Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Brainwashed Society

I admit it, I grew up enjoying the "sci-fi" world. My dad was a huge fan of "Twilight Zone," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," and "Star Treck," "Buck Rogers," and the like. So believe me, I saw my share of brain washing...and oddly enough received some of it through it.
The world has brainwashed us as Christians so much in the area of young people. I have even heard in our churches "Teen agers are social creatures and we must provide for that." Well....not really. Their flesh may desire to be social creatures, but that is just a product of the world's philosophy and practice. As a youth pastor and now pastor, I could not tell you the myriads of parents who have come to me upset because, "My child has no friends!" Good people have left Biblically sound churches because 'Timmy had not friends.' I am not sure who the biggest baby is in those cases!
Please show me in Scripture where the Lord commands that young people need friends of thier peers. Please show me where it is suggested they have friends of thier peers. Hinted at? O.k., then show me where young people are warned about having wrong type of friends:
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
I Cor. 15:33

We have been brainwashed...children must go to school and sit with 25 other children their age; there they will be educated....true, but not the education they need.
We have been brainwashed...We must have a teen class and teen activities so that our children can be social and kept out of trouble...youth pastors please stand whose teens are in no trouble.
We have been brainwashed...More activities in church will keep them from the world....well if that was working the last two months of our studies would have been rather pointless.
Fact is, Scripture teaches that our young people need to listen to Dad and Mom. Our young people need to get counsel from Dad and Mom, to find refuge in Dad and Mom, to laugh with Dad and Mom, to fellowship with Dad and Mom. Scripture teaches this:
My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Proverbs 1:8-16

Fact is we have followed the world's advice in segregating people into groups of their own peers, and as a result are losing them to the world. Our seventh question on our questionnaire reads:
If I could create a perfect day, I would spend it with my:
A: Friends...50%
B: Boyfriend/Girlfriend...12%
C: Parents...26%
D: Youth Pastor...12%

Friends, friends, friends. Typical Tommy spends his day 8 hours at school with their friends, 1 hour on phone with friends, 2 hours on line with friends, 1 hour texting friends, 2 hours hanging out with friends, 3 hours watching t.v. or playing his XBOX, (so he will have something to talk to his friends about, 10 minutes eating with parents, and the rest of it in his room avoiding awkward conversation with his parents and maybe sleeping a few hours before we do it again.
He has Myspace, facebook, cell phone, unlimited texting, and now on-line gaming (friends don't even need to come over to play the game now); and may God forbid if mom were to try to interrupt any of it by knocking on the door!
Friends! Nearly 3/4-75% of our children, if they could have a perfect day, would spend it with friends. Parents did get 1/4 of the votes. And the youth pastor checked in with 12%.
What does the Bible instruct? Parents get the hearts of your young people by doing the same three things Absalom did in getting the hearts of Israel-Talk to them, listen to them, and touch them and embrace them. Sad part it, those three things strikes fear into the hearts of most parents and their children.
Many think that their young people NEED a support group to do right. I agree. It's called the family and their church. We do not need a youth activity ever week. We do not need a "teen section" in church where all the teens sit. We do not need "Teen church" because the young people are bored in the auditorium. We need parents who love and embrace their children, pastors who preach the truth, and homes that serve our Lord together.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Be a role player

In any sport, the teams that succeed are the ones where everyone knows their role and fulfills it to the best of their ability. In my high school years, my focus in sports was basketball, and since I lived in rural Iowa which had no professional sports I had my choice as to whom I would root for. The only sport that I cared to watch at that time was professional basketball, and that being the 90's era, there can be little doubt as to who I cheered for - that's right, the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, and yes, I jumped off that band wagon long ago. The reason I mention this, is for all of Michael Jordan's greatness, the Bulls were never much of a threat for the title until they had all the right players filling all the right roles. In the family arena, God has set out the roles for each "player' and the responsibility of those roles. What happens on a team when one player decides he doesn't like his role, or that he prefers another role? Confusion and chaos rule. I know for a fact that there were players on those Bulls teams who were not happy with their role; yet they succeeded anyway. How? They learned to sacrifice their pride and wills and understand the bigger goal. Let's look then at our modern society and especially our young people. What is it that you might say seems an apt word to describe them? How about confused? Father's have stopped leading, mother's have ceased nurturing, and the children wander the streets trying to find out what's what on their own. Our daughter's have lost all self-respect and sold themselves cheap in the name of liberty. Our sons lash out and get in trouble trying to prove themselves men, or worse, give up trying to be men and go the other direction. So how to solve the problem? Simple - men, get off the couch, turn off the t.v., stop working needless overtime, go home and lead your families. Stop taking your parenting advice from Oprah, Dr. Phil, or anybody else in Hollywood who claims to be an expert, pick up your Bible, read, and then lead. Yes, it falls on the man to take the responsibility. Why? God said so. Sound too simple? It is simple, but don't mistake simple for easy. Is it worth it? Well, what's the alternative? God said in Malachi
4:6, "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." Notice who will turn first; it is not the children's responsibility to lead, not even the mother's, but the father's. Will we act before it's too late. Can we not see already in our society the effects of this curse amid the chaos of broken homes and damaged lives? God is looking for men to stand in the gap. Will you?
C. Lee Carr