Dear Beachside Family and Friends,
There are always reasons to be optimistic about our future. Even when things are not going well in the world, the Kingdom of God is growing and expanding, and the citizens of the kingdom are always blessed. Our peace and prosperity is not based upon the wisdom of this world, but on faith in the Word of God, the conviction that what He says He will do He WILL do!
In order to experience the blessings of our heavenly citizenship, we need to understand the expectations of our King. In the same way we benefit from knowing and obeying the laws of our earthly nation, the United States of America, we also benefit from knowing and obeying the statutes of the Kingdom of God. The benefits of being a law-abiding citizen of the USA are many, but pale in comparison to the manifold blessings that are poured out upon us when we are faith believing, Bible obeying citizens of the Kingdom of God.
In our quest to influence the people of this world, we often look to find common ground with them. We don't want ro be labeled as uncool, or even worse, RELIGIOUS, so we join in with the latest trends of pop culture. We listen to the same styles of music, we wear the same clothes, sport the same hair, and embrace the the same politics as those around us in this world. We know that Jesus was not religious, that He did not come to establish a great world religion. He came to establish a great relationship with God. His ministry reached out to the world in ways never seen before, and touched people in ways never before experienced. We want to follow His example in reaching the people of this world, but in doing so we cannot compromise the Word of God. This Jesus would NEVER do.
In desiring to connect with the men, women, and children of this world, some of us have become so.much like the world that the people we contact see no difference between their lives and ours. If all they see in our lives is fear, sickness, financial distress, and negative attitudes, what will motivate them to change? If we invite them to church to hear the hip music, and then teach them how God wants them to suffer sickness and defeat like us, how does that encourage them to want what we have? They are certainly not looking for more of the same in their lives. They can hear hot tunes and enjoy unhappy hour at a club, so should going to church be the same? If it is, then all we have accomplished is to invite people to embrace yet another form of religion.
Paul wrote in Romans 12:2 "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Another translation says, "don't be conformed to this world". When we copy the behavior and customs of the world in order to try to influence them, the result can be different than we expect. We may find ourselves "conforming" to the ways of the world rather than convincing others to conform to the ways of the Kingdom of God. We can find ourselves ignoring, or even denying parts of the Bible in order to "fit in" with Popular Culture. The foremost and highest pursuit of the believer should be to become like Jesus, Who never became like the world in order to minister to it. The knowledge of God and His Word, resulting in the performance of His Will in our lives, is the only thing that can make us truly effective in Jesus-centered personal evangelism.
I am very excited about our future in this nation, and even more thrilled about our future in the Kingdom of God. I also realize that God has expectations for those who say they are Christians. Philippians 2:15-16 tells us "...Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life.." The blessings of citizenship in the Kingdom of God can only be experienced by those who hold firmly to the Word of God, and resist the temptation to compromise or ignore what it says. Popular Culture is not God's Culture. I conclude with this question: Is it more important to be popular with the world, or to be popular with God? Think about it!