Sunday, May 13, 2007

Cross Bearing Generation

The following is something that I wrote sometime ago about the current youth/young adult generation.

A Cross bearing Generation
“Beloved, for the sake of a hurting, dying world, pay the price, get the Glory and set the captives free.”

Just the other day, I was driving in my car listening to a certain rendition of The Wonderful Cross by Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman. I was thinking about the generations what have gone before and had their good and bad days. Each generation is usually marked by extraordinary events. There is the baby boomer generation and the Hippie generation, amongst others. So what is MY generation marked by? The 18-25 crowd. Well, I believe we’re marked by people who are saying that enough is enough. Something has to change. We’re no longer satisfied with the status quo. We’re tired of sitting back and watching our generation, our world be thrown to the dogs. To my knowledge nowadays, there are not a whole lot of violent protests like some generations are known by. I think people have realized that violently protesting different ideas really doesn’t solve much of anything. There are times for protesting the right things and right ways for going about that. But instead of just all out rebelling against authorities, people are trying to raise awareness for different things. They’re protesting in a peaceful way. On my right wrist right now is a red band that says “LIFE” on it. The intent is to raise awareness for abortion. And there is a lot of other colored bands as well and all have their intent.

So again, I ask what is my generation marked by? While the liberal media at large has dubbed us with the term of Generation X or Y, signifying that no good can come from us. By the grace of God alone, I gladly protest that! Or we could turn that around to say that we’re a generation “Xcepting” that call of God or saying “Yes” to God and His plan and will for our lives. Largely to me, it’s marked by countless thousands of young people embracing the Cross-of Christ. Giving their lives wholly over to Jesus and the mandate of the Great Commission.

A number of years ago, I was involved in a youth/young adult movement back home in Lancaster, PA. It was called Tuesday Night Bible Study, or TBS, for short. This was largely a young adult run church service. It started out with just 5 young adults who loved Jesus and just would get together and study the Bible. During this time, one of the young ladies involed with the bible study was kiled in a fatal car wreck. Normally, people look at that and they would think that that would be the end of it. But what the devil intends for bad, God has a way of turning into something good. At the funeral, they preached about God’s plan for salvation, and gave an alter call. And praise God, 150 young adults gave their lives over to Jesus! So what happens now? Well, the original TBSer’s wanted to get together still and just be there for one another. Well, that group quickly went from 5 to 4 to 150, then 200 then 350 and so on. At one point in time, there was 1,100 people meeting in a local building in South Central Pennsylvania. (To this day, TBS is been turned into a house of prayer for that region.) From this there was many of the people that have since hit the missions field and travel with groups such as Y.W.A.M or YES or other programs such as this. The point being is that this was a generation that was touched by God and, giving up certain comforts of this world, embraced the Cross and are reaching countless people with the Gospel news.

In Philippians, the Apostle Paul states to run the race marked out for you. Count everything as loss and to give it up for Jesus. Each of us has a different call on our lives and each of us has our own testimony. I love to hear people’s testimony because each one of us has had our highs and lows. (From past experience, I’ve had some of my greatest God encounters in the midst of a low. God used the “low” time in my life to reveal something so much more intimate to me. Like the fact that He is the only One who truly satisfies.) Sometimes, I get jealous of peopIe who have one of those testimonies where they were saved and delivered and drugs or whatnot and seem to really be going at it full steam. And I’m just like “Yeah, I pretty much came out saved I think and I was raised in a Christian home and never got into drugs or sex or anything like that. And as far as rebellion goes, I think it was the one time I ran down the hall at school…” (Excuse some of my sarcasm in this). Not to claim that I am perfect in any way, I’ve had my share of disappointments and shame. But as far as outright hardcore sin and/or hardcore rebellion, it just wasn’t really there for me like some others. Satan often tried to remind me of my past, of some of the little stuff here and there. I just quickly remind him of his future, and plead of the blood of Christ over me. That gets him quiet quick.

I entitled this A Cross Bearing Generation because that’s what I see this generation as. We are a generation of young people who, as far as I’m concerned, as more concerned seeing people won to Christ than ‘making it big’ so to speak. (The thing that we do have to worry about is that we don’t just go about condemning rich believers or those who do have it better than we do. God alone knows their hearts. Also, this is not to say that I’m just going to go around with a defeated mentality and my head hung low! Never! The victory has been won and I’m going to walk in it! And I definitely want to succeed in everything I do in life!) But the ultimate final victory for me is when I get to Heaven and Jesus is standing there and He says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Welcome home.” (ok, so I don’t know exactly how it will go, but you get the idea.) This is generation marked by people coming together from all walks of life, races, creeds, coming together and going for one common purpose: to see Jesus lifted High! And as far as I’m concerned, I count it a privilege and honor to run this race. It’s not always an easy race, but it has its moments. But I feel that I’m definitely growing up in a Cross-bearing generation in that new songs are always coming out and countless albums are being cut all the time. We definitely have a long way to go as far as holiness is concerned.

