"Jesus vs. Culture"

Man, things are starting to ramp up into full gear as the weather warms and Spring is coming upon us...

First off, we had a wonderful time at the Trivia Night outreach this Friday evening (and thank you to everyone who helped to set that up, or who invited friends to come join us).  We had an absolute blast, with several people asking us to make sure that we do that again sometime soon.

We also have an all-church workday coming up this coming Saturday to help us prepare for our upcoming Vacation Bible School this Summer (yes, it’s time for all of us to get started working on that now, if we hope to be ready by our July 15-10 VBS date).

At that workday, we might even work a bit more on the mural that we’re finally painting in the Nursery.  Personally, I’ve been gently working on this for 15 years, so I’m happy to see us finally picking this up and running with it in ways that appreciate the facilities that God has given us here and brighten up the space for our littlest FCCers.  We’ll also be opening up dates for the whole church to come join us and take part in painting parts of the mural.

In addition, Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday are coming up here in April, so please be in prayer for those very special times.  We always want to make sure that we’re not only honoring God with our services and our Easter morning breakfast, but also specifically reaching out to invite people to join us who have no church family of their own.  Please be praying for everyone involved--and please come join us for our celebrations!

In our sermon series, we’re making our way toward Resurrection Sunday by looking at things that Jesus was specifically against in His ministry.  Last week, we looked at “Jesus vs. Temptation,” and this week, we looked at “Jesus vs. Culture.”

When we think about Jesus being counter-cultural, the truth is that most of us think of that as Him standing against the same things in culture that we stand against (so, to the modern Fundamentalist, Jesus stood against sexual immorality, while to the Jesus Freak, He stood against stifling intolerance, etc.).  But the fact is that Jesus stood against the basic core values of human cultures in general--the obsession with temporal gains over more eternal investments, the tribalism that makes people despise those who differ from one another, the self-justification of our actions focused on propping up our own assumptions, etc.  Throughout sections such as His prayer for His disciples in John 17 or His sermon in Matthew 5, Jesus called us as Christians to be actively in the world, but consciously not of the world--to be first and foremost citizens of God’s Kingdom, even as we continue to live as sojourners here within the kingdoms of this broken place.  There’s a word for that--“ambassadors.”

But that means that we need to come into every situation and context within this world by first setting our sights on the priorities of God that come from someplace far better than this world, and make sure that what we do and why we do it consciously honors God and His Kingdom above honoring ourselves and our immediate surroundings (all of which is a lot like what Paul tells us in Romans 12:2).  And by doing that--by living out our fundamentally alien perspectives on life in our interactions with those around us--we can draw people to the Lord like a lighthouse draws a ship to safe harbor (all of which is a lot like what Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:12).

That can be hard to do--to be square pegs fitting poorly to this world’s round holes.  But it’s what Christ did on our behalf, and it’s what we’re all called to do as Christians. 

It’s worth stopping to ask yourself on a daily basis, “Am I reflecting the world back into the Church, or am I reflecting Christ out into the world around me?”