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Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church: A Response to Rachel Held Evans

August 1, 2013 1 comment

Here is an excellent article from Trevin Wax that struck a chord in my heart. I added some emphasis below where I found are some real gems in his text. I want to quote one gem here: regarding Jesus, Trevin says that he sees “…a King who didn’t hold back anything from His people, and who expects His people to hold back nothing from Him…” See earlier post in my WordPress site, or click here for help in holding nothing back from our Lord and Savior: https://willemdax.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/seven-ways-to-pray-for-your-heart/

by Trevin Wax published Aug 1, 2013 on TheGospelCoalition.org

In a recent column for CNN, Rachel Held Evans offers some thoughts on “why millennials are leaving the church.” Her post struck a chord with readers. She is addressing a perennial topic of conversation among church leaders and church goers: what will happen to the next generation.

Like Rachel, I’m 32 – right on the border of the millennials, and many of the questions and doubts I hear from the millennial generation resonate with me too. But my analysis differs somewhat from Rachel’s.

Rachel’s Analysis

Rachel thinks millennials are leaving the church due to the perception that evangelicals are

“… too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice and hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

She’s right to decry a vision of Christianity that reduces repentance to a list of do’s and don’ts. I too have noticed that many millennials desire to be involved in mercy ministry and support justice causes. And I couldn’t agree more when she says “we want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.”

The Church’s Response

How has the church responded? Rachel sees church leaders trying to update their music or preaching style, and thereby running up against the “highly sensitive BS meters” we millennials have. We’re not fooled by consumerism or performances when churches cater to what they think we want.

Rachel writes:

“What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.”

I agree with that sentence for the most part, although I would tweak the last line to say “What millennials really want from the church is substance.” Not a change in substance, necessarily, just substance will do.

Too often, our churches have offered a sanitized, spiritualized version of self-help therapy, and Jesus has been missing. And that’s the problem. Like every generation, she says, “deep down we long for Jesus.”

Here’s where Rachel and I part ways – on what communities following Jesus look like in our culture.

The Biblical Jesus

When I read the Gospels, I’m confronted by a Jesus who explodes our categories of righteousness and sin, repentance and forgiveness, and power and purity.

I meet a Jesus who doesn’t do away with the Law of the Old Testament, but ramps up the demands in order to lead us to Himself – the One who calls us to life-altering repentance and faith.

I see a King who makes utterly exclusive claims, and doesn’t seem to care who is offended.

I see a King who didn’t hold back anything from His people, and who expects His people to hold back nothing from Him.

Is the Church Obsessed with Sex, or is it the Culture?

Following Jesus leaves no part of our life unchanged.

That’s why it strikes me as odd that Rachel sees “obsession with sex” as one of the biggest obstacles for contemporary Christianity to overcome. I visit lots of churches, and I find that sexuality is not a frequently discussed subject from most church platforms or Bible studies. In fact, one could make the case that Christians haven’t talked enough about Jesus’ radical zealousness when it comes to sexuality. The fact that cohabitation, premarital sex and pornography are often overlooked among our congregations betrays the vision of sexuality Jesus put forward – a vision of the sacredness of a man and woman’s covenant for life, one that excludes even lustful thoughts from God’s design.

When it comes to sexual obsession, we ought to take a look at pop culture. One can hardly watch a TV show or a popular movie without being assaulted with sexual innuendos, crude jokes, or overt displays of all kinds of sexuality. Pastors and church leaders go on news talk shows and are badgered about their views of sexuality, as if nothing else matters but that the church join in and celebrate our culture’s embrace of Aphrodite in all her warped splendor.

Challenged to Holiness

Rachel says millennials want to be “challenged to holiness,” but the challenge she appears to be advocating is one on our own terms and according to our own preferences. That’s why I find it ironic that she decries the catering churches that alert our “BS meters,” while simultaneously telling church leaders they should do a better job catering to our generation’s whims and wishes. (She has since clarified this as not a list of demands, but desires and dreams.)

Truth be told, I don’t want a church that serves my preferences. I want a church that gives me Jesus and makes me want to serve His

Counting the Cost

One sign of Jesus’ Spirit is He convicts the world of sin (John 16:8). The sign of the spirit of this age is that the world is coddled instead of convicted. And those who marry the spirit of this age will always be widowed in the next.

