“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine…” (Ephesians 4:11-14)
“Who Has Time to Think?”
Recently I came across this paragraph by an author named Os Guinness:
“Who has time to think? To think for ourselves rather than taking some Internet consensus as fast food for the mind? To think sufficiently in light of biblical wisdom? To have space for worship and to live as a counterculture to the craziness of this pressure-cooker life? It may well be that the advanced modern world requires more careful discernment than any previous age faced by Christians in history. But it is beyond question that the advanced modern world allows us less time to think about life and offers us fewer tools to wrestle with its deepest challenges.”
That rings true, doesn’t it? We have more information available to us than ever before. With just the swipe of a finger or the click of a mouse, we can learn anything. Literally anything. And yet, as Os Guinness observes, Christians in our day might be less equipped than ever before to discern the world’s information and ideas with any real clarity.
Because of the breakneck speed at which information is flowing to us 24/7 through news outlets, the blogosphere and social media, our minds are being conditioned each day by the latest soundbites of fragmented data circulating on the Internet. And this can pose significant challenges for the Christian life.
While it’s important for Christians to remain informed about what’s happening in the world, we must also be sure to give careful consideration to how and why it is that we’re consuming information on a daily basis. We should regularly ask ourselves important questions like, Am I growing in my ability to discern the information I’m consuming? What kind of fruit is it producing in my life? Is it helping or hindering me as a follower and worshiper of Jesus Christ?
Such questions signal us to the reality that Christians must have a way to faithfully wrestle with the implications of serving Christ at this unique point in history. If we’re going to make a difference for Him in the world, we must understand what it means to be the church in this highly complex age of information-overload. But then again, “who has time to think?”
Equipped for Thoughtful Ministry
Thankfully, the Apostle Paul can help us if we’ll take the time to listen. In Ephesians 4:11-14 (quoted above), he provides us with some very important insight by pinpointing how it is that we’re equipped to minister thoughtfully in the world today—through life in the local church.
While our culture is obsessively looking for new ways to inform us, Paul reminds us that through membership in the local church God is looking to form us at the deepest substratum of our being in order that we might “attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
This is why gathered worship so is crucial for LifePoint Church.
You see, weekly gathered worship serves to create a unique, Word-saturated space in our lives through which our minds can be renewed (Rom. 12:2). It provides us with a God-ordained means of orienting our lives fully to “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jd. 1:3).
More specifically, it’s through the Word being ministered—preached, sung, prayed and read—by those who’ve been appointed and gifted to lead the church that God plucks us from the chaotic waves of trending worldly wisdom and establishes us upon a Rock that is eternally steadfast and immoveable.
As a result, we ourselves grow to be steadfast and immovable. We begin to see things differently because we’re building our lives upon the solid Rock that will never move (Mat. 7:24). That’s how we become equipped to process the world around us—its news, its ideas, its information—in a way that is fruitful for the missional purpose of God’s Kingdom.
In fact, the more God’s Word causes us to see the world differently the more we’re being equipped to minister thoughtfully to our culture as those who are not only informed, but profoundly formed by the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. God wants to make us wise to apply the truths of Scripture to our culture in order that we might minister like Paul who said, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel” (1 Co. 9:22-23).
So as we gather to worship together this Sunday, let’s be sure to remember that God is using it all—every song, every prayer, every Scripture, every word of the sermon—to equip the saints for the work of ministry. In that 75-minute window of time, He will be at work to give His people a renewed, Christ-centered understanding—a better way to think in an age where it seems like there’s very little time to think at all. And it’s all so that we might learn to live as faithful, discerning witnesses for the Kingdom of Heaven in this age of information-overload.
Songs for Sunday, October 02, 2016:
The Glorious Three
(Tyler Greene, Sean Lea, Corey Martin, Nathan Shaver, Craig Wieneke)
Rock of Ages
(Dustin Kensrue, Augustus Toplady)
Jesus True And Only
(Matt Carter, Aaron Ivey, Jesse Reeves)
Worth It All
(Ben Cantelon, Benji Cowart)
My One Comfort