As much as we’d like to shout out the cold hard “truth” and tell mean people how terrible they are, we have to ask ourselves, “Do I want to improve things, or just yell my angry guts out for spite?” (Sure, sometimes you just want to choose the second option.) But let’s say we do want to help our friend, family member, spouse, whoever understand better. Here’s what we do…
I was troubled to learn about a survey study in 2015 showing that “kids raised in religious homes were less generous and kind than those raised in non-religious homes.” They “tended to be more judgmental, less altruistic, and more punitive than kids raised without religion.” Yikes!
One of the more popular laments these days is that the country/culture/society/people just aren’t as good as they used to be. There’s usually a line like, “People these days just don’t ________ like they used to.” One example among Christians is, “People don’t go to church like they used to.” Whether you think the way society has changed is good or bad, what isn’t debatable is that church attendance in America has indeed been declining drastically since the ’90s. Should that bother us? And if so, how?
What does the Bible say about immigrants? A lot, actually. So it begs the question: Since there are people who have settled in our community/country, do we treat them like the Bible says to treat them? And if so, what is that like?
Church shouldn’t be boring. Worship shouldn’t be boring. It’s intended to help people connect and communicate with the Creator of the universe. So if anything, it should be the complete opposite of boring. But first, we need to make sure our faith isn’t boring either.
As a kid, I was overwhelmed with curiosity about what Christmas presents I would get. For gifts that were wrapped under the tree early, I examined them like a CSI forensics expert examines a body for clues. Now, though, I don’t need anymore toys. But I do need socks and undershirts, so I actually welcome gifts of clothes. However, when money is spent on me, I don’t want it to go to mean, jerky people. So what’s a gift-giver to do?
The Bible verse Obadiah 1:17 can be translated by saying that one day, when God makes all things new, God’s followers will “possess their possessions.” That might sound repetitive, but in actuality, does it ever feel like your possessions own you instead the other way around? They call to you, tempting you to buy them; then you have take care of them, fix them when they break, and give them your attention. But do they make you happy forever, or do they eventually leave you unfulfilled?
Last month we started thinking about why there has been a decline in American church attendance the last few decades. In the sermon last Sunday, we heard the words of Jesus–“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” (Luke 10:2)–and we applied it to our society today: people are different now, so it’s like there’s a different kind of crop that needs harvesting. This new crop requires different harvesting methods, which the church hasn’t really learned yet.
We all know that we should help people who are in need. It was a very important thing to do for God-followers in both the Old and New Testaments. So, if we want to be real God-followers today, we should help people in need too… but how exactly? Good question.
One young adult Christian laments, “The most frustrating part of being a Millennial is that my church does not understand me.” Yikes! Is it even possible to understand them? (Hint: Yes! And we’re in a good position to do it.)
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