Culture is that which is considered excellent in society, whether arts, music, education writings, food social interaction. Culture is seen as the representation of what is considered to be the best.

A culture of renewal is best understood as what the church considers to be most excellent in how the community conducts itself. Of course spirituality is considered by some to be of limited practical value and hence the phrase “Heavenly minded but of no earthly good”. Yet this phrase undermines and is opposite to what the bible asks of us,

Colossians 3:1-3 (NIV) [3:1]  Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. [2]  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. [3]  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

Not only is our mind to be heavenly influenced our treasures are not to be rooted in this world but stored up in heaven. Heaven as we know was Jesus favourite message.

So where does a culture of renewal begin in community life? We start with our relationship with our father. This is what is at the heart of what Christ tried to teach us Relationship with our father in heaven

Matthew 6:9-10  “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, [10]  your kingdom come,

your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Our father the focal point of  family on earth, just as he is in heaven. Jesus was focused on pointing us to the father. Focusing on the love our father has for us with this occupying our heart, mind and soul.

And so a culture of renewal is;

The intentional, focused, determined but tender pursuit of intimate relationship with our father through his son and by his spirit

John the Baptist was the most amazing preacher of his time, a preaching repentance. But then he suffered a crisis of faith. He wondered if Jesus was the messiah to come.

 

Matthew 11:2-6 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples [3]  to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”  [4]  Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: [5]  The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. [6]  Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

Jesus asked his disciples to go back to him and tell them that the prophecies promised in Isa 61  and 35 were being fulfilled, the blind see the lame walk the dead are raised. Around Christ was a culture of renewal and restoration. This is exactly what God was trying to do, to restore humanity to its former glory. To bring heaven down to earth.

The culture of healing and miracles evidenced around Jesus is  exactly what his disciples carried on after him. After spending three years with him and picking up on the culture surrounding him, after falling in love with the father they carried a culture of renewal of restoration of Adamic glory. Peter on the way to the temple to pray was asked for money by a crippled beggar, what the beggar got was healing, a healing that had come about because the disciples had lived with Jesus and picked up on the culture of heaven. (Acts 3:1-10). The People were astonished at the miracle but for Peter this had become part of the culture within which he lived, a culture of restoration of renewal.

Acts 3:16 (NIV)  By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

The restoration of the world starts with renewal of the heart

The message sent back to John the Baptist by Jesus was the poor have the good news. Genuine spiritual renewal results in activities that mean the poor are loved and taken care of, orphans and widows find refuge and support and hope is provided for the desperate, the broken hearted are comforted and when the Christian community is encountered, they are marked out by the love that exists in the community.

To enjoy a culture of renewal we must make Christ Lord

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)  But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

 

And we must fall in love with our heavenly father with all our hearts.

Thus the challenge by Peter to the listening crowd, although the rulers and people put Christ to death in ignorance, if now they will repent they will enjoy times of refreshing from the Lord.

Acts 3:19-21 (NIV)  Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, [20]  and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. [21]  He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.

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Categories: The Word