Stir Up One Another to Love and Good Works

The state of affairs in our culture today makes for fodder on evening talk shows and daily podcasts. We see so much evidence of a culture that is in conflict with the Scriptures that it is difficult to turn on the television or go to the grocery. It is easy for Christians to fall into the same trap of lamenting what we see going on all around and yet having nothing to offer that is encouraging. Yet the answer for Christians is not to throw another log onto the fire of frustration and bitterness.

Christians have always found themselves in conflict with the culture. The New Testament is full of letters to the saints who were trying to navigate the waters between isolating from the culture and being conformed by the culture. The writer to the Hebrews offers words that are just as relevant in the Twenty-first Century as they were in the First, “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (10:24-25) Rather than adding angry voices to the white noise of the modern culture wars, we can put into practice those words. Our culture needs Christians who demonstrate love and good works, who encourage one another and meet together for worship. For the best way to make our difference in our world is sending out Christians who understand their calling to serve God and their neighbor. When the Word of God shapes and forms our lives then we are not looking and sounding like the culture but rather salt and light in the world.

That is not to say that we condone what is happening in our culture. However, we remain faithful to the Word of God in its call to love God and our neighbor, speaking the truth in love, explaining the hope that we have with gentleness and respect. We will continue to find ourselves out of step with the culture, but our response is to stir up one another to love and good works. So if there is someone who has been neglecting worship recently, reach out and encourage them by letting them know that you care for them.

Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan


Rev. Dr. R. Lee Hagan was born in Birmingham, Ala., and graduated from Concordia, Seward, Neb., in 1992. He holds both a Master of Divinity Degree (1996) and Doctorate of Ministry (2011) from Concordia Seminary. Hagan served as Senior Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran in Concordia, Mo. (1996-2015) and was previously an Associate Pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Evansville, Ind. (1996-2002). He has been President of The Missouri District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod since June 2015. Hagan also served as Interim Director, LCMS Rural and Small Town Mission (2011-12), on numerous District Boards both in Missouri and Indiana, and during multiple Synodical Conventions as a delegate and on Floor Committees. He is married to Jill and they have two children.