Archives For Culture

These ladies were at Cornerstone back in December. Enjoy their newest video and enjoy your day with family and friends celebrating our freedom.

I have cut back on the number of posts here on the blog over the past year. It has been an intentional decision based on the time I have available after pastoring a church and spending time with my family. God has been teaching me about the importance and power of relationships in our lives. I think we are at an important crossroads in our culture today. We can hide behind our mobile devices and forget we have been blessed to truly live life to the fullest.

We must find a balance between virtual and real life. Let’s put down our devices and look up. Let’s make time to strengthen and build relationships. And let’s not forget that God has placed us here to live in community with others, encouraging each other as we worship and learn together. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

This video has been making the rounds on Facebook in our hometown of Galax. I love how it highlights the community and shows our culture here in the mountains. One of the keys for any church is understanding and connecting to the culture in your city. God has currently placed Cornerstone right in the heart of downtown Galax, so this is our mission field. Watch and enjoy.

It has been both interesting and frustrating to see numerous articles online about Phil Robertson’s recent comments and suspension from the show Duck Dynasty. Unless you have been on a remote island, you have been inundated with opinions, so I will spare you all the details. As someone who watches the show and enjoys it, my comments are from the perspective of a fan. I have even read several of their books and heard Willie speak in person, so know  a little about their family and beliefs. Here are a few takeaways for us.

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This Shouldn’t Surprise Anyone

After seeing reports of how A&E has tried to manufacture drama and conflict on the show in the past, the latest news shouldn’t surprise us. Duck Dynasty is a reality show. A&E has edited prayers to remove the name of Jesus and has added bleeps to make it falsely sound like the family was using profanity.  It shouldn’t surprise the Robertsons that the network would take drastic action against Phil. They knew what they were getting into when they signed with a secular company that is not focused on family values. However, it also shouldn’t surprise A&E that Phil would say the things he said. He is honest and blunt, and he does not shy away from controversial subjects. He has spoken numerous times in the past about his beliefs.

Our Country is Deeply Divided

This again shows the increasing tension between those who hold to a Biblical worldview and those who hold to a post-modern worldview. Notice that I didn’t describe this as Christians vs. non-Christians. Many who claim to be Christian no longer hold to a Biblical worldview. In our post-modern world, it is inconceivable to many that someone could hold to the belief that homosexuality is a sin. So when a public figure states a traditional definition of marriage and sex, they are immediately labeled as intolerant and bigoted.  The problem lies within our perception and definition of tolerance. I like what Rick Warren has said about tolerance.

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

― Rick Warren

It saddens me to see the hostility that has been spewed in both directions since A&E’s announcement. There are no winners in a situation like this. I feel that A&E made a huge mistake. If they wanted to show their commitment to tolerance, they could have easily stated that they didn’t agree with Phil’s statements. Instead, by his suspension they have shown their intolerance to anyone who holds to traditional views of sexuality.

Our Media and Culture is Biblically Illiterate

It has amazed me to listen to newscasters and commentators who don’t even have a basic understanding of Biblical Christianity. Many people did not realize that Phil was basically quoting the following passage.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Our culture simply finds the Bible offensive. Even many Christians pick and choose the parts of the Bible to believe. Phil was simply asked what is sin. His answer shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows scripture.

As followers of Christ, we must do a better job articulating and communicating the Gospel message from the Bible. The message of Jesus is found in Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We are all sinners, and that is a message the world doesn’t want to hear. Phil used some colorful language, but he also shared a message of hope, but this part has been left out of most articles.

“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”  – Phil Robertson

Many Christian Leaders are Afraid to Take a Stand

When leaders start apologizing for what the Bible says, we have a problem. I understand that many in the homosexual community feel attacked by Christians, and for that I am sorry. But I won’t apologize for my belief in what is right and wrong moral behavior as defined by the Bible. As a pastor, I will show love and reach out to anyone, but that doesn’t mean I must agree with their behavior.

The main issue is the authority of the Bible. Is the Bible just a collection of stories? Or is it much more?  I believe it is the divinely inspired Word of God. That’s my choice and my conviction. Tolerance means that I respect others, even if I don’t agree with them. So let’s show respect while we carefully articulate the Christian faith by speaking the truth in love.

Links

I have really enjoyed watching the testimonies on the I am Second website over the past few years. The cinematography is great, and the message is always focused on Jesus. The latest video is a long one at almost 30 minutes, and it features the Robertson family from Duck Dynasty. I encourage you to set aside some time and watch the clip. And when you are done, please check out the I am Second website.

I am Second is meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others. Actors. Athletes. Musicians. Business leaders. Drug addicts. Your next-door neighbor. People like you.

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Our city just finished up the 78th Annual Old Fiddler’s Convention. It is the largest and oldest fiddler’s convention in the world. Thousands of people camp in our local city park for the week-long festival of bluegrass and old-time music, and thousands more come to listen and enjoy the mountain music. This all occurs about two blocks from our church, and I was honored to open up the convention in prayer on Saturday night. I love sharing Christ in our community and I am already thinking about how we can start a Bible study during the day in the park next year, so if you have any ideas let me know. It’s a crazy week for our city, but it’s an incredible opportunity for sharing the love of Christ.

We listen to bluegrass all the time since my son loves playing guitar, mandolin, and banjo. Here is a video of my son competing on Monday night in the youth mandolin competition.

One of the other youth competitors from Monday night was on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno Thursday Night. Here’s a video of his performance

I’m excited about a new miniseries premiering on the History Channel this weekend. Christians have long complained about the content of movies and tv, and we now have the opportunity to show our support to a series based on the Bible.

The Bible is a ten-hour, five-week, miniseries created and produced by husband and wife team, Roma Downey (Touched By an Angel) and Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor, Shark Tank, Celebrity Apprentice). Beginning on March 3, 2013, for two hours each Sunday night, viewers will see some of the best-known stories from the Bible, from Noah’s Ark and the Exodus to Jesus’ birth & the disciples. The final episode of The Bible TV miniseries will air on Easter Sunday and will feature the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

Visit http://thebibleminiseries.com for more information

I have watched several movie clips, and read multiple reviews from pastors. My hope and prayer is that this series will bring the Bible to life in a new and exciting way, and that it will encourage people to open up God’s Word. The producers have stated “As with any dramatization, some stories and timelines were altered to create a moving story that fit the 10 hour time frame.” However, they have also consulted numerous pastors and Christian leaders to ensure that the message of the Bible remains intact. I plan on setting my DVR since I am typically busy on Sunday nights, but I’m really looking forward to this movie event. Help spread the word, and use this as a discussion starter with your friends and colleagues.

Many are searching for meaning, truth, and hope, but we live in a distorted and broken world. The hope we need can only be found in Jesus Christ. He wants to know you and be known by you, to love you and be loved by you. Your search is over. Watch this video to find out more.

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