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Monday, August 01, 2011

How Young People Can Change Their Culture

A Message for our young people during our "Youth Expo"

This short message will focus on how young people can change the culture they live in. The way I am defining culture is the environment young people live, which includes what they see and hear through all sources of media. It also involves the values reflected on popular culture, which includes their actions and beliefs.  I want to share some demographics that focus on the Hispanic culture since most of you here are Hispanics. It is important to know this so we can see the influence we can have where we live now.

In 2010 there were 50.5 million Hispanics in the US, 16.3 of the total population. We grew 9.3% since 2000. We are fastest growing minority in the US.  The average age is 27 years. 16 million of these are under the age of 18. Their dominant language is English.

All of these statistics show us that as young Christians we have a mandate to reach out to these young people for Christ.  YOU here are the key.

But you can't reach them if you don't show them a better way. The Way of the Gospel.  You can't change the culture by exterior forces or even political involvement. Change can only come when you are changed by Christ and share the change through your life. Before I tell you how this is possible, let me compare and contrast what the culture says vs. what God says as to how you ought to live. Listen. If you find yourself agreeing with the culture then you have been captured by its deceitful charm.

Scripture says that the world with its culture is under the influence and management of Satan:
1 John 2:16-17:  For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. ESV

1 John 5:19:  We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one. - HCSB

1. The culture says: "In the end, all roads lead to the same path as long as you are sincere."
     - Jesus says: Matthew 7:13-14: "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." ESV
- John 14:5-6:  "Thomas said to him, Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way? 6 Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." ESV

2.  The culture says: "You can be religious but you don't have to be a fanatic."

     - Jesus said: Matthew 10:37-39:  The person who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; the person who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And whoever doesn't take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. 39 Anyone finding his life will lose it, and anyone losing his life because of Me will find it. - HCSB

    - God said (through Paul): Philippians 3:7-8:  "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ" ESV

3. The culture says:  "We are sexual beings, there's nothing wrong about exploring everything as  long as you have love and share the benefits."
     - God says: 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7: "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness." ESV

4. The culture says: "Be like us, dress like, act like us, speak like us...lol, fml...there is nothing
    wrong with that."

    - God says:  Romans 12:1-2: "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." ESV

We can go on and on. How can you be a culture changing Agent? 2 Corinthians 5:14-21:

1. Believe that Christ died for your sins to save you from the judgment of God and so that you no longer live for yourself. v. 14-15,17
    - Two types of people, those who say to God "Your will be done" and those who one day will  hear from God "Your will be done" and go into everlasting punishment.

    - Jesus can save you from your worst enemy: You!

2. Live for and in Christ each day not just sundays. v. 15 "might no longer live for themselves..." v. 16, 21 Each day ask yourself, "Who am living for today? I am living for Christ not for me."

There are no Jekyls and Hydes in Christ. You live in Him and He lives in you and through you.

3. Be an ambassador for Christ v. 18-20
You represent Christ on Earth wherever you are. You speak His words and Good News. You do it with urgency. People know who you are and who you represent. There are no secret

Three examples of Christ followers who lived faithfully till the end that should motivate you to live each day for Christ. One lived a long life, the other two a short life. All lived and died for Him.

From the past:  
St. Polycarp (69-155), a disciple of John the Apostle, Polycarp was burned at the stake for refusing to burn incense to the Roman Emperor and  refusing to curse Christ. "Eighty and six years I have served him, How then can I blaspheme  my King and Saviour? Bring forth what thou wilt." It is said that because the flames didn't affect him, he was stabbed to death.

From the present: 
Cassie Bernall, 1981-1999 (17 years old) & Rachel Scott, "Rachel's Tears"
The Columbine Massacre happened on April 20, 1999
Read a poem found on Cassie's website and see memorial service here

Reading Suggestions:

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