<A picture from our Saturday worship service on June 28, 2014 at Parkview Church Social Hall>
God is not only seeking a prepared person but also prepares a person who is ready to serve Him.
One thing I learned from ministry is that a leader keeps his/her time, words, and missions with God and others.
Stewardship is all about managing everything (gifts, time, provisions, missions, etc) according to His will and surrendering oneself to God all the time for His glory so that God can use him/her as His instrument over and over again.
Without separating oneself with the world, it is very hard to serve the Lord, Jesus.
I pray that God will use the Fellowship of Mosaics to reach out the Millennials effectively as Satan is stealing their hearts in these days. May God bring more faithful servants to the Fellowship of Mosaics so that our ministry spheres will be expanded and more people will be saved for the glory of God. Let our worship music and preaching to be pleasing aroma to God!
Scripture: Matt. 9:35-38, NRSV
Eight of us, a newly formed leadership group members of Fellowship of Mosaics gathered in Elk Grove to start the workshops called, “Starting New Worshiping Communities” on Sunday evening. Our first task is establishing our identity by articulating core beliefs about Jesus, Church, witness, gospel, and disciples.
“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
As we meditated upon these verses, we realized that we are living in the worst time of the history as we all face helplessness in our time with our own agonies and selfishness to destroy each other. We all became like sheep without a shepherd. We all confessed that we were so selfish and lived like lost sheep.
We deeply sensed that we need to start a new worshiping community for Millennial (or Mosaic) generation with compassion of Christ because they are most confused and vulnerable generation filled with selfishness. They need Jesus because He alone can gives a true guidance for their life. We all agreed that Jesus is the body of Christ, our Savior, Deliverer, Redeemer, Healer and the Lord of our life within whom our life will be transformed to become new creations (2 Cor. 5:17).
To build a strong faith community, we have to be accountable each other with love and encouragement as we continually witness that love toward others are getting cold in our days.
We prayed that we want to become a love-giving community for the Millennials in the harvest of Mosaic generation. Amen!
Are Millennials Less Godly Than Previous Generations?
Young people are leaving the church at an alarming rate. At least, that’s the narrative you hear over and over again.
As the narrative goes, these godless, self-centered, me-first, consumerist millennials are abandoning the church, the body of Christ, for individualistic spirituality. No more will organized religion suffice for them. They are forsaking the faith of their fathers.
We should be concerned, very concerned!
Assuming that young people are, in fact, leaving the church in droves, it raises a question: Are millennials more godless than previous generations?
It seems like the obvious answer is “yes”; they’re leaving the church, after all. But such a question deserves closer examination.
In decades past, America was a traditionally churched, religious nation. A significant portion of society was religiously involved, and church was a cultural centerpiece. Those who grew up in explicitly religious families and contexts attended church out of habit. It was expected that come Sunday morning, they would scrub behind their ears, put on their nice trousers and tie, and off to church they’d go.
The power of cultural expectations was enormous. In entire swaths of the country, a person was a pariah if he wasn’t a churchgoer.
But no more. Sure, the Bible belt still exists, but the cultural pressure to be in church week in and week out has waned to near zero.
Along with waning cultural pressure, the respect for institutions has diminished among young people, and with it the respect for institutional leaders.
While the good Reverend McGillicuddy might once have been a community icon and an authority figure in people’s personal lives, he is no longer.
Neither are churches community hubs (at least in white communities). Young people don’t look to institutions or their heads for instruction. The trust isn’t there.
And there is a reason trust is missing for the institutional church.
For decades, a gospel of moralism and legalism was taught in numerous churches. People attended because it was the “right thing to do” and a way to “get right with God.” The expectations placed on members were a particular brand of morality built around which things we don’t do (drink, cuss, smoke, watch certain movies, listen to certain music, etc.). It was a burdensome law, one nobody could keep.
Many didn’t even try, though they acted like it on Sundays. And while everyone knew it, they kept on doing it. Except now young people won’t pretend any more or follow an institution so full of fakery. They don’t trust the hypocrisy, and they reject the moralism.
So what is it young people are leaving behind?
In many cases, they are leaving a faux godliness. Millions of lost people, people hanging their hat on morality or mere attendance, populated the pews of the church in previous generations. They were just a lot harder to pick out than those who brazenly walk out the door, so hard we can’t even be sure how many there were.
To answer the question, no, millennials are not more godless. They’re just more obvious.
People suffer from the same sin condition now that we have since Eden. This generation’s expression of it is to reject the hypocritical, cultural Christianity of yesteryear. But the hypocrisy that was subtle before, while easier to ignore, was not godlier. It was no more connected to the gospel and to regeneration than is walking away from church altogether.
Yes, be concerned that young people are leaving the church, but be more concerned why. In many cases, it isn’t because they reject Christ; it’s because they never found him at church either from the pulpit or the pews.
[Disclaimer: Writing anything about “the church” is risky, as is writing anything about an entire generation of people. It requires writing in generalities and broad strokes. This is not intended to lump all churches, church-goers and millennials into the same boat but rather to speak to tendencies and trends over the years.]
