A Faithful Presence Within

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The New Canaan Society exists to inspire a global connected network of men who are committed to friendship with Jesus and each other. At the 2010 New Canaan Society conference, Dr. James Hunter, author of To Change the World and Professor of Religion and Sociology, compares the plight of Israel in Babylon to Christians in our world today. Jeremiah's message to the Israelites also speaks to Christians in our modern world. Listen to Dr. Hunter tell us how.



Read Jeremiah 29:4–14. It is important to note the God told Israel the famous words that He had plans to prosper them, plans for a future and a hope, while they were living as slaves in exile. God's great plan of prosperity for Israel included working for the good welfare of the evil nation that enslaved them.

How have you heard Jeremiah 29:11 used incorrectly by people clinging to a worldly idea of success? After reading it in context and listening to this message, do you have a new appreciation for this verse?
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How do you believe that God has called you, specifically and personally, to live a Faithful Presence within the cultural context in which He has placed you?
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The church tends toward three paradigms in the way that it relates to the world. Most Christians react to the darkness in one of these three ways, attempting to live within the tension of being in the world and not of the world, and each reaction has a potential danger
  1. Defensive against the world - can become aggressive or inconsequential
  2. Relevant to the world - can lose some distinctiveness of the Christian witness
  3. Pure from the world - can become irrelevant and detached

Which of these is most like your church as a whole? Does your church maintain this posture without giving into the danger associated with it? How can your church do better?
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Which of these do you personally associate with? Do you give in to the potential negative in the way that you react to the culture? How can you be better?
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What will it look like if your church engages the world as a faithful presence within the culture? What will your community do differently it it makes this paradigm shift?
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What is one specific area in your city that is in desperate need of God's shalom? How might you and your church engage this area of darkness?
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Dr. Hunter said, "The very character of God and the heart of His Word is that God is fully and faithfully present to us." How have you lately experienced God's faithful presence in your life?
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The point of all of this is restoration. As we work toward the shalom of the world around us, we will be building our own shalom and growing our relationship with the Lord.


If you would like to learn more about the work and ministry of the New Canaan Society, you may visit their website here.