10 February, 2014

Call Me Old, But...

A couple of days ago I was paying my bill at a restaurant and a friend walked up behind me and said to the cashier, "Give him the seniors discount. The young lady said, "I'm afraid he is not old enough for me to give him the discount. I thanked her, and then told her that I would be old enough next week. She laughed at me. I told her I was serious, that I'd be 55 next week, but she only laughed. For a moment, I felt kind of good that (at least to this young lady) I did not look 55, but the fact of the matter remains, I will turn 55 this Friday. It suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks... I'm a senior citizen! Despite all my best efforts to remain young and not to act "old", the fact of the matter is, I'm getting old.

I've noticed something recently. It seems that the older I get, the more I look and wonder just what has happened to the younger generations. I know... all old folks do that. But I find myself in absolute amazement at how the "now" generation has its own set of morals and values and to me, they have by and large lost their minds and their moral souls. What was black and white to my generation is lost somewhere in an ever-widening grey zone for the current generation. Some might argue that it's always been that way, but I would argue that what we are seeing today is vastly different. To this generation, there are very few absolutes. They have a rationale or justification for anything and everything they do or do not do. But I don't sit in judgment of them... I sit in judgment of my own generation, because we led them down this path and our generation of "if it feels good, do it" minded people have now created a generation that has fully embraced a lifestyle that we experimented with and rejected.  Even  many of those who call themselves "Christian" and profess to be followers of Christ deny the authority of God's Word and justify a loose, free-spirited and immoral lifestyle by proclaiming "GRACE!"  Grace does not give us a reason to live loose, fast and free to do as we please. Grace should empower us to become better as we refuse to be conformed to the mold of this world, but are transformed by the renewing of our minds. 
But I don't blame this generation... I blame my own. We are responsible for this mess and we must do our best to right the ship while there is still time.

As a pastor I want to lead my people into new pastures, to feed them fresh food, to be cutting edge while walking and living in present truth. I want to be a be a part of what God is saying and doing right now. And this is where I wonder most, because as much as I love and embrace new music, new methods, new mannerisms, I also believe that the Gospel is simple, that Jesus is source of life, that the Word of God has the answers to all of life's questions... and that Word has not changed! I believe that the Holy Spirit is able and desires to direct and empower us to live a life of holiness. I'm not talking about hair piled high and dresses that touch the  ankle.  I'm talking about purity of heart which changes the way we live and act. I believe that the church can and must remain relevant in an ever changing society... but I also believe we must do this while never compromising the Biblical standard of holiness.  I fear we (the church) have feared looking out dated so much that we've made compromises that have muddied the waters.  We live in an age where there are no absolutes and we've effectively presented a false gospel that would look appealing to a changing society. All that we've done is to make complicated the simple truth that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and that there is no other means to the Father except my Jesus and his blood stained cross.

 Yes... I'm getting older, but all that age has done is to cause me to take a serious look at the failure of the church at large and to ask some tough questions. What does it mean if you had a youth group of 30 or more teens if now that they are older they are no longer serving the Lord? We failed them with our entertainment and group activities because we somehow neglected to teach them what it meant to surrender their life to Christ.  What does it mean to have had massive kids church programs if now that those children are teens they have stopped being involved in church because the entertainment and parties stopped and they are too "bored" with church. We failed them.  I fear we taught a generation to "rock out with Jesus" but never really taught them what it meant to serve that God that they raised their hands to in their youth services.
Call me old, but I think maybe we need to get back to the basics of life and teach the simple message that the world is lost without Jesus.

No comments: