The Trumpet Sounds‘Culture War’

By Barry Pettit - Religion Columnist

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17

If you just turn on the news today it doesn’t take long to see that there is an internal cultural war in America. In the waters of all the political debates going on from candidates, reporters, and on social media it’s easy to get swept up by the current in the culture of conflict. There is so much hate, discord, selfishness, and dedication to the wrong things in America today.

Sadly, the church as a whole has not been immune to these characteristics. So many times as a minister my heart has been broken to see believers engage in everything other than the true answer to our problems. For the past two weeks I have been encouraged and inspired to see the church in the Philippines which is filled with so much love, unity, sacrifice, and dedication. Sure like any culture they have their challenges, and they are not perfect. However, one thing I noticed was an unwavering faith in spite of social, political, and world turmoil.

At first I wondered, “Why are they so happy?” They have less of everything that we have…less choices for work, housing, material things. In comparison they have fewer opportunities in every area than we do in America. Yet, they are overflowing with joy! The Christians there are incredibly happy! It took some observation to answer the question but then it hit me like a tidal wave! They are happy and joyful because they truly and unswervingly seek the one thing that humanity needs as a whole. No not just on Sundays, but every day if you watch them you will see them seek “Jesus!”

Our adversary the devil has so many distractions for us in America. So many other things for us to focus on, commit to, or pursue. You see, the devil doesn’t have to get us deep in sin in order to keep us from living a happy fulfilled life. All he has to do is get us to be committed to everything (careers, politics, sports, hobbies, material things, selfish living) except Jesus! Everything else but the purpose of the church, and the great commission found in Matthew 28:18-20. Everything else but the one thing that makes the eternal difference for lost souls!

In Mark 8:36 Jesus said “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” The answer is absolutely “NOTHING!” If we do not change as a culture, and change quickly…we will be destroyed from within just like Rome, or any other society in history that decided to place its focus on God “last” on its list of priorities! True fulfillment and happiness can be found in no other place but in Jesus, that’s why God sent him.

Stay thirsty my friends, but for the right things! Pursue true happiness and a fulfilled life by seeking Jesus. This Sunday at South Side I’m excited to be back and to share from my personal experience from the Philippines in a message entitled “The Mission of The Church.” We would love to have you come for worship at 10:45 and share a cup of coffee with us before from 10:30 to 10:45!

By Barry Pettit

Religion Columnist