[featured_image]Jesus said, “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?” (Matthew 18:12)

Many churches have replaced the image of the seeking shepherd with one of Little Bo-Peep–the nursery rhyme character who “lost her sheep and doesn’t know where to find them.” Her solution: Leave them alone and they’ll come home. The problem is, people are no longer finding their way back to church. Jesus’ model is for us to get off our tails and find them.

So instead of retreating to create our own Christian culture, or waiting for people to find their way to church, we need to acknowledge that God is always with us and ask him to protect us as we enter the stream of culture. And then we need to get out there!
…Juesus acknowledged the language and demeanor of the culture and started there. He modeled how to be in the world but not of it. At the same time, Jesus didn’t teach his followers to join their culture in ways that would disappoint God–for example, by having sex outside of marriage because that’s what everyone else does, or by looking out for “number one” because that’s how everyone else seems to live. We need to prayerfully develop the very important quality of loving people without loving their values or behavior.

Nor did Jesus treat human society as something beyond the scope of his love, or as something right-living people can’t influence because they’re afraid that the evils of society will overpower them. Following Jesus’ example, it would be wrong to view culture itself as the enemy; in the end, such a viewpoint inevitably sees people as the enemy.
(Tom Clegg, Missing in America, p 86-87)

What thoughts does Jesus’ example trigger?

How will you engage those in the culture around you?

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