How to Begin a Relationship with God
The world is filled with competing theories about God, religion, and salvation. Alternate views of Jesus vie for our attention at every turn. Different paths to different gods market themselves in the ever-changing desert of ideas. Yet in the midst of this world of contradictory claims, Jesus Christ made a bold assertion: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
In a confusing world filled with signs pointing us down different roads of philosophies and religions, can we be sure we’ve placed our feet on the right path? The answer to this question comes from the all-time bestselling book, translated into more languages and read by more people than any other book in human history. The Bible marks the path to God with four essential truths.
Our Spiritual Condition: Totally Depraved
The first truth is rather personal. One look in the mirror of Scripture, and our human condition becomes painfully clear:
“There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12)
We are all sinners through and through—totally depraved. Now, that doesn’t mean we’ve committed every atrocity known to humankind. We’re not as bad as we can be, just as bad off as we can be. Sin colors all our thoughts, motives, words, and actions.
If you’ve been around a while, you likely already believe it. Look around. Everything around us bears the smudge marks of our sinful nature. Despite our best efforts to create a perfect world, crime statistics continue to soar, divorce rates keep climbing, and families keep crumbling.
Something has gone terribly wrong in our society and in ourselves—something deadly. Contrary to how the world would repackage it, “me-first” living doesn’t equal rugged individuality and freedom; it equals death. As Paul said in his letter to the Romans, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)—our spiritual and physical death that comes from God’s righteous judgment of our sin, along with all of the emotional and practical effects of this separation that we experience on a daily basis. This brings us to the second marker: God’s character.
God’s Character: Infinitely Holy
How can God judge us for a sinful state we were born into? Our total depravity is only half the answer. The other half is God’s infinite holiness.
The fact that we know things are not as they should be points us to a standard of goodness beyond ourselves. Our sense of injustice in life on this side of eternity implies a perfect standard of justice beyond our reality. That standard and source is God Himself. And God’s standard of holiness contrasts starkly with our sinful condition.
Scripture says that “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). God is absolutely holy—which creates a problem for us. If He is so pure, how can we who are so impure relate to Him?
Perhaps we could try being better people, try to tilt the balance in favor of our good deeds, or seek out wisdom and knowledge for self-improvement. Throughout history, people have attempted to live up to God’s standard by keeping the Ten Commandments or by living out their own code of ethics. Unfortunately, no one can come close to satisfying the demands of God’s law. Romans 3:20 says, “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.”
Our Need: A Substitute
So here we are, sinners by nature and sinners by choice, trying to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps to attain a relationship with our holy Creator. But every time we try, we fall flat on our faces. We can’t live a good enough life to make up for our sin, because God’s standard isn’t “good enough”—it’s perfection. And we can’t make amends for the offense our sin has created without dying for it.
Who can get us out of this mess?
If someone could live perfectly, honoring God’s law, and would bear sin’s death penalty for us—in our place—then we would be saved from our predicament. But is there such a person? Thankfully, yes!
Meet your substitute—Jesus Christ. He is the One who took death’s place for you!
[God] made [Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
God’s Provision: A Savior
God rescued us by sending His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins (1 John 4:9-10). Jesus was fully human and fully divine (John 1:1, 18), a truth that ensures His understanding of our weaknesses, His power to forgive, and His ability to bridge the gap between God and us (Romans 5:6-11). In short, we are “justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). Two words in this verse bear further explanation: justified and redemption.
Justification is God’s act of mercy, in which He declares righteous the believing sinners while we are still in our sinning state. Justification doesn’t mean that God makes us righteous, so that we never sin again, rather that He declares us righteous—much like a judge pardons a guilty criminal. Because Jesus took our sin upon Himself and suffered our judgment on the cross, God forgives our debt and proclaims us PARDONED.
Redemption is Christ’s act of paying the complete price to release us from sin’s bondage. God sent His Son to bear His wrath for all of our sins—past, present, and future (Romans 3:24-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21). In humble obedience, Christ willingly endured the shame of the cross for our sake (Mark 10:45; Romans 5:6-8; Philippians 2:8). Christ’s death satisfied God’s righteous demands. He no longer holds our sins against us, because His own Son paid the penalty for them. We are freed from the slave market of sin, never to be enslaved again!
Placing Your Faith in Christ
These four truths describe how God has provided a way to Himself through Jesus Christ. Because the price has been paid in full by God, we must respond to His free gift of eternal life in total faith and confidence in Him to save us. We must step forward into the relationship with God that He has prepared for us—not by doing good works or being a good person, but by coming to Him just as we are and accepting His justification and redemption by faith.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
We accept God’s gift of salvation simply by placing our faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of our sins. Would you like to enter a relationship with your Creator by trusting in Christ as your Savior? If so, here’s a simple prayer you can use to express your faith:
I know that my sin has put a barrier between You and me. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to die in my place. I trust in Jesus alone to forgive my sins, and I accept His gift of eternal life. I ask Jesus to be my personal Savior and the Lord of my life. Thank You. In Jesus’s name, amen.
If you’ve prayed this prayer or one like it and you wish to find out more about knowing God and His plan for you in the Bible, contact us at Insight for Living. You can contact a biblical counselor on staff.