Monday, November 16, 2009

Community & Involvement

Lesson 12: Community & Involvement

The final installment of our tour of the Christian worldview brings us to the only place where that view can begin to impact the world -- from the center of our own hearts. Dr. Tackett makes the point that in the story of the good Samaritan, Jesus deliberately avoided giving a direct answer to the lawyer who asked him who his neighbor is or how he is to be loved. His point is that we can never know who we will be asked to serve or how we will be asked to offer that service. We can only prepare ourselves by seeking a heart that reflects the heart of God. This brings us to confront the definition of "the human heart."

What exactly is it? The culture has promoted the idea that "living from the heart" is feelings-based and emotional. On this view, our efforts are successful if we receive a positive response that allows us to "feel good about ourselves." But, as has been the case with every stop on the Truth Project world tour, this notion is far removed from the Biblical definition of the heart.

In the Bible the heart is a far more complicated thing than the seat of our emotions ... it is the core of our being. It is Command Central -- the place where our thoughts, feelings, will, soul and body intersect. It is where our character resides and, cultivated correctly, it should be a worldly reflection of the Imago Deo. When it is, our actions toward the outcasts and outsiders represented by the victim in the story of the Good Samaritan are not something we have to think about. They flow from our very nature -- a nature that should reflect the character of God himself.

In light of this, Jesus' refusal to give an action "checklist" or concrete definition of our neighbor makes perfect sense. All we know for sure is that our success at recognizing, defending and promulgating the Christian view of the world rests on our own ability to reflect a proper, complete understanding of the nature of God himself, and to understand that all truth, philosophy, ethics, theology, anthropology, science, history, sociology, and our relationship to the divine and to every social sphere at work in the world -- that all of it is permeated with God himself.

If our hope is to influence a culture that seems constantly at war with Biblical Truth, the task can seem enormously overwhelming. But it is only so if we fail to properly acknowledge the sovereignty of God and or to view the "cosmic battle" in which we are engaged with an eternal perspective. Seen that way, we can be encouraged to influence our own little corner of the world, and the societal outcasts with whom we come in contact there, in the best ways that we can. Doing so honors the God we serve and may impact the future in ways we could never imagine. Charles Colson gives us a real world example of that:
Jonathan Edwards was something of a prodigy. Born in 1703 in Connecticut, by age 5 he was studying Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. He entered Yale at age 13, graduated at 17, and stayed on to continue his masters and teach. At 26, he became pastor of the most influential church outside of Boston ... Edwards was not only a pastor who played a crucial role in America’s first Great Awakening, he was also a missionary to Native Americans, an early president of Princeton, and a prolific writer. Edwards and his wife, Sarah, were the loving parents of 11 children. Of their 929 descendants, history shows there have been 13 college presidents, 86 college professors, 430 ministers, 314 war veterans, 75 authors, 100 lawyers, 30 judges, 66 physicians, and 80 holders of public office. That includes three U.S. senators, seven congressman, three mayors, three governors, a vice president of the United States, and a controller of the United States Treasury.

Don’t tell me teaching biblical worldview to your children isn’t important!

~ Chuck Colson
10/30/09 Breakpoint
While none of us may ever become the next Jonathan Edwards, the legacy we leave can be every bit as far-reaching. And though we may never know it or see the fruits of our commitment, that commitment is not optional -- for the God we serve is El Qanna.

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