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 Culture

 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." (Romans 1:16 NIV)

 Much of the culture wars in our society, in my humble opinion represent misplaced energy.  We lament that "the liberals have taken prayer and the bible out of our schools" when we should be repenting from the sin of unopened bibles and unbent knees in our own homes.  Criticizing culture doesn't advance the cause of the gospel.

 Other churches have reacted to the culture issue by becoming "culturally relevant."  If the venture doesn't become an end in itself, I suppose there is nothing inherently wrong with being relevant.  Not as long as we don't lose sight of our primary goal.  It is one thing for a church to be culturally relevant, but quite another to leverage culture for the gospel's advantage.

 In a Leadership Journal article, Chad Hall, lead Pastor of Connection Church in Hickory, North Carolina wrote, "We believe glimpses of God can be found in culture, even those parts that are seemingly opposed to him.  We envision God as similar to a great judo master, one who uses the opponent's energy to his own advantage."
(Fall 2004, p. 42)
 
The goal is not to get the culture as a whole to act more like Christians, or to get the church to act more like the culture as a whole, rather it is to use whatever means necessary to proclaim the gospel so that people may be radically transformed by the gospel.  We use culture's  energy to our advantage, or to put it another way, we leverage culture. 

 Paul was not ashamed of the gospel he preached it in all cultures.  And when he preached it men and women were rescued from their sins.  Not because his approach was relevant, but because his gospel is powerful!

 For more information on leveraging culture, go to http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805431349/freshministry

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