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being biblically resilient

Updated: May 30

I opened up my mailbox yesterday and was excited to see this month’s edition of the Costco Connection!  Expecting to see ads about the latest amazing deals at the place some folks call “Disneyland for adults,” I was struck by the headline on the cover: “Cultivating Resilience: A look at what it takes to grow through adverse experiences.”

 

The headlined resonated with me, but being on the cover of a wholesale shopping magazine emphasized what I’ve been noticing for a few years now – we are collectively becoming more aware of how our culture’s way of defining truth and identity is making us fragile, insecure, and unable to withstand the emotional stress caused by a confused and complex world. 

 

I really don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that as a society we are stressed, triggered or traumatized by just about everything these days.  And it’s making us very unhappy.

 

If you look around, you will see the word resilient being used in all sorts of contexts - it is the buzzword for current training programs.  In our hyperconnected and overstimulated lives, we seem to be growing more knowledgeable, but less able to successfully process the disappointments that inevitably come as a result of living as sinful people in a fallen world. 

 

The Costco article was fine.  It had some good ideas about mindfulness, being sure to exercise, have healthy eating habits, and surrounding yourself with positive people.  It just misses the mark, mainly because it’s more worldly wisdom being applied to the deep spiritual needs of the human soul.  When will we ever learn that the created cannot know better than the Creator how to be fully human in a broken world?

 

We must boldly and unapologetically teach people to be Biblically Resilient!

 

a growing state of discontent

 

Just this past summer, during the weekend of July 26, 36,000  teens & young adults from mainline denominations across America met in St. Louis to discuss a growing crisis among their generation.  Over 300,000 American teenagers identify as the opposite sex, drug overdose and suicide are the leading cause of death for young Americans.  On top of that, loneliness is consistently reported as the main cause of anxiety, even though they constitute the most “well-connected” generation in history.  Why did they gather?  To collectively reinforce and proclaim that a countercultural life of biblical holiness is still the path to true freedom, and to discuss ways to resist allowing societal trends to shape their thinking and beliefs.  Their rallying cry?  Purpose and identity are found in the God of the Bible.  One of the organizers said this “We should respect everyone as created in God’s image and as souls for whom Christ died.  We shouldn’t be antagonistic, harsh, hateful or bigoted, even when provoked.  At the same time, we should be firmly committed to truth, and doing so isn’t bigoted.”

 

This sentiment is being felt in all corners of the church.

 

As I’ve spoken in different places in North America, I have heard comments and received emails like these:

 

“There seems to be something different these days with college students. They think differently, rarely seem to default to scripture for identity, and are increasingly afraid to act in any way that may get them accused of passing judgment. Some are very afraid to disagree with others, especially on issues related to morality.”

Campus minister

 

“It is getting harder to preach these days without having to apologize for offending somebody, or having to choose my words extremely carefully. I find myself staying away from the hot topics of society, even though most want to discuss them. It also seems like people are not only reading the Bible less, but differently.”

Church leader

 

“I can’t put my finger on it, but it feels like my church is changing. People are much more sensitive, but also more opinionated.  I wish someone would clearly explain what we believe and how we are navigating our current times.”

Church member

 

“I am being bombarded each day by demands to conform to the world.  Me and my friends really need help being a strong Christian in today’s world.  Thank you for educating and equipping us.”

Teen disciple

 

The Barna group has completed multiple post-pandemic surveys, and one theme in particular seems to emerge: ministers are feeling less equipped to help their church members navigate the intersection of faith and culture. 

 

Lastly, parents are really feeling it.  Their kids are immersed in radical postmodern thought, the kind that teaches people to locate truth within themselves, distrust authority, and see sexual identity as the number one value informing identity.  They are asking to be equipped and trained.

 

this is no time for fear - but we must develop a faithful and firm approach

 

Satan is a schemer, and he laughs at fear.  He also laughs at inaction.  Let’s resist both, instead pointing Christians back to God’s word as the sole source of authority in this world.  In an age of polarized ideology, nothing could be more inspiring.  Let’s attack the Father of lies, not with our own opinions or wisdom, but with the Bible.

 

Biblicallyresilient.com is a collective, a growing partnership between church leaders, elders, and members of churches all across North America.  I am positive it will grow, mainly because so many of us are realizing that the wisdom of the world will not develop spiritual and emotional strength in the next generation.  We must disciple their hearts and minds by doubling down on the inspiring and infallible word of God.

