What We Don’t See With Cultural Morality
I used to talk a lot of junk and carry a pretty big Bible. It was a parallel Bible incorporating the KJV, Amplified, NAS, and NIV into one thick 3,000 plus page Bible. I stopped using mine because the print was so small, or I was getting so old I couldn’t see the print (toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe); that plus I had used it so much the pages were falling out. After getting reading glasses I began using my wife’s parallel Bible for my morning study time. As I was reading through 2 Corinthians chapter 5 I can came across some notes she had written in her Bible. They were likely 7 to 10 years old but they speak volumes about what we are seeing in the world today. I have reprinted them here, with my insights after each one. However, they are likely from a Bible study or a sermon she heard preached somewhere so I cannot take credit for them. The title she had over the notes: Dangers of Cultural Morality…
1. Not our commission-we have not been mandated by God. The we being Christ followers and although true some Christ followers have embraced cultural morality more than the Gospel.
2. Wastes precious mounts of resources – is a distraction by the enemy, Eph 5:16. If we are Christ followers then we should devote all resources (time, talent, & treasures) to doing what Christ has called us to do: share & show the love of Christ, invite people to be recipients of Christ’s love.
3. If you don’t change the heart you will redirect the sin. Only God can change a person’s heart. Anything else is merely a bandaid on an eternal wound: sin.
4. Fails to understand the kingdom of God, John 18:36. Just as Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John chapter 3, without the Spirit of God one cannot understand the things of God. Cultural morality moves people away from understanding God’s overwhelming love for humanity.
Archive for Pittsburgh
What We Don’t See With Cultural Morality
I know many people think and joke that pastors only work one day a week, and on that day literally only 90 minutes. However, I and most pastors I know put in untold hours for the kingdom…or so I thought. I actually sat down one day and chronicled a regular Tuesday for me, which is a little different from most other days but not much….
-06:37 – Finished checking news and social media happenings, checked calendar and emails, posted an inspiring pic and started cleaning kitchen whilst listening to preaching podcast (today was John Ortberg).
07:20 – Began personal Bible study (studies unrelated to sermon or small group preparation, one chapter in Jeremiah)
07:27 – Stopped to take blood pressure (not good) and drink maté (an herbal tea with twice the kick of coffee and half the caffeine).
07:35 – Continue Bible Study (one chapter in Acts and one in 2 Kings)
08:20 – Prayer (I use prayer cards and straight conversation with God…He hears me and believe me I hear Him)
09:00 – Posted updates to congregational online group. Responded to emails. Scheduled some inspirational posts and tweets.
NOTE: The time I spend in prayer and Bible study are the most important things I do all day. The Bible study is not related to any teaching or small group study, but my personal time spent digging into and understanding the Word of God. My prayer time enhances my understanding of everything I study and allows me some one on One time with God.
09:20 – Cardio workout (whilst watching and catching up on Marvel’s Agents of Shield…it’s called multi-tasking for a reason).
10:00 – Post workout stretching (and yes some Yoga…don’t judge me)
10:30 – Brunch with my wife.
11:15 – Updated a few items on my ToDo list for the day, checked calendar and emails, posted information regarding events for the week in congregational online group.
11:30 – Shower (I know some of you were worried about that).
12:15 – Began working on Digital Devotion for YouTube channel (editing, rendering, etc…)
14:00 – Lunch
14:25 – Update order and flow of the Sunday Celebration (this is documenting the prayerful consideration of what will happen in the Sunday Celebration: music, announcements, communion and any other elements; copies are provided to the Praise Team and the Tech Team)
15:30 – Bible Words With Friends Small Group preparation (prayerful preparation of items for discussion and study)
17:05 – Prepare and posting of a discussion topic in a chat room I moderate.
17:40 – Scrounge for pre-dinner.
19:07 – Bible Words With Friends Small Group
20:30 – Planet Fitness to work out with friends; this week: The Batman Workout (Google it or see the picture above, I’m at the Alfred level…a work in progress)
21:50 – Dinner with my wife (late I know but that is why we do pre-dinners)
NOTE 2: Sprinkled throughout the day is time spent checking texts, Facebook, Google plus and other online venues as I sometimes receive notifications, requests for help or prayer, etc…via these venues. In addition, I consistently view some online communities to review questions from people and to post answers to questions. The ones I frequent most often are ones regarding anti-bullying, anti-suicide, and theists and anti-theists conversations.
Note 3: In January my wife completed her degree in Diagnostic Sonography. However, she is still studying to complete two of four total certifications that are required in her field (she has already completed two of the certifications, both within 60 days of graduating whereas most do so within 18 months). So when I am working from home she is sometimes at home studying. So also sprinkled throughout the day are comments from her whilst studying: “Turn the music down. Please stop talking to yourself out loud. Are you talking to me? Who are you talking to now? Do you have to sing out loud? How is dancing related to whatever you are working on? Honey, I absolutely love being married to you.”
Since living in the Burgh I have come to have a real understanding of the words faith and commitment. Pittsburgh sports fans are extremely committed to their sports teams and are faithful to them even in trying times. I often wondered what the Christian culture would look like if Christ followers took their relationship with God as serious as Burghers take their relationship with their sports teams:
If Christ followers were as committed as Pirates Fans: The church buildings would be filled every Sunday even after years and years of bad sermons. Almost all of the Sunday Celebrations would end with happy people enjoying fireworks and good fellowship and families would line up after each celebration for hours to have their children run around the podium..
If Christ followers were as committed as Penguins Fans: Local congregations would tear down existing church buildings to build bigger ones and put screens outside so the tailgaters could enjoy the Sunday Celebrations as well.
If Christ followers were as committed as Steelers Fans: People would stop what they were doing, even come home from camp early every weekend, just so they didn’t miss a big message on Sunday. They would wave crosses in the air during the celebrations and lay them across cell phones and tablets whilst downloading or streaming sermons hoping for a good message. They would train their children from birth to think, eat, breath, and live the gospel message of Jesus Christ (and yes, they would still bleed black and gold).
What would the culture of Christ followers look like if people in your city were like the sports fans in your city?
A brand new magazine premiered in the Pittsburgh area this past week. Faith Pittsburgh South Magazine premiered with 25,000 issues being distributed all over the South Hills area of Pittsburgh.
Wayne Dollard, publisher of IN Community Magazines, and Mike Granovitz, Project Manager for Faith Pittsburgh, have plans for Faith Pittsburgh North, East, and West magazines in the near future.
The Faith Pittsburgh South magazine has articles and news updates from pastors, ministry leaders, and congregations from in and around the south hills area. Mike advised that they are still looking for content for the quarterly magazine from pastors and ministry leaders. Those interested in checking out or distributing the premier issue or contributing content for future issues can contact Mike via this website: http://faithpittsburgh.com
Do you think pastors or ministry leaders from your congregation would be interested in contributing? Leave a comment below if you think they would…