I’ve read statements from unbelievers that think Christians are weak. That believing in God is a sign of weakness. That is so very far from the truth. This line I read today from The Valley of Vision struck me so profoundly:
“Strengthen me that I may cling to Thee and not let Thee go.”
Think about that. It takes strength to hang on. Physically speaking, if I had to hang on to a building or a mountainside or even the monkey bars, I would not make it. My arms are like jelly. (Unlike my granddaughter who has muscles I don’t even dream of). Thank God I have not been left stranded in that way.
But, spiritually speaking, I have felt helpless and sidelined. I could not have held onto God on my own, but He strengthened me and held onto me. He made me to hang onto Him.
What a comfort.
He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Isaiah 40:29
This song is unfamiliar to me, so when I thought about how to sing it a song popped into my mind from recesses of my musical memories. It can be sung very well to the tune of “Oh My Darling, Clementine”.
I like the last verse, “Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure, by the cross are sanctified…” It serves to remind us that all the pleasant and all the dreadful that we encounter are all ordained by God for our good.
“When Christ was born as a human baby, he ensured that He would die, because death is something that comes to every human being. But because Jesus Christ was wholly God as well as wholly human, He rose from the grave, to the astonishment not only of the Roman overlords and the powerful Jews in the Sanhedrin, but to the astonishment of all those who had been with Him during His earthly life. The Resurrection, too, is beyond the realm of fact and bursts into the realm of love, of truth, for in Jesus, truth and love are one and the same.” – from The Rock That is Higher by Madeleine L’Engle.
I enjoy the lights and presents and coziness of family as much as the next person. But, I also have a sadness in my heart when I see so many who don’t know this Christ that Christmas is supposed to be about. “Away in a Manger” for most is a cute song kids sing in little choirs, along with “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”.
Listen to a song that tells more of the story of Christmas
O Come O Come Emmanuel
O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer Our spirits by Thine advent here Disperse the gloomy clouds of night And death’s dark shadows put to flight
“What can we prove about Christ’s coming in glory? Nothing. It is far beyond the language of limited proof. Indeed, our entire faith rests on a joyous acceptance of the factually impossible. When we celebrate Christmas we are celebrating that amazing time when the Word that shouted all galaxies into being, limited all power, and for love of us came to us in the powerless body of a human baby. My faith is based on this incredible act of love, and if my faith is real it will be expressed in how I live my life, but it is outside the realm of laboratory or scientific proof.” – from The Rock That is Higher by Madeleine L’Engle
Sometimes we, I, get caught up in trying to figure everything out. Trying to prove things. I forget what my faith is all about when I get caught up in the way the world thinks.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29
There are some things I may never understand. But, there are many that I do and many that I should. There are enough things made clear in scripture that I can wait to understand the other things.
So, I really got sidetracked today after reading an article reposted by someone I love but who really didn’t grow up in church. I feel like someone from the outside looking in, reading this article, could really find justification for despising the “church” as they understand it. Here I will briefly address each point the author makes with my insight, however flawed.
Nobody’s listening to us “…millennials value voice and receptivity above all else”
This seems kind of sad that this is valued above all else.
We’re sick of hearing about values & mission statements
I can agree here. Get back to the Gospel.
Helping the poor Isn’t a priority
The author talks about connecting people with similar passions – meeting and brainstorming. Individual Christians need to be serving the people where they are – it’s not always necessary to CONNECT and brainstorm.
We’re tired of you blaming the culture
True, perhaps, We need to call sin sin. I agree, we need to see how our lives should differ from the culture.
The “You Can’t Sit With Us” affect – The author speaks of “…authentic community with a shared purpose centered around service”.
We need to be centered around worship. All the rest will then fall into place. He also says to “..create and train a team of CONNECT people…” This seems like just another program. We are called as Christians to do this regardless.
Distrust and misallocation of resources “…millennials don’t trust institutions.” The misallocations of funds is true in many churches, especially the Mega-churches. But, many of these are just religious institutions, not a true body of believers.
We want to mentored, not preached at
I understand craving relationship and I believe it can be found within the church. The New Testament shows us this example in Paul and Timothy. But, this does not mean to disregard preaching. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God – Romans 10:17
We want to feel valued. “Churches tend to rely heavily on their young adults to serve.” (yet later the author says the church is “… a smattering of mostly older people) I agree with his point about relying on young people – this isn’t in keeping with the pattern set out for us in scripture. The author goes on to say, “We desperately need the church to tell us we are enough, exactly the way we are.” This is completely false. None of us are “enough” – only in Christ are we worthy. Many millennials have been given trophies and told they could do anything they dreamed of, only to find out not everyone will be a NFL star or a grammy winner.
We want you to talk to us about controversial issues – “We need someone consistently speaking truth…”
This goes back to #1 – sound preaching. He says to “Create a young adults program…” A program isn’t necessarily the answer. Sound preaching and teaching from home is. I will be the first to admit I fell down on the job on that one.
The public perception – “It’s time to change the public perception of the church.” The perception may change when the church is worshiping and serving as scripture teaches. But, just remember the public perception of Jesus when He was on earth was pretty low. Why should it be different for us?
Stop talking about us (unless you’re going to do something) I say this goes both ways.
You’re failing to adapt. Here the author quotes Bill Clinton, and I’m thinking there is something wrong with that picture. Then he says, “You’re complacent, irrelevant, and approaching extinction.” I guess “stop talking about us” doesn’t apply here.
“The truth is, church, it’s your move.”
If the author is a Christian, he IS the church. If he’s not, all of this is moot.