Friday, February 19, 2016
Reaching the nations
Fri, February 19, 2016 | link
"Sometimes, reaching out
and taking someone's hand is the beginning of a journey.
times, it is allowing another to take yours."~Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
Reaching others for Christ is another area that is changing rapidly. “Therefore
go and make disciples of all nations, ...baptizing, …teaching.”
Have you noticed the fact that there is a rather different understanding between discipling and converting.
Discipling is an ongoing state without a completion goal, the converting has
a limited perspective of getting people to make some decision and often lacks the focus of being alongside and mentoring.
The modern youth understand these specific nuanced differences in meaning and often find that their elders seem to have failed
to internalize or act upon this difference.
church places too much emphasis on salvation without doing what Jesus asked us and discipling,
baptizing, and teaching.
How was discipling done by
Let’s consider the
starting point for those super Christians of the past. Those people we now almost deify (despite that being idolatry) and
consider the fathers of the church. Consider those 1st century men, Simon (Peter), Andrew, James and John, as Jesus
called them to be disciples. He strolled along the beaches of the Galilean sea to find them. When he did, did Jesus
insist they understand he was the only way to God and that they understand the message of salvation, or did he ask a bunch
of guys to come along with him and learn about how to live a type of life of extreme meaning? From what I can read
the most he implied was a rather abstract promise that they could improve themselves and influence others in a way that (should
they have understood the implications) would someday make a difference for the Jewish nation of the time.
I think if we consider this, we will find it was a vague promise to help them be part
of something bigger than themselves, and a good thing it was! It took those guys years to even start to understand
what Christianity was about, and they lived with Christ.
I suggest that if we think we have abilities to communicate the depth of Christian living in one or two hours, we
are being rather silly aren’t we? I think many young people understand that as well.
It’s almost being dishonest. Like baiting a hook to catch a fish. It smacks of meeting the needs of the person fishing,
rather than the one being fished.
While it may rarely achieve
the purpose, I think many of the fish escape and refuse to ever come near our churches again. I
don’t blame them!
Discipling on the other hand is a process towards deeper learning, not just a few minutes or hours of consideration
and then leaving people to carry on with a hope that they will learn something of value thereafter. Discipling is long term
caring, compassion, and mentoring.
Jesus also did not force the
current theological tenants of life on his new followers but instead challenged them continually to find truth,
to do it with sincerity of mind, and to apply their lives to the task. He showed rather than told. He permitted failure to
The commission is to disciple, not
Having someone reach a point of decision
about Jesus and who he is, is part of the process, it is not the directed activity at the start, nor the end of the discipling.
It is the mentoring of people about Jesus and leading them
onwards towards the point where they can dedicate their lives to searching for His truths and follow His ways. The evidence
of this being successful is that baptism is finally requested by the atheistic apostate when they start to immerse themselves
in the truth and value of following a living God.
modern youth understands and respects the concept of mentorship towards an ultimate goal.
Consider the time they devote to training themselves on games where they want to be the superhero.
They know that it takes time, effort, and dedication to achieving excellence. They have no problem with that concept. They
would be willing to follow and serve if they know there was unadulterated truth and value in the end goal. That’s the
vision we need to provide.
This is where the current church is
again failing. Firstly, the church as mentors they often lack understanding of the true world. They
lack grounding with truth. They lack coordinated vision.
church shows stupid dichotomies arising in messages about healing, marriage and sexual orientations that
show no clarity but again rather a confusion of ideas and half baked compromise.
If truth is truth, then truth should stand out as a lighthouse and be willing
to weather a storm of discontent and abuse, remaining solid to show that the path is safe. It takes time and discipleship
in more than just biblical information to show a person the truth in life. Jesus had to live with people to show them. How
do we think we can do less?
To disciple correctly one
must point to truth.
The churches waver on truth
like reeds in a gusting wind, every now and then getting thoroughly dunked by the passing gusts
of wavering world views into worldly waters. This is not mentoring, but vacillating.
For example the churches are allowing governments to dictate their regulations, monetary policies, and social norms
instead of standing free and true. To be true is to stand on truths that are unpleasant but basic.
One aspect of this is the redefinitions of marriage by governments that is an impending pressure
on the church.
Young people will think fairness towards alternative
sexual lifestyles is the correct course, but they also know the church does not agree with this. They are watching us bend
our rules to fit our governmental dictates, and despise us for it. The linking of legal and church marriages is allowing the
government to dictate what it thinks is morally valid instead of what needs to be religious truth. Pastors, preachers and
leaders of the church perhaps need to break ties with the governmental institutions where necessary, and stay on course to
teaching truths, no matter how unpleasant the world perspectives of it are.
