Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

December 3rd, 2015

Know Your Culture

“So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.’” Acts 17:22-23 (ESV)

We are called to be evangelists, as followers of Christ, proclaiming the “good news” wherever an opportunity arises. The nature of this work changes in different environments and cultures as the perceived needs that the gospel speaks to are different. For instance, the way you would present the gospel in the middle of an impoverished, third-world country may be different from the way you would present the gospel to a professor on the campus of Oxford. I am not saying here that the message changes from place to place, by no means! The cross of Christ and His subsequent resurrection always should form the center of our message, but how that message of hope impacts us as individuals certainly varies within cultures. We are speaking here of relevance.

Paul took this principle of relevance to heart in his missionary journeys, as evidenced in his encounter with the people of Athens in Acts 17. Paul studied the culture of Athens. He knew the “Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new” (Acts 17:21 ESV). He also knew that the Greeks prided themselves on their ability to discuss at length matters of philosophy and religion. So, as he begins sharing the gospel on the Areopagus, Paul recognizes his need to speak into the particular culture of Athens while also presenting a distinct message about Christ. He does so by appealing to their inherent search for truth and their admittance that there may be an “unknown god” of which they had not been fully informed.

How well do you know your culture? Do you know how the gospel speaks into the generation coming after you? Do you know what areas of need your neighbors have for the gospel? Do you know fully how the gospel speaks into your life? Do the work of an evangelist today and see the beauty of the gospel as it comes alive in different environments to bring glory to the one, true God!

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Acts, Culture, Evangelism.
Interact No Comments
August 21st, 2015

Seek the Welfare of the City

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:4-7 (ESV)

Jeremiah in this passage is addressing the false prophecy of Hananiah, who proclaimed to the Jewish people in chapter 28 that within two years of his prophecy the Lord would release His people from the yoke of Babylon. Jeremiah begs to differ, suggesting to his people that the Lord would not only leave them in captivity for longer than two years but would leave them there for generations. God’s people had rebelled and the punishment would not be light or fleeting.

In the meantime, though, Jeremiah delivers an interesting challenge from the Lord to His people, urging them to engage with the city of Babylon for its welfare and for their own. The likely reaction for many of the Jewish people would be to simply ride out the storm of captivity and never have anything to do with Babylon, creating a bubble of sorts to shield themselves from these gentiles. Yet, God commands them to act otherwise, knowing that if the people of God give benefit to their captors, they will receive benefits as well.

 For us today, a similar challenge exists. We are not in bondage to a foreign government as a people, but we do live in a culture that does not honor the Lord. We have a choice as God’s people about how to interact with that culture. Do we simply wait for God to come rescue us and live in a bubble or do we engage the culture for our mutual good? Isn’t it in the interest of the Church to have governments that protect life and help those in need? We, then, should engage God’s established, secular institutions for our mutual good rather than resisting the city altogether.

Ultimately, we are to take the gospel to all people and in all places and our government can help that cause or hurt it. Just look at the government in Iran. We should not be afraid of the city as the people of God. We should use it to help further the cause of Christ, for in fighting for the welfare of the city we too may find benefit for the Kingdom of God.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, August 21st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Culture, Gospel, Jeremiah.
Interact No Comments
December 3rd, 2012

Know Your Culture

“So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.’” Acts 17:22-23 (ESV)

We are called to be evangelists, as followers of Christ, proclaiming the “good news” wherever an opportunity arises. The nature of this work changes in different environments and cultures as the perceived needs that the gospel speaks to are different. For instance, the way you would present the gospel in the middle of an impoverished, third-world country may be different from the way you would present the gospel to a professor on the campus of Oxford. I am not saying here that the message changes from place to place, by no means! The cross of Christ and His subsequent resurrection always should form the center of our message, but how that message of hope impacts us as individuals certainly varies within cultures. We are speaking here of relevance.

Paul took this principle of relevance to heart in his missionary journeys, as evidenced in his encounter with the people of Athens in Acts 17. Paul studied the culture of Athens. He knew the “Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new” (Acts 17:21 ESV). He also knew that the Greeks prided themselves on their ability to discuss at length matters of philosophy and religion. So, as he begins sharing the gospel on the Areopagus, Paul recognizes his need to speak into the particular culture of Athens while also presenting a distinct message about Christ. He does so by appealing to their inherent search for truth and their admittance that there may be an “unknown god” of which they had not been fully informed.

How well do you know your culture? Do you know how the gospel speaks into the generation coming after you? Do you know what areas of need your neighbors have for the gospel? Do you know fully how the gospel speaks into your life? Do the work of an evangelist today and see the beauty of the gospel as it comes alive in different environments to bring glory to the one, true God!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 330:  Acts 17)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, December 3rd, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Acts, Culture, Evangelism.
Interact No Comments
August 21st, 2012

Seek the Welfare of the City.

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:4-7 (ESV)

Jeremiah in this passage is addressing the false prophecy of Hananiah, who proclaimed to the Jewish people in chapter 28 that within two years of his prophecy the Lord would release His people from the yoke of Babylon. Jeremiah begs to differ, suggesting to his people that the Lord would not only leave them in captivity for longer than two years but would leave them there for generations. God’s people had rebelled and the punishment would not be light or fleeting.

In the meantime, though, Jeremiah delivers an interesting challenge from the Lord to His people, urging them to engage with the city of Babylon for its welfare and for their own. The likely reaction for many of the Jewish people would be to simply ride out the storm of captivity and never have anything to do with Babylon, creating a bubble of sorts to shield themselves from these gentiles. Yet, God commands them to act otherwise, knowing that if the people of God give benefit to their captors, they will receive benefits as well.

 For us today, a similar challenge exists. We are not in bondage to a foreign government as a people, but we do live in a culture that does not honor the Lord. We have a choice as God’s people about how to interact with that culture. Do we simply wait for God to come rescue us and live in a bubble or do we engage the culture for our mutual good? Isn’t it in the interest of the Church to have governments that protect life and help those in need? We, then, should engage God’s established, secular institutions for our mutual good rather than resisting the city altogether.

Ultimately, we are to take the gospel to all people and in all places and our government can help that cause or hurt it. Just look at the government in Iran. We should not be afraid of the city as the people of God. We should use it to help further the cause of Christ, for in fighting for the welfare of the city we too may find benefit for the Kingdom of God.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 226:  Jeremiah 26-29)

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Associate Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Culture, Gospel, Jeremiah.
Interact No Comments