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Thoughts about Christianity and Culture.

It seems that our culture has completely rejected God’s Lordship over us. In other words, Western Culture has warred against The Church, and seems to have overcome The Church in defining morality. It is important to say early that The Church will not be defeated. Yet, if we look at Christianity from the historical perspective, and more importantly, from the biblical perspective, we understand that The Church is not immune to suffering and persecution.

It is important to make a quick point here: it is possible that God will allow American Christianity to suffer instead of taking her out the world, or Jesus returning in our lifetime. Now, I am not saying that Jesus is not going to return in our lifetime either, but it might be healthy for Western Christians to consider what may be coming our way. In fact, in my reading of The Bible, it seems to me that Christianity is made up of peculiar people who long for the Return of Christ, not so the world can finally get what it has coming, but so that this world and humanity can be healed and put right. Therefore, it is wise to check our motivation about Christ returning. Additionally, properly motivated is to long for the Return and includes Christians being examples of The Way; Christians, consider this identifier from the book of Acts.

Now, as culture has won the right to openly redefine morality, The Church should now consider how we got here and what our future may look like.

First, for too long, we American Christians have relied on legislators disciple people while we lived high-on-the-hog in our personal lives. This meant that we ignored the crucial expectation of God to be Holy, and ignored the command of Christ to make disciples. After all, who had time to make disciples? We had to pursue our goals in secular society that meant that we needed to completely focus on our jobs first, families second, pleasures third, and if there was time, we might attend an organized church service on Easter. We spent time turning immorality into political issues instead explaining in a spirit of love that certain behaviors and motives are sinful and place people at risk to miss Heaven. All of this while we ignored the poor and those who were born into tough situations of no fault of their own.

Secondly, We spent time pointing fingers at people and judging them even though they were not part of The Church. Yet, all the while we were doing the same things they were, either secretly, or we would simply say proudly, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” So we seemed to try to impact America by saying, “Do as I say, and not as I do.” Listen, this type of attitude toward sin is not going to save anyone from sin; let alone persuade someone that we know The Way. Remember though, we relied on the government to fight for us, and to disciple the population. All of the while, because of this type of attitude, those who do not know the Lord aren’t seeing people who are trying to point them to a better life, but they see people who attack them because the life they found themselves in.

It seems that we Christians better start changing our approach to winning people instead of winning society. We need to quit trying to bull people into living biblically, and start showing them. It seems now, though, there could be a great time of testing that may come upon the American Church. For too long, too many have claimed to be Christians, but in reality sinned as much, if not more, than everyone else.

Testing may come in the form of God allowing Bible “scholars” to redefine morality in a way that embraces political correctness so as to mislead those who are nominal, at best, in regard to faith. Testing may come from certain forms of biblical doctrine becoming illegal to teach. Yet, God still holds us responsible to teach it in spite of what the laws of man read. This alone will hold a great amount of tension for many who try to travel The Way.

How will this happen? Well, nominal faith already exists and many do not attend organized church, many do not read The Bible, and many who claim to be “saved” just go about their lives without regard to what is happening; let alone coming, or what God desires from us corporately and individually. After all, once we have prayed the proper phrase, then God is no longer able, or desires, to hold us accountable for what do and don’t do. Therefore, all that we cared about, self, remains good; no worries.

I am not a prophet, but I really believe that huge changes are coming in how The Church is looked at and is allowed to operate. It seems that we Christians have not realized that we have lost the culture war, or at least we don’t seem to care, and we are not prepared for what Church looks like in the coming years. And, what is worse, all of this while many Americans still claim to be born again, and megachurches continue to spring up and dominate the Christian culture. All of this while salvations are continually claimed, but do nothing to impact our culture, or our churches. Clearly, we need to begin adjusting what we are doing and reexamining our motivation for doing it.

