Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mission Impossible?

Note: The following is an article I've written for the upcoming edition of The Westbury Word newsletter.  Since it talks about the direction I'll be headed in my preaching in the upcoming year, I thought I'd share it with all of you here...

One of my elementary school teachers had a bumper sticker on her desk that said, “Stop the world…I want to get off!”  Sometimes it’s easy for us as Christians to feel this way.  Things keep changing so fast in our culture, we can’t keep up with it all.  For example, many moral standards that once were a consensus in our culture—standards that come from Scripture--now seem to be ignored, even despised.  Increasingly, our neighbors are from other parts of the world and have no knowledge of Christianity; in fact, many are devout adherents of non-Christian faiths.  In addition, there is a rising trend of anti-religious sentiment.  Any public expression of faith is protested, even ridiculed, by a growing segment of the population (if you don’t believe me, read the comments online under any news story that has to do with faith).  No wonder even Christian thinkers talk about America as a “Post-Christian” nation.  So how are we called to respond?  Most of us grew up in The Bible Belt, where we were squarely in the majority.  We need to learn how to represent Christ in a non-Christian culture.  That will be the theme of my preaching in 2013.  At the start of the year, we’ll look at the obstacles we face, and how Scripture tells us to respond.  We’ll spend the rest of the year talking about men and women who have represented God well in similar circumstances (What?  You didn’t think we were the first ones to have it tough, did you?), and examine the characteristics God used in their lives to change the world.  Believe it or not, I think this is a time of great opportunity for followers of Christ.  I would rather be alive today than at any other time in history.  God is doing amazing things, and He has plans to use us—His people—in spectacular ways in a culture that seems to have forgotten Him.  The mission we have seems impossible, but all things are possible with God.  I hope 2013 is a year in which He does greater things in Westbury than we’ve ever seen before!

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