Spiritually Restless

 

In the last few weeks we have been setting the stage for 2020 

We looked at how the Church will be changing so as to impact people’s lives

What God is doing in His Kingdom and with the Church Jesus is building

We looked at the role of prayer and the Holy Spirit

And some of the principles of powerful prayer from the life of Jesus

We looked at how we can’t be passive if we want to be a part of what God is doing

Passive in our personal lives nor passive spiritually 

And, in the midst of this I have mentioned the “spiritually restless”

THE SPIRITUALLY RESTLESS

1> People who are asking spiritual questions often without knowing they are spiritual questions

Searching for purpose in life – more than working for a living and living to work

They are wanting direction as to how or where to invest their lives

They are looking for answers to life questions 

Why do bad things happen to good people?

What is the basic purpose of life?

What will give meaning to this daily grind?

They hate routine!

They want to know why they exist 

They are looking for answers to life

They are wanting life to be an adventure

They want a purpose to invest in

They are looking for a challenge worth embracing

They are totally not interested in work for the sake of work

2> Dissatisfied with what they see in the world today (activists)

They are joining The Peace Core

They are part of Greenpeace

They are hugging trees, saving whales, demonstrating against the seal trade

They are on the streets wanting to be free of corrupt government

They are fighting against the status quo 

3> They are spiritually hungry 

Dissatisfied with religion and religious answers

They are asking basic questions about life

Interested in Jesus as a person but not in the Church

Open to the supernatural but not looking for it in the Church

Interested in spiritual things

Not interested in the Church as they see it as religion (control, manipulation)

4> They are hungry for more than what they see

Hungry for:

Reason

Purpose

Direction

Meaning

Answers

Adventure 

5> They are “The Connected Generation”

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Viber, WhatsAp, texts

They want relationships but don’t know how to develop deep and meaningful relationships so settle for surface “activity” related relationships

6> They can be any age but usually are part of the under 35 age group 

The last two groups listed below

Born between 1901 – 1926 GI Generation

Born before 1927 – 1945 – Silent Generation / Traditionalists

Born between 1946 – 1964 – Baby Boomers

Born between 1965-1980 – Generation X

Born between 1981-2000 – Millennials or Generation Y (Gen Y)

Born between 2001 – today – Gen Z, iGen, Centennials, Boomlets

7> Their perspective on life is totally different

Travel to see the world is very important 

Interested in connections with other people (networking)

Interested in helping other people but remaining at arms-length

Will change jobs as many as 30+ times

Not interested in the daily grind

Owning a house and staying in one place is of no interest to them

Entertainment and a good time is a high priority

Not interested in organized religion but are interested in spiritual and supernatural things

Values and morals are personal preferences – not determined by others 

8> They do not share the “old fashion” morals and values of the older generations

They are accepting of homosexual relationships

Sex before marriage is fine and normal

Sex with others during marriage – an open relationship – is acceptable

Drunkenness is not an issue

Drugs are part of every day normal life

Abortion is a birth control method

9> They have a deep interest in social justice and changing the world

Eradicating poverty

Ending the AIDs and Eboli epidemics

Being involved in issues with children (working age, child armies)

Fighting sex-trafficking

The “Me Too” Movement

10> The society they have formed and we now face is “Post-Christian”

No longer hold to the Bible as their moral compass

They do not see the Bible as their ‘absolute’ or ‘inspired’

Do not believe that Jesus is God 

Words like ‘sin,’ ‘repent,’ and ‘holiness’ have no meaning to them

All religions are the same

There is more than one way to Heaven

There is no hell 

With this as a backdrop we need to remember the words of Jesus 

Matthew 4:19 ““Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

The Passion Translation: “Come and follow me, and I will transform you into men who catch people for God.”

We need to understand that Jesus is strongly saying that as we follow Him He will be working in us making and molding us into “fishers of men”

That part of following Him is to become like Him

He came to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10) and so, to be like Him, we are to “go into all the world and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19)

Jesus is saying:

If in time you are not fishing – then you really are not following Him

Jesus told us:

“If you love Me, you will obey Me” (John 14:15)

This sharing the love of Jesus and touching lives with the Gospel is called, as you well know, The Great Commission

Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Often referred to as “The Great Omission” due to the Church neglecting it

Apparently it is thought of as an “option” and not a command

The Great Commission comes out of The Greatest Commandment and The Great Commandment

Matthew 22:37-38 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.

