The Sway of Culture

Living for Christ helps us make good choices.

Linn Winters
Sep 24, 2017    36m
Pastor Winters discusses the mistake we make when we start making decisions that seem right in our own eyes as we look at the culture around us. That making these selfish decisions will not only hurt us, but those who love us as well. He suggests that by fully living for Christ and his rules we can have a life where we make good and healthy choices. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Pastor Linn: 00:05 -video playing-

Pastor Linn: 00:53 Hey, Cornerstone, how ya doing?

Pastor Linn: 01:15 So super, super excited. We're starting a brand new series together today that we're calling "Right In Their Own Eyes," and it's just a conversation about culture and how deeply should culture affect you and I as Christians. What does it mean to live in a culture that maybe has different values and different ideas than you and I do? And we're just going to spend the next few weeks having that conversation together, but before we dive in, though, real quick, I just want to give you one last word of encouragement. Today is the last Sunday that we're doing the Heruma Project. And look, here's what you need to hear me say. When we give you opportunities to give, like whether it's the Heruma Project or to sponsor a harvest festival, nobody expects everybody to do it. We just don't. The only thing that you and I are obligated to do with our finances is to tithe. Once you've made that commitment and met that obligation, then the truth is everything else is an offering, everything else is just what God would lay in your heart, but there's a home in Kenya where 150 orphans are not going to be fed, not going to have the schooling and the housing, if somebody, if somebody doesn't step in the gap and do this. And so, we've taken on and said, "Hey, what if...what if we as Cornerstone could do that?" And, guys, it's just a remarkable place where God is doing an amazing, amazing work. And so, we've just asked you, would you pray about it? Would you just consider what God would have you do? And if God doesn't lay anything on your heart, then it's don't worry, it's okay. If he lays something on your heart, then would you simply do that? It takes fifty dollars a month to house, feed, clothe and get medical attention. So, just a little over a dollar, what, thirty a day to get that...a dollar fifty a get that done. If you can't do fifty bucks a month, do twenty-five a month. We'll pair you up with somebody, and the two of you will take care of an orphan every month just for a year. It's a one year thing that we are doing together. But just to let you know where we stand, we're trying to raise one hundred thousand dollars, and we sit at twenty. So again, I'm just going to ask you would you pray? And if God says do something, do it, and if he doesn't, you're off the hook.

Pastor Linn: 03:21 Okay, starting a brand new series today that we're calling "Right In Their Own Eyes". And just want to say out loud again today, the conversation we're going to have, the passage of scripture that we're going to talk to, talk in, is probably the darkest passage in all of scripture. We're going to do that because it has so much to say about culture, so hang on, get ready, and brace yourselves. Here we go. Isn't it true that we do a lot of things because everybody else is doing them? We just see the people around us. That's what they're doing. That's what seems to be kind of cool. And so, you and I get caught up in that moment, and we do the things that people around us are doing. So, we're going to take a real quick survey. If you've ever done this, then you're just going to raise your hand and say, "Yeah, you know what, everybody was doing it, I thought maybe I should do it, and so we did it." How many of you ever were part of Beanie Babies? How many of you still have Beanie Babies at your house, and you don't know what to do with them now, right? But we did it, right? We did it because it was cool and everybody else was doing it, and you had to have a Ty beanie baby. It couldn't be an artificial baby, and we did it.

Pastor Linn: 04:28 Alright, raise your hand if you've ever gotten on the phone and said, "Whassup?" Why did we do that? I mean, what was that about, right? Everyone was doing it, so we were like, "Ah, whassup?"

Pastor Linn: 04:43 Alright, here's another one. Raise your hand if you've ever had a mullet. Alright, all of you that are raising your hand stand up. It deserves a stand up. Come on, be courageous, stand up, you've had a mullet. Alright, whoa, whoa, whoa, stay standing, stay standing. Why? Why? I'm just asking why? What were...alright, sit back down. We do stuff just because, I mean, everybody else is doing it.

