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Geoffrey Chaucer an English poet wrote, ‘Time and tide waits for no Man’. In other words, people cannot stop the passing of time and should not delay doing things. Those who have dawdled in saying goodbye to the year 2016 are way behind schedule. Happy New Year still lingers on their lips, while others have already hit the road running. They have far out-paced those still placing Christmas decorations into their garages and those dear, slow poke neighbors who have left glistening, hanging Christmas lights from their houses roofs. Perhaps by February those people might climb the ladder to accomplish the task?
The truth is we live in a fast pace, innovative, technical generation that often flies by the seat of their pants. Other brilliant young ones among us have already set goals and fully mapped out this New Year. They not only take opportunities they make them. Our youth have embraced an ever changing tech world of home Wi-Fi Systems, new laptops, tablets, wearable tech, drones, computer phones, virtual reality gear and look forward to perfected self -driving cars. These quick thinkers are blazing a trail for the future that is hard for the older generation to keep up with. The challenges of learning all this new technology must be grasped or those unfamiliar with the new concepts and devices will be left behind in a techno trail of dust.
The Church has its challenges too. They must prayerfully consider how to reach this high-tech, often distracted generation. These restless millennials have real issues concentrating and are far more likely to follow a sermon from their phone or lap tops than to bring a Bible to church. Certainly they love to be entertained, and some pastors have gone to extreme lengths to hold the attention of today’s congregations by doing away with the traditional pulpit for a walking treadmill!? But is that really the way to capture the hearts of our young people––umm, hardly.
I firmly believe the Word of God need not be presented in a fashion where the preacher needs to jump through hoops, or use any kind of bells or whistles so to speak. After all, the Scriptures are described as: <em>…living, powerful, and sharper than any two edge sword</em> (Hebrews 4:12).
What we do need is a fresh new move of the Holy Spirit creating a fire for the future, where the Holy Spirit reignites this new generation with God’s power. It has been said that everyone likes to see a fire burn––its glow and warmth draws onlookers. A fire emits light and its sparks ignite dry grass, parched foliage and dead trees into uncontrolled blazes.
Remember the fiery bush that attracted Moses? The Lord spoke to this previous prince of Egypt from amid its flames without the bush even burning. Moses was called to a Holy ground; chosen by God to deliver His people (Exodus 3:2-4). God is an all-consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). Jesus is the Word (John 1:1); the Word should burn in our hearts like a fire. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the disillusioned disciples walked on the road to Emmaus without realizing the Lord had drawn near to them (Luke 24:13-16). Once their eyes were open to the fact that they had been with the Lord they said to each other: <em>“Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”</> (Luke 24:32). Later, as Jesus’ disciples gathered in an upper room on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came and sat as if cloves of fire upon the heads of the disciples (Acts 2:1-4). The disciples were empowered to live the Christian life and become a bold witness of the Gospel as they unashamedly shared their faith (Acts 1:8).
We need make no New Year’s resolutions to the Lord that for the most part, will be broken in the weeks to come. We need only ask for God’s power to live the Christian life each and every day. Begin this year by taking an examination of your heart to see if the flames of God’s fire in your life are going out. Is your heart growing stone cold? Or are the ambers of your spiritual life barley emitting a light?
If you cannot tell then take a look at the evidence. Is your life contagious? Are people attracted by the warmth of your Christian character (Galatians 5:22-25), that emits God’s love, joy and peace? Do people come around you because they desire what you have? As you read the Scriptures, does God’s Word still burn in your heart? Or has the Scriptures become a chore to read and you feel bored? Is there a fire––a burning in your heart to serve the Lord? Have you a driving passion to share with others the Gospel? Do you still have urgency in your heart to see the lost saved? Jude 1:23, tells us, they need to be pulled out of the very fires of hell!
If you find yourself in a place where you need a renewed fire for the future––especially for this New Year ahead, ask the Lord by His Holy Spirit to fan the fading flames. As your life reignites your fire will attract others to Christ. God can make your faith contagious. It will spread and influence the lost who need to experience a spiritually reality––Jesus Christ and His love for them (John 3:16). We have a generation that needs to be rescued from their fictional, empty fantasy world where they escape into, on their computers, at the end of their school or work day.
<p><em>The reality of God’s power burning in your life is what is necessary to attract this distracted generation.</em><p>
C. Wren