Making the Foreign, Native: Connecting with Culture on Three Levels

Cultural awareness is very important in Christianity. We get focused on this when it comes to international missions, especially full-time, long-term, over-seas missionaries. They can spend years studying language and culture in order to be effective in a new content. It is an attempt to make the foreign native to us. It is to identify with those we reach out to. Again, we heavily emphasize this with foreign missions.

But there are two other levels we need to think about this principle on.

The first is biblical study. In order to understand the text you have to enter into a culture and a language that is foreign to us. We must study to make the foreign more native to our understanding…to immerse ourselves in another world with layers of meaning that are not quickly understood by our ears because of the third level and that is our own culture.

If we are going to be effective in evangelizing our own backyard we must be just as much a student of culture as the missionary going over-seas. We must get in tune with our own culture. We must immerse ourselves in our own neighborhood. We should spend time learning our history, development of our worldview, and working to understand the underpinnings of Western society.

Be a student of culture. It will enrich your life, your relationships and your effectiveness in sharing your faith in your own backyard.

A Few Articles I have Written at Wineskins

I have been writing a bit more at Wineskins recently than here on the blog. That isn’t intentional just the way things have worked out. It is going to be a busy next few months but I intend to keep things up here a bit better than I have over the last few weeks. HereContinue Reading

Was Paul the Best, Worst Communicator or is Something Else Going on?

There is a place in Paul’s writing that confused me for the longest time. What is the confusing statement? “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words,” – 1 Corinthians 2:4 When I hear “wise and persuasive” I think of Paul. I think of him first because of his pedigree, “IfContinue Reading

7 Things that Tempt us to Check the Fruit of the Spirit at the Door

There are times it seems Christians check the fruit of the Spirit at the door and proceed without caution: When you are doctrinally correct: Being right on a matter doesn’t give you the right to be hostile, angry, unloving, unkind, etc. When you are by yourself: Being alone doesn’t give us license to sin. TheContinue Reading

Is This The Most Faith-Full Moment in Jesus’ Ministry?

When you say John 4 your first thought probably goes the woman at the well. There is another story in that chapter that I find one of the most moving and faith-full moments in the Gospels. I don’t know that I need to get into the business of comparing people’s faith. That just doesn’t seemContinue Reading


We have a lot of absentee landlords in today’s world. I am talking about people who don’t want to own what they own, help fix what is broken and maintain what is theirs. As Christians, and as Christian leaders in particular, it is vitally important that we own what has been handed to this. IContinue Reading

Book Giveaway – Centered in God: The Trinity and Christian Spirituality

Mark Powell, professor at Harding School of Theology in Memphis wrote an excellent book just over a year ago titled, “Centered in God: The Trinity and Christian Spirituality.” Dr. Powell has spent a lot of time studying and teaching Christian doctrine and systematic theology and along with that the trinity. This post kicks off givingContinue Reading

Fellowship Doesn’t Mean Potluck

The Greek word normally associated with “fellowship” is the word koinonia. It doesn’t typically mean sit in the same room as someone for a church potluck. What does it mean? It is a word that describes mutual interest and the connection that comes through joint participation and partnership. I am indebted to D.A. Carson (whoContinue Reading

The Holy Spirit’s Role in Jesus’ Miracles

Throughout scripture the Holy Spirit has enabled people to do amazing things. The Spirit empowered several of the judges to do the mighty things God called them to do (Samson and Gideon to name a few). The Holy Spirit came on Saul and enabled him to prophesy (1 Sam 10:6-10). The Holy Spirit enabled theContinue Reading

Unicorns and the King James Bible

Well the unicorn finally turned up…what made news wasn’t that it was found. This animal, the Siberian Unicorn, was already known to have existed. What made news was the date. This fossil dated to 29,000 years ago, putting it alive in the same time period as human beings. When it comes to biblical studies theContinue Reading


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