Aaron Summers

What to Do When Faith and Culture Collide?

In Life and Culture on June 29, 2015 at 6:30 am

BDp20Collision

When we choose to follow Jesus, really follow Him, we put ourselves on a collision course with the culture.  Christian faith and current culture are like oil and water.  They don’t blend well.  When things like #SCOTUS happen or when #POTUS gets executive orders the Christian community gets real fired up.  My friend Andy Harrison stated (tongue in cheek, of course) the following usually happens:

  1. Culture proves itself Godless via political or societal event.
  2. Frustrated Christians begin the airing of grievances.
  3. Calculated Christians drop by Bible Gateway and cut and paste something from Deuteronomy or anything written by Paul that sounds angry.
  4. The Christian Correction Crew start posting, telling all other Christians to shut up, love people and go plant a tree.
  5. Intellectual Christians post a quote by an unknown philosopher that has deep meaning for people who like “How He Loves.”
  6. Sensible Christians hit the power button and go to dinner with their families.

How are we supposed to handle the collision of faith and culture?  How should those who are followers of Christ respond?

27Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. 28So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.

29Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. 30But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?”

31Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. 32I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”

When your faith and culture collide remember this,

It is not a time to run away from culture but to run to the culture.  Matthew (Levi) chose to follow Jesus and later held a party for friends to meet Jesus.  How novel!  Instead of retreating into a religious subculture, Matthew made sure that the culture he knew would at least meet Jesus.  In 1608, the Puritans separated to Holland because they couldn’t deal with the issues.  In 1620, they made their way to America.  400 years later we face the same problem.  Will we run away or run to those who need Jesus?

Church leader, it is not time to debate doctrinal statements but weep over the deadness spiritually.  When we choose to follow Jesus and call others to do be sure that it is not a time to learn religious lingo but to love the lost with the Gospel.  Matthew desired to bring everyone together.  He recognized that while he needed to learn more about Jesus his friends needed Jesus too.

It is not a time to burn bridges but to build them.  When we begin to spew hatred and angst we are not reflecting Jesus.  Matthew did not cut ties with his friends.  He leveraged those relationships and influence for the power of the Gospel.  We follow Jesus, not a religion.  Too often when people come into a church fold they lose touch and sight of the lostness of their friends.  They no longer have time for them and are ostracized by church leaders if they do.  How will the lost hear if we cut ties and run?  How will they hear unless someone tells them?  How precious are those who take the gospel to those around them.

It is not a time to judge others by the law (church and tradition) but to love others with the Gospel.  The Pharisees pronounced judgement on these people as “scum”.  I have heard no less of a treatment of political leadership, justices, and humanity that disagrees.  We are called to make disciples of the world.  We get nowhere by anger, hate, and judgement.  The gospel changes people.  Jesus died so that you might be free and help others find that freedom.  Let us not chain them up.

Everything we do is a part of being a witness: job, home, social media, the way u dress, messing around, romance, your speech, it all matters.  We do not get to pick and choose when we are a witness.  We don’t clock in.  You are a witness.

Will you follow Jesus?

Follow Me

In Chrisian Life on June 23, 2015 at 8:22 am

5-01 Follow Me

Follow me.

Anytime someone tells me to follow them I have a host of issues:

  • Why?
  • Where are we going?  Where are YOU going?
  • What good does that do?
  • How long will it take?
  • Just tell me so I can do it on my own.
  • I can’t right now.

At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus would walk up to people and simply say, “Follow me.”  They would drop what they were doing and actually follow Him!  The call of Jesus on our lives today is no different.  He is calling us to follow Him.  Too often we find ourselves trying to lead instead of follow.  In his book, Follow Me, Leonard Sweet lays out for us the importance of following Jesus.  As we go and make disciples, we are to help them follow Jesus.

Too often we compartmentalize ourselves.  We have those who lead, those who think they should be leading, those who aspire to lead, and everyone else.  We focus on putting people in charge.  We focus on positions and power.  We want to run the show.  Our sinful tendencies come out easily in this environment.  God said to follow the directions.  Jesus said to follow Him.

When we get caught up in the rhetoric, we can lose sight of the reality.  Like Lot, Christians get laughed at when they finally speak up about an issue because everyone can see they are no different than anyone else.  Christians, today, have a bad habit of not being followers of Jesus.  We are makers of destiny.  We are political power brokers.  We are Pharisaical monarchs who sit in our luxury palaces of churchdom and try to rule from a distance.

We are not followers.

You are to follow Jesus.  Love God with all you’got.  Love your neighbor by following Jesus, showing Jesus, serving up Jesus.  Help others to follow Jesus.

How Do I Talk About Jesus?

In Chrisian Life, Evangelism on June 11, 2015 at 9:13 am

Is it too simple?  Have we missed it in its simplicity? The Great Commission is clear.  We are to go and make disciples.  The method by which we do that is fuzzy.  Over the past 2 decades there have been a plethora of models for sharing the Gospel.  Yet, the statistics of my denomination have not adjusted much toward more involvement.  In this information crazed age, we are more educated on how to do it than we are actually engaging in evangelism.

For those who know but have not yet engaged, here are a few pointers to guide you.  EVERY person either goes to Heaven or Hell after death.  There are no exceptions.  EVERY person you know, or come into contact with, is heading toward one or the other.  The only way you going to discover which way is to talk to them.

Yes.  We have to say something.  Our lives are not going to draw people to Jesus without saying something.  Who among us lives so perfectly that people want to know Jesus by watching us.  It is more likely that by watching us people will be willing to listen to us talk about Jesus, as long as our lives are reflecting the presence of the Holy Spirit. 

How can we turn a conversation toward Jesus?

Pray. Ask the Spirit to move ahead of you in the lives of people around you.  Ask that you have discernment to know when to press and when to release.

Pay Attention.  People are more likely to be interested in spiritual matters around life events.  Moments such as births, deaths, birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, and even sorrows can open up the doors for a conversation.

Listen Carefully.  There are several ways we listen, and most of the time it i not with our heart.  We listen for what interests us more than actually hearing what is being said.  We listen in order to react rather then respond.  If we listen to people with our heart and engage in the conversation is shows love,
Jesus love.  Care about them more than your own need to jump in and solve the problem.  Listen and hear and feel.

Ask Good Questions.  One helpful book is Randy Newman’s Questioning Evangelism.  In this book he gives ways of asking questions in difficult moments and conversations.  I encourage you to read this book.

Be Patient.  Moving people toward a faith decision does not happen immediately.  Sure, there are those moments when it is easy.  However, more often than not it takes time in skeptical and spiritually innocuous world for people to see the need and respond.

With these thoughts in mind, go and make disciples of all the world!

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