Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Cause Worth Dying For: Materialism, Millennials, & the Authentic Mission

You there, yes you, playing the video games, come out of it, and take up your ministry.  You on the beach working on your tan, take up your place in service.  You surfing the net, browsing your pornography, come out of it and serve the lost.  You in the business world, end your service to selfishness and embrace service to the poor.  

Where are the young people?  Where are the young adults?  It seems like every church I walk into I see only a few young adults, if any.

Is sin really that great?  Is darkness really so relieving?  No.  Those exploits are empty.  I know, I tried all of them.  They go nowhere, and they take more than they give. 

Are you one of them?  A young adult?  Trying to understand your place in the world?  Let me ask you a few things.

We can sit around campfires, on cold beaches, or in incense basements talking about the problems of the world.  But nothing changes until we do something.  I mean really do something.  Are we so incapable?  Are you so sleepy?  Where is your desire for hope?  Have you lost your will?  Are you drunk on the delights of this world?  Have you lost your power to believe in a better world?  Can you still smile?  

Or do the days just drone on?  Is all light out of every interaction?  Does everything seem gray?  Does everything seem shallow and empty?  

I know a lot about pleasure seeking.  It doesn't lead anywhere good.  Those of it's pursuits can hardly say it delivers.  It never goes anywhere good.  Does it?  Does demented pleasure ever give up an end?  Does pleasure ever say 'I've had enough'?  

Do you care about anyone?  Do you love anyone for their sake?  Do you still dream?  If so, what do you dream of?  

Are you rushed through life?  Does it seem like a dreary thing?  Are you tired of these dogged escapades?  Are you tired of playing the bad guy?  Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?  

Could you want something better?  Could you even want to want it?  

Are you overworked?  Do you feel poured out for another?  On a daily basis?  

Do your eyes glean something better?  Could you possibly comprehend?  Could your heart sense something greater?  Might a spirit be working a sacred portent?

Let me ask you something, very simple: Is the Christian God real?  

If not, then don't waste another minute of your time.  There's the door.  If the Christian God is simply a family tradition, a nice story, a cultural myth, or a moral teaching then we might as well toss it all aside.  It's nothing.

But, if the answer is yes then there is a desperate state of urgency.  If yes, that God is really real, and that he really reveals himself through the ancient writings of the Bible, how should we respond?  What do we do?  And could this be the great cause of causes?  Could it be the truth?  Could it be the truth even if we don't like it at first? 

There really is no middle ground.  God can be real, God can be imaginary.  He cannot be somewhat real.  I believe God is real.  He reveals himself through the Bible.  There are so many roads of inquiry to see that God is real, so many that we've ventured upon on this website.  If you'd like to begin digging into the reasonable inquiry of God, click here

For me, upon study, research, reading, science, philosophy, and every manner of inquiry I've learned that the Christian God is real, truly is, and truly is the cause of the universe.  Since then, believing fully that God is really real our priority must be his mission.

What is his mission?  His mission is the sharing of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, his life, death, and resurrection.  His message is the good news of the absolution, the forgiveness of all transgressions, through trust.  His message is the welcoming of the people of the Earth, humanity, into his family through the cross of Christ.  His message is the gospel, the good news that Jesus restores our connection to God in this broken doomed world.  All we have to do is believe in one he sent, Jesus, and then live that mission of love and service.  Believe in Christ! 

There are millions upon millions of people, in our own communities who don't know Jesus.  I'm sad to say that most of them, many of them are millennials like me.  (Those born between 1980-2000).  These people are lost without a savior, and it shows.  What can we do to reach them?  And why don't our churches penetrate into those people groups?  And if you're one of those people, who brought you here?  Why are you reading these words?  Could it possibly be, just possibly be, that God is guiding you right now?  Could his hand be on your shoulder? 

I was so hungry years ago, for something pure, for something real, for something authentic, and I so desperately wanted to know the truth.  Tell me the truth!  For God sake, tell me the truth!  Where is the manual?  Why is everything so wrong?  What's wrong with this world!?

The answer is simple, God is real, and he has revealed himself in the book...  Only the purity and authenticity of His message could reach me.  In Christ alone I found true authenticity, true purity, and the truth itself.  A way, when I had asked so many times: "Where do we go from here?"  Jesus Christ showed himself to be the way.  I thought I was looking for a perfect ideology, a perfect equation, it turned out that I came to a person, to Christ.  All of that revealed through the book.

The God, the supreme being who created the universe ex nihilo as they say, has chosen to reveal himself through a book.  Why?  Freedom.  He isn't going to force anyone to believe in him.  If he made himself known and seen fully, and physically, there would no longer be any choice.  God gives us a choice. We encounter this God, the real one, through a book.  They call that book the Bible.  But Bible just means "book."  I love that.  There is no grand title.  It's not plated in gold.  In fact many times the Christian life is like that.  No gold, no fancy ceremonies.  It's just a relationship with God.  A God whose name is "I am who I am."  As they say, Yahweh.  Elohim. Jehovah. Adonai.  Or just "abba" which means "daddy."  Daddy in the most intimate terms in fact.  And  of course Our blessed savior, Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ just means God who saves, the messiah.  Messiah means the chosen one.   Just like you, the one reading these words, has been chosen to be a brother, a sister of Christ, of myself, and of the family on Earth.

