DiscoverThe Gospel, Culture & Me
The Gospel, Culture & Me

The Gospel, Culture & Me

Author: Ron Zappia and Steve Smith

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What does the Bible say about politics, tragedy, disasters, injustice, and pandemics? As Christians, how do we operate and live in this tension? In these divided times, we must turn to the Gospel and find its intersection with today’s culture. Let’s play our part in mending a broken world. Join us for the Gospel, Culture & Me Podcast with Pastor Ron Zappia as we look to the Bible for guidance and strength.
11 Episodes
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The term “woke” has become a very loaded term, especially in the church. How does the church wake up to and engage in social issues of racial injustice? We dive into a roundtable conversation with Dr. Eric Mason, Dr. Ed Stetzer, and Ron Zappia from the Men’s Conference “No Excuses” held at Highpoint Church in January 2020. Dr. Eric Mason is the founder and pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, PA. Also is the author of four books, Manhood Restored, Beat God to the Punch, and Unleashed. We center this conversation around his recent book titled, Woke Church. 
The topic of human trafficking is a topic that the church just hasn’t completely missed, but has often ignored entirely. We speak with Christine Caine about how human trafficking takes on many forms outside of what has been sensationalized by Hollywood, how it is prevalent in our very own backyard, and what Christians should do when they don’t know what to do.  Christine Caine is a world-renowned expert on human trafficking. She has started the A21 campaign alongside her husband, Nick, which received the Mother Theresa Memorial Award for its work combating human trafficking among refugees. She also is the founder of Propel Women. Some more resources related to this episode can be found at a21.org, propelwomen.org. For more information on Living with Power Ministries, you can contact lina@livingwithpower.org.
What if leaders were more interested in developing others around them, than leading for their own gain? That is the question we are seeking to answer in this episode. How do we make more leaders and invest ourselves into others? Dave Ferguson is an author, founding and lead pastor of Chicago’s Community Christian Church, the visionary behind the church-planting movement NewThing, and president of the Exponential Conference. He talks with us about his book, “Hero Maker”. 
Leaders and pastors are crashing and burning left and right, both in the workplace as well as the church, with leaders burning out now more than ever before. There is no one better to speak on burnout than Carey Nieuwhof. He is a former lawyer turned pastor of Connexus Church in Ontario, Canado. Author of several books including, Didn’t See it Coming, which speaks of Carey’s own experience with leadership burnout. Also host of the must listen to podcast called The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast. We also touch on how COVID has caused not an interruption to how we do church, but a disruption.
The amount of noise that we experience in today’s culture has never been higher. Cell phones, social media, the 24 hour news cycle. How do we intentionally create space to hear from God in the midst of all that is thrown at us? We dig into a historically spiritual practice central to Christian living, the discipline of Silence and Solitude, with Ruth Haley Barton. Founder of the Transforming Center, spiritual director, teacher, retreat leader and author of the books Silence and Solitude, and Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership.
There is no doubt that mental health issues are on the rise. With the influence of social media, the rise in suicide rates, and the rising cases of depression and anxiety, this is not an issue the church can afford to silent on any longer. Derwin Gray, author, founder and Lead Pastor of Transformation Church in South Carolina, and former NFL player talks with us on the issue of mental health and how the church can do a better job of walking alongside, and connecting people with resources regarding mental health.
Does God intend everyone to get married? Does the church have a blind eye to single people? What does it look like to live as God intended, even in singleness? We talk with Lina AbuJamra, the founder of Living With Power Ministries, author of the book “Thrive: The Single Life as God Intended” and pediatric emergency room doctor. She is also engaged in providing medical care for Syrian refugees in the Middle East.
HOW we communicate, HOW we get our point across, is important. As Christians, are people even listening to us or are we just living in our own echo chambers? Have we lost the art of effective communication and debate? Dr. Ed Stetzer, professor and dean at Wheaton College, Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, and author of the book “Christians in the Age of Outrage” dives into the topic of cancel culture, and how we communicate as Christians.
Marriages never stand still. They are either getting better, or getting worse. We are speaking with the guru of marriage, Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages and speaker who has impacted countless lives and marriages. Talking with him specifically on the topic of divorce as he shares wisdom that can be applied to any relationship. Jody Zappia joins Pastor Ron and shares their own story of being on the brink of divorce. 
Kadi Cole is no stranger to developing leaders. She oversaw the booming growth of Christ Fellowship in Palm Beach, Florida as the Executive Director of Multi-site, taking the church from 3,500 to 23,000 people per weekend. She is now a leadership consultant running Kadi Cole & Company and is helping us look at a topic the church hasn’t been particularly strong on, how to develop female leaders.
When it comes to race and reconciliation it can feel like there are only two sides to the conversation. But is there a third option? We talk with Miles McPherson, Senior Pastor of the Rock Church in San Diego, former NFL player, and author of the book The Third Option, on the pervasive racial divisions in today’s culture and how it is better to focus our attention on our similarities rather than our differences. 
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