Separating TRUTH from FICTION.

What the Bible Really Says!

Who is JESUS?

Learning to Live like HIM.

Did CALVARY Matter?

Where would we be if He was as motivated as we are?

What does Worship Mean?

Love without limits.

How Do WE Treat Others?

For God so loved the world that He gave.. what do we do?

Oct 14, 2012

Generation: LOST

riveroffireMy heart has been troubled to the point of not sleeping well the last few weeks.  I suppose, one could attribute it to the headlines in the media regarding the coming election,  or perhaps to the stories of missing children who we later hear have been brutally murdered. And yes, that does trouble me.

However, for me, the haunting images that are keeping me awake at night have more to do with the lack of respect for God’s word. It seems as though many have decided that the principles that we were taught to adhere to, and the scriptures that set us toward our eternal destiny only matter if we choose it to.

It seems as if the fear of God is gone and that it was only words our parents and those who have gone before lived by.  In society and in our churches there is a growing lack of concern about the direction those coming behind us are heading. And it just might be too late.

Now, I realize I cannot speak for the church you attend or the places you minister, but nevertheless I am certain the principles I see unraveling in front of my eyes, I am sure you are noticing as well.

Blinded Eyes?

For quite a while now I have burdened with what I have seen in social media. Nearly everyone we know in our personal lives is on Facebook, and we all know people who are on the site several hours per day.  And for many the images and postings tell quite a story.

It amazes me that many of those I went to Bible School with are either no longer living for God, or have ascribed to some watered down version of what Christianity is all about, to say nothing about being Apostolic.  Oh sure, most of them still quote scripture, they still profess their love for God, but when our eyes are privy to some of the words they write, and see photos of the places they go and the way they act, there is something missing there.

Am I judging? I don’t mean to be, but maybe I am. However, I am the first to admit my life is not perfect, but I find myself wondering what happened in their lives to change them as a person?  Was there some huge even that came into their lives and knocked them off the track?

Many of these are people I grew up with; those who were in the altars at church camp, those who even the very idea of activities they partake in now were considered abhorrent and yet somehow all of that hunger for God we once knew seems to have slipped out somehow.

Now I realize some may think some of what we learned when we were younger was too dogmatic,  too harsh, perhaps not even necessary in living for God. But, it kept most of us going to church, doing the right thing when temptations would come, and most importantly, loving and serving God. It couldn’t have been all bad, right?

The Bible says to ‘train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.’ Not my words, that is scripture and it does more than just affect you and me. Can our kids even quote a memory verse anymore?

From the beginning of time, mothers taught their children the principles of loving and serving God.  Moses is a great example of how because of what he was taught when he was young, when he was older, he was able to continue in his faith and even lead his people toward the promise land. I am sure Joseph’s early childhood teaching  kept him from giving in to temptation, fear, and hatred, even when he had been treated unjustly by his own flesh and blood.

But what about our kids? What did we teach them? Or what are we teaching them now?

Seared Minds?

Just this past week there was a study that came out that stated most of the divorces in America come from those who call themselves Christian and conservative. In fact they said  in ‘Christian’ marriages, two out of five with end in divorce, and also that there are multiple marriages among Christian believers.

Their reasoning behind it was because we are taught not to be involved in sexual encounters outside of marriage and so they claim that many are unprepared when they enter into their first marriage young, rather than disregard their belief system.  Now, to some extent that is good that some are not wanting to go against their beliefs, but to get married essentially just to be legal at being sexually active is no way to start a marriage. And whatever happened to the vows we took to love, honor, and cherish in sickness and in health? Are those just archaic words that don’t mean anything? Whatever happened to working on our marriages?

Now please understand me, I am not attacking those who end up in divorce. But, it seems the way the world is going, so should the church. Lets just take the easy way out.

The divorce rate is not what is bothering me but what are we teaching our children? It has become what are we getting out of this?

In our lives we have become about who has the biggest house, who has the most toys, who lives the best life, even who loves God more. We are consumed with ourselves instead of hungering after God.  Whatever happened to convictions?

Our worship is just enough to get by; our church attendance is only if it doesn’t affect our fishing trip; or perhaps if we don’t have to get home in time to see the ‘reality’ of Honey Boo Boo, hoarders, and the messed up lives of those on television.

It Is Just Too Hard

It may have seemed when we were growing up that our parents didn’t understand or perhaps they were too hard on us. Every generation believes that.  There were times when our parents, and even teachers, said no, and didn’t let us do some things that they knew were bad for us.

