10-23-16 Drowning in Culture: A Self-Centered World

The Fall is by far my favorite time of the year.  The weather cools off, football season kicks in, and the leaves change colors -- making my drive into work each day a genuine joy, as the hills break open between Morton and East Peoria, and I can see the cascade of colors in the valley.  This year, I can even watch my Cubbies play in the World Series (so here’s hoping that tonight, someone in addition to Ben Zobrist actually tries to play...).  About the only thing that I don’t like about the Fall is that, in October, I always seem to struggle with migraines.  I’m not sure what causes them, but they’re no fun, and I’d like them to stop now.

Oh, and before I forget, this coming Sunday, we’ll be hosting Tom and Janice Kelly, who’ve been Covenant missionaries to Mexico since 1982.  They’re retiring this year, so this will actually be the last time that we host them as our missionaries, and we’d love to give them a warm and loving send-off, so please do join us if you’re at all able.  We’ll even have a Taco Potluck lunch after the service, so stick around and eat with us afterwards.

In our message this week, we finished off our series on exegeting our culture by looking at the common denominator in everything that we’ve been chatting about. We’ve discussed how we as a culture have abandoned absolute, objective, “Truth” in favor of more comfortable, individual-specific “truths.”  We’ve talked about how people thus tend to see doctrines (whether political, theological, or relational) as smorgasbord items to be picked and chosen from according to individual preferences, regardless of how they fit into a larger system.  We’ve talked about how our culture has championed seeing sexuality as a deeply personal thing which cannot be held to any larger moralities (or even larger logical structures like “physical gender,” etc.).  We’ve talked about how we’ve embraced tolerance for everyone’s views on everything -- except for those who appear to be intolerant.  We’ve talked about how we focus on what “feels” like it works for us personally in life, what gives us the biggest dividends for the least personal cost.

In short, all of these are founded on our growing self-centeredness as a culture.  That’s not a liberal thing or a conservative thing -- that’s a human thing, and all of us far too often view things first by how we feel about it, or what this or that decision does for us, or whether or not we like this “truth” or that one, or this candidate or that one, or this sexuality or that one.

But we’re supposed to start by asking what God really wants.  I mean, He’s the one who created us -- who designed us and built us and maintains us within a universe that He also designed, built, and maintains... and all according to the specs that He comprehends far better than you and I ever could.  So what does God say about how you and I should live out this day?

Every day, you and I have a choice to follow “Do as thou wilt” or “Not my will but thy will be done.”  We have a choice to be conformed around the shape of this world, or to be transformed by the character of the Holy Spirit.  But every day, that’s a decision -- and all healthy decisions have to begin with the realization that we could easily be making the wrong one without even recognizing it.  If we begin our decision-making process with self-justification, then we’ll always end it in the wrong place.  Guaranteed.

So don’t assume that you’ve got it all right.  Don’t assume that X or Y political party has got it all right. 

First, stop and genuinely ask what God thinks, through reading God’s Word and through sincere and thoughtful prayer... and then take the time to quietly listen to Him before you run ahead...