Seems like a lot of evangelicals think reaching millennials means pushing it as a new "experience."  Well at best then they come in maybe for a new experience, and then in a few months they move on to something more entertaining.  What do you say Mr. millennial? A new experience?  There are plenty of tantalizing experiences out there in sex, addiction, and materialism.  What's to stop them from finding a new one tomorrow?  A new experience? That isn't the key.  The key is the truth.  People like me, people in their twenties, college kids, they are hungry for the truth.  And they aren't getting it at the university.  Often times they don't get it at church either. 

At the university they're getting a lot of empty garbage like relativism, post-modernism, darwinism, marxism, liberalism, self help psychology, eastern mysticisms, and new age metaphysical self flagellation.  Yet the mind recoils against a lot of these things.  Why?  Because they aren't true.  Many of them contain pieces of truth, but young people are hungry for a fundamental meaning.  They want something of substance.  There is no real substance in any of those ideologies.  But if the Christian faith is the truth about everything, and I know it is, then it's exactly what they're looking for.

It was exactly what I needed, but I didn't want it.  I came like C.S. Lewis, very hesitantly.  But in the end, God helped me to see his eternal reality.  It changed everything in my life.  It fundamentally changed how I see everything in the world.  That is the only Christianity that can transform my generation; my family of millennials needs the real Christianity.  Not the fake one, not the watered down one, not the experiential one, not the emergent one, not the gay friendly one, or the universalist one, but the real one.  

Show me some boundaries!  It's all an open space in post-modernism.  And it's so open, selfish, and self-serving that its unliveable.  There's just nothing there to help explain existence or provide a cause for living.  And those who don't believe in anything, who haven't founded a fortress of barriers, positions, and concrete views, are liable to fall for anything.  And they are.  Anything easy.  Any priceless cause.  Any liberal issue that requires no personal sacrifice.  Sad to see, sad to see.  

Paradoxically the free generation, open to new ideas, and all of that, deserves a cause of discipline, righteousness, hard work, and a cause to die for.  

My generation is starving for want of a solid ethic from which to approach life.  Post-modernism is like candy, sweets: "Do whatever you want, whatever's true for you is your reality."  It seems sweet, but once you've had your fill your stomach aches, and you find yourself wanting for meat, potatoes, vegetables, and the truly nourishing things of life.  

The gospel is the nourishment we require.  The codes of clear ethics, boundaries, and standards within the Bible are required.  They help me to live for something greater than myself.  That is what is needed.  The cross, the God of love is something I'm willing and able to stand for, and die for.  The radical Christian mission is hidden by this body guard of lies, this distorted false church epitomized in the church channel on Cable, ministries set on making money, and churches heart-set on watering down the gospel as a sort of family support venture.  We've got a lot of men and women trying to make it clear how important and prominent they are.  And the true gospel is neglected.  But the radical true gospel of those fighting the good fight in the wilderness, turned aside by society, mocked and ridiculed by the elite, is waiting for cause-lovers to champion.  It's not one you hear about a lot.  Because the honorable, humble ones aren't out to draw headlines and gather everyone to their "brand" of ministry.  Instead they just patiently work and serve, doing beautiful things in hidden areas where few see.  That is the work God calls us to.  That is the purity of the mission of the Christian gospel that attracts young people.

Give me something hard to do!  Give me a challenge!  Show me a real cause!  Show me how to be a man!  Show me what it means to be human!

God gives me all of that and more!  Hard is the way, and narrow is the path!  Awesome.  Discipline, standards, boundaries, show me more of this!

In conclusion, millennials, young people, my friends and family of humanity, we need you!  Are you one of the few that can receive this message?  Are you one of the few that will come out of all that stupid pointless selfishness, and really serve in a noble, true cause?  Is that you?  Are you tired of all the selfishness?  Are you tired of all the depravity, sexuality, and corruption?  Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness?  Then it's you.  I hope you'll take up this cause. I hope it's you who will serve.  This mission is the real meaning of life.  It's a fact.  

The true mission may be overshadowed by selfish self interested ministries everywhere we look, but don't be deceived, the pure, true, real mission of the gospel, of the Christian faith, is of love, truth, holiness, humility, and selflessness; out of the limelight, but nestled in the constant light of God.  They call that grace.  And it's authentic.  Authenticity is like a rare wild flower along this journey of life.  Everyone has an angle, some product or service, and they want your money, your body, or your ideas to serve their own interests.  Jesus Christ wants you, all of you, mind, body, and soul to join him in this mission and to become a permanent part of the family of God.  And there is no other.  This is the truth.  Believe the truth.  Come out of the darkness, and into the light.  

I know you will, maybe today, or when the time is right.  Out of the selfishness, out of the lies, out of the false ideologies, out of the bogus philosophies, and out of the corruption of this world.  My brothers and sisters, the young, the misled, the broken, the fallen, the addicted, the lost, the starving, the confused, the empty... come this way!  Come the way of the cross.  This is a narrow road, a path that describes clearly the truth of this life.  It isn't easy, it takes real work, and that's what makes it worth it.  It offends some.  It troubles others.  It disturbs me, convicts me of areas in myself I'd rather not change!  But it's the truth.  It's real. That's why I love it.  It calls me out.  It defines existence.  It apposes the status quo of wealth, greed, and selfish ambition.  It's the meaning of life.  Come this way, to the cross.  In Jesus name, Amen. 

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