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How can we see the signs and repent?

Most of us have misspent precious time on WebMD. We’ve developed a peculiar malaise and launched our own investigative examination (with unquestioned personal expertise) to secure a speedy and satisfying diagnosis.

Although we were troubled by our original symptoms, we soon become suspicious that we’ve contracted a far more exotic condition. After a few hours, that tickled throat is now proof-positive of a chronic, excruciating death-sentence just around the corner. We close our computer, draw a deep breath, and pray that a real doctor has better news.

Symptoms are funny things. To some, they are in themselves the problem. Heroic efforts are braved in order to mask the evidence of a deeper and more malignant issue. To others, symptoms are snubbed. With clenched teeth and firm resolve, we soldier on, feigning as if nothing is out of the ordinary.

Still to others, symptoms become a source of paralysis. With fear and dread we cocoon, hoping for a miraculous delivery while we dawdle in our emotional fetal position attempting to conjure happier thoughts.

All three responses are inadequate. Symptoms are never the problem, should never be ignored, and cannot be wished away by a pseudo-counternarrative. Symptoms are God’s way of getting our attention.

Consider the case of the church in North America.

Symptoms of disease are everywhere. Church closures. Dismal baptism numbers. Disqualified pastors. Negative cultural influence. Infighting. Dysfunction. Scandal. Failure. The symptoms are all pointing to a deep problem somewhere, but the question is: Where?

Before we round up the usual left-wing suspects to pin sole culpability, an internal evaluation is in order. A Kingdom-centric worldview understands that the pervasive …

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