Cultural Drift // Eagle Brook Church // Jason Strand

Cultural Drift // Eagle Brook Church // Jason Strand

[Music] even when the winds are calm it doesn’t take much to start floating away from the people you love from the important things from god maybe you don’t even decide to move the current decides for you a slight shift in the breeze is all it takes you hardly notice a change at first you round a bend ease over the rocks let gravity take over suddenly you realize you’re way off course changing directions again and again you don’t recognize your surroundings anymore you’re tossed around dodging obstacles falling then when you finally get a chance to catch your breath and look around you think how did i end up here and how do i get back [Music] all right well hey everyone thank you for being in church today with us for those of you online grateful for you as well before i dive in i want to share with you what happened at our rev event this past week we had 500 high school students that came to our lino lakes campus 500 them for like a 12-hour day we had i think it was like 90 volunteers for this thing thank you 12 hours is a long time with a group of high school students but we had a blast a hundred of those students were brand new to our church so they had never been to one of our events before and we had over 30 make a decision to put their faith in jesus christ so isn’t that incredible i just want to say thank you to those of you who give it’s because of your generosity that we’re able to reach the next generation and that’s really what it’s all about all right today we are in week three of a series that i said last week i’m really excited about this series the series is called drift and the truth is you will never drift to where god wants you to go the easiest way to drift from god is to simply do nothing it’s because there’s an unseen current that seems to pull at every person relationship and organization so far in this series we’ve covered relational drift we’ve covered spiritual drift and today’s message is titled cultural drift i want to begin by asking you just a couple of questions think about these with me would you say that our culture is heading towards god or away from god there might be a little bit of both but if you had to pick one which would you say is our culture moving towards god or is our culture moving away from god here’s another question for you are you drifting with culture or are you intentionally moving towards god and how would you no i’m gonna come back to both of those questions in just a moment but i want to begin by pointing out how much our world our culture has changed even in the last 100 years my mom was telling me a story about my great-grandmother sally and great-grandmother sally heard some rustling in the chicken coop one night and so she went in to check it out and there was a mink that was dragging away one of her chickens and so my great-grandmother sally bare-handed went over and grabbed this mink and she came out of the chicken coop with bite marks all over her arm holding this mink that was still alive now i’m not condoning or endorsing what my distant relative did but great-grandmother sally stood there squeezing the mink until it died and my mom you were clapping here at lino but i’m hearing this story and my mom’s telling you this and i’m trying to picture my wife or any woman that i know today that would be holding a mint going it was biting me and i just kept a squeeze until i killed it i mean the world has changed and that was just a hundred years ago 61 years ago alfred hitchcock created quite the controversy when he showed a flushing toilet in the movie psycho no movie had ever shown a toilet before that was considered scandalous fast forward to just a few years ago i was with my kids over at my mother-in-law’s apartment we were just flipping through channels channel 4 had an explicit on heroin addicts and how they you know inject i’m like okay change the channel channel 9 was tmz enough said channel 11 was the american music awards i thought okay finally something we can all watch together jennifer lopez came out to do a dance that she calls the booty shake with iggy azalea i turned the channel before our eyelids singed off i would have done anything for a flushing toilet and that was just 61 years ago now not all the changes that have taken place are negative in nature in fact many are quite positive i can find out up-to-date information on kabul afghanistan on my phone i can read my bible on my phone i can listen to a church podcast right where i’m at anywhere in the world so not all the changes that have taken place are negative in nature but when it comes to biblical truth when it comes to biblical morality would you say that our culture is drifting towards god or would you say that our culture is drifting away from god i pulled out a few articles over the last few weeks so these are not headlines from the last year these are headlines from about the last month or so one article had this headline parents furious at new york city private school over graphic sex ed videos shown to first graders now i couldn’t gather all the details but it sounds like this private school in new york brought in a health and wellness educator and she taught a course that in her words is titled porn literacy to first graders this