This week was the second to last FCA of the semester and it was very bitter sweet!  Bryan Verbrugge joined us all the way from Charlottesville, VA. Whether you just want a refresher, or were not able to join us, here is a recap of what Bryan shared with us.

Bryan started by asking us a question, what are the cultural surroundings as we try to live out the gospel? He also stated that the organizing principle that defines our society now, is human flourishing.  Human flourishing is defined as “an effort to achieve self-actualization and fulfillment within the context of a larger community of individuals, each with the right to pursue his or her own such efforts.” The main problem with this believe and practice is that it goes against everything Jesus taught. In the bible Jesus says many times, to deny yourself and to follow Him. We were born sinners, into a sin fill world. Our human nature tells us to do what is right for yourself and to find our own happiness. Our society, and generation, is now telling us the same thing, as long as we are not hurting anyone, your pursuit for self indulgence is fine.

The wave of individualism is coming.

In society today we are presented with the autonomous individual self, Bryan outlined some of the dangers of this way of thinking.

Education:

  • We are told to follow a pattern. High school, college, grad school, good paying job.

Ethics:

  • Society tells us you can do anything you want, but don’t hurt anyone else.
  • We have taken it a step further to day, if you don’t affirm me in my actions, you are hurting me.  
  • “The Platinum rule”

Idenitity:

  • “I am the sole desider of who I am”
  • We only look internally to define ourselves, we don’t look externally
  • “Movies are today’s theology classes”

Culture:

  • Picture bases, not word based
  • “I just feel that” vs. I believe that, or I think that
  • We lose real feeling and thinking

Technology:

  • It saves us time
  • You will take 25,000 pictures of yourself in your life
  • Feeds the nature of human flourishing

This dangerous way of thinking has started to affect how we talk about Christianity. Everything is “self” centered. “YOUR walk with God” “YOU choose to follow God” “He died for ME”.    How will you escape the cult of self?

Christ is your life!

Bryan concluded the message by presenting some bible verses and quotes to reflect on:

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:4

“The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself.”  C.S. Lewis

In an effort to put more context to this C.S. Lewis quote, I looked it up and found a much longer excerpt from his book, “The weight of Glory”. This quote states “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

We are far too easily pleased, we settle for earthly happiness and desires, when the Lord has promised us so much more! Reflect on that this week, and ask God what He desires for your life and ambitions!  

We can almost taste the Christmas cookies and hot chocolate we will be enjoying at home in a little more than a week. But, the looming stress of exams is now in full swing. Take a moment out of your day today to take some deep breaths, relax, and thank God for all He has done for us! Being with God, and in His presence brings peace!

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