Every day, the church finds itself facing new cultural challenges that attempt to define its ministry and identity. Just this week, I have had conversations with others concerning legal and ethical dilemmas we are facing in our churches. Whether it is confronting abusive behaviors in our communities, wrestling with humanistic philosophies within the church, or simply seeking to promote God’s intentional design of marriage and gender to our families, we are experiencing new challenges. To be quite honest, I never believed that we would face such things; but such is the reality of the day. Instead of retreating from the difficult issues, it is incumbent upon us to present solid, biblical perspectives while ministering in wisdom and grace. Yes, we are charged with pointing people to Christ in the midst of challenging times! And even though I may grow disheartened with such cultural upheaval, I also find myself encouraged. Why? Let me suggest a few reasons for confidence.
First, God’s character and His Word do not change. We can rely upon the sure principles of the Lord to remain firm. That constancy allows me to navigate through the cultural waters with a definite message of life and hope.
Second, the power of the Gospel is still transformative today. The good news of Jesus Christ still changes people today. It impacts their lives and destinies as nothing else can. Thus, every individual can experience the transforming, renewing effect of the Gospel upon his/her beliefs and actions.
Third, the Lord provides daily, practical wisdom for us to address these issues. Through programs and resources, we can help train individuals to minister effectively.
Fourth, God has given us each other so that we could face challenges together. Within the community of believers, we can find encouragement to address the immorality and irresponsibility around us. Aren’t you grateful that you don’t have to fight alone? I know I am!
Fifth, the church will stand in triumph. Although Satan will throw everything that he can against God’s people, the gates of hell will not prevail against them. That is God’s promise. We may lose a battle, but we are convinced He has already won the war (and we stand as victors with Him!).
I am especially blessed to be a part of the Temple family. We unequivocally refuse to comprise God’s truth in these days of shifting opinions, and yet we also reject the idea of abandoning our responsibility to our community/nation/world. We speak truth, and we serve compassionately. That is the balanced, biblical worldview we embrace. Let’s continue the work together and make a difference for Christ and His Kingdom! See you Sunday!