 

The resources on this site will be driven by three main values:

 

first, see the bible as the primary and ultimate source for truth and evangelistic engagement

 

God’s Word is sufficient for a life of Godliness, and is enough for us to faithfully engage a fallen and sinful world (Psalm 119:105, Isaiah 40:8, Romans 10:17, 2 Tim. 3:14-16, Hebrews 4:12-13, 1 Peter 1:23-25). 

 

Times change often, and with them so do the prevailing ideas and paradigms of the day.  It’s not always easy to navigate them, so we will always be “course-correcting” as we read and interpret the Bible.  We must stay humble in our approach.  However, as a friend of mine has said, we must avoid driving into two very dangerous ditches.

 

The first ditch represents rigid and inflexible legalism, the kind that says there is ONE right way to think about everything.  People in this space tend to teach the Bible in a very rigid, scientific way.  They believe the Bible is super clear on everything, so just put your head down, follow it, and you’ll be fine. 

 

This hermeneutic here tends to oversimplify truths in the Bible that are a bit ambiguous and mysterious.  Over time, they lead to legalism and deep frustration, especially if things don’t go as planned!  The disillusionment caused by this approach actually creates incredibly fertile soil for the dangerous types of progressive theology.

 

People in the other ditch tend to teach the Bible in a very open-ended, unscientific way. They prefer to see it as God’s gift of wisdom to us, but are really careful not to preach anything that sounds like a command.  Open doors in discussions are always preferred over closed ones.  It will guide us, but each autonomous individual uses it to frame life within their own context and journey.  (For more information on the postmodern thought behind this, CLICK HERE)

 

This hermeneutic tends to soften the message of the gospel that has to do with sin, righteousness and radical repentance.  Over time, it can lead to a watering down of very clear biblical truths, making us as humans “nicer than God.” 

 

I believe we need a hermeneutic that is more balanced.  If things like moral issues are clear, preach them clearly!  If there is ambiguity and mystery, proceed humbly, more open.  In my experience, CLEAR preaching produces security and comfort.  It may upset a few, but most people feel led and taken care of.

 

second, equip people for biblical cultural discernment

 

We simply must help people of all ages to navigate the complexities of culture, encouraging them to faithfully be in the world, but not of the world (Psalm 119:130, John 17:17, Romans 12:2, 15:4, Ephesians 6:17, 2 Tim. 2:15,  4:2-4, Colossians 2:8).  It’s getting harder to live as a faithful Christian in a post-Christian society.  On the other hand, the gospel shines the brightest when we resist the temptation to let culture define who we are as people of light.  This current missional reality represents an inspiring opportunity!

 

Nearly everywhere I speak, people are telling me they desire more direction and training in how to lovingly and respectfully stand firm as Christians in a hostile world.  It reinforced the sentiment I consistently hear from the younger generation – they want to be trained in navigating culture with the Bible.

 

third, continue to develop a biblically creative and evangelistic vision of making disciples

 

The ultimate goal of our calling is to glorify God with our lives, and help others find their place in his redemptive story (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 4:12, Rom. 3:23-26, 1 Tim. 2:4, Titus 3:3-8).

 

Too often we have treated the mission as monolith – there is only one way to reach the lost. Sadly, we lost sight of the power of the Holy Spirit, how He moves and works.  Let’s get creative and innovative, explore new ideas, but let scripture guide how we reach the lost world.  In an effort to reach as many people as possible, we can’t compromise biblical truth or water down God’s standard for faithfulness.

 

The goal of biblicallyresilient.com

 

This site will act as a portal for resources that seek to strengthen Christians around all three of the values just mentioned.  It is a place where we will post articles, videos, book reviews and links, all designed to help people be stronger and more resilient.  We will boldly and directly address things in our society that interact with our faith, using scripture to frame perspectives.

 

For people or churches looking for more training, we are offering workshops devoted to building up God’s people in this post-Christian society.  You can find those HERE.

 

More than anything, we want to be hopeful and faithful stewards of our faith and God’s word.  We hope to model ourselves after the men of Issachar, those visionary leaders we read about in the Old Testament:

 

"From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take."

1 Chronicles 12:32 (NLT)

 

We want to grow in our understanding of the times we live in, engage culture with a high view of scripture, and equip as many people as possible to do the same thing. 

 

To God be the glory in all of it!

 

Daren


Daren Overstreet is a Senior Leader at

Anchor Point Church in Tampa, Florida.  He has

Been in ministry for nearly 30 years, and holds a Master’s Degree in Missional Theology

You can contact him at

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