a fine line

By now, most of you know my passion for the church’s engagement of the culture.  I long for our church plant to exist for the gospel-transformation of the city/culture where God has called us to live – but to do so requires listening, living among, and appreciating the unique culture around us.  It requires that the people in my neighborhood and soccer referee culture (world) know that I genuinely count them as my friend.  As my blog name makes clear (and also creates many interesting conversations with churched people), the angle by which I view the journey into cultural engagement for the sake of gospel transformation is weakness.  I reveal my weakness and need in hopes that my friends (outside of the church in the world) will in time reveal their weakness and need to the point that we unitedly trip over the gospel together.

But that brings with it a correlated weakness for which we (I) must continually pray for clarity and boldness and purity.  Consider James 4:4-5Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Or do you suppose it is for no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell within us.”

I offer no commentary here.  I just bring it to the fore.  This is one of my struggles.  I believe with all my heart that the people in our world’s communities and cultures need gospel-loving friends like you and me.  It is our responsibility to initiate such friendship.  God has put me here, and you wherever you are for such kingdom relationships!  But then… welcome tension!  Our friendships have the power to affect what we love.  And if we befriend people who love the things of the world… beware: in time our commitment to gospel-purposed friendship deceivingly can become a disquised friendship with the world.  Some days I wonder where the line is.  Other days I know I am standing on it.  Other days I know I am so concerned about that “worldly friendship line” (especially in the eyes of other Christians) that I am a churchified friendless pastor who is making no impact on my community. 

O God who yearns jealously over my soul which you have redeemed – thank you for being the Friend of sinners and may you guide me by your Word and Spirit when I befriend people in this world.  May I not look like a drunken fool trying to walk the fine line of kingdom ministry and cultural engagement.

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3 thoughts on “a fine line

  1. Rebekah says:

    Great thoughts and points here. For myself the balance has been kept by having godly, christian friends. Having christian brothers and sisters who truly care and walk with us will help to keep us grounded and balanced. I’ve noticed in the past that if I go for too long without christian fellowship and relationships I do start to cross the line, and then when I am around a godly friend or once again have fellowship with other believers I am quickly ‘brought back’ and balanced back out. That’s my two-cents worth….:>

  2. brother john says:

    I agree wholeheartedly, but I wonder if it should be as difficult as we make it. Because God has given Jesus the name that makes even the Devil and all of his demons shake, why can’t (or why don’t) we use this authority. Of course, in our own strength we will fall quicker than we notice, but I think the Bible states that God has given us power and authority over Satan when we proclaim “in Jesus name” and because we have the Holy Spirit living inside us. I was challenged by a pastor in Argentina to use the authority of “Jesus name” more when we pray and approach situations. I have even heard a commentary of the verse, “the gates of Hell will not prevail against it”, that says that Jesus has given us access and power to go “into hell” and pull people out. How biblically sound is that? I don’t know, but he says that he has given us power. When was the last time we really asked Him to use it in a mighty, crazy, big way? It certainly is a challenge! “We have not because we ask not”.

    Love the blog. Keep it up!

  3. TearIzUp says:

    Awesome Post. My compliments to the author.

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