From the desk of our pastor:
Last week our children gave Kathy and me an early Mother’s Day/Father’s Day gift: tickets to the Willie Nelson concert! As a result of that amazing concert, for the last week I have been singing, “On the road again, I just can’t wait to get on the road again…” No really, I have been singing this song a LOT. Out loud. Ask Jailynne or Gray or any Land Trust staff. (Haha, now you’re singing it too!)
I think I’ve been singing that song because it really is time to get on the road again. For the past several weeks we have taken a rest from our road trip through the book of Deuteronomy to enjoy some of the lush landscape that surrounds the story of Christ’s resurrection and His post- resurrection appearances. We have also circled around “unity”–to look at it, be awed by the beauty of it, be challenged to live in it because of the profound, powerful impact that unity has where it exists among God’s people.
Now it is time to get on the road again–to pick up our walking sticks and get back on our journey through Deuteronomy. This is an important road trip. Why? In Deuteronomy God’s people are on the verge of receiving an amazing gift from Him: The Promised Land, a land more lush and abundant than anything they had ever experienced before. God desires that in this land of abundance His people experience the rich blessings of a covenant relationship with Him and that His people be a rich blessing to nations of the world. The book of Deuteronomy prepares God’s people for both: to live in the richness of relationship with Him and to extend the blessings of that relationship to the cultures and nations around them.
God has abundantly blessed Redeemer as well. He has brought us to the “land” where He wants us. Here, in this place, He wants us to enjoy the richness of the intimate relationship we have with Him through Christ. He desires that we enjoy the close, intimate relationships we can have with each other because of Christ. Additionally, He desires that we, too, be a rich blessing to the culture in which He has placed us and the nations He has placed around us. This is the challenge before us. How well are we prepared for it?
Tim Keller, in his book Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City, writes:
…to reach people we must appreciate and adapt to their culture, but we must also challenge and confront it. This is based on the Biblical teaching that all cultures have God’s grace and natural revelation in them, yet they are also in rebellious idolatry. If we overadapt to a culture, we have accepted the culture’s idols. If, however, we underadapt to a culture, we may have turned our own culture into an idol, an absolute. If we overadapt to a culture, we aren’t able to change people because we are not calling them to change. If we underadapt to a culture, no one will be changed because no one will listen to us; we will be confusing, offensive, or simply unpersuasive. To the degree a ministry is overadapted or underadapted to a culture, it loses life-changing power.
We want to grab on to life-changing power–not lose it. We want the Gospel to change and transform us, and we long to see it change and transform others. God prepared His people to possess the Promised Land, to be changed, and to bring change through Moses and his faithful preaching of his God-inspired message. For that reason we–with great humility and great expectation for great heart and culture transformation–get on the road again.
We’ll be back in Deuteronomy this Sunday, May 18. Listen free of charge to sermons here, including those in the Deuteronomy series.