included cartoons that had graphic images and depictions all this was done without parents knowledge or consent national family research council in 2019 released a study on sex ed curriculum being taught in schools around the country one of them which was sponsored by planned parenthood had a whole section on how to obtain an abortion without your parents finding out again this was done without parents knowledge or consent another headline that i pulled from just the last month or so was this it’s wise and sensible to abort babies with down syndrome atheist richard dawkins says atheist richard dawkins new york times best-selling author quite popular in certain circles wise and sensible those were his exact words just a few weeks ago a professor in california had to apologize for stating that only women can get pregnant and when i read this i had to double check i’m like but that’s true right because i’ve seen my wife give birth to five kids i’m like i’m pretty sure i hope that’s true it is true but he had to apologize anyway because several students were offended now whatever you believe about any of those headlines i think we can all agree that our culture is changing it gives me great peace to know that none of this comes as a surprise to god it’s one of the reasons why god had the author of hebrews pen these words we must pay careful attention therefore to what we have heard so that we do not drift away this is our anchor verse for this series he said if you don’t want to drift you need to pay careful attention pay careful attention to what to the teachings of christ to the word of god when truth is no longer absolute the inevitable result is moral drift and decline several years ago i read a book called mission drift and on page 16 the authors included a mission statement from a university and i’m going to read this mission statement to you maybe guess and see which university you think this would be their mission statement was this to be plainly instructed and considered that the main end of your life and studies is to know god and jesus christ what school do you think would have that as their mission statement now some people were like well it must be northwestern or bethel and saint paul maybe it’s wheaton out in illinois it’s got to be something in the bible belt like dallas theological seminary the correct answer is it’s harvard today harvard is an elite institution with an unmatched reputation but they no longer resemble their founding mission 80 years or so after harvard’s founding they were already beginning to drift a group of new england pastors noticed the secularization that was infiltrating into harvard and so they decided that they were going to found their own christian education their own pillar of christian education a wealthy philanthropist funded their efforts his name olahu yale today harvard and yale no longer resemble the mission that their founders envisioned but what’s interesting is that harvard and yale never had a change mission day they never sat down and said you know what we no longer believe this this is no longer our mission and we’re mapping out our new identity instead they drifted quietly slowly gradually they drifted we’re not the first group of people who have dealt with cultural drift in fact in the old testament there was a man named daniel and daniel is a historical figure he lived in the city of jerusalem during a time when the babylonians invaded jerusalem and took the israelites into captivity and part of the babylonians plan was they were going to select certain israelite men and they were going to train them for three years at which time they would then be able to serve in the king’s court here’s how the book of daniel describes this program it said the king this is the king of babylon ordered some of the israelites from the royal family and the nobility and then here’s the characteristics that they had to have young men without any physical defect handsome showing aptitude for every kind of learning well-informed quick to understand and qualified to serve in the king’s palace i realize what some of you women are thinking right now you’re like good luck especially if you’re on like an online dating site right now you’re like yeah good luck you’re telling me you’re gonna find a guy who’s handsome and quick to understand and showing an aptitude for every kind of learning i don’t think you’re gonna find that well daniel and several other men somehow did match up to all these characteristics and in exchange for going through this program daniel and his friends were allowed to live in the king’s palace they were allowed to eat food from the king’s table that’s not such a bad gig i mean royal food royal wine what’s the problem here well the problem is as an israelite man there were certain foods that were unclean and god had commanded them not to eat certain foods but now daniel’s left with a choice as the king pushes all this food in front of him he could have said you know what what happens in babylon stays in babylon he could have said you know what i’m i’m just going to fit in i’m going to drift along go with the flow we’re so much more progressive now we know things in babylon that we just didn’t understand when we were in israel most likely the other guys who were with daniel they didn’t say anything they just dug in and started