Whether you are going to your mailbox or you are surfing the internet and run across some church websites… you will see the pervasive trend of ‘felt need’ driven preaching. You will see mail pieces or webpages overwhelmed with preaching on the topics of marriage, sex, parenting, money, and career success/fulfillment. All of these are very relevant and extremely important areas of our lives in which we desperately need God’s work. At Crossings Community we talk about these areas on a regular basis, but our teaching does not spring from those topics each week.
Our expectations about everything in life are molded by what surrounds us. Some of you might remember the idea of the ‘elevator speech’ which was taught as the means to cast the vision of your organization within the short amount of time you would be riding an elevator between floors. Today, in our Twitter infused culture, the elevator speech has turned into the tweet. Now leaders are told they need to be able to cast the vision of their organization in 120 characters or less (not 140 so that it can be ‘retweeted’).
All of these changing realities change the way people view the church as well, obviously. I’ve preached hundreds upon hundreds of sermons to all sorts of different audiences. So, I’ve received all sorts of different feedback. Some of that feedback is good constructive feedback delivered in a very loving spirit and other times it is not. Sometimes that feedback has pointed to a desire for me to approach my preaching in a manner that is closer to the phenomenon I described above. To be clear, at Crossings Community we talk about marriage, parenting, and most of those other issues almost weekly, but that is not where we start. We begin with an unwrapping of the biblical truths that we find in scripture and then see how those interact with our daily lives. We know that gospel transformation really only comes through deep meditation on the gospel itself. Gospel transformation comes through a growing belief about God, His Son, and the Spirit.
One example is a topic I’ve written on before here through a three part series, which is the idea of submission in marriage. This is an extremely difficult idea to wrestle with as it applies to both husbands and wives. Trying to understand that topic in isolation is virtually impossible. The deepest of theological truths, such as the Trinity, have incredible relevance to our everyday lives. Bruce Ware wrote in his great book Father, Son, & Holy Spirit, ‘The relationships in the Trinity exhibit so beautifully a unity that is not redundancy, and a diversity that is not discord. The most marked characteristic of the trinitarian relationship is the presence of an eternal and inherent expression of authority and submission.’ We see the same submission call to wives affirmed and exemplified in the submission eternally given by the Son to his Father, and by the Spirit to the Father and the Son.
One of my deepest convictions and passions is the unashamed and unaltered preaching of the entire Word of God as the God-ordained method of constant and joyful life change. I’m a deep believer in studying and understanding our culture in order to express the truths of the gospel in a manner that is contextual (as Paul did in Acts 17). However, as the language and illustrations might change the truth must not be avoided, diminished, or diluted.
Have you experienced this in your own life? I think it would be encouraging for readers to hear how meditating on what people would call ‘Theology’ has impacted your everyday relationships and engagements.