Before cell phones do you remember the beeper?
It was a small device worn on your belt. When someone needed to get in touch with you they would call your beeper and their number would show up on your small, monochrome display.
I signed up for a service plan and told my family they could call any time and if it was an emergency, enter 911 after our home phone number. My youngest daughter took this to heart and every time she would call my beeper the display would light up with our home phone number followed by 91111111111111!
This meant a crisis was looming – at least in her mind.
Today we live in a crisis culture. Our news feeds are filled with crises…
- Immigration crisis
- Financial crisis
- Humanitarian crisis
- Healthcare crisis
- Prescription drug crisis
The 24-hour news cycle magnifies almost every news story, accident, and social media post to “crisis level.”
Churches are not exempt from crisis. Over last 15-20 years we’ve experienced our own crises over issues like worship styles; hymns or choruses; hymnals or slides; pianos and organs or praise bands; traditional, blended or contemporary worship; your Sunday best or come as you are casual.
A quick review of our declining baptisms reveals an evangelism crisis. We’re either not sharing our faith or we are sharing and people are simply not responding as they once did. During the recent meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas it was interesting to hear several motions addressing our declining evangelistic endeavors.
I wonder if we’re seeing another crisis in the church. Let’s call it a crisis of complacency. We see the news, either on television or via our social media feeds and we are troubled, shocked or even saddened. We shake our heads, say a brief prayer and even make a quick online donation as we continue on our way.
When Jonah was running from God’s call to go to Nineveh, he hopped a boat heading in the opposite direction. Exhausted from his efforts to escape God’s clear calling, he went below deck and dosed off. While he slept, the sailors fought for their lives. They used all of their sailing skills to combat the elements, but the storm was so severe the ship was breaking apart. After doing all they knew to do, the captain went below and asked the slumbering prophet, “How can you sleep?”
In spite of his deliberate disobedience, Jonah at least gave an honest answer: “Pick me up and throw me into the sea and it will be calm. I know that it’s my fault this great storm has come upon you.”
I wonder if maybe, just maybe, we, those of us who profess to be followers of Christ, are at the core of some of the crises we face today. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying everything that is wrong with our culture is our fault – but I am saying some of it could be.
We are the ones called to be salt and light.
We are the ones called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
We are the ones who are called to love one another in such a way that the world would know we belong to Jesus.
We are the ones called to go to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in.
Would things calm down, even just a little, if we awakened from our sleep and began to be obedient to what we know God has called us to be and do?
During one storm, the disciples were in the boat with Jesus trying to get to the other side of the sea. As the storm worsened, so did their fear. Things finally reached a point where they awakened Jesus and asked Him, “Don’t you care that we are about to perish?”
I wonder if our culture drives by our church buildings and asks the same thing.
Let’s not forget that we have the answer to life’s big questions. We know what to do – how to act, how to live. And like Jonah, we know where we’re supposed to go – to the ends of the earth, to the highways and hedges. We’re just not doing it.
Each of us must ask ourselves the “why” question. It’s easy to look at the culture and try to pin the blame on Jesus, “Don’t you care …” The real challenge comes when we have to respond to His question, “Where is your faith?”
If we want to change our culture, if we want to calm some of the storms in our culture, we must seed God’s truth into people’s homes and hearts.
Only God’s truth can calm the storms that rock our culture.
Only God’s truth can bridge the divides Satan has created.
Only God’s truth can spread His love which can conquer a multitude of evils.
Here for You is an attempt to begin this process. By leveraging current communication platforms to creatively and consistently share God’s word, we can spread the seeds of truth which can begin to defuse our culture of crisis and allow our light to shine further and brighter as we walk with Jesus in loving obedience.
Behind each Here For You commercial are important, soul-waking messages that are simple and yet so needed today. Messages like:
It’s never too late to come back to God.
No marriage is too far gone.
God restores the broken parts of our lives.
You can get involved by visiting HereForYou.org and posting these 30 second slices of life on your social media pages and sharing them with friends. You can also invest in this effort by giving to the Here for You campaign and the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering. Bottom line – we need 300-400 churches to give $100 per month to this strategic initiative. This will provide the needed resources to empower this effort statewide.
We can’t avert every crisis, but we can look in the mirror of God’s word, confess any areas of disobedience that may be contributing to the chaos and begin to intentionally scatter the calming seeds of God’s truth
I believe this is doable. I pray you agree.