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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Calling All Jesus Freaks!

As I was sitting in quiet thought the other day, a verse from the Old Testament came to mind. It was not one that someone would normally be thinking of, or one that fits commonly into our current church vernacular. The scripture was form Judges 2:10. Which says, ” And also a generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD nor yet His works which He had done for Israel”. Do you see what I mean? not your average verse!
     After a day or so of musing, my mind then started to think about the revival called ,The Jesus Movement. Which for those who know Church history, happened to coincide with the Charismatic Movement. Which in turn ran concurrent with the Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘N Roll revolution of the late 60′s and 70′s. It would later be called the Sexual Revolution or the Global Youth Movement.
     Those years of upheaval and change in some ways were a foreshadow of our own times. Yet, what is missing today, seems to be the element of spiritual change that came about as a result of the conversion of massive numbers of youth during the Jesus Movement. I remember how even in the rural parts of the New England of my youth, hearing people calling others Jesus freaks with disdain in their voices. I can recall distinctly, when our neighbors, two single, upwardly mobile young woman. Sisters who came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Were spurned by their more “traditional” parents, because ” they didn’t understand what had gotten into them”. What a shock! Two young nurses who decided not to have free sex, use recreational drugs, and instead wanted to go to Church more than the culturally accepted one or two Sundays a month; cast aside by their parents because they weren’t now normal?Their new found faith was not normal for the America of that era. It rocked the boat of their parents comfortable, traditional, compromised, Christianized worldview.
Whether you were a part of that social/ spiritual movement directly or not, we are all still influenced by it’s effects in the Church today! Praise choruses, films in church, hands lifted in worship, operating in spiritual gifts, church as a lifestyle as opposed to an institution, the Christian Music industry, radio, home groups, etc….these are all waves that still emanate from that time of revival. Cross pollinated with the Charismatic movement that occurred within the Church , all of it changed the “how” of “how” we do Church even today!
     But, now other than the occasional Tebow appearing on the publics’ radar screen now and then, Where is the influence of the Church? Where is the social change that is her call and charge? Where are the on fire sold out youth?
     I know those words are strong, and I certainly do not wish to offend anyone who is living that call to their utmost. But, my general sense is we haven’t seen any resemblance of a national awakening akin to that for quite some time. At least in the very real sense that such a movement literally rocked a nation, and caused society to see the error of their ways. In all honesty, do you?
     Remember those neighborhood girls that I had mentioned earlier? They literally had to live together, and set out on their own because of their love for Christ had so offended the mediocrity and compromise of their parents form of religion. But, they chose Jesus over compromise. Both eventually became successful nurses paying their own way through college. And in time, their parents saw their conviction and lifestyle was true, and began coming to Church with them. That is the kind of living faith that I could applaud and extol all day long.
     Yet, I feel somehow that God was trying to say something by linking Judges 2:10 and the idea of the Jesus Movement. The Bible tells us that the true stories of the Old Testament where meant as examples for our lives. So as I further meditated on these streams of thought I came to this conclusion. It is that an older generation who has lived out a life of faith, miracles, and interaction with God; has an obligation to pass that faith on! In the scripture they failed to pass on their faith. There was a true “generation gap”. An even sadder fact from the Book of Judges is that this becomes a repeated tragedy. It’s cyclical. The pattern repeats itself over hundreds of years, each time leading to a downward spiral of sorrow and bondage. When one generation failed to pass on a living breathing faith to the next, the story always ends the same way.
     But, how do you do that? As we tell our own children, they need to ‘own” their faith. By this I mean we can model, teach, and mold; but if they don’t own that faith as personal and their own for their time and journey it won’t stick. It is when we see that fruit then we know that we have passed the torch to another generation. If we don’t see that happening, we need to honestly assess the fact that we still have a work to do before, ” we are gathered to our fathers”. ( Judges 2:10)
     And where does the Jesus movement fit into all of this? Well, I am glad that you asked! I would like to reply by saying, ” Where are they now?” Are those who fell so hard in love with Him still in love with Him? Or, did the bloom fall off the rose? Have they passed on the faith of their youth with all of its’ passions, and life? Or are they now living the same compromised life with the world that they criticized their parents for living? Honestly, in my own life, I have come across both types of Christians in the Boomer generation.
     So what do we do from here? Or as theologian Frances Schaeffer put it, “How should we then live?” First, we cannot really effect change unless we first change ourselves. The revival of many first begins with the revival of the one. Secondly, If you’ve fallen out of love with Christ, ask forgiveness, and then do the first works again to rekindle that love. Lastly, help nurture and instill a living breathing passionate faith in the next generation. Then in the end you will be able to rest in the Lord knowing in part that you have passed the torch and can rightly claim for your life, “Mission Accomplished”!                                                        " Jesus freaks" on Kathryn Kuhlman Show,   Jesus freaks NOW!,     Keith Green LIVE, "So You wanna go back to Eygpt" 1980,    Don Francisco, "He's Alive 1" versionThe Jesus Movement, Old Video footage.

Friday, February 3, 2012

We will never know...Unless we try...healing prayer !


Last week, a little baby had developed a major rash on her face and body. It had all of the makings of some kind of an allergic reaction. There seemed to be no pain, or fever associated with the bumps and redness. The child was watched to make sure that no more serious symptoms emerged. At the same time there was the mulling over of whether or not to call the pediatrician and make the step of getting professional medical attention. Also, the consideration was bandied about of just giving her some over the counter baby medicine that would address the obvious symptoms.
In the midst of all of this mental debating came a still small voice. The impression, ever so slight to just pray for the child. So, they decided to lay hands on the babe and pray from the heart. Asking, and declaring that God would heal her from her rash and cause her to be in peace and comfort. It wasn’t showy, presumptuous, or even bold for that matter. Instead, it was done in simple loving faith that Jesus had provided for healing, and asked the Lord to let it be so.
Much to their surprise the redness started to recede almost immediately. The excitement of actually seeing the bumps and rash begin to disappear in response to the power of prayer caused them to redouble their efforts with gusto. Then in a most natural, yet unusual way the child exhaled a slow deep breathe. The rash was gone, and the little girl smiled.
They looked into the cherubic face of happiness and contentment, and thanked God for His love for this little one. Even though they had felt the prompting, they had followed the leading, they had prayed the prayers: they were still in awe that God would be so kind as to heal something like a baby’s rash.
Sometimes the biggest hindrance to allowing God to move in our lives, even as a believer; is not believing that He cares even about those things that we might deem small in the larger scheme of things. We read that He loves, we have faith that He loves, but sometimes we need to trust that he loves.