"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Deprived Generation

As the New Year turns the pages of the calendar, creative thinking fills the media. This past week, I ran across an article which speculated what babies born in 2011 will never know. Older generations have said that my generation will never know the smell of fresh cut hay, will never experience the joy of swimming in a cold creek with mud between your toes, or the amazing taste of fresh grown vegetables in a back yard garden. While all of this might be true, just look at what this 2011 “crop” will miss. These are just a few of my favorite items from the article.

1) Movie Rental Stores (With the development of programs like Netflix, these children will ask, “So you actually got in your car and drove somewhere just to rent a movie?”)

2) “Land Lines” (Why would you pay $35 a month to have a phone that plugs into the wall, when you can be reached on your cell phone anywhere at anytime? It’s a great question these babies will never answer. )

3) Encyclopedias (Remember the days when you had to buy expensive books that were outdated before the ink was even dry? With the internet, their “free” information will be as fresh as their computer screen! )

4) Commercials on TV (They’re ridiculously expensive and easily avoided with DVR’s. Unless someone forces you to watch them, who’s going to pay for them? Certainly not the babies of 2011!)

It’s amazing to think that these staple items of our lives probably won’t be used by these babies when they get older! However, this article also made me wonder, “What concrete, spiritual principles will they miss if we don’t teach them?” Here are just a few they must learn!

1) The Beauty of Family (Our society is very independent and selfish. Babies born in 2011 must be taught the beauty of family. The promise of love and support for each member.)

2) The Distinctiveness of the Lord’s Church (Even if “religion” is growing in America, the Lord’s church described in the New Testament may not be. We must teach this new generation about the local church which is served by Elders, Deacons, and Ministers. The church that comes together on the first day of the week, every week, to partake of the Lord’s Supper. The church that worships with acapella singing, and is devoted to the reading of scripture, preaching, teaching, and to prayer. The church that believes baptism is essential for salvation. The church that focuses outwardly, not just inwardly, and accepts the responsibility to “go into all the world…” (Matthew 28:19) These children must understand that the church will never change, even as the years pass by. If Jesus Christ really is “…the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8,) His church will be too!)

3) The Power of God’s Word (The words “Cultural Barriers” have decreased the respect and study for the scriptures. This new generation must know that God’s word is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12), that God’s word helps us know God better, and that God’s word leads us to Heaven.)

If the babies born in 2011 grow up without this knowledge, it’s not their fault, it’s ours! Due to our incompetence, they will never be the “Greatest Generation”; rather they will be a generation deprived of God’s GREATEST gifts!

Monday, January 3, 2011

“Did the Alarm Ring?”

I admit it. I’m guilty as charged. I’m one of the millions of Americans with iPhone addiction. I absolutely love my iPhone! It keeps all of my sermon ideas, it plays my favorite songs, and it lets me access the Internet from anywhere at anytime. It serves as a GPS. It tapes my favorite TV shows. It even calculates yardages when I play golf! Now, I’m not as “addicted” as some. They have more “apps” for their phone than minutes in the day, and they still search for more! My iPhone is less advanced, but I still have the addiction. I guess confession is the first step to recovery!

But even though the iPhone is loved by America, the iPhone received abundant negative feedback this past week. When 2010 came to a close, and 2011 officially began, there was a glitch in the computer system of the phone. The alarm clock wouldn't ring, much to the frustration of many iPhone users. One user even wrote on twitter, “Dear iPhone, why didn’t your alarm go off this morning? I set six of them. I’ve now missed church. Thanks for nothing.” If they really needed SIX alarms to wake them up for church, I don’t imagine that making church was really a serious possibility! I’ve wondered why people were so upset and agitated! No one enjoys hearing an alarm ring! Whenever an alarm goes off, most of the time it wakes us up from our peaceful slumber. However, I also realize that when we miss our alarm, we usually miss our appointments, and our schedule quickly spirals out of control.

The Bible tells us that God has His own alarm that He plans to use! He doesn’t depend on the alarm to wake Him up or to keep His schedule. He will use it to prove that God is God, and that God always keeps His promises. The Apostle Paul described the resounding volume of God’s alarm when Paul wrote “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet call of God…” (1 Thessalonians 4:16)

For Christians, the alarm will be terrific. For the world, the alarm will be terrifying. Nevertheless, the alarm will certainly ring!