October 25, 2023

What Do I Do in a Changing Culture?

Stop blasting through stop signs and start yielding to God's direction before it's too late.

Amos 4
Derived from the transcript of Craig Trierweiler

Some People Never Change 

“No matter the consequences, no matter the difficulties,
no matter the opportunities to change. Some people just never change.”

No matter the amount of court costs, fines, fees, losing his license; no matter what happened, Sean was bound and determined he was not going to change because, you know what? He loved what he did. Sean left his girlfriend, abandoned his kid, neglected child payments, and continued down the road of bad decisions. Even in the midst of all the financial problems he still found money to buy a fifth of vodka every single day. People can be bound and determined, hell bent on their own desires. All of that led to a sixties. Sean is experiencing a series of untreatable diseases and untreatable issues in his life, most of which stem from bad decisions because he was bound and determined to live life his way. And even they're in hospice with a pastor sitting by his side Sean refuses to change. Faced with the reality of what he had lived, looking into the scope of eternity, still, Sean refused to change because some people never do. 

No matter the consequences, no matter the difficulties, no matter the opportunities to change. Some people just never change.


“Hear this word you cows” Amos 4:1

“The days are soon coming when your borders will be insecure, when an enemy will be at your gates, they will come in, they will tear down your cities, they will take your men, they will kill, they will plunder, and they will ruin your nation.” This is what the Lord is saying. Some people love to sin no matter where it leads. Amos calls such people cows. This is not a flattering picture, but it is a vivid one. Like cows, they are marching on the way to slaughter. This is the key principle here. As a cow headed to the butcher is a man who loves to sin and refuse to change

“As a cow headed to the butcher
is a man who loves to sin and refuse to change”

The idea here is that the Lord is confronting a culture of Sean's in which people are refusing to change. They love to sin and they love to sin no matter who it affects. They love to send no matter where it leads. They love to sin no matter what it costs. (ref. v4-5) They are piling sin upon sin.

At this point think about America and asses our own lives, our own environment, because people love to sin no matter what it costs. In response, we need to make a change, and a chang sooner rather than latter. It is better to change today when you want to than tomorrow when you're forced to. Better to change today when you want to, that is, when you choose to, than tomorrow when you are forced to. It's a recognition that we all are in a culture that's pulling us in various directions and like Sean, were vulnerable to those things.

Some of you are Seans and are in the rhythm of a Sean. Some of you know Sean's, and your heart aches for them because it seems like nothing gets their attention. The first order of business, however, is simply a look in that mirror and say, “What change do I need to make? What change should I make today?” A change because I'm choosing to, because I want to, because I’m motivated by the Holy Spirit – rather than wait until tomorrow when I'm forced to because of the difficulties and the consequences.

My friends, we ought to wake up and recognize that all of us need to assess what changes do I need to make? "Hear this word", it comes to us from Amos to Israel. It comes to us from Amos to America. It comes from Amos to you.

Stop at the Sign

A nation that blows through stop signs will eventually reach the limits of God’s patience. This is very significant. We can pronounce difficult times but we embrace the hope that we have in the coming Kingdom of God.

In the last week and a half or so, I've had a number of people in the range of like ten or twelve who have said, “Yes, Pastor, we agree. Yes. Okay, but how do we prepare?” They've been asking that and I've been a little bit reluctant to give kind of like a canned answer, because here's my here's my emphasis: I believe every single one of you, depending on life stage, where you're at, what things are going on, whatever family dynamics, I think every one of you has a responsibility to seek the presence of Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit what changes you need to make. I think you have a responsibility to prepare and make reasonable preparations for the coming days.

I don't want to prescribe exactly what everybody needs to do. I think you need to ask Jesus what changes should you make in your life, in your home, and in your family inorder to prepare if, in fact, we are living a repeat of the process in Amos?

“What can theistic Sunday school, meeting for an hour once a week,
do to stem the tide of a five day program of humanistic teaching.”

That said, because of the number of people asking, let me give you a few practicaland reasonable things to prepare.

  1.  be prudent with finances. Meaning this: If you have debt, get out of it. If you're out of debt, stay out of it. If you have debt, don't go worse in to debt. With this, have a reasonable amount of reserves. Why do we do reserves? We do reserves in our personal lives, not just for our own personal consumption, but so that we prepare for what's ahead, knowing that there will be needs and God will give us resources to be able to bless those who have the need.

  1. Be diligent in your priorities. Where are they in your spiritual life or in your family life, and are there changes that God wants to make in terms of your priorities and your commitments to the Lord? Within the Church it appears we face an ever increasing attacks by the culture, an ever decreasing commitment by believers to the local church, and an ever widening gap between what we profess we believe and what we're actually living. So, a reasonable preparation is priorities. Be diligent. Ask the Lord what needs to change in your life to prepare you for what's ahead.

  1. Education. Be vigilant. If you have kids or grandkids, listen up. You cannot outsource the education of your children entirely to other people! This is the same for homeschoolers, Christianschoolers, and publicschoolers. Be vigilant in helping your children and grandchildren form a biblical worldview. We have one couple in our church that helps their kids understand what the world is teaching them every single and then teaches them from a biblical perspective. “What can theistic Sunday school, meeting for an hour once a week, do to stem the tide of a five day program of humanistic teaching.” That quote came from a man named Charles Potter, who, in 1930, was the president of the Humanist Association of New York. He was mocking the church. What he was saying was, “what chance does the church have one hour once a week against this massive tide of humanistic teaching?” My friend, he's right. Which is why we need parents and grandparents to be involved in the education and training of their children and grandchildren.

Love for Sin

People love to sin and often ignore the consequences, forgetting a big day is coming.

Let me frame this through the lens of the gospel of Jesus.that into that invitation. The invitation is this. Prepare. “Prepare to meet God.” It is not a generous invitation in Amos 4, it speaks of the fearful judgment of the Lord, but, for the believer it is a glorious day inwhich we will see Him face to face having been saved by His own blood.

So we prepare the heart in advance. And we recognize that we make changes when we are able to, not when we're forced to. We repent. We turn to the Lord. We seek his face. We pray on behalf of the Sean's in our life, for the Sean grandkids and Sean children, we pray on behalf of them.

We pray on behalf of the nation because we recognize that we as a nation are a bunch of cows headed towards the butcher and we need Gods help. 

So we make changes and we stop blasting through stop signs and start yielding to God's direction before it's too late.

Let me let me share this last story. It happened once in my life. I was on a rational road headed north, coming up to Supply Road. Some of you know where I'm talking. And I was going 55 or 60 miles per hour and Kori was next to me! I had four kids in the back of the car. We lived over in that neighborhood. And I don't know where my mind was. I have no idea. Daydreaming about something? Thinking about work thing or whatever? And I blast through that stop sign at full speed without even touching the brakes! It would have been death! Halfway through the intersection, I realized what I just did and my heart was up in my throat! 

Now, I got away with it once, but let's say today I went back to Rasho Road, headed north on headed north and crossed Aupply. Let's say did it just test my luck again. And I just blow through. I might get lucky. But hey, that was kind of fun. Let's do it again and then, hey, lets do it all day long. I just keep going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, until – You would recognize that at some point that would cause a problem.

The message of Amos is resounding through the ages to Israel, to America, to Northern Michigan is stop blasting through the stop signs, my friend, and start yielding to God's direction before it's too late. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you insight into your own heart.