From: Rich Carlson
Date: February 11, 2019
Subject: It's February 11; Good Morning Union

It’s February 11; Good Morning Union

“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me,” says Jesus, “so…” Matthew 28:18-20

I’m currently with Claudia in Zambia after spending the weekend at Maxwell Academy In Kenya with their seniors. We’re eight hours ahead of you all back in Lincoln and we just got back from a safari game drive full of elephants, a lion and a leopard!! Claudia is doing well working at the Mwami hospital and delivering lots of babies!!

I read an interesting article while on my trip and thought I would share some of its highlights with you this morning.

At first, as I read this article I was a bit shocked but that turned quickly to pensive as I wrestled with what it suggests and how can I respond. According to the article, almost half of CHRISTIAN millennials (that’s YOUR age and that’s NOT including ALL millennials, it’s just those who profess to be Christian!) do not believe in the importance of sharing one’s faith, or evangelism. So your generation is in conflict about the mandate of Jesus in my verse for today! Probably no more than my generation, we just know how to hide it and live in denial better!

The article suggests three reasons for this decline in evangelistic interest:

  1. A general decline of religion in America
  2. A spreading apathy toward spiritual matters
  3. And a growing cultural suspicion of people of faith

The solution? And I quote from the article:

“David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, says this study highlights a need for Christians to bolster their confidence in certain convictions—among them, the belief that “evangelizing others is good and worthy of our time, energy and investment.” Perhaps not always in the traditional sense but maybe with a new and revitalized sense of LIVING my relationship and commitment to Jesus.

Kinnaman starts with what he describes as the development of a “resilient faith.” A faith that has developed in my heart that allows it to dominate all decisions, good or hard, and that rules all choices in my life. I just can’t give up when the going gets hard. I know in my head that the devil seeks to make a mess of my life in any way he can. Resilient faith is built in the good times SO THAT in the tough time it stands strong even when I might not feel like I want it to. Quitting just cannot be an option if I want to impact my society, my church and my life with the power of the Gospel. The solution then is in deciding that I am going to find the faith in the real Jesus who makes a difference in all of my life. If it’s not doing that then I need to keep looking for a better picture of Jesus. The negative impact of bailing from God on a world searching for answers is worse than doing nothing! Kinnaman called it the “de-evangelistic clout of those who leave the faith.”

“Even after they are committed to sustaining resilient faith, we must persuade younger Christians that evangelism is an essential practice of following Jesus,” Kinnaman continues. “The data show enormous ambivalence among Millennials, in particular, about the calling to share their faith with others.

“Cultivating deep, steady, resilient Christian conviction,” Kinnaman concludes, “is difficult in a world of ‘you do you’ and ‘don’t criticize anyone’s life choices and emotivism, the feelings-first priority that our culture makes a way of life. As much as ever, evangelism isn’t just about saving the unsaved, but reminding ourselves that this stuff matters, that the Bible is trustworthy and that Jesus changes everything.

"If I accept that as the basic tenant in evangelism, I believe sharing that faith by life and word will be the natural outcome; perhaps not in the traditional sense, but in a new and revitalized sense of mission and purpose for the committed Christian.”

Have a great day becoming resilient with Jesus,

Pastor Rich

Quote for the day: "Christians believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. Materialists believe in the virgin birth of the cosmos. Choose your miracle."   Glen Scrivener

P.S. Tito Baez from Timber Ridge Camp in Indiana will be here today and Tuesday looking for summer camp workers. See him in the Ortner Lobby.

P.P.S. Service Challenge Day 11—This is crazy, but call me maybe?
Pick up the phone and call a family member and let them know how much you appreciate them. It's amazing how much a few words can mean to those around us and how often we forget to let them know our gratitude. 

Upload a creative picture to represent your phone call to the form link