There are a lot of great things about our culture – pop tarts, In n’ Out burgers, etc. What’s your favorite thing about our culture?
But, some things in our culture that we just accept as normal are so unhealthy. I’m not talking about hamburger grease or sugar, I’m talking about attitudes or thoughts that go unnoticed but are actually even more dangerous than obvious things.
Let me help you understand: Stealing, lying, cheating – those are bad things. Another level, murder – REALLY bad. Those are obvious.
But what I’m talking about are things that may be bad for us that we don’t realize.
A white lie for example.
Let me give another example (and btw this kind stuff is what my brain thinks about all day long).
Have you seen the following commercial?
It’s the commercial for the NFL mobile app where the guy’s wife wants to go pick apples and he sarcastically says “on a Sunday.” She says “isn’t this fun?” Then a shot of him as if to say “doh” with the hashtag #fomof, which stands for “fear of missing out on football.” Drew Brees says download the app and don’t miss out. Right, pay attention to your phone over your wife. Great idea. Note my sarcasm. Our priorities are pretty messed up. Thanks Drew for supporting that.
Not everyone likes football, but our culture is certainly obsessed with it. My question is – Is it bad to watch football? No. Is it bad to be into football so much that you need it on your cell phone so you can watch it all the time? Maybe. Is it bad to dig your face into your phone to watch football rather than spending time with your family? Yes. If you don’t have boundaries in place for your cell phone (like no phones at the dinner table) you should go home and tell mom and dad to start enforcing them. This is why we don’t let you have your cell phones when we go to camps. It’s a distraction for other things God could be sharing with you.
There are things that we accept as normal (like looking at our cell phones 24/7) that are actually unhealthy. As Christians I think we need to learn to understand these things.
We read about the early church in the book of Acts. It begins to tell the story of God building the church. Jesus is here, he leaves and sends the Holy Spirit.
Reading from The Message translation:
Acts 1:15 “During this time..about 120 of them.” May be an important number.
Acts 2:1-4, 12-13 Pentecost – Holy Spirit comes. Peter says that what they experienced here, what they saw happening was God’s Spirit coming to the people. And people believed it. They felt like there was something special. Something real. The culture of the day killed Jesus and these people felt guilty because of it.
Then the people ask in Acts 2:37 “So now what do we do?”
Peter says in 2:38-39, “Change your life… receive the gift of the holy spirit.”
v 40, “get out of this sick and stupid culture.”
v 41-42, “that day about 3000 took him at his word… they committed themselves …to life together.”
v 46-47 – “they worshiped followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration… as they praised God.”
This is how the church started. This is what the church could look like today.
God doesn’t want us to do bad things. Stealing, lying, cheating, murder. But we don’t see them talking about that here. When they ask what to do Peter says, “Change your life. Get out of your stupid culture. Live life together. Like, eat meals together.” And what happened? The church grew from 120 to 3000 people in a single day.
Really? And we want to watch football on our cell phones. Stupid.
Church & small groups are meant to be a glimpse into our real life, but the church doesn’t always see my real life. The early church didn’t just show up to youth group on Tuesday or Wednesday night, or a cute little church service on Sunday morning; they didn’t attend Sunday School together. Well, maybe they did. But it was more than that. They lived life together.
Maybe our role in culture is to be more like the early church. And that might mean our lives look a little different than what is popular today. I think there’s probably 3000 people in our community that would like to be a part of something radical like the early church. I’m sure there’s at least that many people that are searching for real love. We should have people knocking down our doors to be a part of a loving community like that.
Small group questions:
1. What do you love most about our culture? (i.e. pop tarts & In n’ Out) Why?
2. What are some things that are seen as “normal” that are actually unhealthy? (i.e. a football app) Why?
3. Reference Acts 2:1-4, 12-13, 22-27, 38-47 for the following questions:
4. When the early church experienced the Holy Spirit and believed, they asked what they should do next. Peter tells them to live differently than their culture (remember, their culture killed Jesus). How can we live different than our culture? (i.e. think small groups living together and worshiping)
5. How do you begin to identify the unhealthy things together? What will you do about them?