Perhaps that’s why millennials have left the churches that most resemble the type of community described by Rachel at rates far greater than evangelical churches. When the counter-cultural message of Jesus is softened or tweaked, or the raging idols of this age (such as money, sex, and power) are overlooked or ignored, the cost of Christianity disappears. Christianity without a cost is Christianity without the cross. And Christianity without the cross isn’t Christianity at all.

What Kind of Millennial Christian Will We Be?

Some millennials, like many from generations before us, want the church to become a mirror – a reflection of our particular preferences, desires, and dreams. But other millennials want a Christianity that shapes and changes our preferences, desires, and dreams.

We’re eager to pass the gospel on to the next generation, to live in ways that call into question the idolatries of our age, to stand in a long line of believers who have been out of the mainstream, constantly maligned and misrepresented, but who love Jesus, love people, and aren’t afraid to call everyone to repentance.

That’s a Christianity this millennial believes is worth dying for, but also one that’s worth living out in a local church with other believers from all generations.

[see original article at TheGospelCoalition.org]

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SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER!! —“I don’t know where we left our brains…?!”

February 12, 2013 Leave a comment

My friends, this is really important!! Maybe you have already heard about Dr. Ben Carlson and his amazing and courageous speech in front of President Obama at the Prayer Breakfast last Friday. This event has made many headlines. But whether you have or have not heard about this, it still bears repeating many times.

As you may know, according to my political views—well you know my political views if you have perused this blog at all—I am very partisan; I definitely feel that those that are currently in power in our nation, and their ilk, and there ideas are currently the reasons for the bulk of the problems with our nation today. But, stay with me now, Dr. Carson, WITHOUT BEING particularly PARTISAN has really spoken TRUTH at this Prayer Breakfast please see these videos below.

I know this one above is almost a half an hour. If you are pressed for time at this moment start at 17:50, but be sure to come back later. Near the beginning Dr. Carson talks very succinctly about the problems with Political Correctness. So you will have missed that if you are in a hurry and take my advice. But I really feel that the essence of his message starts at 17:50. Also just like Eric Metaxas did last year Dr. Carson appropriately mixes humor throughout his speech. (see my post about Eric Metaxas by clicking here)

This man, Dr Ben Carson has an amazing story. Cuba Gooding Jr. played Dr. Ben Carson in a movie detailing his remarkable life story, click here for that movie. Below is a picture of him receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2008. This is the highest civilian award in the United States. 

Below is another must see video 🙂 which is an interview where he talks about why he felt led to give that speech at the Prayer Breakfast. My hope is that you will watch this video as well as the one above in its entirety. Also my hope is that you will feel compelled to share this post with others.

Let’s get our brains back on people…

Dr. Carson’s book AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL: http://www.amazon.com/America-Beautiful-Rediscovering-Nation-Great/dp/0310330912/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360280297&sr=8-1&keywords=america+the+beautiful

STORY OF HIS LIFE, GIFTED HANDS:Story of his life:http://www.amazon.com/Gifted-Hands-20th-Anniversary-Edition/dp/0310332907/ref=sr_1_sc_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1360281124&sr=8-2-spell&keywords=giftted+hands

MOVIE OF HIS LIFE: http://www.amazon.com/Gifted-Hands-Cuba-Gooding-Jr/dp/B002D755AI/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360281124&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=giftted+hands

Trailer for the Story of Dr. Ben Carson’s life:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CARsXc5XFmk

Carson Scholarship Fund: http://carsonscholars.org/

“If I Were the Devil” by Paul Harvey …Good Day!

February 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Paul Harvey 1918-2099

After that great Paul Harvey Ad, “God Made a Farmer” I was thinking about how much I loved his radio spots. May God rest his soul. One particular radio spot comes to mind that was first broadcast in 1965. I was only 5 then, but I have heard it severl times later. And it is more relevant today, I think, then it was back then. Paul Harvey was being most prophetic when he broadcast this. Click here for that video, and scroll near the bottom of that page for the actual video

Click on the image below for the great 2013 Super Bowl Ad, “God Made a Farmer”

God Made a Farmer

Good Summary of Differences Between Progressive Liberals and Conservatives

January 22, 2013 Leave a comment

Which Side of the Fence?

If you ever wondered which side of the fence you sit on, this is a great test!

If a Republican doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t buy one.
If a Democrat doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat.
If a Democrat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a Republican is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a Democrat is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a Republican is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A Democrat wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a Republican doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Democrats demand that those they don’t like be shut down.

If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church.
A Democrat non-believer wants any and all mention of God and religion silenced.

