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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Cultural Preaching July 26


Spiritual awakening, American culture, and balancing innovation and tradition.
Welcome to Cultural Preaching
July 26, 2017
Welcome to this week's edition of Cultural Preaching. I am honored to share this resource with you. Know that I am praying for all who receive this email with gratitude for your service and faith.
 
This week, the "Preaching" section includes a sermon on the spiritual awakening our nation needs so desperately. In "Pastoring," we look at American culture through the lens of God's Ten Commandments. In "Personal," we explore the balance between innovation and tradition.
 
In addition, I tweet on current news occasionally throughout the day. I invite you to follow me @JimDenison.

Preaching

My sermon for this Sunday focuses on 2 Chronicles 7 and God's call to spiritual awakening. I am convinced that our culture desperately needs a transforming moral and spiritual movement. This message is intended to call God's people to prayer and preparation for a mighty visitation from God's Spirit. I hope the message is helpful to you.

Pastoring

I have written a booklet which looks at American culture through the prism of the Ten Commandments. The pamphlet begins with covenants with God made by Americans across our history and moves to God's heart for our nation. Then we discuss our culture in light of each of the Commandments. To download the booklet, click here.

Personal

Innovative pastor Ralph Neighbour published a book years ago with the title, "The Seven Last Words of the Church." What are they? "We never tried it that way before."
 
Over twenty-five years of pastoring, one of the constant challenges I faced was balancing innovation with tradition. When should we seek a new way to reach new people? When should we keep faith with the methods of ministry that brought us where we are? Some in our churches embrace change; others resist it. Pastors easily anger one to please the other.
 
Reading recently in Joshua 8, I was impressed by the Lord's strategic counsel in the battle of Ai. He instructed Joshua's men to "lay an ambush against the city, behind it" (v. 2). Then Joshua led a group to attack the city, then flee from it. When the warriors of Ai left the city to pursue the Israeli army, those laying in ambush were free to take the city. And so Ai fell to the Jews.
 
This strategy was completely different from God's direction in the battle of Jericho. As we noted in last week's Cultural Preaching, in Joshua 6 the people were told to camp in sight of this massive, fortified city, marching around its walls but not attacking its people. Then God caused the walls to collapse and the city to fall.
 
Which approach is better, the one employed with Jericho or the strategy used with Ai? The answer obviously depends on the circumstances. If Joshua had decided that the Jericho strategy was the only way to defeat the Canaanites, he would not have conquered Ai. Conversely, if he had not trusted God at Ai as he trusted him at Jericho, his army would have been defeated.
 
God has a word for each challenge as it comes. As a wise mentor once advised me, always stay faithful to the last word you heard from the Lord and open to the next. All of God there is, is in this moment.

It is a great honor to share this ministry with you. May the Lord empower and encourage you as you serve him today.
 
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Rev. Darian L. Hybl

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