Every day I’m personally bombarded with hearing stories of people who gave their lives sacrificially for the gospel of Jesus. I hope that one day I would be counted worthy to just be able to sit down and have a cup of coffee with just one of these people. One thing that I’m glad to hear about is it seems to me that many are waking up and realizing that there needs to be a change in society.

The trick now is to not just sit around and talk about this and that and the changes that need to take place, but actually do something about it! It’s easy to sit there and complain about things! But its another to stand up for truth and, as the saying goes, “grab the bull by the horns and pull!” It’s not an easy task! It often means giving up pleasures and comforts of everyday life. I definitely believe in resting in the presence of God! The Bible clearly states to be still and know that He is God. But then the Bible also says to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him. So which is it? Go or stay? Be still or stand up and fight? The answer to that is, I believe, YES. For everything, there is a time and place.

So how do we go about making these changes that our society needs so badly? Well, in my Bible it says to go into all the world and make disciples. There are many aspects to the world. There is the sports arena, the entertainment industry, the business world, politics (has it ever occurred to anyone that ‘poly’ means ‘many’ and ‘tics’ are little blood-sucking creatures? Any relevance there…?) and so forth. And the neat thing about God is is that He put all sorts of different giftings into each one of us. No two people are exactly alike. Each one of us is called into something different. I hope and pray that people are raised up with solid Biblical values and go into the business world and go into sports and entertainment and win people over for the gospel. I know that one of my friends from church has a desire to get into the film industry and make movies that bring people to Jesus. (I also know that’s it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict of sin. Not a movie or any other media. But who says that that media can’t be used of God). Also, one of my best friends is currently in college for business administration. One day he told me that his goal is to become a millionaire and be able to finance and give money to wherever it’s needed for the kingdom! I thought that that’s a really neat idea. And not because I could very well be a recipient of that one, but the fact that God has a hold of someone’s heart in that way and can get into the business world and deliver the gospel to those people. Now, God can just spontaneously make and give money (that’s one of the many talents of the God I serve), but how neat is it to know that He can grab your heart and give you a desire for that!
One thing I know with people is that if you give them a cause to fight for, a cause that they believe in, many are willing to physically die for that cause! If you give someone a reason to fight for, especially at a young age, they seem to be much happier in life. Why? Because they have a reason for living and something to fight for! They’re not just living and breathing, working a job and getting on with life. They’re standing for something! They believe in something.

A cross bearing generation is rising up. A generation saying “no more will we sit back and do nothing about the injustice going on. But we’re going to fight with everything we have.” And the neat this is is that it’s not just one age bracket! But it’s young and old coming together, joining in for a common purpose. It’s the youth with their zeal and energy and the older generation with their wisdom (and money… sorry, couldn’t avoid it). I for one am very glad to have older Christians speak into my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. I’m glad for the words of and encouragement and words of correction from older, wiser Christians. They have a lot to offer.

So what next? Where do we go from here? From recognizing a desperate change is needed in society, to seeing that change fulfilled. Sounds like we need a revolution!
As I look through history, I see revolutions that have taken place. And as I look in church history, revivals have taken place. Revivals are great! People get saved and their lives are radically transformed by the Power of the Holy Spirit. But what do people notice more? A revival or revolution? I guess it depends on what the revival or revolution has taken place in. (I recognize that a song or something else can be revived. Such as a certain fad or brand of clothes can come back into style.) But normally, a revolution is more likely to be noticed. We had the American Revolution, French Revolution and various other revolutions. Normally, these do contain violence. And probably for due reason. Usually in a revolution, people recognize the need for change. And like I stated earlier, some could be willing to give their very lives for that change to take place! But it’s usually a revolution that gets more attention. (Perhaps that’s because the media can cover that more freely without having to mention Jesus). Nowadays, the term ‘revolution’ is gaining a lot of notoriety. Whether it be in the auto industry or somewhere else, its used to signify that great change is coming to something.

But back to the Cross bearing generation theme, I see a generation arising that is forming an ever-growing army. An army that I believe is going to ignite what we like to call a Jesus Revolution. Day and night fasting and intercession is occurring throughout the world, and specifically in the U.S. The bride of Christ (the church) is starting to wake up or starting to be stirred to realize that things need to change. There needs to be more accountability with our leaders. We as fellow believers must hold to a higher standard of holiness in our own lives (I’m preaching to myself here as much as anyone else). We need to see God break out in power to touch us so we can touch a hurting, dying world. We need God to shake everything that can be shaken, leaving only the Unshakable Kingdom of God left!

Lately I’ve been really stirred in reading Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrandt and The Heavenly Man by Paul Hattaway. Two great books about the persecuted church in Romania and China. As I stated earlier, I hope one day I get to just even get to sit down with men and women like this, who have been soo brave as to risk their lives and be brutally wounded for the Gospel.

So, I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned, “On with the Jesus Revolution”!

I don't know that much more needs to be said about this. It's pretty straight forward i think. Thanks for taking the time to read it.

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