One Strategy

 

“…your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

(Matthew 6:9-13).

That prayer has been assumed to mean “some day” or “after Jesus comes.” Let’s see if it works in context. “Give us…our daily bread—some day.” “And forgive us our sins—someday.”  Doesn’t work, does it? Jesus was teaching us to pray in “this day” context.

Pastor Paula White said in a sermon last weekend, “Culture is not changed; it is created.”

Nothing I’ve heard recently has so motivated me. It is absolutely true whether we are talking about an office culture, church culture, personal culture or a national culture. The reason God chose and commissioned Abraham was that he would lay the groundwork for all the nations of the earth to live in a righteous culture and the Hebrews would show the template.

Paint me a word picture of what a righteous culture looks like to you. Old Testament prophets had a clear picture and the New Testament gave us tools for the picture to be activated. Amos said, “Let justice roll down like waters….”

“But let justice flow like water, and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.”

I believe in the Second Coming, but it is not an escape clause. God is not content with passivity.

Before a righteous culture can be created, we have to know what it looks like, or what we perceive it to be. It surely doesn’t mean church twice on Sunday and six other times a week and all songs in the same key and beat.

Carole and I watched the movie, “Woman Walks Ahead.” It is the story of a female artist from Brooklyn going west to paint the portrait of Sitting Bull. The movie is not 100% historically accurate in all details, but in the details that matter it is grisly accurate. Say Sitting Bull, General Custer, Wounded Knee or any current reservation and you realize the words do not describe justice rolling down like water.

I’m not too keen on Colin Kaepernick being rewarded for his behavior. He offered no positive, workable alternatives to what seemed to many to be disrespect for authority, police, military and symbols of American heritage. I applaud him for what he protests because the alleged injustice contradicts a righteous culture in a righteous nation.

Let’s stop saying “Social justice,” and call it “justice” or “injustice.” A qualifier is not needed.

A couple of things serve as foundation and umbrella: 1. God loves every person. 2. Every ethnicity and nation has peculiar qualities and treasures to be celebrated.

God’s Kingdom People had a choice when the NFL started taking a knee. We were so outraged, however, that kneeling during the National Anthem as a protest was seen by some of the population as a good thing with no repercussions, but a coach could lose his job if he knelt to pray with his team. While Colin Kaepernick was celebrated, Tim Tebow was ridiculed for kneeling to pray. That adds up to craziness for some of us. The solution is not to protest just to do more protesting.

The Kingdom—those who have a platform/influence—could recognize the injustice and make some noise about searching for healing and solutions. I don’t think I can explain to you what I was feeling about the injustice toward Native Americans as I watched Sitting Bull be assassinated, or hundreds of his kin murdered. There is no way to fix—change—what happened at Wounded Knee or the Trail of Tears. There is no way to change World (not just Civil War variety) slavery. We can express regret, repentance for whatever our circle of relationships of those whose forbearers suffered. The Kingdom—empowered by the Holy Spirit should be able to find God’s way to create a culture where protests are not needed. Why did we wait until Kaepernick was needed—for whatever his real reasons were? God’s people of specific callings and anointing should have seen the injustice—and found ways to deal with it. What kind of national culture do we need so that kind of righteousness is the norm? More people are in slavery today than were in the 1800s.

Chris Vallotten, one of the pastors at Bethel Church in Redding, California, reported that Bethel raised and gave away $1.2 million to those who lost homes in the summer fires. Bethel’s culture is miracles, signs, wonders, worship and generosity.

I’m wrestling with who we are and where we are in our ministry and how to create a culture. I’ve recently listened to a conversation with the head of Coke Consolidated—17,000 employees—and how they create and maintain. At the same time I heard Tyler Perry say, “Climb and maintain.” Here’s where I am. I’m studying two books with some conversation with authors. They teach how Jesus built culture, disciples and prepared the first Followers.

The Master’s Plan of Evangelism,  Robert E. Coleman, 1963, (Revell)

Mentoring Like Jesus, Reggie Campbell, 2017

The next step is to build interactive, groups. The words Small Groups have lost their meaning. “True North” groups is a widely used terms for effective secular groups. Coke Consolidated adopted Radical Mentoring material (Reggie Campbell) for groups of eight that last a year. Four people from the company and four from the community. (Enter Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast. “Accelerating Culture Parts” 1 & 2)

I am re-examining Ralph Neighbour Jr.’s book, “Where Do We Go From Here?” (Touch Publications-1990) How to build a church on cell groups, not just being a church that has small groups.  A new culture offers a welcoming alternative that is seen as beneficial and makes senses.

I would emphasize Kingdom groups.

  1. Groups to learn about Jesus’ person, work and character.
  2. Then train how to effectively mentor.
  3. What is the culture you seek to create?
  4. The target of culture creation begins with who God has called you to and those for whom you have a vision. Single-parenting to 4th graders.

I want to be in that community. It involves some academics. It also lays ground work to create the culture that will heal social divides, expands personal capabilities and ultimately reinforce a righteous western civilization.

THY KINGDOM COME.

©2018 D. Dean Benton        dean@deanbenton.org

 

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