eating the food and now daniel’s in that uncomfortable position you ever been there before your friends were going someplace that you’re pretty sure god wouldn’t want you to go or they were doing something that you were pretty sure god wouldn’t want you to do or your boss or your we’re all doing something and now you’re left with that uncomfortable situation am i going to speak out or am i going to just go with the flow here’s what daniel did in verse 8. but daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine i love that word resolve there’s a strength in that word you don’t drift your way to god in a place like babylon you resolve your way to god in a place like babylon so let me ask you how’s your resolve these days if the culture shifts are you shifting with it if the culture changes are you changing with it or are you the kind of person who says no no i’m resolved there’s certain beliefs core beliefs and values that i have that i’m going to stand firm on i’m going to stand firm on the teachings of christ and the truth of god’s word if you’re that kind of person then here’s the question i want to ask today how should we live in a culture that’s drifting away from god let me offer up three suggestions the first one is this let’s be full of truth and grace john 1 14 describes jesus says the word that’s jesus the word became flesh he became a human being and made his dwelling among us we have seen his glory the glory of the one and only son who came from the father and what was jesus like what was what were his characteristics he says he was full of grace and full of truth jesus was full of truth and he was full of grace he wasn’t full of truth but lacking in grace he wasn’t all grace but no truth he was full of both he was a hundred percent truth and a hundred percent grace we on the other hand tend to tip one way or the other don’t we some of us tip towards truth and in a healthy way you have a passion for god’s word you have a passion that people would obey god but the downside of that is that sometimes we can lack grace and we can be judgmental or lacking in compassion others of us would be full of grace and you just love people and accept people and you’re full of grace towards them but the downside of that is that sometimes we can avoid speaking truth when we think it’s going to hurt someone else’s feelings or it’s going to make us uncomfortable let me ask you which one do you tip towards do you tip towards grace or do you tip towards truth my sister-in-law lives in a small town in wisconsin and she visited the mall of america recently and she said to me she said you wouldn’t believe what the young women girls were wearing at the mall of america i said what she said bras just straight out bras like no shirt over the top just wearing a brush she said i saw one woman wearing a lacy bra now my sister-in-law has a little boy like you know eight years old he’s like he’s like whoa now i’ll just share with you what my reaction was when she told me this story and by the way if you were abroad of them all just know i love you i’m so glad you’re in church today okay truly i am but i’m just gonna confess my initial reaction here i’m not even saying i was right but my initial reaction was you gotta be kidding me we’re wearing bras now like there’s not a whole lot of other articles of clothing we can get rid of at this point like what’s next that was my initial reaction my wife who balances me out a little bit she tips towards grace and so she gently pointed out but yeah but think about some of the women in the new testament who followed jesus i mean it was a lot worse than wearing a bra to them all in luke chapter 7 a woman who was a prostitute walked into the house that jesus was in with a group of pharisees religious leaders and she got down and she took a bottle of expensive perfume and she dumped it over jesus feet and she anointed his feet with oil and the pharisees were like you gotta be kidding me i mean what jesus you’re gonna let a woman who’s dressed like that who has that as a job you’re gonna let her touch your feet and even get close to you i want you to see how jesus responded he said do you see this woman and i don’t think he just meant like oh did you see there was a woman who walked in here and put some perfume on my feet well yeah yeah we saw that i think what he was saying is do you really see her do you see this young girl this young woman who’s desperate for attention and she’s looking for in the wrong places do you see the hurt and the pain in her life that has brought her to this point do you see that do you see past the external and her job to see who she really is do you see this woman he said i entered your house and you gave me no water for my feet but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair you did not anoint my head with oil but she anointed my feet with perfume for this reason i say to you her sins which are many have been forgiven jesus was full of grace and truth notice that he says her sins of which there are many jesus doesn’t gloss over her sin he doesn’t water down sin he doesn’t say oh you just be you it’s good to go he speaks truth but he does so in such a graceful way he does so in such a compassionate inviting way that he tells this woman your sins have been forgiven jesus was full of grace and truth and i want to be