This week as we are talking about different cultures and their implications on the gospel, I thought it might be fun to see a little glimpse into what church looks like here in Uganda. It’s just a small glimpse as I want to be respectful of my host culture, but here you go:

Click here if you are unable to see the video.

I have lived in many places around the world. Within the U.S., I’ve lived in big city Chicago to small town Tennessee. I went to school for a year in England with roommates from Canada, Romania, and Germany. I’ve lived in Indonesia, the northern part of Alaska, and now live in Uganda, East Africa, with teammates from The Netherlands, Sweden, England, Scotland, Switzerland, and more.

Things look very different from culture to culture: worship styles, what is acceptable dress, appropriate behavior, and on and on the list goes.

I’ve had many conversations about what is ok and not ok in Christian circles. Some think it is no big deal to have wine and beer with dinner and beyond, and others would gasp at that prospect while having no problem lighting up their cigarette. Some would be horrified to see me playing a game of cards, and yet others would scoff at my pants wearing {aka trousers}. Watching movies, singing hymns vs. choruses, drums vs. organ, KJV vs. ESV and on and on the list goes.

I’m not even going to get into whether these things are right, wrong, good, bad {we’d be here all day!}, but instead I want to bring the discussion to where Paul brought it – the important discussion of performance vs. unconditional acceptance of the gospel.

Because let’s be frank, sometimes moralistic behavior is so much easier and simpler than what God actually calls us to: trusting in His completed work.

But the real implication of the gospel is that it leads to cultural freedom and cultural unity. And that is what the Jewish Christians were struggling with in the early church.

In today’s passage, the acceptance of Titus by Jewish believers illustrates “that an individual becomes spiritually clean and acceptable through Christ, and not through any deeds or rituals. We need to keep repeating this truth to ourselves and each other, just as the New Testament did.”- Tim Keller, Galatians For You

In other words, it’s not what we do or don’t do, but what Christ did for us.

We need to examine our cultural Christianity and test it against the gospel. Are we succumbing to rule following? Have we begun to rely on our performance counting for salvation?

Unless your motive for obeying God’s law is the grace-gratitude motive of the gospel, you are in slavery. The gospel provides freedom, culturally, and emotionally. The ‘other gospel’ destroys both.” – Tim Keller

 

Today’s Challenge:

  1. Sit with these verses and these thoughts today and all this week. Examine your own culture: are there any “proper” behaviors that you’ve been taught and unknowingly added these as expectations.
  2. If so, take some time with the Lord to pray and ask Him to show you how to rely on the power of the gospel alone.

This week’s Reading Plan:

WK2ReadingPlan

Then and only then will you be able to pray this week’s memory verse, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2:20

This week’s memory verse:

Galatians Week 2 Memory Verse

 

With Love from Uganda,

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Joy Forney

Joy Forney

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