Not long ago somebody asked me a very open and honest question, which boiled down to this: Why is it that the Church seems to be losing its ability to affect culture. And this is a good question, especially as we have been celebrating as a Church the season of Pentecost; when the Holy Spirit came and birthed the Christian Church. We look and see the explosion of growth that took place in the early church; how people were changed; how communities were changed; how cities were won; then nations; and eventually much of the world. Christianity spread like an uncontrollable wildfire. But now in our nation we as the Church seem to find ourselves struggling to maintain the ground we already have, much less gaining new ground. And the ground we have seems to be slipping away day by day. What is the source of spiritual power and how can we get it back into the Church so that it can once again begin to affect culture on a large scale?
First of all, the key to having spiritual power lies in our relationship to the One from whom spiritual power comes from; the Spirit of God. When the Holy Spirit came, He consecrated the Christian Church, setting it apart as holy unto God. It was no longer conformed to the pattern of the world, but became conformed to the image of Christ. It was in and through the Church’s being set apart to Christ and conforming to His image that it found its spiritual power. So the question comes down to this: “Are we truly consecrated to Christ?” Do our minds, our hearts, our patterns of behavior, our use of finances, and especially our use of time reflect a life consecrated unto God? Does what I fill my time with build me as a Christian or steal the opportunity for God to give me something truly good?
As a pastor, I have found that one of the chief causes of relational discord between couples is caused by a breakdown in communication. When we cease to communicate and give of our time, we lose closeness and intimacy. And this is true in our relationship with God as well. I am finding more and more that the most sacred and important thing we can give God is our time; time in the Word; time in prayer; time in communal worship. In and through these means of grace we are brought into the very presence of God; and it is in His presence that we discover His power made available to us in Christ Jesus.
Now the question remains as to how Christians can bring lasting change to culture. It may surprise us to discover that it begins not on a large scale, bit rather with the individual person. One man who has had an incredible impact on my life is Christian thinker and scholar Dr. Dennis Kinlaw, former president of Asbury University and founder of the Francis Asbury Society. He said something in his book This Day With The Master that has forever changed my thinking concerning how change in culture happens. He says:
“We live in a day when most people believe that institutions are the determining factors. They declare that if we could just change institutions, then we could change society. This is the appeal of the politician. Scripture tantalizes us with the amount of space it devotes to individual people rather than institutions. People seem to be the tools that God uses to bring change. The implication is clear. Ultimately, persons determine institutions; institutions do not determine persons. The decisions that are made deep in the heart of an individual in the intimacy of aloneness with God are the decisions that will be historically significant for deciding the future.”
Now Kinlaw is right. The key to bringing spiritual power back into our churches and lasting change to our culture is found in our first becoming consecrated to God in our own personal lives; making the decision to conform to His image and cut off those influences in our lives that compete with Him. This may mean giving up many of the things we listen to and watch. Yet in and through that sacrifice we find the key to spiritual power; and we cannot even begin to imagine what God can do through us if we allow Christ to consecrate us unto Him. John Wesley said, “Give me ten men that hate nothing but sin and love nothing but God and we will change the world.” It is important to note that Wesley did reshape much of the world; and he did this by pointing people back to the heart of the Gospel, which is consecration and holiness. And this should cause us to realize that if we as individuals give ourselves to God like that, history cannot help but repeat itself.
Pastor Cameron Ury
Senior Pastor and Teacher at Renton Park Chapel
16760 128th Ave. SE
Renton WA 98058
Rev. Cameron Ury graduated from Asbury University in 2007 with a B.A. in Bible and Theology. From there he continued his studies at Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson, MS. It was there that he met his wife Tanya, who graduated from WBS with her M.A. and M.Div. degrees. Cameron and Tanya got married in 2009. Cameron then graduated with his M.Div. degree with a pastoral concentration in 2011.
After shepherding churches in both Mississippi and Ohio, they joined the ministry team at Renton Park Chapel in January of 2018, where Cameron serves as Senior Pastor and Teacher.
Cameron is also the founder and host of Lechem Panim, a weekly radio show that airs on KGNW 820AM "The Word Seattle". The ministry of Lechem Panim is centered around leading people into the life-giving presence of God in and through Bible study, prayer, and active discipleship with the aim of ministering to a world that is in desperate need of the healing touch of Jesus Christ.