in the Garden of Eden, he added, the story became one of God working with humankind to repair the broken world.
He did so first through Abraham, Shrader said, giving him the children who started nations, including the Israelites he ultimately delivered from slavery in Egypt. Establishing a marriage-like covenant with them, God told the Israelites "I saved you for a purpose so you can be my ambassadors and the entire world can be reconciled to me," the pastor pointed out.
As in some marriages, however, the vows were broken, he continued, leading to the coming of Jesus in the New Testament to be the mediator of a new covenant.
God didnt give up his pursuit of a partnership with humankind to heal the world, Shrader said, and if people today are willing to serve and worship him to that end, "that changes everything."
"God has chosen to use us to be part of the fixing of the world," he told his Bluffton audience. "May you follow Jesus as he leads you to God" and works toward restoration of the world to "the way he always intended it to be."
Shrader is in his fifth year at Trinity Mennonite, where, he said, "were engaged in the process of building bridges" linking people to God.
Bluffton public relations, 10/17/12