Something is in the air. You can sense it on Sunday, you can sense it in the workplace. Even the vast drop in church attendance in the last decade is evidence.
We can look at what is changing (technology, split families, recession) and find reasons why things shouldn’t change, or we can look for what God is up to. God has not abandoned the human race yet, and we have transitioned through many points of history. We have become worse and better than our former selves. So, we can spend our time fighting change, or we can enjoy the new opportunity.
I was waiting. History shows a renewal of God’s activity at key points. If feels like we are at a key point.
Can you feel it?
Education often precedes a new work.
In the early 1900’s, He renewed the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Prior to that, there was a new understanding of the Holiness movement – and D.L. Moody brought Sunday School to life.
The education that preceded this new move felt like an attack on everything we’ve known. The U.S. Christian sphere is very myopic by nature. We like to make ourselves safe by creating a spiritual standard based on our societal norm. In other words, if we value two bedroom houses with one bathroom, then everyone who has a two bedroom house with one bathroom is somehow closer to God.
Then our “melting pot” got bigger, we stopped using the Bible as the standard in our schools, and our politics changed what Americans who no longer went to church saw as the social norm. In other words, we expanded as a nation to include people from other backgrounds (instead of assuming that immigrants would become ‘like us’) and we expanded as a nation to not hold people to Judeo-Christian norms.
Yup – that felt like an attack on everything we believe.
However, I’m beginning to believe that this was the education before the wave of God’s renewed activity. As we expand our minds to accept people who weren’t like us in the workplace, we start to see that our Christianity is a form of religion, not a relationship.
If someone who doesn’t value our social structure can’t understand God as we know Him, then we might have a wrong view of God. After all, God is the same in Iran, Uzbekistan, Sudan, and a gay bar in Seattle as He is in the baptistry of the local church. He doesn’t change. He doesn’t love people less or more based on their cultural or even personal understanding of Him.
When the Judeo-Christian ethic was the cultural norm, then to accept Christ, to become part of a church community, moved you closer to the cultural norm. You felt like you were more engaged with society, and your ‘okayness’ factors went up.
We based our okayness on our ability to fit into that social norm.
God wants our okayness to be based on our relationship with Him. This is the rock solid foundation that we need to build on to stand the storms of life in a world that does not base their values on His revelations.
God is on the move. He is definitely up to something.
What shift do you see that God is using to bring people closer to Himself? How is He changing the way we do church?