So, if we are not fishing, we are not following

And, if we are not telling others about Jesus it is a love issue and not an evangelism issue

We are commanded to ‘make disciples’ within the context of our rapidly changing world

To remember:

A church that does not evangelize – fossilizes (and dies)

And, a suggestion:

Don’t talk to people about God until you have spoken to God about people

In our new society there is a totally different approach to reaching the lost

At one time:

Believe – then Belong (church member)

In the last decade or maybe two

Believe – Belong – Become (like Jesus) – 

Current day – because of the present cultural and generational setting

Belong – Believe – Become – Behave – Build (the Kingdom)

Many decades ago I was in Southern Texas at a conference for Church leaders

It was one of those events that impacted my life in so many ways

Because of its impact it is still a very vivid memory 

And many lessons learned there and then are still actively part of my life today

The Church hosting the conference was well known in the city of 2.5 million

Everywhere you went – day or night – people would talk to you about this Church and the pastor who led it … 

They would “witness” to you about how Jesus changed their lives

One of the key slogans of the Church – one that they lived out daily

“Each One – Reach One”

That is the call on every disciple of Jesus still today!

How do we do that in the Post-Christian society in which God has seen pleased to place us?

1> Live life differently than the non-believers

Nothing to do with clothing or hair style / tattoos or piercings

This is not the “holiness code” of many religious denominations

This has everything to do with:

Having time to talk (listen) to people and this showing that we care

Being accepting of people regardless of what they believe or don’t believe

Loving people in a way that they can receive that love and maintain integrity

Having an attitude different than the normal one we experience out there

Expressing your values and morals in a loving and non-judgmental way

Avoiding the “no, no’s” of Scripture but not adding your own preferences 

Drunkenness, fornication, adultery…

Allowing others to be themselves – not expecting Christian behaviour from non-Christians

And being real, transparent, and even vulnerable within your relationships with non-believers

2> Build quality relationships with people

This means learning to listen – really listen 

Hearing what they are saying and receive it

Listen for the heart not just the words

Learn to read between the lines

This means learning to accept people as they are

Not judgmental (watch your body language)

Not critical

This means you don’t fight the current life-style of the day

Divorce

Homosexuality

Abortion

Smoking

Drunkenness

Dress code

Language

3> Learn how to navigate the Post-Christian society in which  you live

Don’t preach at them

Don’t push your beliefs and values on them – wait for them to ask

Build a relationship with them as real people and not “souls to be won”

Be real – open – transparent – and non-religious 

Didn’t say, don’t be spiritual

They don’t have issues with “spiritual;”

They have issues with “religion”

Understand they are part of as post-Christian society and so the Bible is not a reference point for them – not a guide that they follow

You can talk about “principles” that are biblical but talk about them as “principles” and not biblical truths

You will never argue someone into the Kingdom

Once you know them and understand them – wait for them to open a door – and they will

4> Get to really know your Bible – all of it, especially the New Testament – focus on Jesus

There are ten basic questions the Millennials, Gen Z, iGen, and Centennials are asking and the Christian faith has the answers to all of those questions 

1> Can we trust the Bible? – Doctrine of Scripture 

2> Does God really exist? – Doctrine of God 

3> Whose world is it anyways? – Doctrine of Creation 

4> What is God like? – Doctrine of the Trinity 

5> Is my future fixed and predetermined (fate)? – Doctrine of Predestination 

6> Why do human beings suffer? – Doctrine of Evil 

7> What’s so different about Jesus? – Doctrine of Christ 

8> Why was the cross necessary? – Doctrine of Salvation 

9> Why do I need the Holy Spirit? – Doctrine of Supernatural Power 

10> Where is the world heading? – Doctrine of Eschatology (of the end times) 

These are the basic foundational teachings of the Christian faith

Practicals:

Know the Bible well – especially the Gospels – especially Jesus

Don’t quote it – just talk it

Leave out all religious language and terms – learn to express truth without words that no longer hold any meaning

Know answers to the basic questions – simple answers spoken in a non-theological, non-‘I know it all’ way

Use normal language and a normal tone of voice

Know the “fish” you are fishing for

Handout:

The Six Living Generations in North America