more the same one of the ways that churches get off track and followers of christ get off track is that we start to become angry with people who aren’t following god we get angry when we see people doing things that god wouldn’t want them to do and so instead of loving them we’re just angry with them we huddle up with one another and we complain about how the world’s going to hell in a hand basket and what’s next but jesus never did that jesus wasn’t of the world but he was in the world he was full of truth and he was full of grace here’s the second way to live in a world that is drifting from god and it’s this let’s not fear persecution so when the author of hebrews warned when he said do not drift he was writing to a group of christians who had converted from judaism and many of them were tempted to drift back to judaism and it’s not hard to see why during that time rome had been burned to the ground the emperor nero burned it to the ground he was a little crazy and then to find a scapegoat he blamed the christians for doing it so this is a time in history when if you’re a follower of christ people are walking around going man i hate those christians i can’t stand those people they’re just the worst shunning christians mocking christians making fun of christians who wants to deal with a culture that hates you mocks you makes fun of you and pressures you to compromise your values no one let me remind us today that jesus was unfollowed far before we ever will be far before social media and virtual friendships and cancel culture jesus got canceled real quick he came into jerusalem on a donkey a crowd of people gathered around him hailing him as a king one week later that exact same crowd stood at the foot of a cross idly by and mocked him as he was crucified to death before any of that happened jesus said to his followers he said this remember i want you to store this away i want you to remember this a servant is not greater than his master if they persecuted me they will persecute you also this may surprise you but at this point in human history which we’re living there’s never been more persecution of followers of christ never before in 2019 alone in china five thousand five hundred churches were destroyed so either gathering like this the authorities break in everybody gets arrested and the building is destroyed in india 1400 followers of christ in 2019 were physically attacked in nigeria 1300 believers were killed when they bust into the church in nigeria they’re not arresting you they’re killing you thirteen hundred followers of christ lost their life in one year i just saw something this week a couple that lives in afghanistan they went over there as missionaries living in kabul and they said to their sponsors the people who support them you know i think we’re going to die this year i don’t think we’re going to make it to the airport i don’t think we’re going to be able to get out i think this is it every day eight followers of christ lose their life because of their faith around the world when you put your head on the pillow tonight just know that eight brothers and sisters in christ around the world lost their life because of their faith and again none of this is a surprise to god in fact god said in first peter 4 12 through peter dear friends do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that’s come on you to test you don’t be like oh i’m so surprised i didn’t see this coming as though something strange were happening to you he doubles down in second timothy paul writes these words he says indeed all who desire to live a godly life in christ jesus will be persecuted not maybe not we’ll see not as 50 50. if you desire to live a godly life you will be persecuted if you’ve never been persecuted before if never anybody’s ever kind of looked at you funny raised their eyebrows said something rude to you in response not necessarily but maybe it’s because you’ve kept your faith hidden or you’re blending in so much to culture that you’re no longer pursuing a godly life above everything else because what happened to the followers of christ in the new testament stephen was stoned peter was crucified upside down john the baptist was beheaded they didn’t get elected to hire office write a best-selling book make lots of money and go to disney with their kids they they died now i’m not saying any of this to scare us but i do want us to remember that no servant is greater than his master if they persecuted jesus they may persecute us as well and as one of the pastors at this church i just want to speak to you for a moment and i hope you remember these words in the future because my personal opinion again this is not from god this is my own personal opinion is that any persecution we face in the united states right now which pales compared to that around the world in the next 50 years is not going to get better it’s going to stay the same or it’s going to get much worse and i don’t want you to live in fear over that i want you to remember that we have the promise of eternal life that god was faithful to the men and the women yesterday he’s faithful today he’s going to be faithful tomorrow we have nothing to fear here’s the third way to live in a culture that’s drifting from god and it’s this let’s not swerve to the left or to the right proverbs 4 27 says this do not swerve i