I was watching a sermon online last night by Ray Johnston the Senior Pastor of Bayside Church in California. It was a message on Three most inportant questions you will ever ask. These we great and I enjoyed the message, However within the message, there was a thought on 7 things we have lost through the generations. Ravi Zacharias had a similar post about this as well. Here is the list of Pastor Johnston.
The 1950's Americans Lost Innocence - With the advent of the car and good paying jobs American moved away from home and the generation gap was formed
The 1960's Americans Lost Authority. - Don't trust anyone over 30 became a cultural mantra during this time. The Vietnam war was televised and trust in government was lost and trust in institutions was lost. Americans were protesting
The 1970's Americans Lost Love - The decade of Free Love and the sexual revolution redefined for a generation what was love.
The 1980's Americans Lost Values - In 1980 Ronald Reagan vowed to restore American "Family values." But yet it was in this decade that the culture continued to lose it once set in stone values.
The 1990's Americans Lost Faith - The 90's and 2000's was a time when faith in God, fellow man, and institutions was lost. Remember Y2K? There was a lack of faith that we were going to make it. The rise of the "Nones" in religion was well established in 1990.
The 2000's Americans Lost Security - The stock market plummeted. Home values plummeted. 9/11 was devastating to America. The rise of Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda and terrorism brought a sense of lost security.
The 2010's Americans Lost Hope - The hope that your kids will have a brighter future than their parents is pervasive. Higher education the source of hope for so many has become cost prohibitive with prices going up over 1000% over the past 30 years. The hope of the American dream of owning a house has to be weighed against paying off student loans. Federal deficits and debt that will likely never be able to be repaid. Healthcare costs that are skyrocketing and the ever-present threat of terrorism both foreign and domestic. It leads to hopelessness.
You can disagree with some of the headers and where they land. You can also disagree whether all Americans feel this way. I know I have a few thoughts in that regard. But it got me thinking. What is next? Do we have to have a next? What can we reclaim? What can we do as Christians and children's ministry leaders to help kids who may be dealing with hopelessness and loss of security being raised by parents who have lost values and lost faith?
What I do wonder and don't want to see is when would say Americans have lost freedom. That seems to be a path that we are headed toward. Freedoms, as enumerated in the Bill of Rights and encapsulated in our Constitution, are under siege. First Amendment freedoms, Second Amendment freedoms are receiving daily challenges. I'm reminded of the famous quote attributed to Edmund Burke - "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/edmundburk377528.html
Now is not a time to do nothing. Paul asserted his rights as a Roman citizen. We should as well. Having said that I really don't know what is left to lose. I suppose there could be more. The question I wonder is why do we think we have to have a next? What if we raised a generation of boys and girls who were trained in the way they should go? What if we were people of hope? What if we raised our kids in households of faith and hope? Our faith and hope are found in Jesus Christ. I think Romans actually offers us a road back to a place where we can have hope again and start reclaiming these lost attributes.
"2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die."
We may not be able to individually fix our security but even in the midst of suffering, we can develop perseverance. That perseverance produces character. Character is built on our values, innocence, and love. When we have our character in line with Christ we know that we can have hope in the future. Boys and girls need to hear the Word of God. They need to know the character of God and how he offers us hope even in the midst of trouble.
Our hope is in the Lord. Boys and girls need to learn how to trust and hope in the Lord. So do we. They need to see that modeled in us. Isaiah 40:31 states,
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
The picture at the beginning of this post is a picture of what needs to be said. No matter what generation you are from it is your job to stop the slide. Invest in the life of a boy or girl. Live the life of victory in Christ and reclaim what was lost. America may have lost many things through the years. We don't have to continue the cultural slide. We can reclaim it in our lives and by passing it on to the next generation. I am hopeful!