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What Do We Make of Culture?

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.”
John 16:33a

As Christians, we are prone use the word ‘culture’ to represent something bad, or at least not in line with our values. But is culture, in itself, bad? No… no more than technology or politics are bad in themselves. It’s what we make of them that determines whether they are something good, or evil.

Culture is what we make of the world we live in. It is shaped and driven by the predominant worldview of a particular group or population. Worldview shifts from time to time, sometimes dramatically, and when it does, it can leave us somewhat disoriented and wondering what happened. Culture is not a bad thing in itself, unless we make that way.

Created to Create Culture

In fact, my guest on our Family Impact podcast today, John Stonestreet, believes God made us to create culture—to make something of the world in which He placed us. Unfortunately, sin has made it a messy proposition most of the time. Still, we were made to create culture as a visible expression of our inward beliefs and convictions about how the world ought work.

But here’s the problem… because sin makes such a mess of it, we can be tempted to get in a survival mode. If we can just hang on… if we can only help our kids and grandkids survive, that’s sufficient. But that is faulty thinking.

Jesus told us that we would have trouble in this world, but He also said, “Take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). In other words, don’t give up. Keep on going because Christ has already won the victory, and He has not left us without opportunity to impact this world differently. I don’t want my grandchildren to just survive. I want them to live in the power of the Gospel and make a difference. I want to do the same.

Making a Difference

So, how do we live in culture that has so quickly gone awry and make a difference? Here are five things we all can do:

  1. Pray diligently and fervently. 
    • That God will keep our children from the evil one
    • That God will search our hearts and expose any wickedness in us that needs to be cleansed and surrendered.
    • That God will give us the boldness to speak truth in love, and ask good questions that cause others to stop and think
  2. Stop believing the lies that younger generations do not want to hear what we have to say. But, we must guard our hearts and our mouths so that we give them a reason to trust us and want to hear what we have to say. Make the effort to enter their world; don’t try to force them to enter yours. Learn to listen well. 
  3. Stop believing the lie that you have nothing to offer, or that you’ve done your time, and it’s time to “retire”. God is not in the retirement business… Del Webb is. God wants us to refire, not retire, and seek the new opportunities He lays before us to make a difference no matter our age.
  4. Be a repristinator, not a resister. Stop talking about the good ole days, and start finding ways to repristinate (make like new) your heart, your mind and your relationships. “Create in me a clean heart, O God” is prayer for the old as much as the young. Keep your mind sharp and renewed. Study the Word, and read good books. Fill your mind with the knowledge that leads to wisdom.
  5. Sit down and listen to my interview with John Stonestreer about culture and cultural undercurrents for which we need to stay alert. And get copy of John’s book, A Practical Guide to Culture. 

GRANDPAUSE: We only understand the moment from the Story; we don’t rethink the Story to fit the moment.” –John Stonestreet

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