Pastor Linn: 05:19 Alright, are you ready for this one? The Macarena. Remember that, right? What was that? Right? The Macarena. I mean, what would your kids think?
They'd think you were on drugs if they saw you. Either that, or you had ants, right? But we do stuff, right? We do stuff just because everyone's doing it. And look, a lot of it's harmless, you know? A lot of it's..I mean who cares. We just look back and we go, "Oh, okay, that was dumb, but it's okay. Nothing ventured, nothing lost, it's all right." But isn't it true that some of the worst mistakes of our lives, the poorest decisions we made, we made because everybody else was doing it around us? My guess is if you started smoking, you started smoking because your friends were smoking, because people around you were doing it, and you thought, "Hey, that's what...that's what cool people do, so I ought to do it." If you're in this room and you've gotten involved in drugs, chances are you were at a party and everybody else at the party was doing it. You just thought, hey, that's what..that's what you have to do to be part of the "in crowd" and the culture of what was happening that night, and you just got swept in. The last time you sat at a table and gossiped about somebody, it was probably because everybody else started and everybody else was saying, you know, kind of mean and hurtful things and you just thought, hey, that's that's what you do in this group of people. And so, isn't it true that some of the things that we do simply because everybody's doing them, because that's what the culture of whatever clan we're in, or crowd we're a part of, and that's where they...and so we just go well, "You know, I got to fit in. I got to be part of that, and so I'll do what everyone else is doing."

Pastor Linn: 06:53 And, you and I are going to spend the next few weeks taking a look in the book of Judges, which really ends up being a study in the darkest moment of Israel's history. They've just..if you were here a few months ago, we talked about Exodus. They've just left Egypt. They've just gotten into the Promised Land. They start at a spiritual high, and then they began to decline, decline, decline, decline, decline ready? They begin to do what everybody around them is doing. They begin to say, "Hey, if that's what's going on, and that's what's good." And everyone begins to say, "Hey, I'm simply going to do what I want to do, whenever I want to do it, with whomever I want to do it. And..and you, you can do whatever you want to do, with whomever you want to do it, when you want to do it, but don't tell me how I should do what I'm doing, because what you're doing may not work for me, and you have no right to judge me. So, I'm just going to do what I'm going to do, when I want to do it. You do what you're going to do, when you want to do it, and we'll just make our way." It's the book of Judges.

Pastor Linn: 08:02 And, you and I are going to go to the very end of the book of Judges, the darkest story probably in all of scripture, to find the landing point. Where do you end up when you do what you want to do and I do what I want to do when I want to do it, with whomever I want to do it, because I'm the boss of me and you're the boss of you? And then, for the next few weeks, after we see where it lands, we're going to go back and say, "What were the progressive steps? What were the things that got them to such a dark place in their history? So, grab your bibles. Go with me to the book of Judges. If you're not familiar, go to the front of your Bible, start working to the right. It's actually really simple to find the book of Judges...Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges...seventh book of the Bible.

Pastor Linn: 08:51 Judges, Chapter 19. Let me...let me set this story up. You did not hear this story in Sunday school. This is probably your first pass at this particular story in the Bible, and somewhere about midway, you're going to go, "Why the hey is that story in the Bible?" So, just hang on, because we're going to...we're going to get to it, but here''s the book of Judges. So, at this time, there is no King in Israel. The idea was that God was their King, and they were supposed to listen to his commandments. They were supposed to turn their heart to him and just simply obey and do what he wanted. God was their King. God gave them judges who would come along at certain points to kind of correct their behavior, get them back on track. But Israel sits there in this moment and looks at the nations around them and says, "Hey, how come they get to do what they want to do, when they want to do it? I think I should be able to do what I want to do. It looks like they've got a lot of freedom, and I'd like to have freedom. And, I'm get a little bit tired of following the King that I cannot see, and I have to read the Bible to figure out what he wants. So, I'm just going to do what I'm going to do. You do what you're going to do." And, everyone did what was right in their own eyes.

