Understanding the Future

You might think that this post is about knowing the future. What will happen in the future or how to control the future. I mean after all this blog is about moving forward. About dealing with all the changes that life seems to throw our way. But, what I want to discuss is how people are viewing the next generation. The z’s. I know some of you are already familiar with all the bad raps the millennials get, but how many of you have realized, all the while the complaints have been made about millenials, there has been a silent generation developing before, or rather behind, our eyes. The future has been quickly growing up and now entering the work force and will soon overtake the number of millennials. But, I doubt few take the time to understand them. To understand the future.

Too often, we look to the past and our own ideologies to force those younger than us into a mold. A mold that has at times been broken, whether we realize or not. The new generation is looking for answers to deal with the world the previous generations have left. They are not the overly sensitive and fragile of generations before. Neither are they materialistic and self centered. I suspect their passion for issues of the environment and social justice will lead them to make sweeping reforms worldwide. Like the greatest generation who fought wars against dangerous ideologies, generation z promises to fight wars not on battlefields far from their homes but locally through their voices and influences.

But, sadly, what they find is a world that is without hope. A future without promise despite their desire to see change, they believe it won’t happen. They are looking for the hope that those of us in Christ have found. If you have been alive on this planet, then I can say with some certainty that you have been through a lot. Physically, spiritually, emotionally. Life is difficult. We know that and have figured it out. Life is not always what we have expected. It changes. But, yet, one thing does remain true….God. It is my faith in God that has gotten me through all the challenges in my life. I really don’t know who I would be today without a relationship with Christ. But, I’ll be honest, I have stumbled at times with belief. If anyone has been a Christian for very long, and is being completely honest, they will agree to the same doubt. Faith isn’t faith until it has been stretched and tested.

And this is what the z’ers need to know. They need to hear us being transparent. They need us to be real and offer them a real hope for their future. A hope that doesn’t claim to be perfect or have all the answers and to never have doubts ourselves. But to offer the real Jesus to them. The Jesus who was all about social change and justice. The Jesus who broke the religious and social norms of his day around who was welcome to eat with Him and for allowing women to learn, that is be discipled by Him, and even travel with Him. Jesus who healed on the Sabbath, talked to a woman from another ethnic group, talked about money. But most importantly talked about the kingdom of God. His kingdom. In which everything will be finally made right, even the planet which groans now awaiting to be redeemed from its current state.  And Jesus talked about who would be in His kingdom. The ones who believed He had come for them. The ones looking for hope. The ones wanting a future. The ones  accepting His justice on their behalf, which He willingly offers to everyone. It doesn’t matter about social status, gender, race or age.

I know we as an older generation have let the younger generation down by not offering them a real hope grounded in Christ. We have offered them religion, but not honest truth about a relationship with Christ. Let’s listen to them and hear what they are saying. What they are asking for. And let’s give them hope.

 

Live It

“Let it go, let it go….”   How many times have you heard that line from a famous Disney movie? Let’s be honest here, how many times have you sung those words? Now that I have that song stuck in your head, let me go on.

It’s just one of many phrases that I’m sure you have heard before. Just let it go, or it doesn’t really matter, or you gotta pick your battles- usually advice from older wiser parents, and the classic whatever is good for them is good for them and whatever is good for me is good for me, it just doesn’t matter. But, what if it does matter? This morning as I got up, I thought about whether what I did mattered. Like does it matter if  I write my paper for class. Does it matter what I believe? Does it matter what I do? And I believe I have an answer. Yes, it does. We need to start living life like we mean it. Intentionally. We have been bombarded with so many cliches and phrases to just let it go, don’t worry about it, let them do their thing, that I think we have applied it to our lives too much. I know I have.

We do need to care about things. The things that matter in our lives. Like social justice and what we believe. We need to be change makers and not just complacent Christians who take whatever is given to us to believe by others. We need to know for ourselves what we believe. We should change what needs changing and when we can’t make changes, we should speak up about the problems, to the ones in authority who can make changes. We should not be settlers.

I have realized that recently, I have been settling, and just letting things go too much and what has been robbed from me is my passion. And that is what challenged me this morning. Was I really living my life like I meant it? Am I being intentional? Being intentional is important as it can change lives and change history. Being passionate and caring about others and in what I believe matters.

Recently, thanks to my Aunt Betty, I learned about a distant relative of mine who lived in England in the 1600’s. She was locked up in a tower for speaking out against the church of England. She wasn’t beheaded, but I applaud her for her courage to not just let it go. She and several of my other relatives, boarded small wooden boats and left home, family and the life they knew to risk going to a place where they could raise their children with religious freedom. How many of us would do that today? But… It changed history. The people on that boat became the foundation of the United States. They must have believed in something better, and lived their lives like they meant it. No holding back, no settling, no compromising and just letting it go. I am thankful for their decision as I sit here now in a country where I can still worship freely.

Let me leave you with this verse from Ephesians 5:15- 17;”Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (NIV).   This whole chapter, chapter 5 of Ephesians, has much to say about intentional living as Paul was writing to the church at Ephesus. Ephesus was an interesting place, full of commerce, and tourist sites, including one of the seven wonders of the world, a temple to a 50 foot goddess. The Christians there could have gone with the flow, but they too had to make a choice to live like they meant it and be intentional or just settle. It was Paul who courageously set the model for them to follow as he caused riots and destroyed their marketing of goddess replicas for the tourists.

     So, my challenge for myself is to live like I mean it. I need to stand up and speak up more about what matters, because it DOES matter. May that be your challenge as well. -God Bless Nancy