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I’ve given in

In an attempt to spur church growth I’ve decided to say that we are not going “mainstream,” but actually go mainstream.  We are going to replace are 1950’s picture of Jesus in our foyer for the Jesus that is more relevant and appeals to so many. hipster_jesus1 hipster jesus 2 hipster1

I have selected two pictures of Jesus to use and a better picture of His Disciples after one betrayed Him.  Peter snapped the pic.  Preaching  from the Bible with the 1950’s pic of Jesus just did not have the Instagram appeal that is needed to create an environment to find hope in.  It is likely that with these pics, preaching from the Bible will be more of an experience for those who want to find hope in the 21st Century.  What do you think?

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New on this blog

Check out a link to recent sermons at our church. I am the speaker most of the time. Click on My other places link

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8 Things I’ve seen this week that made me say that’s neat

  1. Heath Mullikan has been posting video announcements on Youtube for his youth group.  I like this idea very much check it out.
  2. Andy Stanley has a twitter account.  You can follow him here.  Favorite tweet by Andy Stanley, “Paul Stanley, Charles Stanley, Andy Stanley… All we need is a drummer.”
  3. My favorite devotional is online for free reading.  My Utmost for His Highest and you can view it here.  This link is for September 30th and causes self-examination. 
  4. North American Aerospace Defense Command has a website that will tell you about some events that may occur with that deal with national defense.  Check it out here.
  5. Friend or Follow Application for Twitter.  If you are following someone and they are not following you, you can find out and drop them.  : )  Here is that link.
  6. North Point TV.  Evidently North Point will be doing some of their announcements through here.  I am not sure.  But, if North Point is doing it, then I believe that it is something cool.  Follow this Twitter account here.
  7. Here is a link to my hometown of Montezuma, IN.  This is where I live for 33 years. 
  8. I don’t know if this is neat but my name is in an old obituary notice.  That is a little weird.  I thought I was the only Scott Uselman in the world.  Here it is the link.

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Be back soon. . . .

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Reflections about my country

  • I remember watching Watergate with my grandmother.  She talked politics with me when I was 5 years old.  Go grandma!  What a ridiculous scandal that was. 
  • I remember some of the skirmishes at the end of the Vietnam War.  I remember feeling vulnerable to foreign powers because we thought we lost the war.  We really didn’t.  As a child that was unsettling. 
  • I remember the nightly scoreboard about how many nuclear weapons the US and the Soviets had that was reported.  It seemed that we were a thousand behind which made me think that we were losing.  Again, as a child, that was very alarming.  Plus, couple that with a religious nut babysitter, who preached the world was ready to end when my parents went bowling.    
  • I remember when our embassy was taken hostage in Iran.  This was after Vietnam.  I thought that Iran was such a small country, can’t we even beat them?  I was so angry that they took our people as a child.  I was even angrier at our President because he didn’t do anything.  Then Carter tried a rescue.  It was a disaster. 
  • I remember the hope that Ronald Reagen brought when he campaigned that he would get our people back if elected President of the US.  He gave me hope.  I didn’t have any preconceived political opinion.  I just wanted somebody to restore our nation’s confidence and protect us from the Soviet Union and countries like Iran. 
  • I remember our Marine barracks being bombed.  We got Qaddafi’s attention later.
  • I remember Grenada, we turned a corner toward national pride again.  I remember Panama, Iraq 1, and  Bosnia. 
  • People, I remember September 11th.  I watched the second plane hit the other tower after the first plane had hit.  Then the buildings came down.  There were a lot of people in those towers.  I remember the beepers sounding off in the debris that firefighters wore.  I remember the Pentagon, and Flight 93. 

I just want to restate that I am proud to be an American.  I am thankful for the sacrifice of our military men and women.  I am behind our President too.  These are my personal reflections and not my church’s.

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The next day reflections

Yes.  I have decided to be contrary and not call this article “Sunday night reflections.”  How creative is that?  Nevermind, don’t answer. 

Sunday, after our morning service, God encouraged me as a pastor because somebody shared that God was burdening this person for our church.

This is a possible major shift.  What I know is that someone has to stand up and say that “Smith Chapel is my church and I want to be used by God to serve here so that we can reach our community.” 

I am also getting encouraged from meeting with volunteers who are going to help me with the children’s ministry.  I think God is really going to work through this ministry. 

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