This blog post was originally written about 7 years ago but I've updated it some to address a generational perspective on faith.
Here's something that really got my attention as a 21 year old:
Did you know that there are some people that go through their lives and make no impact while on this Earth? They come and go as if they never existed!
Here are two of my greatest fears, these are fears probably shared by most Millenials. I'll spell them out for you.
#1: Not experiencing, sharing, or demonstrating real love on a daily basis.
#2: Making little to no positive impact on the world and the people around me.
When I realize I might be living out of God’s will for my life, I become ravenous for reading the bible and extremely interested in what anyone has to say to me about it. And how many pastors does one sheep need? I feel a joke coming on: How many pastors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Well, depends on how stubborn the fitting. And for Millenials, the internet has packed our brains so densely with meaningless information, you'll find that very strong preaching may be necessary.
They say Millenials do a lot of "marathon-style" viewing. My self-imposed viewer’s marathon of sermon podcasts… 5 half hour sermons in all, a little over 30 min each, began even after having attended church at Renovation Church (Buffalo, NY) this morning, because I suppose an hour simply wasn’t enough.
Today, another pastor of mine said: We are NOT the sum total of our accomplishments or possessions, as the world would have us believe. Instead, we are our legacy. We are how we’ll be remembered.
As Dr. Stanley made eye contact with me through my laptop screen, the wires, the electric connections, the ethereal internet all throbbed and buzzed to forge permanent pathways in my brain. My eyes pleaded: "Please, pastor, cut through these overgrown weeds in my mind. Lead me to an oasis of substance, a lasting wellspring of wisdom, plug me in, zap me out of this jungle- beam me up, Stanley!"
Our brains are such fertile ground, that if anything so much as falls on it will potentially bear good fruit or choke out everything worth growing in a matter of days. So far paired with the information overload of this digital age, this condition has had a primarily toxic effect on my life, but for the past two years there has been a major transformation in the way I tend my little "freak garden".
Millenials may seem like they would want "Christan Lite" but we actually avoid diet foods. Unlike the generations before us, we are willing to admit that "diet" anything tastes bad and is probably cancerous, and that's why we drink our green juice and sprinkle on the flax seeds. So give me "whole" Christanity or give me death! Show me what it means to follow Jesus. Talk about ALL God has done, ALL he is doing, and ALL he promises to do.
As I write this, I'm currently missing the straightforward preaching of the late Pastor Rick Wilder of First Baptist church in Henderson. For many years I found it hard to find as sharp or powerful machete for this weedy mind than his preaching. His influence in my life changed me forever.
The year before, I’d been attending the mega-church, "Central Christian" in Las Vegas, then as a God-curious agnostic Buddhist. It was a church just large enough that I could blend with little effort (so long as I raised my hand now and again while singing along.) That was not a time of major spiritual overhaul for me, although it did symbolize a commitment to standing for something worthwhile, and I felt good about that. I guess... It was a commitment to feeling good about myself. #YOLO
The following Summer I made an entirely different commitment and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and realized what I sought was not acceptance or "feeling good" anymore. This time, I wanted God. The real one, unadulterated, whatever it took from me. Church isn't a place for me to find community, I have always been involved with all kinds of different groups and never lacked a feeling of community. The Internet provides unlimited opportunity for people to connect. And the arguments against Facebook aren't doing it for me. The fact is Facebook works, I've already met new lifelong friends, planned reunions, surprise parties and more using only Facebook.
But what I wanted and still want, more than anything, is to know God, not more like-minded people.
I knew from the beginning of this day that my final waking hours would be devoted to getting on my knees and my face for God about my future and his will for me. All day and for the past week, He’s been using the Socratic method on me and in response I’ve been very irritated and disgruntled. So when I meet Him tonight in prayer, I’m going to ask Him to be perfectly clear.
Millenials are self-centered. Actually everyone is. And I’m so sick of talking about myself right now. You have a right to expect me to be different. So...
Excuse me while I go surrender my SELF and get a LIFE.
Because when nothing else makes sense, I'll keep holding on to letting go.
Imagine dying now, not having accomplished anything of much consequence. Now imagine continuing to live life as you always have, willfully ignoring every written warning... welcome to America.
Though the strobe flickers, let the periods of darkness be fewer, shorter, God give me more spiritual daylight-hours, that I can tend this garden and feed a multitude.
"If you love life, don't waste time. For time is what life is made up of." -Bruce Lee
I invite you to read these two passages, I think they're the ones Millenials need to hear most.
Matthew 20:26-28 (Jesus came to serve, not to be served.)
John 12:25-26 (True greatness is in servitude. True greatness is a matter of character.)