Learning from the Bumps on Other Heads

Friday is for Heart Songs

Bumps on the Head

How much are we, “we” meaning “Christians,” influenced by the culture around us? How much do we absorb from what is going on in the culture? How much do we color our decisions, our choices, our thoughts even, in the thought stuff and flavors of the culture around us?

Because we read our Bibles and go to worship on Sunday, and have our devotions, and pray regularly, and try to take every thought captive to the obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5), are we immune or protected from the “spirit of the age”?

I doubt it.

The world around us is the juice in which we swim. We are, in too many ways, like cucumbers being slowly turned into pickles. That is not to say that we have no defense against the insidious creep of the world. But it is statement about the sobering reality of the battle.

It is relentless and requires vigilance.

I was reminded of this recently by a paragraph from Ben Tertin’s Leadership Journal article, “The painful lessons of Mars Hill.” Ben draws attention to a “Seattle mindset,” an atmosphere, an ether, an intoxicating brew of ambition, arrogance and hipness that seems to saturate the landscape like the rains that nourish the nearby rainforest. Here’s the quote:

Welcome to the whole Seattle mindset, . . .  “Some say, ‘Let’s deliver packages,’ but Seattle says, ‘No. Let’s make it Amazon.’ Some say, ‘Let’s have coffee,’ but Seattle says, ‘No. Let’s make it Starbucks.’ ‘Let’s have a grocery store.’ ‘No! Let’s make it Costco.’ Microsoft. Google. Boeing. Seattle is about power, expansion, and world domination.”

“The Painful Lessons of Mars Hill”, Ben Tertin
(Leadership Journal), December 8, 2014

That last sentence is haunting, isn’t it? 

“Seattle is about power, expansion and world domination.”

Ben Tertin’s point is that a mighty work of God, Mars Hill Church (and Mark Driscoll as well), imbibed this quest for power and expansion and were derailed, undone, and brought to a crumbling-shame by that intoxicating brew that is essentially Seattle. I think he is right. Decide for yourself. The article is long, but it is worth reading every word, slowly, and thoughtfully.  Here’s the link: “The Painful Lessons of Mars Hill.”

Here’s some of my take-aways:

  1. Cultivate humility. All Christians, not just pastor and elders, need to continually cultivate humility and fight against the ambition to be be great. (“He must increase; I must decrease” ought to be our greatest ambition. [John 3:30])

  2. Work hard at simple faithfulness. Let God take care of growth and influence. Let Him “be the glory and lifter of your head” (Psalm 3:3) if he wants too. “Let another praise you and not your own lips” (Prov. 27:2). Be faithful. Your Master knows and will reward. That ought to be enough.

  3. Learn to live for an audience of ONE. How much hurt and pain and shame and sorrow would be avoided in life and ministry if Christians just lived for the smile of God rather than the approval of others?

My Prayer in Light of this Post:

“Oh Father, help the whole body to learn well these lessons. We, the body of Christ and the world at large are so tired of these failures and sorrows. Rescue Mark (Driscoll). He is Your servant. You have used him powerfully in the past. Would You in Your mercy and grace use him in the future as well. Even if no-one knows him and he drifts out of pop-culture prominence, draw his heart to You. Protect his family. And use him to proclaim Your marvelous grace. In the name that is above all names, I ask it, Amen.”


3 thoughts on “Learning from the Bumps on Other Heads

  1. I haven’t gotten to the “Painful lessons” yet but your ‘take-aways’ have already struck a painful chord in my conscience. Let’s pray that the chord becomes an indelible brand.

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    1. John, just heard Dennis Prager on the radio say, “It is a very painful thing to be the hated group in a culture.”

      Yep.

      That’s part of our temptation isn’t it? Not wanting to be hated we compromise for the approval of men. God give us courage to be boldly humble.

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      1. Right on! And even tougher when the culture is our own church. To take a Biblical stance in the face of ‘You’re attempting to divide the Body’ is daunting. Pray, pray and then pray some more.

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