27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.
30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. 31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”
In a few sentences Paul was able to undo their understanding of God and make some pretty strong theological points. In verse 28 he uses their own poets words, and in verse 29 he takes on idolatry. The idea that Yahweh is a living God is something that has been going on since the Old Testament. This concept of a living God is also a concept that makes so much sense when it comes to the idea of the relevancy of this God that we believe in.
Okay, this is going to sound weird, and I apologize, but it might make sense. When I was younger I got into those Anne Rice books about vampires. I am not suggesting anyone read those books, but I found them out interesting. Most interesting to me was the idea that someone would live so long as to have to learn how to be relevant in so many different times, cultures and even countries. How could you do that?
The idea that God is a living God, that God transcends time, language, and culture means that the idea of God has to be made relevant in each of these spaces, cultures, and countries.
When I was in the Marshall Islands as a college student and student missionary, they had set up the church as if it were in any other place in the world. We had to wear long pants, ties, shoes (which we didn’t wear anywhere else) and socks! When it was 100+ degrees and 98% humidity, it was torture to sit through a worship service that was clearly not culturally relevant to those people in the Islands at the time.
I found myself wishing that we could meet under the Breadfruit trees outside, so that the tradewinds could cool us down. However, they had been taught that there was only one way to do church, and it had to be done that particular way. Ties, shoes, the whole nine yards.
Paul was making sure that his words would resonate with the local population, not with those whom he came from. And this is a lesson that we could probably take to heart.
Furthermore, every generation needs to re-familiarize themselves with the gospel in a language that makes sense to them. This is the reason why things continue to change and grow in the church. This is why we need new churches, new expressions of the gospel, and new ways of worshiping that keep the relevance of the gospel for each new generation.
Crosswalk is one of those expressions, but your kids or grandkids may need another take on this. All that becomes a bit scary, but Paul shows us that we shouldn’t be worried about the format, as long as the message is not lost.
- What do you like about a church that is relevant to you?
- Have you been to a church that did not resonate with you? What was it like?
- Why did it not resonate with you?
- How can we keep speaking and worshiping in relevant ways?
I love this. Thank you Pastor Tim and the CW team for doing the hard work of making CW relevant and alive, meaningful in todays time…not only for me and my husband, but for my teenage children as well. They love coming to church, ok maybe some weeks they still protest at times😝, but they always leave saying, “wow, that was awesome…thank you for taking us.” What?!! That is amazing and priceless! I praise God for that and am beyond grateful.
When I first came to CW I was skeptical, uncomfortable, and wasaaaay out of my comfort zone. I had never worshiped in quite this fashion before and it made me uneasy. But, we kept coming bc it spoke to our kids. In time, it has become that way for my husband and I as well. But I couldn’t have gotten there without your explaining this Pastor Tim. Thank you for your clear explanation of relevancy as it relates to the gospel.
Crosswalk has blessed my family beyond measure, so much so that I am inviting co-workers and friends to join us! I’ve never done that before! 😱
Thank you Pastor Tim and fellow pastors for your ability to teach, preach, and write in such a clear and meaningful way. It has spurred me on to boldly, bravely, and with pride, invite those we care about to experience the love of Christ through the expression and experience of CW.
Timothy, I thank God for you!….2Tim.1:3-4
I have been a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church for 53 years, baptized in 1970. Throughout those 53 years, I have witnessed and experienced many changes within the church and within myself. The transition has been wonderful. The realization that “Jesus is All” and the ability to come to worship Him, in a Loving Environment with full acceptance, no stipulations, is simply amazing! Thank you Pastor Tim and the Crosswalk Team for helping us to LOVEWELL!