Our families had dinner together, some of us even had a family altar, and we even played games and spent time just  being a family.

We wanted to hang out with our friends, to go to a party, even to stay up a little bit later; they were so mean to us. And for some of us the idea of being ‘forced’ to go to church, yes you know that is what you thought at times’ was just a violation of our rights, and we swore we would be better parents.

Yet, most of us who lived that lifestyle are not in prison, we haven’t killed someone driving drunk, we don’t live a life of poverty brought on by drugs and alcohol. We still go to church even if our kids don’t go with us.

Comfort and convenience is what drives our lives.  Hungry? Instead of taking time to make a dinner for our family to sit down, we rush out to grab a couple of hamburgers on their way to somewhere else.

That new iPhone comes out and instead of paying the money on our past due bills, we stand in line for hours, maybe even days to be the first to have the new and ‘best’ toy.

Everything needs to be in a hurry. Kids grow up not knowing how to cook anything that isn’t in the microwave because that is the way their parents lives have become as well. If we see some clothing outfit we want, or want to go see the newest blockbuster, we will break out the credit card to pay for it, because right now we don’t have the money but it is so important for us to possess.

Our lives are driven by the newest thing, the best sports game, where we will shout until we cannot speak, but when it comes time to have a family altar, or even time to sit down with our kids and help them with homework, we are just too busy and do not have time for that.

And Yet We Wonder?

I am troubled because I have seen some kids, who from birth drooled and slept on church pews, who no longer serve God at all, even though their parents still attend the local shouting church, and they have walked away from what they are taught, and it has become cool to have a baby or two and not be married.

I was talking with someone recently, and they asked me what has happened that when a young apostolic couple begin to date, one or both of them think it is okay to be sexually active, while dating?  To them its just another part of trying to find the right one. But then they will come to church, sit on the pews, sing in the choir, maybe even teach Sunday School, and then everyone is shocked that she is pregnant and he is dating someone else, and she is shunned by those around her?

But it is more than just about losing some of our convictions. It is more than just about what the parents teach their kids away from the church.

Generation: LOST

We can rationalize our actions, maybe even our services as we turn a blinded eye to what is happening. And maybe, for most of us, we will still make heaven, and do not do anything that can be construed as sin.  I wonder when we walk through the doors of the sanctuary, whether in our churches or in our personal prayer lives if we have a format we adhere to, or do we come hungry and lose ourselves for a while in the presence of our Creator? 

Do we find time to really worship and not be concerned with what our neighbor is doing, or are we busy making sure that our kids are minding, or noticing the one who comes in late and the new outfit they are wearing.

Or maybe it has just become about preserving our dignity in front of our friends? But what are we teaching those who come after us? I have friends and relatives who profess to love and serve God, but I see the direction their kids lives have taken and I wonder how did it get so far off track?

Sure, we are all responsible for our own salvation, but we must admit that some of the responsibility must fall to the parents, pastors, and others who went before. We might even still invite friends or people we work with to church, but what about the next generation? What about our own kids?

So What Comes Next?

There was a time when pray in schools was just as common as the Pledge of Allegiance, and even that is disappearing. Our own president doesn’t think it necessary to put his hand over his heart when everyone around him is and someone is reciting the pledge or singing ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’  It has been said that our children will pick up our bad habits and bring in some of their own as they become adults. What will they pass down to their children?

Our country is changing rapidly and regardless of your political persuasion, not for good.  Most people live their lives wanting their own way and if they don’t get it, they will do what they can to change everyone’s rights to make sure it happens. Gas prices are  too high and soon going to be out of reach, jobs are scarce, and more people are becoming dependent on someone else giving them a handout.

Our schools teach principles that are opposed to the word of God, and when someone comes along to offer possible solutions, he is called a liar and trying to take away their liberties. And I realize some are active and will get angry when they remove the Ten Commandments from in front of a court house, or try to take Christ out of Christmas, but we don’t have a time to get together with our families unless it is in front of a television? 

What happens when we are gone? What if our kids suddenly had to live in a situation like Joseph, or perhaps Daniel and the Three Hebrew Children? Would they be serving God or bowing down to the gods of this world? Or are they already there? Can you say with assurance that you know if something happened to your children, they would make heaven their home? Or how about your grandchildren?

What are we doing to prepare them for the coming trials and tests of life? Or do we even still tell them about the goodness of God and His mercies? Or do we just accept them as they are because we don’t want to chase them away and accept that they will be Generation: LOST?