love this do not swerve to the right or to the left but turn your foot away from evil what would it look like today for you to say i’m going to turn my feet away from evil i’m not even going to swerve i’m not going to get over that line a while back i traded in my 2001 toyota highlander for a 2019 toyota highlander and i’ll tell you when you go from a 2001 to a 2019 that’s an upgrade i mean i told some of my friends i’m like it has a screen i can push it it does things they’re like yeah we’ve had that for a while like i know but i didn’t the craziest feature is called the lane departure alert now one of the things you need to know about me is that i do not always use my blinker this is a source of conflict in my marriage but here’s my approach my approach is if you don’t need to know i’m switching lanes i’m not going to tell you like if you’re three miles back do you really need to know i’m switching lanes i’m already in the left turn lane what do you think i’m going to do i’m in the left turn lane i may not put my blinker on again this is a source of conflict in my marriage the first time i ever tried to switch lanes without using my blinker in the 2019 it started to beep at me it was like and it kept getting more intense i’m like it’s going to blow up i mean i got a 2019 i died because the car just exploded it was the lane departure alert the way it works is if you get close to the line on either side if you cross that line it’s going to beep at you the only way to get it to stop beeping at you is to either stay away from the line or turn the system off which is what i did wouldn’t it be something if there was a lane departure alert for life there is it’s called the holy spirit when you put your faith in god he puts the holy spirit into you and when you start getting close to the line of sin the holy spirit begins to beep in your conscience but here’s what some people do they tune out god’s spirit just like i turned off my lane departure alert they get tired of feeling guilty for stepping over a line they get tired of being told what they can do and what they can’t do and so they just tune out god and do whatever they want ephesians 5 verse 3 says this but among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality what is sexual immorality because we all have different definitions of that well in the bible what it means was sex outside of marriage a hint of sexual immorality or any kind of impurity or of greed because these are improper for god’s holy people is having an affair a hint yes is viewing pornography a hint yes is flirting with a co-worker or talking about how bad your marriage is to this other person is that a hint yeah it is fooling around with your boyfriend or girlfriend that’s a hint what what about living together because everybody’s kind of doing that these days there’s another verse in the bible that says flee from sexual immorality so this is sexual immorality you should flee now when i’m fleeing something i’m running in the opposite direction and so what i tell couples who i’ve married and they’re living together i always have the same conversation i’ll say hey i’m sure you weren’t even aware of this i know this is so culturally acceptable it wasn’t even on your radar but based on this verse to flee from sexual immorality i will ask them would you be willing to make some other arrangements because when you’re living together you’re not fleeing you’re getting as close to it as you possibly can and i’ll say to them don’t you want god’s best i mean i know you want god’s blessing you want every ounce and drip of god’s blessing to be upon your relationship every single time i have asked a couple to do this usually the man will look at me and go yes they’ll say we want to build our marriage on a foundation of jesus christ we want god’s blessing in every single way and so i promise you we are going to abstain we’re going to make some other arrangements you have my word i love that that’s not easy that’s hard that’s not culturally acceptable but not everything that’s culturally acceptable is accepted by god here’s what’s normal in our culture today normal is having loads of credit card debt and being stressed out about finances that’s normal it’s normal to go off to college drink too much fool around with a few people and then deal with the fallout of that later on in life that’s normal it’s normal to accept what the majority believes about faith morality gender or sex it’s normal to say you know i’m just going to do what i want to do that’s normal but normal is not working bob merritt our previous senior pastor used to have this question that i would love he would say this how’s that working for you i mean i talk to people all the time who are stressed out because they’ve got credit card debt over their head their kids are drifting they’re dealing with fallout from decisions that they made under the influence or when they were in college and now those images are in their mind and they’re affecting their marital life normal’s not working be weird don’t be weird in like a weird way like okay i’m just gonna be weird like not weird like that be weird in a good way be weird in a godly kind of way last month at our annual meeting i spoke at the end and i told the story about a text message i received from a colleague of mine and the text message was about another