Will the youth respect this?
if they also see us completely accepting and helping those who are embroiled in these lifestyles with an unbiased love.
Only if we totally accept those sinners without
telling them their sins are worse than others.
church has a much worse sin they need to eradicate, that of pride. Until we repent and seek
truth and stand for it, those in the world will never respect us. The churches definition of marriage need not align with
the governments. There must be a direction on spiritual leadership, directed towards helping others with their problems
and having clear spiritual affirmations in certain areas such as marriage. Everyone should be accepted and accommodated in
the church, but only the spiritually mature should guide its direction (independent of their age).
Yes, the world’s youth will not agree on the churches stand on marriage, but it will be
a differentiator that would stand as a mark of true Christianity and we need to point to truth independent of popular viewpoints.
Deep inside people know the church is correct and I think they are appalled at the vacillation that is occurring. Their view
is “disagree but be solid in your disagreement, don’t be a wimp” and our churches are being wimps.
No matter how critical the young person is of the values
espoused, they are never going to be willing to follow wavering confusion. They need clear
guidance and know this.
When Jesus said to make disciples he
was not wanting us to be taking the easy way out. It was a 100% commitment to those who were following to take them through
the hell of life into the rewards of eternity.
Does our church
feel the same way towards the youth of today?
How do we reach
into their world?
Christianity is the one religion that
never asks the follower to move out of the mainstream of life. It wants the person right in
the middle of life’s events. The terminology is to be “in but not of the world”.
The church is to face oppression and praise, and treat both of those imposters without fear
or pride, but with the truths of Christ.
How do we reach
the nations today?
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
The Education Failure!
To educate a man in mind and not in morals
is to educate a menace to society.~Theodore
Wed, February 17, 2016 | link
Why do we educate our children?
Isn’t it to give them the skills and abilities to live their future lives with success? I would assume this to be a
true premise that most people would agree with. If it is, then we need to have a view of the future and how to be successful
in it in order to educate effectively. Without this we are not leading the younger generations into the right paths.
What is the future?
The future isn’t something many of us can predict
with great certainty. One thing we can say about it is that it will be nothing like the past.
Let’s review a little of what the past was like.
In the past, we educated our youth so that they memorized quantities of information
and techniques for later use. We trained people in similar ways using classroom techniques, in order to get them
to work in teams that listened to the eloquent instruction of leaders, who it was assumed knew more about the work and subjects
at hand than their sub-ordinates.
We need to realize
that young people had to respect those older than themselves for one basic reason. These older people were in possession of
the truths, wisdom and knowledge that would help those that were younger move more accurately into the future.
If we go back even fifty years, the careers at the time didn’t change significantly
over a person’s lifetime. Typically farming, teaching, medicine, law, engineering etc. had strong histories
and with them came strong protection of the specific field of knowledge and skills. Apprenticeships in trades were often used
to keep the young submissive to their elders, while they were fed small tidbits of the required skills as the younger apprentice
complied to traditional rules and regulations. The extent of compliance was proportional to the reward the apprentice received,
or at least that was the objective. So compliance was an unspoken assumption of that system.
The learning was also tuned to make sure that it would turn out people for the workforce in
a predictable and known manner. Forecasts of what the next twenty years would be requiring were common. It was expected the
next twenty would not be significantly different in needs to the last twenty, perhaps the quantities would be greater but
the skills and knowledge required to meet them was assumed to be known. Countries established systems that built work forces
that were focused on industrial tasks that were considered critical for the success of the nations.
This progression of learning was to a large extent made possible by two key aspects. Firstly
the progressing of learning and its direction was due to the inability of the young to access information held within the
domain of their elders, without their consent. Secondly, the progressing of learning and its direction was possible due to
relatively good predictability of the future needs. If the strain of post war years and economic challenges were added to
this, learning was firmly tracking within a well formed rut that had directed it for many years.
Then things changed!
Three key aspects changed learning. The first was accessibility of information and speed with which it could
be processed. The second was that the average young person no longer had to listen to their elders
and could independently decide on paths and direction of learning, that were outside of the skill levels
of their elders. The third is that the future became incredibly complex, fast moving, and difficult to predict.
In this flip flop world, it is often the elders
who are asking the younger generation to assist with technology and knowledge of advancements. An older person’s
advice is checked within minutes by the youth with access to technology like smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Communication is fast and ubiquitous. Advice can be asked within seconds of needs arising, and distance and time are no longer
Now to survive, one no
longer relies on retention of knowledge, but instead on the ability to find out what is required when it is required. We
have moved into a world that approves of knowledge received just in time to do the task at hand. The quantity of knowledge
has grown exponentially until no person can retain even a part of it. Instead, the world has built this repository of knowledge
into cyberspace, accessible by those with skills at unveiling it when required.
