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Summary: According to Dr. Leonard Sweet the Christian Church is facing our first "perfect storm". Three cultrual trends are converving and squeezing the Christian Faith. 1) Post- Modernism 2) Post Christian 3) Post scale Jesus said....go....into the storm. I h

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In Jesus Holy Name May 21, 2006

Text: John 15:8, 18-21 Redeemer

“Living in a Cultural ‘Perfect Storm’”

In the fall of 1991, a six-man crew on the fishing vessel, The Andrea Gail, left Gloucester, Massachusetts. Two weeks later they encountered the perfect storm. Wolfgang Petersen directed the movie based on Sebastian Junger’s book, the true life story of the fisherman who died at sea with the Andrea Gail.

The Andrea Gail was 72 feet long, a hull of continuously-welded steel plate and a 365 horsepower turbo-charged diesel engine, capable of speeds up to 12 knots. There are 7 type-one life preservers on board, six survival suits, and a Givens inflatable raft; an ice machine that could make 3 tons of ice a day to keep the fish fresh and cold. The Andrea Gail was one of the biggest money-makers in Gloucester.

The October 1991 storm was the strongest storm in recorded history. It was called the perfect storm because it was 3 storms that combined into one, where boats encountered 100 foot waves, the equivalent of a ten story building.

August 28, 2005 hurricane Katrina, a category 5 hurricane, became one of the strongest hurricanes to strike the southern coast of the U.S. It was over 100 miles wide at its center. 80% of New Orleans was flooded. The storm obliterated life, buildings, and roads, along the entire coast of Louisiana to Alabama. The highest winds were 175 miles/hour. The storm killed 1,604 people. Katrina produced record storm surges along the entire Mississippi and Louisiana coast ranging from 12 feet to 37 feet. For days we watched the aftermath. Cleanup, debate continues.

At our recent District Convention, the keynote speaker was University Professor, futurist and author Dr. Leonard Sweet. He is the author of over 25 books with titles like Aqua church – new paradigms facing the church; Soul Tsunami Sink or Swim in New Millennium Culture – how the church can survive in the tidal wave of post-modernism that is sweeping our culture, and still sail through troubled seas and fulfill its mission and calling; Soul salsa – 17 Surprising Steps for Godly Living in the 21st Century.

One of Leonard Sweets comments about our culture is quite telling. “This is a culture that loves gated communities, and there are gated churches.” Are We?

Mission churches are not gated but are sending their people into the world to share their personal faith and work for justice for the poor and lost. They find ways to serve. Dr. Sweet believes that the Christian Church is in its own “Perfect Storm”. It is a cultural storm.

In Jeremiah 12, the prophet Jeremiah is complaining to God: “Your ways are always righteous O God. Yet I would speak with you about your justice. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? You are on their lips but far from their hearts.

God answers. “Jeremiah, if you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in a safe country, how will you manage in the thicket by a jungle of the Jordan? Jeremiah, there’s worse to come. Jesus said, you will have tribulation, but cheer up. I have overcome the world.

Leonard Sweet notes: This is not the first time the church has encountered storms, but the Gothic Cathedrals of Europe are not between the devil and the deep blue sea. There are three storm makers. All category 5 storms are converging to create Christianity’s first Perfect Storm. Christians and Christianity are going where no one has gone before in history.

In the past century the “Church” was taken over by Communism and Fascism. They were defeated. The Church of Jesus remains, but there was a cost. When storms come they enforce the rule – persevere or parish.

When storms come bring a refiner’s fire

When storms come, Christians are to go out and meet the storm.

According to Leonard Sweet the three storm makers are

1) Post-modernism

2) Post Christian culture

3) And what he names global warming of “post scale”

Most of us are part of the post-modern world we were born B.C. (before computers). Our children are A.C. born after computers. Most of us are one generation removed from the “out house”. In our B.C. world we grew up on the printed page, a book culture. The magic for kids today is the “screen” media, the I-pod world, and Webb connections. We remember sitting and listening to 8 tracks.

They walk around with I pod ear phones.

Human history has been marked by 3 major cultural changes and innovations that changed the world.

The Greek alphabet changed the world for centuries.

The Printing Press in the 15th century created a different world which lasted 5-1/2 centuries.

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