by Jared Schuler Posted Jun 26, 2018
The Forge is Pine Cove’s leadership development program. Through classes, community, travel, and amazing experiences, the goal of the Forge is to produce leaders with a faith worth following.
Recently, the Forge alumni took a trip to Turkey and Greece to follow in the footsteps of Paul’s missionary journeys and to consider the letters of Jesus to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. The theme of this trip was “This is the Life.”
In the first century, Rome ruled and the Roman Empire had a very strong message about what the good life was and how it ought to be lived. This message included the themes of worship, security, prosperity, love, tolerance, and happiness. Christians in the first century were immensely affected by their culture and faced a tremendous amount of temptation to conformity or persecution for a lack thereof.
In contrast, the Gospel paints a very different picture of human thriving. Through Jesus, God has made available abundant life (John 10:10) and as the author of life, God is the determiner of how it ought to be lived.
During our time in Turkey and Greece we considered these themes as we travelled to Ephesus, Colossae, Laodicea, Athens, Corinth, and many other locations. We saw amazing theatres and massive pagan temples. We walked where Paul walked and found ourselves sitting in the locations from the text on a daily basis! Each stop posed a difficult question for us about how we are tempted to conform to our culture and to chase after the American dream.
The gospel of the world woos our hearts and changes our thinking while the Gospel of God renews our minds and transforms our thoughts. These two ideologies are in constant opposition to one another and create a very real tension.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Editor’s Note: Learn more about The Forge on our website.