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Counter Culture

Is the church called to run contrary to the world? If so, then where are we missing it? I want us to think about our walk as Christians in America. This topic actually isn’t that new. James wrote about it long ago.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
James 4:4

Those are some strong words he uses. He called them an adulterous people. What does cheating on your spouse have to do with the spiritual condition of a generation? The answer is found in the verse just preceding this one. It explains his choice of words. As he talked about asking for things in prayer, he wrote…

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
James 4:3

Here’s the problem that James is describing as adultery. They asked God for things so that they could then spend those things on their pleasures. It literally says that their motives in seeking God, was so that they could become consumers of pleasures.

That sounds a little too familiar.

“God, please help me to get a better job.”

Then, as our blessings increase, we get more things and push God further into the background. After all, now that I have more stuff, I have less time for “church”.

Here’s the problem from God’s perspective. It says in verse 4, above, that trying to make friends with the world is an act of hostility toward God. To make a friend, you need to try to please them or be like them in some way.

Remember, we’re not talking about the people, but the world system. You can make friends with people without buying into the system.

There’s a word we use for the world’s system of order. It’s the word culture. Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary defines culture as, the sum total of the attainments and activities of any…people, including their implements, handcrafts, agriculture, economics, music, arts, religious beliefs, tradition, language and story.

In other words, the American culture is our entire way of life. It’s how we live and what we expect. It’s what we strive for as well as what we accept as “normal”.

When I think about the mainstream of life in the United States, I get a picture of the system at work here. Then, when I see the lifestyle we’re called to as followers of Christ, I get a whole different picture. There are some areas where the two cultures are drastically different.

How do we live in both worlds? As believers, we must live in the world without operating according to its system. That makes us a part of a counter-culture.

Many of the ways of God run contrary to how the world does things. When we seek acceptance from society by trying to fit in with them, we run the risk of compromising our beliefs. We must always live as a part of God’s kingdom no matter where we are.

Question: What are some areas you see where the church is too friendly with the world system?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2017 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Life Patterns

ScrewsHave you ever bought furniture that you’ve had to assemble by yourself? I have and I even enjoy it a little.

But I know people who hate putting things together. They say that they can never understand the directions.

The fact is that all of these things come with detailed instructions. If you can understand them AND if you follow them – step by step – you’ll end up with a beautiful piece of furniture.

I’ve also known people who ignore the instructions. They go right to work assembling things based upon the picture on the box. More often than not they end up in trouble.

So why am I talking about furniture? Because it actually has a lot to do with our Christian walk.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

Paul tells his readers in this letter not to conform any longer to the pattern of this world. In many instances life is all about conforming to a pattern. The world has a pattern of living.

There are socially accepted ways of putting your life together. As we grow and mature, we learn and incorporate these patterns into our lives. At some point we’re seen as an accepted member of the culture we’re a part of.

The challenge arises when we come to Christ. When Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior, we enter a new Kingdom. We are now part of a new culture; a new society. There must, therefore, be a new pattern to shape our lives around.

The unfortunate thing is that many believers try to serve Christ while living according to this world’s pattern. When that happens, we have a life where we see the promises God holds out to us. Yet we never seem to lay hold of the realities. It’s a very frustrating way to live.

What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:13

It all has to do with our teaching. In the modern church we tend to do more teaching on doctrines than on patterns of living. What we end up with are believers who know the teachings of Christ and the apostles, yet never experience the true culture of Christ.

I want to take a few posts to talk about the pattern of living that Christ gave us. I think that it will help us to attain a higher walk with the Lord.

Question: What do you think are the differences between the pattern of the world and the pattern of Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2016 in Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Counter-Culture and the Counter-Anointing

Different Anointing

Did you know that the present culture of America has an anointing on it?  I have been posting about Christianity as a counter-culture.  Today I want to talk about the modern cultural anointing.

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.  They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
1 John 2:18-19

The word antichrist is very interesting.  When some people think antichrist, it brings images of The Beast or a world dictator.  Actually, antichrists have been around as long as the church has been in existence.

This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
1 John 4:3

What we need to understand is that there is a spirit of antichrist that is constantly at work in secular society.  Let’s stop and think about it.  Here is a spirit that is anti – opposite – Christ.

In my last post I made the point that Christ means the Anointed One.  That means we’re talking about an anti-anointing that’s operating in the world.  Whether you know it or not, there are two different anointings at work in our society.  There’s the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of antichrist.

The first verse above tells us that there are people in churches who have bought into the anti-anointing that’s in the world.  Eventually these people get offended at the Gospel of Christ – the true anointing – and they leave.

