There is one thing that everyone who hosts a major event has in common when it is over: exhaustion. This past weekend our biblical counseling center hosted the Counter Culture conference here in Kansas City, MO. We brought many excellent speakers who enriched our lives and ministries through their teaching.
This benefits you. The work done here at the conference will benefit those in California as Ellen Castillo brings new insights to the women she touches in Word of Hope Ministries. It benefits you in the St Louis area and beyond as Linda Rice returns with more information on topics that she may share with you through her Seedsown blog and in her church's women's ministry. It benefits you in Nevada, Georgia, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, Indiana, Colorado, and Iowa as you will share in the wealth of knowledge gained by listening to those who took the time to attend and heard teaching from the Word of God on addiction/idolatry, sexual sin, bitterness, guilt, post-traumatic stress, parenting teens, and many other cultural issues that affect us on a daily basis. It will impact those around the nation and possibly the globe as the recordings of the sessions are digitally shared over the internet.
One thing that resonated with me throughout this weekend as I listened to each of the speakers is this: we are not of this world. We are literally other-worldly and as residents and aliens in this strange land we should not be shocked or surprised at the things we are facing in our culture. The question we must answer is: how will we respond to them?
Will we respond with hate as the infamous Westboro "church" has done? Will we respond with apathy or confusion, throwing up our hands in surrender? Will we respond with the true Gospel, loving our neighbor trapped in the reality of sin and offering forgiveness found only in Jesus Christ? We are faced with those decisions as we return to our normal lives today. Exactly what will each of us do with what we've heard this past weekend?
It is clear that we in the church are in just as much need of teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness as those outside the church. Many of the issues the world deals with (sexual sin, gossip, discord in relationships, drug and alcohol abuse etc.) are unfortunately active within the body of the Church and hidden under the cover or veneer of respectability and service. Even as Christians, returning to sinful living is as easy as acting on one sinful thought, belief, or desire so we dare not be so foolish to believe we are impervious to sin. We must never forget that what ails the culture can once again infect us if we immerse ourselves in it. We are certainly not immune to the fleshly delights this world has to offer!
The answer for us in the church is the same as for those in the world. We must be vulnerable and humble, admitting our sin struggles and we must consistently repent and change at the heart level. This is what we must not only believe, but what we must do. This is the other-worldly response to the Gospel.