Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Give Of Your Best To The Master"1 (Lyrics)
The church these days faces a changing world. We are trying to reach out to neighbours who have a "me-centered approach". How does the gospel meet them? Are we welcomed now when we knock on the door of a stranger's house? There may be danger ahead; we are not welcomed. Everyone is too busy looking after themselves, and we leave disappointed.
What is the "me-centered approach"? It's when we put ourselves first, which seems to be the cultural thing to do these days, as we don't really care about others — that is, we don't care personally for them. Sure, we text them or make a call on our iPhone, but is that personal? Who really gets personally involved? How do we share the love of Christ today?
When Paul was in Athens, he was confronted with a culture different than the Jewish culture that he was used to. "While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols." (Acts 17:16 NIV)
What are the idols in our culture? Here are some of today's idols that make it hard for the Christian church to reach out: materialism, individualism, secularism, consumerism, money. What other idols can you add?
As part of Paul's sermon explaining the true nature of their "Unknown God", he states, "For [God] has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed." (Acts 17:31a NIV)
Yes, we believe that Jesus will return and judge the world. We do not know the date, but God may give us time, years even, to continue His work on earth through belief in Jesus. We need to stay close to the Lord in prayer and commitment, and He will direct our ways so that we can reach out in this changing world. With the Holy Spirit in us, we can spread the love of a God Who cares so much that His Spirit is still nearby.
In Acts 17:24-25a, we read, "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples (church buildings?) built by hands. And He is not served by human hands." (NIV)
We can keep trying to build up His church, but it is the Holy Spirit Who guides the Church through every cultural hindrance.
Prayer: Dear Lord, the future is in Your hands. We hate to see Your church struggling, but we trust You through all that happens. The changing culture is difficult, but the risen Lord Jesus can guide us through as we reach out to our neighbours in His love. Fill Your church, dear Lord, with Your Holy Spirit, that we may all be guided down the road to resurrection and new life. Help us to live faithfully, so that we can share Your love with others who need You daily because they are lost in today's selfish cultural demands. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.