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June 28, 2024


 

Healthy culture doesn’t happen by accident. At White Oak, we want to build a healthy, dynamic culture where we are learning from Jesus to be like Jesus.


Culture happens no matter what. In your home, among your family, with your co-workers and friends. Whether you intend to, you’re doing it right now. It could be a culture of complacency or apathy. It could be a hard work or just doing the bare minimum. It could be a culture of love and respect, or it could be one that tears others down and judges. You might be building a culture where a relationship with Jesus is paramount, or you might allow a culture of mere religious affiliation. Culture happens. The question is: What kind of culture are you helping to build?


The White Oak core value of fun is a critical element of our culture. We believe that Jesus brought fun into the lives of those he loved. That’s why we celebrate life in Jesus and all the joys that come with it.


Jesus was often criticized by the religious leaders for his celebration gatherings and for having too much fun and having it with the wrong people. He was criticized (wrongly) in Matthew 11 for over-eating and drunkenness. He’s accused of this because he had fun with those rejected by the rest of society.


Mark 2:15-16 - 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”


Luke 19:37-40 - 37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: 38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”


Jesus’s life was marked by activities of celebration and fun. I don’t know anyone who is against having fun. But, as a follower of Jesus, we should ask ourselves why did Jesus prioritize fun? What was Jesus’s fun pointing toward?


I see two things. One, Jesus never avoided a party. He wanted to be in the middle of the action with those who were far from God. He did so because he knew that his love would shine brightly in those dark places. He knew that he could rub shoulders with those who desperately needed the truth he represented. Two, Jesus never shied away from worship or praise. He accepted the loud and raucous celebrations from the crowd because they were honoring God with their adoration.


At White Oak, we want to have fun. We want to do so because we believe that those who are far from God will be drawn to the beauty of his goodness when we enjoy the good things from God and laugh together. We also value fun in our gatherings because we believe God is worthy of our loud, unfiltered, authentic praise. That’s why we often share and celebrate the things that God is doing in and around us. We have fun worshipping and he gets all the glory! We value fun… and with a purpose.


So, how are you participating in building a culture of fun? I invite you to consider who you’re rubbing shoulders with and who you could invite to come to church along with you. Who could you have fun with so that Jesus’s goodness shines through you? I invite you to lean into the culture of celebrating this week! Show up. Let loose. Get loud. Bring some good food to share. He’s worthy of celebrating, so how can you make a point of participating in the habit of sharing what God has been up to in and through your life?


That's why we want to invite you to the party. You're invited to join us as we celebrate the goodness of life and the joy that comes with it! In doing so, we’ll lead others to full life in Jesus.


Building culture,

Nathan

 



Nathan Hinkle

Lead Pastor

White Oak Christian Church





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