So far as I know I’m not a prophet like Daniel or Ezekiel, people whom God used to convey facts about the future. Still, watching words and thoughts and books that are all the buzz these days, I can see the potential for something to happen as it relates to the emerging and the emergent church, and of course, post-modernism. And Bible teaching, Jesus centered churches like Calvary Chapel could be be in a prime position to meet the need. That is, unless, we get sucked into allowing for or enabling re-imagined Christianity for the 21st century in our fellowships. That’s the kind where Jesus isn’t really Jesus, sin isn’t really sin, God isn’t really God, you get the idea.
Without coming right out and saying it, what our kids are learning in school, on TV, and from their celebrity heroes who really aren’t heroes, is that nothing really matters. Kids nothing. That’s what they’ve been teaching since I was in school. A whole generation is being raised to think that they evolved from slime, that they are not much more than a higher form of primate. They are being taught that morality is relative and you shouldn’t push your beliefs on others, which in itself is pushing a belief on others. They are, in effect, learning that they are really just an animal and that nothing is really “true”. They are learning that one day humans will go the way of other extinct species, and in the grand scheme of things we aren’t all that significant. They are learning that nothing really matters. And if nothing really matters, then nothing really matters.
At the same time, God has wired every human being with the opposite perspective. Somehow, somewhere in us, we know we are more than animals. We know there is an absolute form of morality. We know we are significant, and we know that there is something outside of ourselves, greater than ourselves. We want intimacy with that…, that…, whatever it is. Every single belief system on the planet, even Atheism, tries to meet those inborn needs and answer those questions. Every lifestyle choice is aimed at fulfilling one of those things. We want, no, we need certainty, and we know it’s out there. We look all kinds of places for it. Something really does matter.
Sooner or later people figure this out. They might not admit it right away. But even while they are doing all kinds of crazy stuff to meet that need, they know it doesn’t work. They don’t know what else to do because of this conflict going on within. “My education tells me that nothing really matters, yet I know that something does. What is it? How do I find it?” That’s where we come in. By “we” I mean churches that are, again, Bible teaching and Jesus centered. Not Christian social clubs. Not Branson, MO with a cross on top of the auditorium. Not the televangelist with the prayer hanky. Not the WWF-style 3rd church of the apostle Paul with signs and wonders following. Churches, pastors, believers that just ooze confidence, certainty, boldness, not-ignorant brethren, all in love and humility. Whatever worldview has been programmed into a person doesn’t matter. The answer is always the same; Jesus.
The means by which Jesus is communicated can vary but it always has the same essence, the same flavor, the same “vibe” of the power of the Holy Spirit in it. It might be through a song, a photo, a painting, a movie, a sculpture, a child, a servant-hearted action, a word spoken, a word not spoken, even a sermon. That “thing” that a person is looking for is revealed. It is, in fact, the Holy Spirit enabling the person in question to recognize the need, the emptiness, and the ability to recognize the answer.
We (churches, pastors, believers) don’t need to be anything other than in relationship with Jesus. As long as we are doing that, the rest will fall into place. We won’t need to worry about if we are being sensitive to a particular segment of our culture. Why not? Because, as we are in relationship with Jesus, He will be molding, shaping, and equipping us with the gifts of the Spirit in order to meet the particular culture we have in front of us. It will just happen naturally. Hence the contrast between “fruits” of the spirit and “works” of the flesh. This of course hinges on the “if we are in relationship” part of the equation.
Relationship isn’t just a passive understanding and teaching of the word which, sadly, passes for relationship in the lives of many churches, pastors, and believers. Relationship is an active interaction of communication, emotional investment, and working through the interpersonal junk that comes up (which, in this case, is all on us, since Jesus is, you know, perfect). Relationship results in a noticeably modified behavior, and/or behavior that is contrasted with those who are not in a relationship. Remember being a teenager in love? Everyone notices. It’s even obnoxious sometimes. That’s what I’m talking about to a certain degree.
All of this to say this; a time is coming and may have already arrived, when the secular, post-modern, and the emerging Christian are going to notice that something is missing. They are going to feel like something matters and they still don’t have a grip on it. Churches, pastors, and believers who have and ooze a certain, confident relationship with Jesus are suddenly going to look more attractive than the uncertainty that seemed so cool and humble. Humbleness has its place. So does confidence. These are not opposites. Pastor, be confident. Be certain. Preach the word like Jesus did; with authority. Don’t be afraid to tell people that if they don’t believe it that they are deceived and misled, that they need the truth, and the truth will set them free.
Something matters. Someone matters. Jesus.