Pastor Linn: 10:01 In the story that we're talking about today, there's a Levite, which just simply means he is a member of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, the Tribe of Levi, and at this time, Israel doesn't have a centralized government. Remember, I said that they don't have a King? It's more like America was when we had 13 colonies, before they all came together, so each tribe is kind of living independently but were all Israel. There's a Levite living in the North, and he has a concubine. Now, a concubine is a woman who has all the responsibilities of being a wife, without the status of being a wife. She would have been regarded as a piece of property, a possession. So, there's a Levite who has a concubine, and guess where they got that idea? From looking at the culture of the people around them. And, this concubine ends up being unfaithful to him. She knows she's in trouble, so she runs back to her father's house. When she gets there, she says, "Dad, I'm in trouble. I need to stay here." About four months later, the Levite says to himself, "Hey, wait a minute. I've just lost my piece of property. I'm going to go down and get my woman." And so, he heads to the south of Israel, to the town of Bethlehem, goes to her father's house, and says, "Hey, your daughter's done me wrong. She ran away. I own your daughter. She's my concubine." And, the dad says, "Well, you're right. We made an agreement in a contract, and so she is." But, the dad doesn't want to let him leave. He's enjoying having his daughter there, and so he comes up with a plan. And, in the evening, he gets the guy falling down, plastered drunk. So the next morning, he wakes up, and it's already about noon, and he's got a horrible hangover, and the father says to him, "Hey, dude, that's no way to begin a trip, and it's too late in the day. Wait until tomorrow." And that night, he gets him drunk again, and he does this for four or five nights. Finally, the Levite says, "I don't care if it's late in the day, we're leaving." So, they head on out, and now in a fairly short period of time, the sun begins to set. So, the manservant that he's got with him says, "Look we've got to find a place to lodge. There's a town right over here." To which the Levite says, "No, no, no, no, no, no that's not a Jewish town. It's not a town of Israel. We need to find where our brothers are." And so, they travel a little bit further, and they get to a town in the tribe of Benjamin. And, they say, "Okay, here's where we're going to stay overnight." They go to the city square and wait. What's happening is there aren't hotels. Hotels are a fairly modern idea. And so, during this period of time, if you were traveling, you went to a town and the obligation, the...the courtesy of treating people was you would say to them, "Hey, come stay in my house. You shouldn't have to sleep outside simply because you're traveling." And so, they wait in the town square, and nobody takes them in. It's mid-evening, and an older gentleman, who's been way out working in the fields, finally comes in the town square and says, "Hey, what's going on." And, they say, "Well, we're here. We're getting ready to sleep overnight here on the pavement." And, he goes, "No, no, no, no, no, come into my house. I'll take care of you." Now, we join the passage.

Pastor Linn: 13:23 Judges, Chapter 19, starting in Verse 22. While they were in the house enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house, pounding on the door. They shouted to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house, so that we can have sex with him." Now, here's what you don't know. We don't know if this is sexually motivated, possibly, or if it's actually just a desire to humiliate. Now, what they're saying is, "Look, we don't like strangers in our town, and who knows, maybe, they've got a history where somebody came and spied them out, and then bandits or somebody else came in and attacked the town, at some point. And so, they say, "Look, look, look, we...we don't want strangers in our town, and this is an act of humiliation." So that when he leaves, he'll say, "Look, don't go to that town, because they abuse strangers." Okay?

Pastor Linn: 14:14 Back to the passage. The owner of the house went outside, and he said to them, "No, my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this outrageous thing. Look, here is my virgin daughter and his concubine." Now, how this became a good plan, I'm not sure, but the owner of the house says, "Look, look, look, this is a guest in my house. I'm supposed to be showing him hospitality, so take my daughter and take his concubine, instead, because after all, they're just women."

Pastor Linn: 14:53 Verse 25. But the men would not listen to him, so the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and they abused her throughout the night. And at dawn, they let her go. So, in the midst of the heated argument, he slipped open the door, he pushes his concubine, and slams the door shut. And for the entirety of the night, they abuse her. Come the next morning, they release her, she goes and lays on the doorstep, and dies. The Levite, coming out, finds his concubine dead. He takes her and puts her on his donkey and begins to head the rest of the way home. And every step he takes on the way home, he gets madder and madder and madder. "How dare those men abuse me. How dare they ruin my property. How can this possibly be?" And so, he decides when he gets home, he's going to write letters to the twelve, you and I would call them governors of all of Israel, to tell them what a horrible thing these men have done in this town in Benjamin. And then, he thinks to himself, "They're not going to be moved by a letter. That's going to just simply go in the complaints file. So, here's what I'll do to get their attention," And, he takes his concubine and chops her into 12 pieces. He then attaches the letter to each of the 12 pieces and sends it to the governors, so that he can have their attention. And when they get this, they say, "Oh my goodness, nothing this bad has ever happened in Israel. We've got to do something about this."

