Thursday, September 22, 2011

Change is Constant - God is Eternal

I would hate to be the complaint department at Facebook right about now.  They tweaked their networking site to handle newsfeeds, emails, and other minor things differently and the complaints started popping up on statuses everywhere.  The emotions seemed to range from minor irritation to "I'm leaving facebook forever!"  I couldn't help but chuckle at the irony at how a generation that has seen so much change in their lifetime can get so upset when a free service that is voluntary to use is changed.  Perhaps as a minister this struck me particularly funny because so often it's the "old folks" that get portrayed as sticks in the mud and the young adults are the proponents of "change" and "progress."  Now it seems the shoe is on the other foot.  Let's see how it fits.

Our Generation isn't the only Generation to see Major Change

A few years ago I officiated a funeral for a lady who was 98 years old.   In her lifetime she had seen some significant changes.  As a young girl she remembered traveling to California... by stagecoach.  Her generation saw the invention of the airplane, and the subsequent revolution in travel it would affect.  She saw a World War, a Great Depression, and another World War.  Alaska and Hawaii added their stars to our flag in her middle years.  She witnessed how the interstate system shrunk a continent and how rock and roll united a generation.  Her eyes saw race riots in the 60's and her ears heard the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.  She witnessed a nation divided by war in Vietnam, then divided again by war in Iraq.  She saw the walls of communism fall in Berlin and the Twin Towers fall in New York as terrorism replaced communism as the chief enemy of the United States.  Yet, remarkably, she adapted to each and every change, and even when life was tough, she survived and adapted.  One of the elders asked her to reflect on her life and teach him a lesson she learned.  Her voice, feeble with age but strong with conviction whispered, "Change is constant, but God is eternal."

Adapting to a Changing World

Our generation (I speak to my peeps who are 35 and under) has seen a fair amount of change.  September 11 forever changed how we travel and how we view safety and security.  The internet has dramatically altered how we communicate and gain information.   Cell phones have morphed from a brick with an antenna that only the rich could afford to devices that perform hundreds of functions and nearly everyone has one in their pocket.  Blogs have given a voice to the undervalued and the overrated.  Televisions are no longer large cubes on a tabletop, but flat screens on a wall that can double as portals into the worldwide web.  Just this past spring, revolutions in Arab nations have altered the politics of the Middle-East.  Yet we adapt.  We change.  We cope.

So why do we get so upset when something as insignificant as Facebook changes?  Because, we desperately desire something to be constant.  Why does the older generation resist change in the church?  Because, through wars, depressions, recessions, civil rights movements and political upheavals, the church has been a constant to them.  What we need to realize, in both technology and in the local church, change is a constant.  When we need to cling to something that is never going to leave us, forsake us, or abuse us, we need to realize that we don't need a something but a someone.  God is that eternal constant.  God is the "anchor for the soul" (see Hebrews 6).  God is eternal.

The next time something changes and it unnerves you, remind yourself of Who is your anchor, because change is a constant, but God is eternal.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Prayer for My Country

Oh Lord, how did we end up here?  As I look around I see people who are hurting, angry, scared and indifferent.  Pundits proclaim they have the answers.  'More education! More money! More Government! Less Government! Less taxes! Less God!'  It's enough to make my head spin.  I hardly know where to turn, so I turn to You.  How have we gotten so far apart?  Not even the 'Christians' agree on what our nation needs!  Some say we need to get involved in every part of the political process.  Others say that our nation is demonic and patriotism is idolatrous.  Me?  I can't help but love the land you have given me to be my home.  The rolling hills that You created reveal an artist's heart.  The sound of surf-pounded beaches remind me of the waters of your unquenchable Spirit.  The buildings I have not built, and the food I have not grown and the freedoms I did not fight for remind me of Your blessings and Your provisions.
But now, as I look around, I see disasters.  Blizzards, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires and tornadoes sift us like flour.  A poor economy, unemployment rates and a failing stock market make what once seemed like a stable future look shaky.  Our leaders seek to make each other look bad instead of seeking You.  Are You trying to get our attention?  Are these the pangs of childbirth that You warned us about?  Are You about to send Your Son?  Oh I hope so!  I long for that day when all nations will dissolve and the Bride of Christ will rejoice with her Savior.  Or are these warnings of something else?  Is judgment about to befall a country that has forsaken You in so many ways?
I find myself like Isaiah, wanting to repent on behalf of his people.  Lord, I repent for the sins of my nation, for they have been my own.  I repent of self-sufficient pride that says I no longer need You.  I repent of materialism that has crowded You out of my life.  I repent of being so comfortable that I did not bother to move to help my brother.  I repent of seeking entertainment over enlightenment; of seeking pleasure over purity; of seeking my good over Your glory.  I repent of being apathetic to Your call and ignorant of Your Word.  I repent of leading people to a cause rather than to the cross.  I repent of   not recognizing Your voice as You called desperately for Your sheep.  I repent of language that seeks to tear apart instead of bring together.  I repent for being distracted when I should have been determined.  I repent of seeking freedom apart from You instead of realizing that freedom can only be found in You.  I repent with tears.
Have mercy Lord on me and my country.  Raise up a generation who will bring people to Your throne.  Nonetheless, Your will be done.
Lord, please come quickly.
In the glorious name of Jesus, the King of Kings, I pray.