If a Republican decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it..
A Democrat demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a Republican reads this, he’ll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.
A Democrat will delete it because he’s “offended”.

You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…

January 22, 2013 1 comment

You know your Country is run by Idiots if...You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
You can get arrested for expired tags on your car but not for being in the country illegally.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
You have to have your parents signature to go on a school field trip but not to get an abortion.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
An 80 year old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a Muslim woman in a burka is only subject to having her neck and head searched.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
Your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more of our money.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
A seven year old boy can be thrown out of school for calling his teacher “cute” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
The Supreme Court of the United States can rule that lower courts cannot display the 10 Commandments in their courtroom, while sitting in front of a display of the 10 Commandments.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
Children are forcibly removed from parents who appropriately discipline them while children of “underprivileged” drug addicts are left to rot in filth infested cesspools of a “home”.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
Hard work and success are rewarded with higher taxes and government intrusion, while some slothful, lazy behavior is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing, and free cell phones.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
The government’s plan for getting people back to work is to provide 99 weeks of unemployment checks (to not work).
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
Being self-sufficient is considered a threat to the government.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
Politicians think that stripping away the amendments to the constitution is really protecting the rights of the people.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
The rights of the Government come before the rights of the individual.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
You pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big screen TV while your neighbor defaults on his mortgage (while buying iPhones, TV’s and new cars) and the government forgives his debt and reduces his mortgage (with your tax dollars).
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
Being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you “safe”.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
You can write a post like this just by reading the news headlines.

UPDATE: More from TheBlaze.com

 If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor or check out a library book, but not to vote on who runs the government, you live in a country run by idiots.

 If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy leaders in Egypt, you live in a country run by idiots.

 If, in the largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not a 24-ounce soda because 24 ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat, you live in a country run by idiots.

The Slipperiest Slope of All-Time Part II: Here Comes Pedophilia, Just as Predicted

January 14, 2013 1 comment

This is continuation of my earlier post. I recommend reading that one too. CLICK HERE.

Just like in Part One, this post is basically sharing another couple of articles that I found on the web. I find it very disturbing that not very many people seem to be picking up on this slippery slope that we seem to find ourselves on, as a society. Or maybe more and more people are, but just keeping fairly silent about it.

Anyway the article, by Andrew Kirell that I wanted to share is here from mediaite.com. CLICK HERE.

Similarly another article by Dustin Koellhoffer with the examiner.com. CLICK HERE.

Image from examiner.com article

Image from examiner.com article

Anyway this time. unlike in Part One I don’t really have anything to add other than the fact that my gag reflex is really working overtime again. And I am really hoping more and more people will wake up and realize we need to get off this slippery slope and return to more traditional values and even more traditional relationships. At least can we agree to stop trying to normalize behaviors that should not be accepted as normal or as just another “alternative.”

“Lord, make me popular.”

November 20, 2012 Leave a comment

by Phil Vischer
November 18, 2012

I listened this morning to a TV sermon from a popular TV preacher.

“Sermon” may be the wrong term. It was a motivational talk about the power of positive thinking. It could have been given by Mary Lou Retton to a ballroom full of industrial lubricant salespeople. There were biblical references, but they were for the purpose of illustration, not exposition. Christ had nothing to do with the message. Positive life change comes from replacing negative messages with positive ones. The preacher inadvertently almost quoted exactly Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live – “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough…”

It was a helpful message. People applauded. They were encouraged. What it wasn’t, was Christian. It wasn’t Christianity. Life change in Christianity doesn’t come from positive thinking. It doesn’t come from thinking more highly of yourself. Or replacing negative messages with positive ones. It comes from dying to yourself and being reborn in Christ. A new creation.

Here’s a thought:

Christian mass communicators often resort to self-help motivation over actual Christian teaching because it is easier to communicate, and, in fact, it gets results. People’s lives ARE improved – on a mass scale. There wouldn’t be a self-help industry if self-help didn’t work. There wouldn’t be an Oprah if self-help didn’t work.

The problem is, what they’re teaching isn’t Christianity. Even when sprinkled liberally with Bible references. Christianity starts with dying to one’s self, not thinking more positive thoughts about one’s self. But that’s harder to teach through mass media. It is not a particularly appealing message. It’s countercultural. And it doesn’t initially sound like what we want. We want to achieve our dreams – not die to them. Not give them up. We want to “increase,” not “decrease.” We don’t actually want to follow Jesus. We want Jesus to follow us – to pick up after us – clean up our messes with his Jesus superpowers.

…read more…

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