Part Three – “Pointing Up”
Chapter 14 – “We’re Unpopular”
We’re in a very interesting time, where values that were once assumed are now despised. It would be inaccurate to refer to America of the past as a “Christian” country; it’s never been as anti-Christian as it is now. This isn’t to say that there aren’t any Christians in the U.S. or that religion freedom has altogether disappeared. But, there’s no doubt that things are changing and deeply held Christians beliefs are not to be tolerated. We need to think about what is means to be faithful to Christ in a culture where our presence is less and less appreciated.
“So stop acting so surprised! Where in the Scriptures did Jesus say follow me and everyone will love you for it?”
Chapter 17 – “TURN ON THE LIGHTS”
There is a light much more important than lamps and flashlights. Scripture says, “God is light, and in Him is not darkness”: (1 John 1:5). Jesus is the true light who came to earth to enlighten us, and He is the radiance of the glory of God. But sadly, unless our eyes are open, we can’t see that light. There’s nothing more tragic than not being able to see the very thing that the world was created to show off. And that’s the glory of God.
Where the glorious light of Christ is not seen, sins are not forgiven and souls are not saved. This is why we share the good news. The end goal of evangelism is that people would see the glory of God and worship Him forever. We can’t open their eyes and shine the light of God’s glory in their direction, but we can point them in His direction and ask God to give them sight.
Beware of the Work of satan
There are many misconceptions about satan. Some people go to one extreme, thinking that he is basically all-powerful. Everything that happens is a result of his great power, and he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants to do it. Then there are some who go to the other extreme, imagining that he doesn’t exist, or that he is powerless and inactive. Both of these extremes are lies, and they are dangerous for us to believe. The truth is satan does exist and he does have power.
*My rebuttal: “But, satan is a created being, he was created by God and he’s no match for our Omnipotent GOD! God dealt with satan’s pride when He kicked him out of heaven; (Luke 10:18). Jesus put an end to his authority at the cross; (Matt. 28:18). satan’s final day of reckoning is nigh; (Rev. 20:10.).
DO WE SELL OURSELVES SHORT?
Twenty-somethings are definitely not known for filling up churches on Sunday mornings. We’re old enough to make our own decisions, but often too young to make mature ones. Some of us still haven’t realized the emptiness of the world and the fullness available in the church, so we keep a safe distance, but we don’t fully embrace it either.
Whatever the reason for our absence, many churches are discouraged that their attempts to reach us keep failing. Many of them pray for us and strategize to meet our needs. Other churches have given up hope altogether, so their attempts to reach us are nonexistent. Are they just out of touch with our generation?
I think part of the problem is that churches often want to segregate young people into spiritual ghetto, for example, college and singles ministry. Those kinds of ministries are definitely fruitful in many churches, but they’re not enough. It’s a shame to see, but sometimes the churches aren’t treating us like real Christians who are part of the life of the whole church. Instead, we’re like minor league pitchers, waiting for our chance to be called up to the big leagues one day. Who wants that?
While ministry segregation is definitely a problem, it’s not the only issue at work. Many of us need to look in the mirror and point fingers at our own reflections. We say we’re followers of Jesus, yet many of us have no interest in doing some of the most basic acts of following Him, like joining a church. We prefer to bounce around or tell ourselves that we’re waiting until we’re more settled. But is that acceptable?
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP IN THE BIBLE
Membership is the word we use to summarize our relationships within a local church. God has called us to love other Christians, serve them, and commit ourselves to them. He has called us to support and submit to the pastors in a local church. God has called those pastors to love the church, preach the Word, shepherd the flock, and be accountable to you. Membership is the name we use to summarize those relationships and commitments.
It’s like a family. Scripture commands us to encourage one another, restore one another, and sing songs to one another. The truth is, you cannot obey these “one another” commands without real commitment to a church. And churches will suffer from the lack of young people. Who’s going to share the gospel with the young people, and connect them to other believers?
In the light of the current situations, many of our youth are realizing just how troubled this world is, and they are worried about where they could possibly end up. We’re in the days that Jesus warned us would come. Laws are rapidly changing in favor of sin. Evil is accepted as good, and wrong is accepted as right.
If we’re going to have victory over Goliath, we have to address these issue now! We can no longer leave our youth out in the cold to fend for themselves. It time for all of us to “RISE!”
“In the tumultuous story that is my real life, I don’t want suspense, I want assurance. I don’t want any cliffhangers; I want to know what happens. That gives me strength to fight. We know that the Lord has already gone before us in battle, but that doesn’t mean we don’t fight. It just means we can’t lose.” – Trip Lee
With the 2016-17 fall season of school fast approaching, in preparation for their return, we must engage our youth in conversation, and find out if they have any concerns about returning to school. We must listen to them before we can effectively address any concerns that they may have. Some of our youth don’t understand how to apply biblical teaching in a troubled society. We can assist them by teaching them how to seek godly wisdom through Scripture reading. We can also equip them by showing them how to pray for themselves, their family and friends. In order to see change we have to make a difference. We must RISE!
Well, I hope that you are encouraged and are considering purchasing a copy of Rise. It is sure to be a blessing for your family. I’ll leave you with this message from the author himself.
Bountiful blessing to you!