Generation Cedar

How do we reach the lost? Is evangelism more of the way we live instead of which programs we’re implementing in the church?

If so, “how should we then live”?

That is a prevailing question these days. And there are folks all over the spectrum with their answers.

“We must be culturally relevant.”
“We must be set apart.”

The liberal Christians blame the conservatives for being too “narrow” to reach the lost. The conservatives blame the liberals for being, well, too liberal.

What’s the answer?

I have been thinking of some fundamental truths to the Christian life. Truths that are being squelched. Truths that need to be resurrected and relived among believers. Truths that would turn this world upside down for Jesus if we could get it. At least that’s my opinion 😉

To draw people to God, we must be like Him. We must look like Him, talk like Him, act like Him and think like Him. Jesus did. He was “about His Father’s business” in every part of his life. So in order to accomplish that, we must know what God is like.

God is a God of order, beauty, grace, humility, faithfulness and creativity. How do those traits affect our living? Have we grossly underestimated the power of being “image-bearers”?

Marriage.

Our marriages are supposed to be the living, breathing example of Christ and the church. Ephesians goes into great detail about how this looks. God is faithful, our marriages should be faithful. Jesus doesn’t leave the church; we shouldn’t leave our spouse. Jesus is the head of the church, our husbands are to be head of the family. The church reveres Christ, the wife should revere her husband. Christ washes his bride with the Word, and so our husbands should wash us with the Word.

It is one of the most tragic, sickening, downright inexcusable blunders that pastors are not standing in their pulpits preaching this picture of marriage. Yes, he will offend those who have had divorces. But that’s not really his problem. How can we say to the world “Come look at us! We are the picture of Christ and his Bride.” And then have to explain why our divorce rate is just as high.

Children.

God loves children. I’m not going into a birth-control debate here, there’s plenty of that elsewhere on this blog. But the fundamental thing is that if God loves children, His people ought also to love them. I’m sick of hearing believers say things to me that is not compatible with what God says about children. If God is God, and He is sovereign, and He ordains life, and He calls children a blessing, and He says large families are a good thing, then I shouldn’t be required to explain my birth control practices to you if you are a Christian. I’m sorry, I’ve just had enough.

Dress.

Here’s the thing…God is a God of order, beauty, grace, creativity, humility and design. Does my dress reflect that? If I am a woman, do I delight in exuding grace and beauty and modesty? That is really the call of the believer, and there is a lot of room for diversity there. Those characteristics transcend the latest trends, and are “culturally relevant” all the time.

Work.

“Whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Whatever you do. John Piper said, “If you’re a Christian who digs ditches, dig straight ditches.” There should be an excellence about our work! We should work better, harder, more loyally, more cheerfully than anyone else.

Gifts/Talents.

Same as above. God has given us all unique abilities and gifts. How tragic if we do not use them for His glory! By the way, people often think “That means for those people who sing, they need to be singing solos in church”. Maybe, or maybe not. Let’s be careful to not confuse “performance” with “use” of our gifts. God isn’t interested in how well we perform for applause. Would I be just as content to let Him use my voice as I sing softly in the night to a sick baby? What are your gifts? Share them with others. With hurting others. With lost others. With your family. With your neighbors.

Relationships.

Start in your own family and work out. Forgiveness, kindness, courtesy, deference, humility and respect. If we are to show a world about God, we must live out these things in our private lives. For parents, it means raising obedient, respectful children who honor their parents. For spouses it means a loving, submissive, caring regard for each other. For siblings, it means treating relationships built on mutual respect.

Hospitality.

Be given to hospitality. Invite folks into your home and feed them, and love them. Take a meal to someone who needs it. That’s it. And if your family bears the image of God, your home becomes a mission field. When they see order and beauty and grace and love, it looks different than the chaos of the world! And it’s enticing! And they crave to know about it!

I could keep going, but this post is already too long.

We don’t need to become like the culture to win them. We need only to be true image-bearers of the living God and the thirsty will throng around to have some of our Living Water.

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.”

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8 Responses

  1. How funny, evangelism is on my heart today too 🙂 I just blogged about it not 30 minutes ago.

    Anyways, I personally think we need to be both culturally relevant and yet set apart. Paul talks about being all things to all men in order to win them to Christ, but he also talks about not compromising our character while living out our Christian walk. I think there is room for diversity, as far as what that is and what it looks like, but you are right. We need to above all else, even WHILE being “culturally relevant”, reflect Christ. The divorce rates in the church are appalling, like you said.

    I think that if Jesus were alive today, He would go into bars. He always went where the sinners were. But the key is, he didn’t sin or become like the sinner, He offered them a hand out of their sin. He wouldn’t go into the bar and order a couple shots of whiskey (be not drunk), but neither would he alienate the people in there with accusations in word, deed or dress. Just my 2 cents. 🙂

  2. I agree with what you say here. It’s good post. You are dead on about marriage, family, hospitality and all of it. There is a great crisis of truth in the modern church, and it needs to be addressed, so thanks for being brave enough to do so.

    On the birth control front, there is a great post at Amy’s: http://humblemusings.com. It blessed me so much because it is the perfect blend of grace and truth. Of course, it’s already up to about 120 comments so it’s a hot topic, which are always interesting.

  3. Great post! I’m thinking this is is fridge worthy as a daily reminder, especially the part about work!
    Ashley

  4. whew!! AMEN!!! wow.. the LORD Is GOOD!!
    thank you for going counter cultural and speaking truth to all of us who reads!!! wow!!!

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