The Point

by Aaron

I know this will be a bizarre blog entry to me. One of my friends asked me a question, sent me a link to another blog, and asked if I could answer some questions. Here are my answers as maybe some other people could benefit as well.
Hey Aaron,
I've been having lots of questions lately. Lots. Lots of frustrations too. Not with Jesus, but how to live for him. I was planning on talking to you about this, except it's so hard to articulate...I've had lots of talks about it with my parents and friends at school. Today, I came across my friend Daniel's blog, and he wrote on pretty much exactly what I've been feeling for a while now. Could you read it and then offer some wisdom?

First, I know as you begin to work out issues of faith on your own it gets difficult and I am proud of you for trying so hard. It is what will make you a great asset to any ministry you are in later; you will have the ability to answer many of the questions that people will have because you have wrestled through them.

My first response to both you and Daniel is this: don’t fret about it so much. Worry does not become a Christian...relax, when God decides He wants you somewhere and you are not willing to will go anyway (hahaha). I know the big thing for pastors right now is to rail on the church, I do it...and it is needed but there is always hope that needs to be offered. That hope IS the PERSON of Christ.

I love America; I love all the things that Daniel spoke about “computers and movies and synthetic fibers and processed foods and cartoons.” He asked “what stays and what goes?” - Well, I think it all stays. It is what makes our culture unique. Our outcropping of worship of Jesus will be unique in the world because of our culture. Culture is made by man, anything can be used for God’s glory and our depends on what we do with it. If“computers and movies and synthetic fibers and processed foods and cartoons” have been used for evil then we should use them for good.

The problem issues arise when we try to take OUR culture and force it on another population that is not part of our culture. When we say “this is how we do it with video projectors, Mesa Boogie amps, and DW drum sets.” Then as we work outside the building walls we cannot take the issues in our own community and assume those are the needs all over the world. As an example Santa Barbara county has high populations of foster kids AND elderly people. Much ministry should be done in loving and reaching them. I can’t take that same model and go to east India because the issues there are disease and starvation. God calls us where we are to work for Him as his hands and we become missionaries to the culture in which we live. We dress, eat, speak, and look to the needs of where we are...the only need that transcends EVERY CULTURE is always the problem of sin - but we know the solution is Jesus.

If I didn’t grow up with “computers and movies and synthetic fibers and processed foods and cartoons” I would not be able to relate like I do to this lost people.

As far as intimacy with God in place like America...America is just a place. It depends on what holds the captivation of our hearts. Do our hearts adore Christ...Daniel said “worship in church” as if that is the only place you worship. Worship in a “church building” is only 1-2 hours a week. We AS THE CHURCH should be worshipping every moment of everyday. Worshipping can be as mundane/physical as eating, laughing, watching a movie, enjoying art, riding a bike, surfing or as “spiritual” as meditating on scripture, feeding someone, clothing someone, studying for a mid-term, writing a theology paper, loving your is all worship. The problem is that many have tried to separate the ‘spiritual’ form the ‘physical’ and so many Christians think that being a good follower of Christ means not enjoying anything he created. That’s BS...God created things to be enjoyed because in our enjoyment we honor Him for making good things.

If the people that you guys hang out with are “those who passionately and zealously pursue God on this campus, but whenever I am with them I find myself dissolving into legalism” then either they are the wrong people or you don’t understand grace. Going higher and higher into the “inner circles” of leadership means that we seek more and more to be the servant of all. Being a servant sometimes means confronting evil behavior by those who openly confess to be believers not sitting in judgment on them. Sometimes servanthood is coming a long side of people and offering to walk with them through a difficult circumstance, but it is always placing others first. I have come to realize that confrontation with someone who calls themselves a believer and is in sin is actually placing them before ME because if I was first I would NEVER confront someone because it is easier to go on with my life not causing waves.

God made every person unique. Maybe the greatest degree some people muster is “only 15 minutes.” We don’t set that standard, God in our souls does. What would be the point if we studied 18 hours a day, slept for 6 and never once loved another person...we would have missed the point. Personally I think God would be happier with a person who studied 15minutes a day and APPLIED that in HOW THEY LIVED by loving, serving, and offering hope to those around opposed to the person who studies all the time, lives in shack (poor and eating bugs), craps in the corner (book in hand) so they can spend “more time studying,” and never speaks a word to anyone but God. Being a monk was not the point of God’s revelation, it was living as His people, as his priests, as His ambassadors to the world 2 Cor 5:20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. He won’t make that appeal through us if we don’t engage the world around us. Rom 10:14-15 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

Lastly, we will battle sin our entire lives. We are human. It is not an excuse, it is a reality, man cannot exist apart from His creator, and we are in a relationship of dependence. Instead of focusing so much on our failures we should focus more on the person of Christ. It is there we will find that our hearts are torn open because of our sin but also find the healing we need to go on. It is at Jesus’ feet that the cry of the oppressed should reach our ears but we also find joy there and that joy is what we should bring to the world. When we learn from Christ we will see the decay of American culture, but also the uniqueness that can be used in worshipping him in a way the world has never known.