The true valuable person is now no longer those that comply, but those that break down
traditional barriers and access information with ease. Those able to access information required to meet the tasks
at hand. Concepts traditionally considered sacred (e.g. like only governments issuing currency) are flipped on their heads
(e.g. people started to trade in bitcoins, a cryptographic invisible electronic currency that has true value and is nationless).
I am sad to say that
it is not only the Christian church that is failing our youth, it’s the world’s educational systems as well.
Our schools are outdated, and currently instead
of facilitating this new mode of knowledge acquisition or teaching us how to do it more effectively, we continually hear silly
comments like we need to keep technology out the classroom. Who does that serve? Who does it serve more? The outdated traditionalist,
or the upcoming generation?
I suggest the outdated
traditionalists are hampering the growth of the new generation by being unable to adapt fast enough to the changes the world
is presenting. Those in charge need to step out the way and let the young determine their own future, or actively look to
ways of collaborating with the youth to determine the future.
The better of these paths is collaboration between youth and their elders, not the direction of the youth by the
The brightest youth should be identified
and used to structure the future of learning so as to enable their peers and those coming immediately behind them
to gain where they were impeded. If we do this, then the rate of educational growth may just manage to keep pace with the
future demand. Anything less and the stress of the discord will cause national programs to fail. This path will require courage,
but without it the future of our first world youth is at risk.
Of educations, Christian education is probably one of the worst impacted. Our youth are forced to
face great improvements of science and technology but with the advice and oversight of outdated preachers and teachers. Preachers are poorly informed even about new biblical discoveries, never mind having very little ability
to guide these bright young people in the worldly understanding of new scientific and engineered directions that need to be
considered in relation to biblical texts. Traditional
Christian education as dealt out in the customary few minutes on a Sunday morning is probably the least effective. Here younger
children are generally educated using the old techniques of flannel boards, story books and picture bibles. While none of
these are wrong, they are not effective.
same child will be using gaming machines, watching online video’s and playing interactive games if they are progressive.
The church is almost useless at providing this level of stimulation. The Christian fear of technology and science has moved
it into the doldrums of education where the wind of change rarely reaches and those attending stagnate.
No wonder when they get to choose their direction and attendance, many Christian youth decline
the advances of the church leaving their parents in the pews concerned and hurt.
Where are the Christian game makers?
What church groups are sponsoring online gaming with Christian
principles and morals?
· How many online video’s and social interaction groups are promoted by the formal church? Why not?
Where is the free education for everyone provided by church
have we not taken up national educational objectives with Christian values and made it available to everyone in the world?
It’s not that
difficult to do. Take a little of that mission thrust and push it into the new world. Physical geography is
not the only frontier, is it?
Then let’s discuss
biblical discussion mechanisms. How often do I see preachers totally inadequately trying to explain that Genesis 1 cannot
be supported by science? Often! Yet there is the discourse that allows these discussions to be honest and free. Where are
the people who understand the facts? The 40year olds and up in most churches don’t! The major facts
in these areas are younger than they are! If our bible is truth, it can deal with the changes being thrust upon it.
We need to have true faith! Faith that God is in control and that we will be
able to gain understanding of how these diverse areas relate to the powerful all-knowing and loving God.
Yet I want to posit it is not faith, but fear that motivates most discussions.
Not truth, but rigid traditional thinking. Not investigation of the bible, science
and debate, but rather a myopic re-iteration of past knowledge that is no longer current.
A real Christian does not fear honest discussion and wants to
be open to truth in all its variations. How often do we find that understandings of yesteryear are wrong?
Just look at our nativity scene. Today with modern understanding we know the wise men had travelled for a long time and Jesus
was no longer a baby when they arrived. The star arrives two years later than the birth. Yet what do our nativity scenes depict?
Even after pastors, ministers, bishops and priests come to know this fact they don’t correct this. Why? Is not that
which is not true … a lie? Our young people know this! They see our churches as propounding lies. When will our church
respect this realization?
Why are church
leaders so scared of upsetting the constituents that they no longer educate in truth, simply because it’s uncomfortable?
Where are our true leaders who stand up and tell the traditionalists to change when they are wrong? Today the politics and
legal compliance is more important than the truth of the messages, isn’t it?
Do we think our youth are stupid? They see this! They vote with
their feet and leave when they get the chance. Not because Jesus is not God, and his message untrue. They
leave simply because they cannot deal with the lack of respect for truth and the hypocrisy of the leaders.
Christian education is not education in the eyes of the youth. It is
indoctrination and teaching half-truths. Let us also remember perception is reality in this case.
The challenge is this, what are we doing to change the perceptions?