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.  I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.  Who is the liar?  It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ.  Such a man is the antichrist — he denies the Father and the Son.
1 John 2:20-22

It is all about Jesus Christ – that’s the bottom line.  We live in such an accepting and tolerant world.  It’s okay, no matter what you want to talk about…that is until you mention Jesus Christ.  Suddenly the conversation gets shut down.

The reason is clear.  There are two competing spirits at work.  The spirit of antichrist wants no mention of the true anointing.  Christ, the Anointed One and His anointing can break the bondage of sin, sickness, depression, and a whole host of other symptoms of this age.

We need to walk in the boldness of the Holy Spirit.  Even if it means that we are ridiculed, shut down or rejected.  We must be a light for the true anointing of Christ in our generation.

Question: Have you ever noticed intolerance for the name of Jesus Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Revival, Spiritual Warfare, The Church

 

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Christ – The Foundation of a Counter-Culture

SONY DSCOur culture is our way of life.  Why, then, is modern Christianity so much like the culture of America?

It doesn’t matter what you talk about, the statistics are very close.  Divorce, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, and a host of other issues seem very much a part of church life.  I have known Christian girls who couldn’t wait to turn 18 so that they could lose their virginity legally.

Why are we so much like the world?

We would rather talk about religion than Jesus.  We try to be so careful not to offend anyone by what we believe.

I think an important word to use is counter.  Think about how we use it in society.  We have groups in counter-intelligence or counter-terrorism.  To be counter means that you are going opposite that group.

More than any other people, Christianity should be counter-culture.  We should have our own cultural lifestyle.  If you remember from my last post, that means our own way of doing things.  It should be different than how our society operates.

We need to see the Scriptural pattern.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.  He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22

This verse tells us that it’s God’s job to make us stand firm in Christ.  How does He do that?  The Lord accomplishes it by anointing us.

Anointing – now there’s a rich word.  The very word Christ means the Anointed One.  His anointing came from the Holy Spirit that was upon Him.  Now we are standing firm in the Anointed One.  That’s where we have the power to fulfill what we’re called to do.

This passage states that the anointing upon us is one of the things that are guaranteeing what is to come.  That tells me that I have a future in Christ.  This anointing is taking us somewhere.

In the same way, this culture we live in is headed somewhere.  It leads to addiction, divorce, depression, guilt, and, worst of all, hell.  Personally, I don’t want to go where the American culture is leading us to.

As the church of Jesus Christ, our future – our direction – should be vastly different.  Actually, the world should want what our culture leads to.  The differences should be that obvious.  We need to get back to the basics of what Christ wants to do in us.  Then we must follow it through to the end.

Question: What are some differences that should be obvious to the world?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Revival, The Church

 

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Christianity: The Counter-Culture…or not?

DifferentIs the church called to run contrary to the world?  If so, then where are we missing it?  I want to take a few posts to deal with this issue.  I want us to think about our walk as Christians in America.

This topic actually isn’t that new.  James wrote about it long ago.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?  Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
James 4:4

Those are some strong words he uses.  He called them an adulterous people.  What does cheating on your spouse have to do with the spiritual condition of a generation?  The answer is found in the verse just preceding this one.  It explains his choice of words.

As he talked about asking for things in prayer, he wrote…

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
James 4:3

Here’s the problem that James is describing as adultery.  They asked God for things so that they could then spend those things on their pleasures.  It literally says that their motives in seeking God, was so that they could become consumers of pleasures.

That sounds a little too familiar.

“God, please help me to get a better job.”

Then, as our blessings increase, we get more things and push God further into the background.  After all, now that I have more stuff, I have less time for “church”.

Here’s the problem from God’s perspective.  It says in verse 4, above, that trying to make friends with the world is an act of hostility toward God.  To make a friend, you need to try to please them or be like them in some way.

Remember, we’re not talking about the people, but the world system.  You can make friends with people without buying into the system.

There’s a word we use for the world’s system of order.  It’s the word culture.  Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary defines culture as, the sum total of the attainments and activities of any…people, including their implements, handcrafts, agriculture, economics, music, arts, religious beliefs, tradition, language and story.

In other words, the American culture is our entire way of life.  It’s how we live and what we expect.  It’s what we strive for as well as what we accept as “normal”.

When I think about the mainstream of life in the United States, I get a picture of the system at work here.  Then, when I see the lifestyle we are called to as followers of Christ, I get a whole different picture.  There are some areas where the two cultures are drastically different.

How do we live in both worlds?  That’s what I want to talk about in the next few posts.  Hopefully you’ll join the conversation.

Question: Do you see areas where the church is too friendly with the world system?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Revival, The Church

 

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