Do you remember Dolly the sheep? It was a cloned sheep born in 1996 and made world-wide headlines. The possibility of human cloning suddenly seemed inevitable. Many ethical questions were raised about going further with cloning science. For some Christians it raised the question “would a clone have a soul?” If humans were cloned should we try to reach them with the gospel message to be on the safe side? Should the Church embrace the idea of cloning humans or is that too much like playing God? One thing was for certain, we did not know if we could accept a truly different human.
Many things have changed in the world since 1996. We now accept terrorism as a reality. Things most Christians once taught against, such as sexual immorality, is now just widely accepted by most local church congregations. In fact in many cases the world just gives such things as homosexuality a new definition and call it normal.
At work we just had training on cyber security and active shooter training. In a nut shell if you are in an active shooter situation your choices are run, hide, or fight. It is strongly encouraged if you have to fight to show zero mercy for the shooter. Literally do not stop fighting until the shooter is “neutralized”. In other words in some situations we are told to treat another human as if they were not human. Make your own opinion about that statement, you won’t convince me differently about how to react.
All these headline grabbing events are just symptoms of a deeper issue. Do Christians really believe in one true God? Is the Bible the literal word of God? Can we truly learn how to live as Christ? I would like to say yes to all these things. However, it has been my experience over the last 30 years to see different truths lived out in the church. Local church leaders often are more concerned with their own status than making disciples. The directors of many churches in America are convinced that they are right and nobody else has a clue. There is little or no cohesive thought from our leaders. The division among denominations prevent local churches from work toward a common goal.
I am not sure of what the local church will look like in 30 years from now. there is an overwhelming need for the local churches to get out of the box they put themselves in. We need to be able to offer those who work on Sundays the chance to experience church. We need to give our youth the chance to learn about God at a level they can process. We need to shut down outdated religious ideology and face the demands of reality! Part of that reality is our children, and theirs as well, do not know the true God! Religion will not reach them. Policy will not change people. Laws will not stop immorality. There is only one true hope, that is Jesus Christ.
I asked a well-respected manager at my place of employment his opinion about the difficulty of finding quality workers. Let me summarize his response;
He pointed right at me and said the lack of qualified workers is your fault… And then he pointed to himself and said it’s also my fault. We did not take the time to teach our children the value of work. More importantly we did not teach them true Christian values. We did not teach our kids how to live like Jesus lived.
We raised our kids to play on computers instead of outside with their friends. As parents we failed to teach our youth practical skills. We created an entitlement mentality by not requiring our children to work for extras beyond provisions. We have blamed the fact that it requires two parents working just to survive. Along the way we just assumed someone else would educate our children in the things that matter most.
That manager has never heard me preach and yet he spoke directly to the message in my heart.
The last day of 2017. My assignment was easy enough, just preach a sermon at church.
I warmed up the car 15 minutes before leaving for church. As we were about to go I saw this flat tire. No problem we just took the wife’s car without much warm up. By the way the high was not expected to get above zero degrees here.
Before arriving at church we were contacted by a few key people that they would not make it because of the weather. Understandable, no problem. At church the sound board is out for repairs still. To top things off we had no internet access. The problem is we already advertised Facebook Live for anyone not able to make it because of the cold. Well between a parishioners cell phone and using another to record just the audio the sermon was recorded electronically.
Admittedly this has been a frustrating day for me. Oh and the BIG IDEA for the sermon was “Embrace or endure the season you are in.” Maybe I should listen to my own preaching…