I had the honor of preaching yesterday at my church, Westwood. Our pastor has been faithfully walking us through the
I realize this is a very thin line. We must not compromise the truth and we must continue to engage and combat sin within our culture; but, we also must find a way to do that without abandoning the call to love our neighbors. If we get this wrong and engage the wrong enemy, the church loses its evangelistic voice and begins to abdicate its responsibility to proclaim truth and the good news of the Gospel within the culture in a compelling way. Outsiders will be viewed as enemies who need to be destroyed or avoided rather than potential worshipers in need of redemption. The church will spend its resources in building its own subculture rather than invading the culture with truth, saturated in the love of Christ.
How should believers go about deciding what extra-curricular activities their children should participate in? How relevant is this question to every believing parent!? I have heard this debated and heard so many very strong opinions on the matter. Basically, I have encountered two extremes, though, in which almost everyone seems to belong. First, there are those who involve their children in very little or no such activities at all, fearing that the sheer amount of commitment that is demanded today will keep them from being involved in church or family events. Second, there are those who involve their children in any and every activity their hearts desire, with little or no regard to sanctification or the cost the family must pay. In many ways, this area of life mimics the holistic view of how Christian should involve themselves in the culture, with most falling in one of two extreme camps: cultural withdrawal or non-critical assimilation. Both extremes can be dangerous,
Insecurity can be a dangerous thing for a believer. Insecurity combined with a lack of Scriptural knowledge and understanding can lead to a search for security from emotionalism rather than biblical truth. I have found that some popular Christian music has sought to stroke that need for emotional security through its lyrics, but fall desperately short of biblical doctrine. One such song that has become popular lately is called Someone Worth Dying For, by Mikeschair. No doubt that the song offers a wonderfully fulfilling thought that God sees us as someone worth sending Jesus to die for; but, emotional fulfillment is not the goal. Biblical truth is the goal. Not only are these lyrics just blatantly wrong, the actual message of the Bible concerning our identity offers all the security and sufficiency we should ever need concerning who we are as God’s children.
There are some sayings that have just become second nature. I have heard them all of my life. I find myself sometimes blurting these sayings out, especially to my kids, without thinking twice. Sometimes I am struck just after such an outburst by the fact that I have never really thought about what that saying actually says. Sometimes I quickly realize that although what I just said reveals the common ideals adopted by my culture, it doesn’t quite convey the ideals that should comprise a properly and biblically-shaped Christian worldview. Let me give you one such example. If you put your mind to it, you can do anything or be anything you want to be! How many of us have parroted this line to a young person? Emma asked me several weeks ago if she could be some sort of profession when she grows up. I can’t remember exactly what profession since she seems to change her mind about what
I admit I just do not get Lady Gaga or the fascination so many have with her. But whether I ‘get’ her or not, she has become more than a singer or performer. She has become a movement. Arguably her most adored hit, “Born This Way,” has evolved from lyrics sung to a full fledged foundation. On its website, the foundation states its purpose as “building a kinder braver world that celebrates individuality and empowers young people.” I have been amazed at the response of our younger generation to this mission. Watching this movement unfold has awakened a reality within me concerning the way we approach discipleship with young people. Today’s young people are passionate about two areas: self-identity and self-expression.