“Not in it to win it!” by Andy Stanley   https://youtu.be/KXDIwU9cgf0

This was the source of our discussion today addressing the reasons why we, as people of faith, do what we do…or should do.  Forget about what I write below and just listen to the YouTube.  It is excellent.

Philippians 2: 4-8  “Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to b grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men, and being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” 

A few of my “Take-Aways:”:

1.       There seem to be few neutral topics.  We are living in a political polarized society.

2.       We are also living in a cancel culture.  What I mean by that is that we can be friends and colleagues for a long time and if I say something or express an opinion different than yours, the very relationship, friendship, membership in a church or organization might well be canceled, voided, or ended.  Suddenly a person becomes labeled and is no longer valued.  How sad is that?

3.       If there is a societal role for the church and people of faith it is to be the conscience of the nation.  

4.       Without Jesus as the foundation of everything we do, we can easily be swayed and become a body where the majority determines morality.  

5.       Jesus was not here to win it for himself or one political party or ethnic group.  He played to lose so that we might win.

6.       The church is never more Christ like than when defending someone else, someone more vulnerable, helpless, or impoverished…giving away rather than demanding our way.

7.       As people of faith, we definitely need to be in it (Engaged) but not to win it.  

8.       How many times do I listen to respond as contrasted to listening to understand?

9.       The defining virtue of the church is winning for others.

Questions to ponder:

1.       Do you think Christians and churches identity themselves with the servant, humble nature of Jesus on the cross?

2.       What kinds of things did the watching world see when they looked at the church in general this past year?  For better or worse, is that now our identity?  What does the world see when it looks at your local church?

3.       Did your church specifically address political alignments, political divisiveness, covid response, racism, or any other current events in sermons, teaching, or small groups in the last year using scriptural principles?  

4.       How do we weigh the need for unity with the need to speak the truth in love to each other?

5.       What types of temptations do politically liberal believers need to resist when it comes to how they want their churches to make decisions and policy?  

6.       What types of temptations do politically conservative believers need to resist when it comes to how they want their churches to make decisions and policy?  

P.S.  I just completed the book The Color of Compromise  (The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism) by Jemar Tisby.  After reading this book I feel like Hosea.  He was instructed to back to his harlot wife and love her.  I feel betrayed by my institutional church and yet cannot leave her.  

Your thoughts are always appreciated.  Responses are welcome.  Next week promises to be thought provoking. 

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