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Following Jesus Together - August 3, 2021

Dear Friends,

First, a big thank you to all who helped us move on July 24th and the many offers of help that came from others. We are deeply grateful for your love and care for us!

Talking about Jesus In a Spiritually Apathetic Culture:

A couple weeks ago we looked at the idea that our culture has catechized (hear: intentionally taught us) to not care about religion in order to protect the world from religious extremism.

We are seeing the fruits of that reality now. The growth of the “Nones”, or those who don’t affiliate with a particular religion in 2015 was about 22%. That number has been increasing, especially among the younger generations. 

So, we have some work to do. For many of our neighbors, they don’t have a reason to care. Think of 1 Peter 3:15, where Peter imagines a non-Christian asking a Jesus-follower for the reasons they have for the hope within them. For the spiritually apathetic, they just won’t ask. Why not?

They have reasons to not care. They are comfortable with their way of seeing the world. It answers enough. Science explains enough. Religion seems like a crutch for the weak. In the past perhaps, before science, we needed religion to make sense of a frightening world. But now, in our modern world, religion is a coping mechanism for the weak. 

So, how do we engage in conversation with folks who do not have a reason to care about Jesus? It’s surely a multi-faceted answer. But consider this – we need to find ways to provoke their curiosity. It’s how TV shows become bingeable. They pique your curiosity and you have to keep watching to find out more. The story telling engages our interest. We have questions that need answers. We have to do the same in conversations with our friends and neighbors.

Pure philosophy and logic will probably fall on deaf ears if there is no reason to care. But emotions are running high these days. We can tap into that with good questions:

  • If there is no Creator – no God, personally invested in this world and humans, why are we so angry right now? In other words, why do we get so upset about right and wrong, if there is no such thing? Especially when our emotions are telling us there is a universal right and wrong for everyone (E.g. slavery, protection of women)? So where do you find a basis for human morality for all people that makes sense of our anger at injustice?
  • Have you considered how Jesus has radically changed the way we look at other people, made in the image of God? Jesus commands us to treat our enemies with kindness. Is that not the kind of extremism we need in the world? Does your worldview include that reality?

I keep praying that Hope Church will be a place where the spiritually apathetic want to know more about Jesus. And that the Holy Spirit would light a fire of curiosity about the things of the gospel in us and in our neighbors., 

Brief Summer Sermon Series – The Gospel According to David
Next week, August 9 – 14th, I will be at Cortland Bible Club Camp. I am scheduled to speak for their Family camp. I’d appreciate prayers for that time! I’m planning to talk about the life of David there. So the next three weeks will be using that material. 

The Bible’s story about David is the longest narrative we have about one person in the ancient world. Simply put: He’s important. David becomes the model of what a good king is. A model of what the Messiah would be like. Only better. David turns out to be the King Israel needed. They just couldn’t see it. 

So this Sunday we are going to look at God’s choice for King in 1 Samuel 16:1-13 – “God Sees to What We Need”.

See you Sunday!

Grace and peace,
Nate Thompson

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