Culture

Our World: Just the Ordinary

By Karen Polich

The culture of any nation is the sum of its spiritual beliefs, social structure, ethical standards and moral behavior. – Michael M. Cook

The Our World sermon series continued with how God uses the ordinary for His glory. (Listen to Pastor Michael M. Cook via podcast here.)

God’s Word repeatedly shows the cycle of His people. There is peace, where God’s people are in harmony with God. Then comes the essence of sin, distracting and blinding. This is followed by the pain and consequence of sin, driving God’s people to cry out to Him. God’s deliverance follows. This sequence often happens in our own lives.

In Judges 2 -3, we see God’s people in the midst of this cycle. They seek God, fall into sin, hate the consequences of enslavement and cry out to God for help. Three judges were called by God during this time to teach God’s people. These were ordinary men God used for His extraordinary work. (Listen here.)

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. 2 Corinthians 10:4

Pastor Cook focused on three things God taught through these judges.
Experiencing God’s Presence. There is never a static moment in our life or culture. Each of us is either a change maker or is being changed by the world around us. God has given absolutes and standards for Christ followers.

Executing God’s Plan. God uses the imperfect for His plans. Whatever we have been given can be used for His glory. Our willingness to surrender to His calling is what matters, not any illusion of needed perfection.

Expecting God’s Power. God is in control and is never-changing. It matters not what is going on in the world, God remains the same.

What can we learn from these judges? Just like others God called in biblical times, there are key components of true Christian service. There is always a moment of surrender, giving everything we are to God. There is an element of availability where we bring what we have for Him to use. Then a moment comes when things are happening that can only be of the Lord.

The journey can be a long process but there is hope for all of us. Today, would you do what God has called you to do? He is searching us out, we need only to be open to His call.

Our World: Cultural Wars

By Karen Polich

The culture of any nation is the sum of its spiritual beliefs, social structure, ethical standards and moral behavior. – Michael M. Cook

There is a tendency to try to avoid the consequences of our actions. We will fight against the very thing we have created and squirm to get away from the inevitable. How many times are we willing to accept what comes from what we have done? The good stuff is easy, but what about the things we know we shouldn’t have done or neglected to do when we should?

Time and again, the Bible is clear in describing the law of consequences. We reap what we sow.  (Galatians 6:7-8)

Pastor Michael Cook’s sermon series, Our World begins with a look at cultural wars and how wrong actions lead to unwanted consequences. (Judges 1) Listen to the podcast here.

Judges 1 looks at the simple progression of God’s people.

They were fighting the Canaanites. Focused on doing God’s will, prayer and mutual cooperation were in place. God’s Word was the authority in their lives. They set out to defeat the Canaanites. Then they began fearing the Canaanites. Drifting began as they focused on what they could not do instead of what God could do. Intimidation set in followed by the infiltration of cultural things opposed to God. God’s people began following the Canaanites. Infiltration became more than specks of change. God’s people turned from His authority to the Canaanite way of life.

Surrendering to Gods authority can be hard, but if we aren’t seeking His authority in our lives where does that leave us? We will follow someone or something.

We can choose to guard our hearts and follow God’s authority, fighting for what we know is right. If we don’t, we will end up following what we know is wrong. We can wage this fight through love, allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work.

We reap what we sow. What seeds are being planted today?