Pastor Linn: 16:26 And, you're back to the passage again. It's Chapter 19, Verse 30, and it says everyone who saw it, his letters with the attachments, said to one another, "Such a thing has never been done. Not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Just imagine. We must do something, so speak up. And then, Chapter 20, Verse 1. Then all of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and from the land of Gilead, came together as one and assembled before the Lord in Mispa. So, all of Israel comes out and says, "Look we can't let this happen again, so we're going to go to that town in Benjamin. We're going to have them send those wicked men out, and we're going to kill them. We're going to send a message. You don't treat other Israelites like this." When they get to the town, the Benjaminites have said, "Hey, wait a minute, this is our town. This is our sovereign border. How dare you come in and tell us what to do. We're not going to turn the men over to you." So, all the remaining tribes of Israel then swear and say, "Hey, we are not going to give any of our daughters to be married to a Benjaminite, and we're going to destroy the city." And so, sure enough, they attack. They destroy the entire city. They kill every man, every woman, every child, every animal. Then, in a blood lust, because they're so angry, so upset, they go now through every single village, every single town, in the entire tribe of Benjamin, and they burn them all to the ground and kill every single Benjaminite. When it's done, and when they finally calmed down, they go, "Oh, we just...we just committed genocide. We've just killed an entire tribe. Now, we're 11." And, somebody raises her hand and says, "Well, there were actually 600 Benjaminites in the battle who fled when things got bad. They're hiding on the back side of the desert, but here's the problem, you killed every Benjaminite woman, and we swore that we would never give our daughters to a Benjaminite. So, they're going to be extinct, anyways." So, someone says, "Well, when we went to war, were there any of the cities in Israel that did not send a representative, or a group of men?" And, they said, "Well, yeah. There's this one town, Jabesh-Gilead. They didn't send anybody to help us." And so, someone came with a great plan. He said, "I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll go kill everybody in Jabesh-Gilead. We'll steal the young women, and will give them to the Benjaminites to marry. That's how we'll solve it." And, the book of Judges ends.

Pastor Linn: 19:23 I told you...I told you you've never heard that story in Sunday school, but here's the good news. We're teaching it in the children's area today. I'm teasing, I'm teasing, I'm teasing. Can you imagine your kids coming home, "Hey, tell me the story about the concubine and the chainsaw. What was that...what was that story about?" Right? We're not doing it. Truth is, I was scared to say it in here, but...but you get to the end of the book of Judges, and matter of fact, turn there with me real quickly. Here's how the end of the book of Judges sums up what you and I have just read and talked about.

Pastor Linn: 20:07 Judges, Chapter 21, Verse 25 simply says this, "In those days, Israel had no King." Well, they did, but they didn't want that King, and everyone did as they saw fit. They did what seemed right to them in their own eyes. And, guys, here's what you need to get, if you were to go back to the characters of this story and say to them, "What? How did you do that? I mean, what were you thinking?" You realize every one of them could justify what they did. If you went to the Levite, he would have said, "Hey, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, my concubine ran off. It was my right to go get my property back. And then, it was her fault that when I got to the bench in my town and those guys were getting ready to, you know, do horrible things to me, that I would send her out, because I wouldn't have been in trouble if she hadn't done what she did. And after all, she was just property, anyways. Right?" The Benjaminites, if you'd gone to them, they would have said, "Hey, whoa, whoa, whoa, we've got a right to protect our own city, and I'm just telling you we've got a history here, and we've got people who come in and then brought harm to our village. We've got a right to decide who comes in and who doesn't, and we had a right to send a message. Don't come here, because we don't like strangers." If you'd gone to the Israelites, they would have said, "Hey, we had to do something, right? I mean, we couldn't let something like that happen within our borders. And then, you know, of course, we figured out that we'd gotten a little carried away, and the Benjaminites needed wives, so of course, we, like, destroyed a town who didn't help us, by the way. I mean, they should have helped us, and they didn't. And so, it's their own fault, and we got them wives."

Pastor Linn: 21:41 You realize every person in that story does what's right in their own eyes; that every person in that story can give you a justification where why doing the wrong thing was actually right. You go, "Well then, okay, okay, it is. It's a's a horrible story." Why are we talking about it? Because that story...that story is us. That story is our culture. Think about it a minute. If you go to the average person, living in the average neighborhood, anywhere around us, and said to him, "Hey what's the rule of thumb? You know, how do you decide what you do, when you do it?" And, here''s what our culture would say to us today, "Do what you want to do, when you want to do it, with whomever you want to do it. And then, are you ready for this, because we're civilized, we add the little phrase on the end that says, "As long as you don't hurt someone." But think about it, you realize that when every man and every woman and every child does what's right in their own eyes. You do what you want to do, and I'll do what I want to do, and you don't judge me because I don't want you judging, and what's right for me may not be right for you. You realize you've made yourself your own King. You could not be further from the cross. You could not be living in a darker state than when we say, "You do whatever you want to do, when you want to do it. Whatever makes you happy. Do that just as long...just as long as you don't hurt someone else." Here's the part that's surprising to me. I get it. I get it. How people who would have no regard for Christ and no regard for...I get...I get how that could become the mantra. I'm just trying to figure out why Christians are living in this end of the spectrum? Why Christians would actually say, "Well, no, no, no, no, as long as they're doing what they want to do when they...if it makes them happy. As long as they're not hurting anybody else, who am I to judge? Who am I to say anything?" And the question comes, as Christ followers, are we more affected by the culture or by the Cross?

