Tuesday, January 30, 2007


This past weekend the young adults in our church went on a retreat in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The thirty of us lodged in a quaint little cabin nestled on the front-porch of Dollywood. We had an amazing time of fellowship, and for once, the term "amazing" really isn't ovestating the joy found in our time together. It was a thoughtful, engaging, worshipful time of purposeful, meaning-filled conversation, laughter, singing and prayer.

The "theme" of our get-away was Christ and Culture we spent several hours corporately engaging God's Word, sitting underneath it, and receiving instruction about what culture is, how it relates to the establishment of God's Kingdom in the world, how culture shapes our own perception of reality as Jesus-confessing believers, and how to live radically committed, Kingdom-focused lives within a seductive, shallow culture such as ours. Honestly, our time probably created more questions than it provided answers, but I felt it was stimulating, thought-provoking, and challenging.

As I've been thinking about how to intentionally engage culture and what it means to bring the gospel into culture both a blantantly subversive and unapologetically confrontatational way, I experienced an encouraging providential meeting with an old friend. After the retreat I went to Birmingham, Alabama for a pre-marital counseling session for a wedding in May. During our lunch break I went to the church where I used to serve and ran into a friend who owns a business. While we were catching up he told me about how he has lead his company to adopt an orphanage in Ukraine. His company is building a transitional home for the children that move out of the orphanage when they turn 18. The purpose of the home is to provide shelter and nurture and cultivate skills that will help the individual assimilate into society. What a wonderful idea!

I was so encouraged to see an example of what we had been talking about this weekend. Here is a man who loves Jesus using his resources and means to impact the lives of people living in a culture hostile to God for the sake of the nations. What is even more amazing is that his company isn't a "Christian" company. Not all of his employees are "Christian", and yet he has found a creative way to involve even unbelievers in the mission of God the world. His efforts are exposing unbelievers in two cultures to the transforming power of the gospel. He is sowing Kingdom seeds in a tangible way.

I hope to see this more and more from the affluent church here in the West. May the Kingdom be of more value to us than our comfort, pleasures, material wealth and security.


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