This weeks thought comes from an article I found stuffed in a reference book I went to look in yesterday! The article is by Tim Keller and can be found in The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Volume 14, Number 1, 1995. It is entitled "Preaching to the Secular Mind." If you haven't been introduced to Tim Keller, you are missing out on some really good material. He is (in my humble opinion) one of the best preachers alive today. This thought is just a small sampling of his material, more of which can be accessed through his website: (http://www.redeemer.com/) I can't recommend him highly enough! Enjoy.
"The case for truth. Though Christian communicators to postmodern people must lead with a theme of relevance, they must very quickly make a case for truth. The postmodern person can enjoy teaching that shows how practical Christian ethics are. But unless there is a confrontation about the whole idea of objective truth (the real basis of Christian morality) the hearer will just pick and choose whatever appears to work at the time. He or she may appear to be very receptive and even converted, but at a profound level, the self is still judging the good instead of the good judging the self.
You must say something like this: 'The startling claim of the gospel is that you will only 'find yourself' if you want something more than to find yourself. Christ will only 'work' for you if you are true to Him whether He works for you or not. You must not come to Him because He is fulfilling (although He is) or empowering (though He will) but because He is true. If you seek to meet Him in order to get your needs met, you will not meet Him or get your needs met. That is a primitive form of magic, in which you appease the cranky deity and use him as a means, while your real end is your goals and your agenda. To become a Christian is not to get help for your agenda, but it is a whole new agenda -- the will of God. You must obey Him because you owe Him your life, because He is your Creator and Redeemer."
"Christianity doesn't work for those who merely dabble in it half-heartedly. It doesn't refresh the soul of the one who merely sticks their toes into its life-giving waters, like one sitting at the edge of a pool who never jumps in. The call to follow Christ is a call to immerse oneself in the life and will of God!. It's a call to dive into the living waters head first and stay in (or stay under) until the old man drowns and the new man rises to life out of the seed of the old! Jesus said, 'Unless a seed falls into the ground and dies...' Christianity doesn't 'work' until one believes and recognizes the truth that "when Jesus died on the cross, our old sinful self died with Him." Until we internalize the fact that we were 'crucified with Christ, and no longer live, but Christ lives in us' -- using us to do His will. Until the old self is crucified, says J. Penn-Lewis, "It may be safely affirmed that the self is still the dominating factor in our lives." And as long as self is, it is we that we are really following, and not Christ."
With blessings upon your celebration of Thanksgiving and your contemplations of Christ, who is the truth, and our source of life, Pastor Jeff