Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"This Ruins Everything!"

Last week's poll question was perhaps the surprise of the questionnaire to me. There were many thought provoking results, of which many I was suprised; but this question's results I thought I knew. I did not. In many ways this brought me to say, "This Ruins Everything!" The question given to independent Baptist Teens was:
My parents as teen agers were:
A: Separated and sold out for the Lord
B: Lost
C: Saved but worldly
D: Don't Know

My assumption was that the results would look something like: A: 50% B: 15% C: 30% D: 15%. It would be from that result that I would build my case that "the line of Seth" was being stopped; or as a certain man dressed in black would have put it, "The Circle was being broken." To my surprise the results were as follows:
A) Separated and Sold out for the Lord: 14%
B) Lost: 40%
C) Saved but worldly: 15%
D) Don't Know: 31%

Do you see that? The Godly line is not being broken, it was broken already. Of our young people today, 71% of their parents were either lost or have not shared their spiritual history with their children. Then it hit me...this is not just this generation's dilema, it has been a problem for all generations. Where is the answer? Come know the answer....where is the solution to our problem?....YES! I knew that you knew it...GOD'S WORD!
I believe the Lord warned His people of the potential to lose their young people from the very beginning...
In the garden of Eden in Genesis 2:16, "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou maest freely eat: but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:" As we all know, it was Eve whom the Devil tempted and it was Eve who "ate them out of house and home." But the Lord commanded Adam. Eve, according to Genesis 3:2&3, knew this command of God. She had been instructed by Adam. In Genesis 4 we have Cain and Abel. Cain "brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord." Abel "brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering." We read in Hebrews 11:4, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous..." Notice, Abel offered his offering by faith. Romans 10:17 reads, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Abel offered to God the correct offering, not by chance, but by faith. He had heard the Word of God. Where did he hear it? From his parents, Adam and Eve. Cain's offering was not accepted, because it was not of faith. He rejected the Word of the Lord which he had received from his parents. From the beginning, parents were to teach their young people of their spiritual heritage. Other verses:
Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
Deuteronomy 4:10

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Deuteronomy 6:7

And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Deuteronomy 11:19

Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Psalm 34:11

If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore
Psalm 132:12

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children
Titus 2:3-4

Repeatedly in Scripture there were memorials left by one generation to be a reminder of the next generation of their spiritual heritage such as when Israel crossed the Jordan river into the promised land in Joshua 4:
21And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?
Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.

It is evident that it is God's plan that we live our lives in the center of God's will and in accordance to the Word of God, and that we teach these things to our children. According to our survey, the typical independent Baptist teen ager's parents were either lost or have not shared anything spiritually speaking of their past. Now, I get a bad taste in my mouth everytime I hear someone glorify the "30 years I lived in sin, doping, drinking, and doing whatever I pleased" to our young people. I am glad God saved you from that..Amen!!! But don't glorify it to our young people. We too many times teach them the lesson that "You can go and do what you want and please your flesh and everything end up 'hunky dorey.'" If the Lord does lead you to share a testimony to them in this manner, please also share the scars you carry to this day because of those choices.
So if that is the reason for not sharing the past, then I agree for the most part, but still share with them that they can have a Goodly heritage.
I could go on much how we as parents should teach, live, and build Godly lives...perhaps Pastor Carr can do that.
My synopsis is this: Good news is that we weren't necessarily the generation to drop the ball; it's been going on for sometime now. Bad news is, it is still a major problem for us as parents today, if not worse. Imperative news is, we must start now not just instructing our teen, but also living in front of them how great and wonderful a life surrendered to the Lord is. May it be our challenge that our young people can stand and say to their children:
The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.
Psalm 16:6

The poll question this week is not found on the questionnaire, but is a question for you...the adult reader to help in research and thought in this matter. Thanks for your help.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ignorance is not Bliss

There is a simple, yet very powerful principle found in the Word of God and made evident throughout nature that we seem to either have forgotten or believed to not be relevant to our daily spiritual lives. We apply it to sports and business and we see successful people use it all the time. The world does not deny it, though they may word it a little differently. We have already touched on it by asking the question "Why?" The simple answer - we reap what we sow. The response to our survey regarding the number of services attended each week showed that the vast majority of our young people are in church for nearly all the services. It would seem then, that this principle has failed. If we are raising our children in church, and they are not remaining when they have "come to fruition", then the sowing and reaping principle is defunct. If that is the case, then what is the point? There would seem to be no reason to continue this discussion. Before we give up so quickly, however, let's stop and examine exactly what we have been sowing. On the surface, it would seem that we have done all we could do. There are so many avenues that we have gone down to try and help our youth. Note the following: youth groups, youth activities, youth camps, youth conferences, youth competitions, Christian schools are all out there in abundance and are all well and good, but they do not fill the void left when we ignore our Biblical responsibility. What responsibility is that?
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."
In other words, it begins in the home, not the church. The church will be no stronger than the homes that make it up, not the other way around. For several decades now, we have poured many resources into reaching the youth of our churches, and by doing so, we have placed the cart before the horse. Am I against all these things? No, but I am against promoting the idea that church is only fun and exciting when you're young and then when you grow up, you grow out of church. Oh, you may still go, but it's more in the role as an observer of the young and not as an active participant. As far as my limited knowledge and understanding can gather, it was the adults who led the way in the early New Testament church in being excited and enthusiastic and on fire, not the youth. Can the youth be excited? Can they be on fire? Yes, they can and should, but it sure is hard to be on fire when those that should be your example are as cold as ice.
What are we reaping, or rather, what have we reaped? To close, here is a quote by Wilbur M. Smith, a preacher from days gone by.
"The reason so many of our young men today are not embracing the Christian faith, have no fellowship with God, and know nothing of redemption in Jesus Christ, is not because they are so well-informed about the facts of the Christian faith, and find them impossible of acceptance, but because they are so ill-informed, or misinformed."
We can outgrow camps, and activities, etc., but we cannot outgrow the truth of God's Word. What are we reaping? Only that which we have sowed.
C. Lee Carr