The Culture Around Us

Here are some of my tweets today:

  1. God so loved the world  that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall  not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 about 9 hours ago via Echofon
  2. Question: do you influence the culture around you or does the culture influence you? Share the Gospel. Make an impact. Rinse and Repeat. about 7 hours ago via Echofon
  3. When the culture  influences you more than the Gospel, it then becomes an idol. (see  previous culture tweet) about 5 hours ago via Echofon
  4. CULTURE: If the church  influenced culture, instead of culture influencing the church, would it  look any different? about 5 hours ago via Echofon

Needless to say, I have been thinking about the culture in which I live, and how do I interact with it as a follower of Jesus Christ. To begin, let us decide what culture IS. In an article about culture, resurgence, defines culture as; Culture is the shared beliefs, behaviors, and artifacts of a  particular group of people who share a common language. The article goes on to say that everything is culture. Everything we do (activity) and make (artifact) is culture. The way we dress, talk, where we live, everything is a part of the culture in which we find ourselves.
The question I am posing is; What is the church doing amidst its particular culture. I am talking about the church as a whole (the movement of Jesus Christ) and the church around the corner (faith community, making disciples and reaching the world with the Gospel). I often hear stories of the “good ol’ days” in which everything shut down on Sundays and now the church shuts down to follow a school calendar or summer vacations. We hear reasons like, “It gives families the opportunity to spend time together” or “Church attendance will be low, and the tithe won’t be as much, so we will save money by not meeting.” What happened to the church! What happened to the influence? Have we replaced God for comfort? Have we replaced God for a school Calendar?

This post is by no means a slam on churches who shut down for spring break, or for summer time this is simply about how churches engage the culture around them? In John 17, Jesus prays for the disciples and future believers. In His prayer Jesus pleads for the Father to protect them, the disciples who are in the world. We have all heard the term “in the world but not of it”, right? If we are honest, we are all impacted by the culture around us. I really enjoy all types of media, anything from music to movies to books to smart phones and gadgets of all sorts, and at times they consume me. The culture in which I live says, “get that new phone, or gadget” because without it you wont feel like your ahead of the information game. I REALLY enjoy the TV show LOST! If I miss the latest episode, that’s OK because I have a DVR so I can watch it later. The technology of western culture is awesome, yet it comes with a price. I like most, spend so much time living within the culture, I forget about Jesus and His prayer, that though I am in the world, I am not to be of the world. I am an alien in a foreign land and yet this foreign land has become a place in which I get lost in the shuffle of culture. I, at times forget the Gospel. So what are we as Christian supposed to do? Are we to be separatists? Are believers supposed to be invisible in our cultures? NO, on the contrary, Scripture gives us a mandate to interact with culture but not to be consumed by it.
Colossians 2:16-17: Therefore do not let  anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious  festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the  things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Paul here, is warning the church of the Colossians about trading their freedom in Christ for a set of man-made rules and rituals. This was the culture in which they found themselves in, passed down through the Old Testamental times to then.  Yet, their reality is only found in Christ! Nothing has changed for us today, our reality is not in the culture in which we find ourselves, no, our reality is ONLY found in the One who gave His life as a sacrifice so that we can have freedom in HIM!

3 things for believers:
1. Understand and recognize that we all live in a particular culture where we are. (Where we live, work, etc.) 2. We are mandated to Share The Gospel, and make disciples in our culture.(Matthew 28:16-20) 3. Our efforts are to bring Glory to God and not ourselves, so that no man can boast (Ephesians 2:8-10)

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