Pastor Linn: 24:20 Answer me this, why do Christians live together before they're married? Did you know that if you went to our premarital counselors here at the church, nine out of ten young couples who come to us to have premarital counseling are already living in the same house together. Where did we get that? We didn't get that from Scripture. Scripture says, "Flee youthful lust." Scripture says, "If a man is having a struggle holding himself in restraint with his Virgin, he should marry her, rather than burn with lust." So, where did we get this idea that it's okay for Christians to live with each other before they got married? We got that because that's what everyone else was doing, right? You do what you want to do, when you want to do it, with whomever you want to do it, as long as you're not hurting anybody.

Pastor Linn: 25:10 How do we choose the things that we stream, you know, the things that we...that we watch for entertainment? And, how often as Christians do we find ourselves going, "You know, hey, Orange Is The New Black. And, look, look, look, there's a lot of nudity in it, but other than that, it's a pretty good show," when Scripture says, "I will not place before my eye any vile thing." So, why are we watching the shows that everybody else is? Because that's what everyone is doing, right? And, you do what you want to do, and I'll do what I want to do, as long as I don't hurt anybody. Why are Christians so caught up in baking bigger piles, in acquiring more things, and why are we comparing our cars to their cars and our houses to their houses? Because didn't Jesus say, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, but instead, treasures in heaven." So, why am I so consumed by it? Isn't it because I'm doing what my culture is doing?

Pastor Linn: 26:14 So, let me ask the question again, as a Christ follower, are you more affected by the culture or by the cross? You get that if you do what you want to do, when you want to do it, with whomever you want to do it, as long as you don't hurt anybody. You realize that that's impossible, right? Nobody can do that. It just sounds nice, because...because, are you ready for this? If you do what you want to do, whenever you want to do it, you will hurt someone. You'll hurt yourself. You''ll take yourself, who is in the image of Christ, who Jesus died for you, and you will push the self-destruct button. You're hurting someone.

Pastor Linn: 27:12 We've got a family friend, and she began dating a young man. And, guys, I'm just telling you, it took us about 15 minutes to go, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, this is...this is a bad relationship." I mean, it's just filled with lying and manipulation and control. And, his parents are going, "Oh, no, no, no. Bad, bad, bad, bad." Her family, her whole family, is going, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no." And, guess what her answer was? "I'm going to do what I'm going to do, when I want to do it, because after all, I'm the boss of me. And, as long as I'm not hurting anybody else, then you can't tell me what to do." Six months after they got married, she comes over to the house and she's wearing turtlenecks, and we're going, "Well, hey, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. What happened? How come the wardrobe change?" And finally, she pulled the turtleneck down, and you could physically see the bruises from his fingerprints as he had strangled her. What do you expect a man who's given to deceit and manipulation and control to do when his wife is not in his control? And, think about this, the very thing that she thought would bring her freedom is the very thing that brought her enslavement. And, guys, I'm just telling you that's exactly what happens with porn. That's exactly what happens when you and I say, "No, no no, I'm going to manage these drugs. It's never going to be..." I'm just telling you the very thing that you and I do because everybody else is doing it, thinking that it will eventually bring freedom, it always brings enslavement. You hurt somebody when you do what you want to do, when you want to do it, as long as it doesn't hurt somebody. You end up hurting the people who love you.

