Our Lost Generation

    They are sitting in empty seats next to us on the bus and in our classrooms. They are brides never given away and husbands never found. They are singers who never sang there songs,and runners who never ran their race. These are the spaces left open in our hearts. They are our lost generation. On spite of all the dollars we have heaped up and all the technology and entertainment there is a question that we will never find the answer for. Where in all of God’s universe can we go to tell them that they should have been here with us. They should have shared together the tears and the triumphs, the struggles and the hopes which make up the many moments of our lives.

    When the declaration of Independence was written it recognizes three basic rights which God has given. The first is Life and the last is the Pursuit of happiness; we are the generation that has reversed that order. We have demanded our happiness and forgotten the value of life. Life is something we can take away but never give back. Life is a treasure in a fragile jar.

    Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, “Truly I say to you as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” 

Here in America we will one day be responsible and have to answer for how we have treated the most vulnerable and the weakest little ones. How we have valued others will one day be the measure by which God will value us. Jesus never asks us to give more than we have but he does ask us to do the best that we can to protect, to comfort and to cherish the least of these. Though there is a generation that will be lost to us forever, they are all found by God and are cherished by Him…

Worshiping or Grumbling?

James 5:9 Don’t grumble about each other brothers and sisters or you will be judged – For look, the judge is standing at the door!

    Did you ever catch yourself turning in a bad report card to God about your brother or sister’s behavior? Sometimes it might not even involve us. We say under our breath…just look at what they are getting away with, as if God has not noticed. We are not at all satisfied that they are getting the sort of consequences that we feel they deserve. But the longer we spend running to tattle-tale on others the less and less we will be able to worship.
Worship is in fact the exact opposite of grumbling. When we grumble and complain about someone to God we will find that our focus is fixed on them. But to worship God we must let go of everything else and give our complete attention to him. Then looking only at Jesus He draws us closer and closer to Him.

    Our spiritual enemy is always working to get our attention away from God. He is himself engaged in pointing out our failures and sins to God. He can never bring himself to fall down in worship, so let’s not follow his example or help him do his job. When we begin to forgive others we are putting Christ at center stage. His mercy puts the spotlight where it belongs: on Jesus. Though our forgiveness is only a pale reflection of His it allows us to be filled with his joy. Our hearts are then light again and we find that we are free again to worship in Spirit and in Truth.

First Love

In Revelation chapter two Jesus speaks to His church in Ephesus and begins by listing all the great things about them. They have been faithful, worked hard, held up under persecution and even stayed away from some false teachers. Sounds to most of us like the best church in town! But Jesus then brings up the burden of His heart; they have left their first love for Him.
While it might seem to some that our Lord is just being too hard on them, lets put the relationship into another light. The Bible tells us in several places that the church is the bride of Jesus Christ. He is our bridegroom, waiting at the altar in heaven, with His eyes focused on us. He has loved us and given us his very own life so we can live with Him forever. In His heart is a longing to be with His bride but we He looks down He sees something changing in her heart. That heart that once longed to run to His presence and just spend unmeasured time in His presence is now very busy. She still thinks from time to time of Jesus, but she is also quite involved in a lot of other things. Everything seems so important that soon her schedule is so full that there are only a few moments left for Jesus.
Then He looks and sees His people not only too busy for Him, but also too busy to bother much about telling others about their need for Him. They are holding on so tightly to His love and mercy that it seems very difficult to share it with anyone else! How His heart is longing to see us again totally living for him. What will it take for us to go back to our first love? Will it be just a season of tears at the altar? How will we ever return to where we once were? Jesus tells us so clearly! He does not say; “Feel really bad and cry and pray.” He does not add, “Give some more money to the church.” He doesn’t even say, “Go out and start feeding folks at the soup kitchen.” In fact all of these things are fine, but they are only a pale substitute for the “First Love” that Jesus has in mind. Jesus says, just start by doing the things you did at the beginning. Did we used to ask forgiveness of people we have hurt? Lets do that again. Did we once call our friends and family and tell them how Jesus has changed our lives? Lets try again, and not just give up. Have we taken some risks to get out and talk to others we come across in our daily lives about their need for him? Lets get back to work!
Jesus didn’t say to wait for an impulse, a tear or a “leading”, Jesus meant lets roll up our sleeves and return to the simple things we once did. We all know what those first things are and for each of us it will be something different. That is what is so amazingly clear about our Lord’s command. I do not need to do what you once did, or discover some hidden purpose in God’s mysterious plan. I just need to remember what I once did and then turn around and begin to do it again! How there is such clarity when we know God’s will and then there is that amazing peace as we begin to do it fully again!