by Dave Gustavsen

Why I'm a Christian
Dave Gustavsen
1 Peter 3:15

Good morning. Back in May, the Pew Research Center released the results of a major study. It was all about the religious beliefs of Americans. And the biggest news was that there is a certain group that is the fastest growing religious segment of Americans. You know that the group is? It's not Islam. The fastest growing group is the ''Nones.'' And I don't mean Catholic sisters. I mean ''nones'' as in n-o-n-e-s. That's the name they give to people who say that they're either atheist, or agnostic, or they just don't have any particular religion. Listen to this: back in 2007, about 16% of Americans fit that category; 8 years later-this year-it's 23%. That's a major shift.

So the spiritual climate in our country is changing rapidly. And there are all kinds of implications of that; here is, I think, a good implication: in the days to come, fewer and fewer people will call themselves ''Christians'' simply because they were born into a ''Christian family,'' or because of cultural pressure, or because they feel like it's the American thing to do. Does that make sense? Because we are quickly becoming a ''post-Christian'' culture, just like happened in Europe years ago.

And maybe you're thinking, ''Why is that a good thing?'' Here's why it's a good thing: because in the days to come, if you choose to align yourself with Jesus, and embrace the mission of Jesus, it will mean something. Being a Christian will be more and more countercultural-very much like it was in the first few centuries, when this movement was brand new.

So in this changing culture, if you call yourself a Christian, people will look at you a little funny. And some of them will say to you, ''You're a Christian?! You go to that church? Why?'' And my question for you this morning is: What will you tell them?

Peter the disciple wrote to Christians in the first century who were surrounded by antagonistic people. And here was his counsel-this is 1 ...

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