Pastor Linn: 28:57 can' can't sin in isolation. Guys, look, look, look, sin always splashes. I'm just telling you. You cannot control the wave that comes out of your bad decisions. And so, you can't say, "Look I'm going to do this, and it's only gonna hurt me." You will, in all likelihood, hurt the people who are closest to you and love you the most deeply. We've got a family in the church, and I asked them...I said, "Hey, can I tell your story, because it's just such a powerful story?" They said, "Absolutely." And, and, the truth is, if you've been around Cornerstone, if you ever been to the Chandler campus, you probably have seen and met this family. Sid, he's the candy guy who's at the back handing out candy. Anybody ever gotten candy from Sid? Okay, amen, thank you for being here, Sid. Alright, and his wife, April, is out at the guest booth almost every single Sunday. They had a son by the name of Justin, and Justin got involved in drugs, and Justin said, "Well, I'm going to do what I want to do, and who cares if it only hurts me."

Pastor Linn: 29:58 Sid would tell you it's just not possible. "I can't tell you how many nights I put the couch and blocked our front door, and then sat on our couch, and sat up all night to watch and make sure that Justin wouldn't sneak out and get more drugs. I can't tell you the tension that came into our household because one of us thought we ought to be more involved and one of us thought, no, we ought to back off and just let the consequences happen...and how much tension, and how much anger, and how much infighting, as we watched this son of ours on the path of absolute self-destruction. And then, there are our younger children watching our marriage implode." And, four times, four times, they separated because, because, because you ready for this? You can't sin. You can't do what you want to do, when you want to do, with whomever you want to do it, and it only hurt you. It'll always hurt the people who love you.

Pastor Linn: 30:53 Guys, think about this for a second. We already knew this was broken. We already knew, even as it came out of our lips, that this was untenable. To do what was right in our own eyes. To do what we wanted to do, because we wanted to do it. Think about this. What if your child's 5th grade teacher sat down your child this week and said to your child, "Here's how to succeed at school. Here's how to make it through elementary school. Here's how to ace junior high. Here's how to go to high school and just cruise to the other end, with amazing grades. Here's how to go off to college and be the top of your class. Do this. Just do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it. That will make you great student." You'd have that teacher in a teacher parent conference today. You know, are you an idiot? I imagine CPS saying to parents who've had their children taken away, "Look, look, look, I know you've lost your children. Here's the pathway to getting them back. Just do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it. You'll have your kids back in no time."

Pastor Linn: 32:10 Imagine a parole officer saying to a parolee, "Hey, here's the way to straighten up your life. Just do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it, with whomever you want to do it, just don't hurt anybody else." Isn't it truth that you and I knew, even as those words left our lips, that it couldn't possibly work? And, isn't it true that the deepest regrets of our lives have usually been in moments when you and I did what we wanted to do, when we wanted to do it, with whomever we wanted to do it? And, we said to ourselves, "No one's going to get hurt. I mean, if it does, it will only be me." And, now we wish...

Pastor Linn: 33:10 There's a passage. Here we go, John, Chapter 10. If you're not familiar, go to the back of your Bible, work to the left. This is the light at the end of the tunnel, in a really tough conversation. It's John, Chapter 10, Verse 10. This is Jesus speaking, and here's what he says...he says, "The thief comes only to steal, and to kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it to the full." Which means, gosh you ready for this? Every bit of freedom, every bit of fulfillment and happiness, that you and I thought we would find without a King comes when we make him King. It changes everything. And, he just simply says, "No, no, you're right. You're not going to do anything you want to do, whenever you want to do it. You're going to do the things that I guide you to, but in doing that, you're going to find fulfillment." And, Jesus said, "Look, look, look, I'm not trying to make you Amish. That's not the plan. And, you can even have a mullet. It's not a good idea, but you can have a mullet. It's just not what it's about. It's about those big things that changed things that I'm simply going to ask you to do what I ask you to do." So, here's the question for all of us to answer, "Am I more influenced by the culture around me or the cross in front of me?" It's a big question.

Pastor Linn: 35:01 Let's pray. Hey, dear Lord Jesus, we simply come to the moment, and we just got to confess. It's so easy. There's just...there's just something about human nature that wants acceptance and wants to fit in and it's just so easy to kind of get swept into doing what everybody else is doing, and, God, you knew that. There are some of those things that it doesn't matter, and it's okay, and it's fine, but there are some big stuff, there are some important stuff. And, when culture is saying be your own King and do whatever you want to do, when you want to do it, how you want to do it. There's a King. There's a King whose request trumps culture. There's a King whose commands are bigger than peer pressure. And so, God, we just simply choose in this day to be in the world, and yet, not of the world. God, give us the courage to simply live like that, and this we pray in Jesus' name, amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286