Sunday Funday. Something about this morning made me expectant. I got to the church building earlier than usual and worked back through the sermon, prayed with our team leaders, and then went at it. But not before Evan and the team sang this as well as they possibly could:
People in the first service wondered whether or not they should clap, but those in the second service figured it out.
We spent the whole morning talking about an incredibly important issue: engaging a lost world.
Paul’s speech in Acts 17 teaches us two important principles for engaging a lost world: observe and present.
- Observe the world in which you live.
- Present Christ in a way in which that world understands.
Paul did this. He observed the world of Athens, saw the way they worshipped fake gods, and went and shared Jesus with whomever would listen. And when given an opportunity to preach Christ in the Areopagus, he did so in a unique way: he never mentioned Jesus (though he insinuated Him) and he never quoted Scripture. Rather, he recognized their religious culture, quoted their poets, and appealed only to the simplest understanding of God (that He was creator, sustainer, and judge).
What’s important is that Paul’s observation of culture moved him to Athenian culture rather than away from it. Many Christians try to avoid the culture at all costs. Rather than redeem it, they reject it. Rather than learn it, they leave it. All that does is make it that much harder for people to know and love Jesus. What we need to do is find where Christ intersects with people and share Him at that point.
This morning Tim Keller posted this to Twitter, I found it quite appropriate.
If we are not deliberately thinking about our culture and our context, we will be conformed to it without ever knowing.
— Timothy Keller (@timkellernyc) June 17, 2013
Some of the questions we use to help us think about our culture:
- How do people in your culture spend their time?
- Who are the poets of your culture, and what are they saying?
- What do the people in your culture care about?
- What (or whom) do the people in your culture worship?
The questions are simple. What’s not simple is taking the time to observe, so that when we present, our presentation carries power.
I have mentioned this training a few times as I’ve preached. It is Jeff Vanderstelt on Gospel Fluency. Take the hour and watch it (or take 20 minutes three times).
What do you do to help engage the culture?