church that was fighting over how to solve cultural issues and because of all this division and fighting pastors were resigning people were leaving the church and this is a church that i know and i love and so i was praying for them just two days after this i was researching a message online and i saw an article about another church out east and this church is a large church multi-site church they held an annual meeting and it turned into an insurrection i mean there’s a guy down front yelling over the guy with a microphone you could hear people in the audience screaming back and forth at one another and i’m watching the video of this and i just jotted down the agenda of the culture in some cases is becoming the agenda of the church we fight about the same things the world fights about we’re divided about the same things that the world is divided about and we’re fighting about them in the same way in some cases yelling arguing demeaning labeling ostracizing and so i sent a text message back to this group that had sent the original message to me and i quoted these words of jesus and these are words that have been on my heart for our church lately jesus said this the harvest is great but the workers are few there’s a great harvest that’s out there there are some people so many people that are this close to putting their faith in christ there is a great harvest but the problem is we don’t have enough workers i mean you’ve heard about the labor shortage just saw an article they’re like we don’t know if we’re going to find enough workers for the state fair there’s a labor shortage well there’s a spiritual labor shortage as well in john 17 jesus prayed right before he ascended right before he was arrested and taken to the cross and what did he pray for in john 17 prayed for unity satan heard him pray that satan knows that he prayed that what do you think satan feels when he sees believers and churches over here fighting yelling arguing dividing over cultural issues i think he’s giddy about that every single day hundreds millions of people die and slip into an eternity without jesus christ but we didn’t notice because our backs were turned because we were over here arguing about all these other issues with each other and so as i thought about this and i prayed about this verse i wanted to say to you thank you because somehow over the course of this last year our church has stayed on mission our staff our volunteers our church board our members you’ve stayed on mission just a few weeks ago we saw over a hundred adults put their faith in christ 30 high school students this week almost 6 000 people last year just last month we saw 850 people get baptized and step into this water of new life in christ there’s a harvest but we just need more workers which is why the weekend of september 11th and 12th we are launching a new series called how happiness happens if you are been going to church for 30 years or if you’re a person who’s like i don’t even know what i believe about this this is my first weekend don’t you wonder how does happiness happen isn’t there a part of you that goes man i want more joy in my life i would like to know how happiness happens we’re going to talk about that september 11th and 12th we have an opener on september 11th it’s gonna be one of those things that you’re like how did they like we basically sent our creative team away and just like every year they come up with something crazy and you will not want to miss it we’re going to give away t-shirts we’ve got food giveaways but here’s the most important part we’re going to talk about where real joy is found would you consider inviting someone to church that weekend somebody who doesn’t normally go to church would you do whatever you can to get them here i’ve got two people i’ve already written down their names so i have the accountability god i’m inviting these two people to church that weekend cause there’s a harvest we just need more workers we just need more workers who say you know what i’m gonna speak truth but i’m gonna do it in love i’m gonna be full of truth and grace i’m not swerving to the left i’m not swerving to the right i’m gonna stand firm on the foundation of god’s truth and god’s word and i will not live in fear let’s pray and ask god to make us those kind of people god right now we acknowledge that you are lord over everything that takes place in our world there’s nothing that catches you off guard there’s nothing that surprises you god i pray that we would be full of truth and grace i pray god if there’s anyone here who’s swerving to the left or to the right that you would ground us that you would help us to stand firm and not waver from obedience to you and god for those of us living in fear who look at the events of the world and that causes anxiety and fear within us i pray that you would well up courage and strength in our hearts to know that we have nothing to fear because you are the lord you were faithful yesterday you will be faithful today and god you will be faithful tomorrow we praise you for that god we pray all this in jesus name amen hey if you need prayer for anything at all would you come down front we would love to pray for you otherwise we’ll see you next weekend
rn

Cultural Drift // Eagle Brook Church // Jason Strand

rn

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