Summary: God demands that the Christian live his or her life with intentionality, not by the default setting of obliviousness.
The Intentional Life
1. The two greatest leaders of the Reformation were Luther and Calvin.
2. Luther was a fun loving guy; he loved to dance, sing popular songs, and enjoy fun for the sake of fun. He took a song they sung in the bars, wrote Christians words to it, and called it, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God."
3. Calvin was the opposite. He was inhibited, thought dancing was a sin, and even opposed musical accompaniment, and believed Christians should only sing Psalms.
4. Theologically, I prefer Calvin to Luther; but socially, I’m with Luther. But it wasn’t always that way with me. You see, at one time I was a "party line" conservative evangelical. Although my creed hasn’t change, my view toward life has.
5.About 11 years ago, I embarked on several years of very difficult trials here at the church.
6. During my first major trial, I realized that I needed to have a separate social life, that it was working against me to make the church my whole life. I realized how important my family was, and how I needed to enjoy life more, not just ministry.
7 . It was during this time that I dove into the music I loved: the 20’s/30’s and Jolson. Marylu and I began taking ballroom dance lessons, and we started to get more involved in the community.
8. Then came another trial that was twice as bad as the first; but because I had a life apart from the church, I was able to survive. It took me years to recover, but I did survive and emerged stronger in many ways. I would not have if it were not for several things: the grace of God, the good people of this church, and having a life outside of church.
• the grace of God alone would not have done it
• the good people of God would not have done it
• having a life outside the church would not have done it
• it took all 3 (or we could subcategorize the last 2 as God’s special provision)
9. Over the years, I have met many Christians with a similar story: they can never remain at a church for long; they are always disappointed. One reason for this disappointment is sometimes that they expect too much from a church. They, too, have no lives outside of the church or family duties, and they do not enjoy the blessings of community.
Main Idea: God demands that the Christian live his or her life with intentionality, not by the default setting of obliviousness.
Our text emphasizes two vital areas where we must be intentional
I. CULTURE: We Intentionally Seek the Good (8)
Many Christians are scared of the arts, culture, and society; instead, we should aggressively embrace them with a note of caution
A. The CRITERIA
1. The WHATEVERS
2. The IFS
• A thoughtful blogger writes: "The odd thing about this phenomenon is the fact that Philippians 4:8 is not a prohibition. It tells its audience what should be embraced, not what should be avoided. The words are "whatever is," not "only what is." It does not paint a picture of restraint, but of passion -- the pursuit of everything that is worthwhile."
• Again, we must be careful not to absolutize this; take I Tim. 3—perfection?
• If I am right, than it is God’s will for the Christian to do more than work, raise a family, and be involved in ministry; God also wants us to Live Life to the Fullest Within A Culture
• God has created us so that we are incomplete unless we have Him; most of us feel incomplete unless we are married/family; but all of us are incomplete if we do not participate in the good aspects of culture. As a result, we expect too much from our marriages or churches, when the problem is that we have not developed a social and cultural life!
3. Let me do a double-check; if I am right, I should be able to find this elsewhere:
• In Ecclesiastes, who is working harder? Eccl. 2:24ff
• 24 A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God.
• Ecc. 3:11-12 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.