Embracing Today’s Culture
“. . . I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. . .
It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside . . . ”
[1 Corinthians 5:9-13, NLT]
The Western culture, we would all agree, has undergone a major reboot since World War 2. “The new wars of the 21st Century are fueled and fed by a media that embraces a secular, humanistic worldview, that rejects moral absolutes.” Mike Evans
Prior to, and just after the war as I recall it, Biblical values were generally upheld in our society—which is not to say that everyone agreed with those values; but most certainly there was an acknowledgement that they were a ‘good thing’ for man and womankind. They kinda kept things in some sort of order. After all, the laws of most of western society were based on Biblical principles. Of course, not everyone behaved well—in fact all of us fell short of the standards in some manner.
The result was that our ‘falling short’ (the Bible calls it ‘sin’), was somewhat bridled. Generally speaking, it was widely frowned upon if you did this, or thought that. In parts of the church, certain behaviors could lead to excommunication, with little attention paid to the healing and forgiveness of the violator.
That was back then. Fast forward to today. What used to be the good values of life, are now thrown aside as having been ‘for another time.’ That which was bad is now good, and too often good is considered bad. And us believers—the upholders of righteousness—for the most part, we sit around and “cluck-cluck.” Our social conscience is being seared by the sin all around us.
We have embraced the culture, saying, “There’s nothing we can do about the sad state of affairs today.” So, what can the believer do to fight the blight? Run for political position? March around with a placard, denouncing sin, condemning the sinner and bewailing the moral pit into which we’ve collapsed?
Let’s look at just one issue: abortion. As a man, I never had to face the personal reality of choice in discarding a baby. But I do know that God—and His Word—have something to say about the taking of life, and that He knew us before our conception. [Ex 20:13; Ps 139:13-16] Nowadays we have medical systems that may require doctors and nurses to perform this abominable procedure. This has difficult implications for those who are believers. If you were a doctor, and a woman came to you requesting an abortion, what would you do? Refuse her? Counsel her away from that decision? You may lose your right to practice medicine in your community.
I suppose the easy way out would be to refer the pregnant woman to another physician who would do the terrible deed. But there’s a price to pay for doing just that—a moral price. Does that make the referring doctor an accomplice to murder? In God’s eyes?
Lest you think I’m an authority on issues like this, I’m not. Lest you think I am untouched by the days in which we live, I’m not. Lest you think I’m unsympathetic to those who have had, or are considering an abortion, I’m not. I am simply and deeply troubled about where this is all leading us, and concerned about the direction in which our children and grandchildren are being directed in this near-pagan culture. What’s next on the secular-humanists agenda?
Jesus help us!
Quotes To Ponder
“When you lose your moral compass the next thing to go is the courage and conviction to navigate in contrary times.” Mark Hancock, Trail Life
Worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal and righteousness look strange. Kevin DeYoung
A friend once told me the story of a little girl who attended a church that had many stained glass windows. One day someone asked her what a saint was. She replied, “the people the light shines through.” You and I can be the people the light shines through. From Sally McClung
God does not need your good works, but your neighbour does.
Something New, Something Blue
A New Listening To God Manual
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JoEllyn Wright has graciously offered her worship album as a gift to you. It was recorded a few years ago at the YWAM Chico, CA base which offered all their facilities as a gift. It is no longer available as a CD.
You might be interested to know that Donna Jordan is featured, harmonizing with JoEllyn on one song (I Come to the Garden Alone).
My Time In Thailand . . .
To my dear Family who are Friends, and my Friends who are Family,
I am writing this from Pattaya, Thailand where I have spent eight days at the ‘YWAM Together’ gathering. Four thousand people from 104 nations came to worship God and encourage each other to keep reaching out with the love of Jesus. He is our only hope. The harvest is ready but the laborers are few. [Luke 10:2] Persecution is increasing. It looks different in the West than it does in the East, BUT—get ready!
I’m not trying to bring fear, but simply saying, “No more wasting time”! There is a family, an army rising up, full of love and the fear of the Lord, not the fear of man. The persecution in the West is subtle, but in the East many are dying because of their faith. The book of Revelation is becoming more real. We must see things from God’s perspective. The theme of this gathering was Revelation 4:1: “Come up here and I will show you what must take place after this.”
We are not an organization. We are a ‘family,’ a family that is on the move, taking the gospel to every unreached people group and getting at least part of the Word of God into every home. Everyone who loves Jesus and is part of the family of God needs to know their place in The Body, listening to The Head—Jesus. Wherever you are, out of your intimacy with Jesus will come your ministry. We live in Medicine Hat, Canada and I heard from a local college campus leader recently, that one of their students had never heard the name of Jesus.
We need each other. Look for others who have the same heart after Jesus that you do, and meet regularly to pray together and share what God is doing in your lives. We are returning to Acts chapter 2 but it will be even greater because all over the world the Spirit will be moving. As people see our love for our God and the unity we have, the world will know we belong to Jesus. [John 13:35;17:22-23]
Loren Cunningham, founder of YWAM, said again, “Once a YWAMer always a YWAMer.” The word of the Lord says we are to be imitators of Jesus. [Eph 5:1-2] Jesus said that if you are truly born again you will always be a son or daughter of the King, no longer competing and comparing, but belonging— knowing your place. In the family of God all ages are important to Him, from the time we were conceived until He takes us home to be with Him.
Two dear friends are traveling with me, and soon we will be heading home, taking a taxi for the two-hour drive to Bangkok airport; waiting there for six hours to fly to Tokyo, where we wait for seven hours for our flight to San Francisco; then with only a two-hour connection for our last flight to Calgary, Alberta, where we will be met by my grandson for the three-hour drive to Medicine Hat. At almost 80, God’s grace is sufficient! [2 Cor 12:9] and the joy of the Lord is my strength! [Neh 8:10]
My only disappointment on this trip is that Peter is grounded from flying and couldn’t travel with me; he was missed by hundreds. People came to me saying, “Do you remember that you taught me in 1982 how to hear from God? Or, “Do you remember when you were in Nepal and had dysentery?” There’s much I need to be reminded of, but God remembers all our labors for Him. [Heb. 6:10]
Prayer for this gathering had been going on for over six months; and then it increased 21 days prior to the event, with global prayer and fasting. The prayers of righteous sons and daughter are powerful and effective. [James 5:16] We give all the glory to God for what He has done and will be doing.
My friends, just keep listening to God and do what He says out of love for Him. Many prayed and many gave. We are so blessed to be part of the family of God.
Lots of love,
P.S. 15,000 watched the gathering on livestream; here’s what Dean Sherman had to say as he watched from his home.
I think some of the reasons it was so blessed by God were:
• It returned to YWAM’s basic call . . . reaching ‘the all’ and ‘the every.’
• It gave the widest honor and platform to non-Westerners and younger leaders, in a greater amount and percentage than has ever been given. This is not only our future, it is really our present.
• Obviously, the whole day of reaching out, loving, serving, and presenting the Good News to a whole host city as an official part of the schedule. It not only accomplishes all the great things that happened that day, but models who we are and what should be emphasized to all who go back to their places of service.
• Allowing our founders the opportunity (perhaps one of the last in Asia, at least face-to-face with 4000), to bare their hearts about who we are and what we are mandated to do.
• The bathing before, during (and I hope after), in prayer, warfare and worship.
I personally think Prayer really was one of the most important factors!
Count Your Cursings,
Name them one by one.
Do the challenges and difficulties of your life outweigh the blessings? Does the ledger of your life have more debits than credits?
We’re all different—by genetics, by personality, by life experiences, by health issues; and by choices we make. So, we should not—I’d go so far as to say, must not—compare ourselves or our situations with others. It’s OK to admire the good in someone, even to make them a model for life. But always remember, comparisons are odious—to be avoided at all cost (and yes, they’re odorous too—they stink!)
Some folks can’t wait to give you a list of terrible things they have to endure in life, how horrible some people are to them, in short, a list of nastiness. As we think, so we become.
But it does not have to be this way. If your life seems to be ruled by negativity—and you’ll have to be brutally honest with yourself here—make two lists. Ask for an evaluation by someone who knows you well, and who would speak the truth to you in love. It may hurt.
So, make these two lists, one of your blessings, and list them one by one. Then list those things you consider to be your cursings, and list them one by one. The list may be short to start with, so pull it out every day, and add something new—even if it’s not yet a reality.
Let our blessings be a credit to us.
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