Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Challenge of Meeting Generational Differences

The challenge for the Christian Church today is figuring out how to minister to 5 different generations at the same time. While there are many sub generations, the general generations are:
  • The Greatest Generation – those born 1925-1945
  • Baby Boomers- those born 1946-1964
  • Generation X- those born 1965-1979
  • Millennials- those born 1980-1995
  • Generation Z- those born 1996 and later
The challenge is great because each generation has their own cultural context that formed their views and values.

You can begin to see the different morals, values, ethics, and preferences in each of these generations. Those who experienced WWII or the Civil Rights movement in childhood will have a different outlook on the world and the church. The same is true for the Millennials who grew up in the rise of the information age with the internet, the war in Iraq, and rising gas and food prices.

So what does the church do with these differences? That is the challenge of leadership. Each generation wants their needs met, even though they are so diverse.

First, we need to pray for wisdom (James 1:5). Second, we need to challenge each generation to embrace and live out the mission: introducing people to a personal relationship to Jesus, developing them into fully committed followers of Jesus, and equip them to reach their city (beginning in their own neighborhood) and world.

In order to develop and implement a strategy for each generation to reach their peers, the strategy for each generation will be different from the others. Perhaps the most important thing we need to do is pass the baton to the upcoming generation. We might not like the thought, but each generation will eventually die and new generations, with their own cultural occurrences, will rise up.

I believe we must pass the baton to the next generations. How do you think we are doing at First Free in passing the baton? Next week’s issue of Freshly Bru’d will present five questions we must ask ourselves if we hope to meet the challenge.


P.S. I will be interacting with Dr. Dorlus from Haiti concerning how we can reach others with the Gospel beginning in our own neighborhoods. Join me in worship at 9:15 and 11:00 this Sunday!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Our Ever-Changing Culture

Our culture is changing rapidly.  Things that were common only 20 years ago are becoming impossible.  Things that were rare 20 years ago are now common place.  My conclusion is that our world is changing, and it is not becoming more like Christ. However in the midst of the change and in the midst of a post-Christian culture, there are at least three things that the church has in terms of an advantage.

The first one is hope.  There’s always hope with Jesus.  No matter how depraved the world becomes, God’s plan is still to reach humanity with the gospel message.  But the way that message gets declared has changed for the church today.  Years ago the church was able to say ‘come and see us, we’ll impress you into believing like us.’  That doesn’t work as effectively as it once did.  We now have to ‘go out and influence people.’ We have to make friends with those on the outside and shed new light on what really makes Christianity special.  True hope is only available through Jesus.  He is the hope of the world.  We are called to offer hope to others by lifting up the hope of the world, Jesus.

The second advantage is community.  Think about the rise of social media, the rise of on-line dating.  People are longing for relationships and community.  They won’t find it on-line, but can find it in the church.  When Christian community is in working order, there’s nothing like it.  Many will be open to experiencing a life group before they will a church service; they will be intrigued when they see a group of people committed to serving or being unified around a cause.  That’s why we have to seek unity and togetherness with those inside and outside the kingdom.

Transformation is the church’s third advantage.  That word means that Jesus changes eternities and lives.  Transformation breeds excitement and gives the current generation the feeling of authenticity they so much desire.

If the church fails to foster true transformation, it is much easier to question our message.  One of the most effective ways to introduce people to Jesus is to tell them of how your life has been transformed because of Him.  We have to provide a picture to those we come in contact with that the real gospel helps people walk through life’s challenges.

The church’s message (by church I mean believers) is one of hope, community and transformation.  Let’s ‘go out and tell’ and remember ‘come and see’ doesn’t work in today’s world.



P.S. Do you feel like you’re trapped in the rat race of life?  Each day you work hard only to do it all over again?  What if there was a better way of living?  Good news: there is!  Join us this Sunday at 9:15 or 11:00 and discover the secret to conquering the rat race of life.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

In the Last Days...

To fully appreciate this issue of Freshly Bru’d, you need to take a Bible and read 2 Timothy 3:1-5.  As I read this section of Scripture, I thought I was reading the daily newspaper or hearing the 10:00 p.m. news report.

The Apostle Paul mentions in verse one, ‘That in the last days very difficult times will take place.’ I looked up the word ‘difficult’ in a Greek Concordance and discovered it is used only in one other place in all of the New Testament.  That place is Matthew 8:28 describing a time when Jesus came to the region of Gadarenes.  He was met by two demon-possessed men who lived in a cemetery.  They were so violent (that same word difficult) that no one could go through that area.

Paul is saying in the last days ‘difficult’ or ‘extremely violent’ times will occur.  As he continues in verses 2-5 to describe these violent days, one of his descriptors is the word ‘brutal’ or ‘cruel’.

When my eyes gazed upon that word I couldn’t help think of the tragic loss of New Orleans Saints defensive end, Will Smith, shot six times and killed on April 9th due to road rage.  His wife was also shot, but she is going to recover.  And you add to road rage, air rage skyrocketing, violent videos of fighting among teens going viral every day, and even an election cycle where candidates in both parties do well only by catering to anger toward government, you see that in the last days we will become ‘brutal’.

Someone may ask why is anger and brutality on the rise? One reason is because we live in what linguistic professor Deborah Tanner calls the ‘argument culture’ which drives us to indiscriminately approach the world -and the people in it- in an adversarial role.  This culture rests on the assumption that opposition is the best way to get things done.

When anger, cruelty, brutality takes a hold of any person it is obvious what is in control.  The Bible reminds us to allow the Holy Spirit to control you (Ephesians 5:18).

Let’s heed the advice of one of the writers to the Proverbs: ‘A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control’ (Proverbs 29:11).  CALM DOWN

P.S. Hard to find fulfillment because there is nothing really worth getting out of bed for?  What if I told you there was something worth getting out of bed for everyday?  Would you be interested?  We will discover the answer to these questions this Sunday at 9:15 or 11:00.  Bring a friend to join you.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Too Busy? Really?

I read a very interesting article this week that I want to summarize for you. It’s written by Phil Cooke who is a writer, television producer, and media consultant. He has worked with Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Salvation Army, Mercy Ships, The American Bible Society, and many more.

The article caught my eye because it addresses one of the issues I hear from so many Christians. Claims like “I’m so busy, but don’t seem to be accomplishing anything.” “There never seems to be enough time to relax, read a book, reflect, or think.”

If you happen to be one of those people who are always complaining about how busy you are, try these tips from Phil Cooke especially as it relates to social media.

Tip #1: Turn off your computer and mobile device notifications. Do you really need to know the moment a person responds to your tweet or Facebook post? Do you really need to be alerted the exact second every email arrives? You talk about over kill. Let it rest.

Tip #2: Schedule two times (no more than three times) a day to check your email. That’s it. I know many of you are going to quit reading this Freshly Bru’d at this point. Can you go a whole day without email?

Tip #3: Clean up your workspace. This doesn’t mean at work only, but also at home. The key is knowing where everything is. I spend too much time everyday trying to find my keys, that important item, the tool needed for a repair, etc. Half your daily stress comes from searching under piles of papers for that THING you desperately need. Take a few hours and tidy up. Sure it’s a pain, but once it’s done, your stress levels will lower immensely.

Tip #4: Keep an updated to-do list. Get tasks out of your email onto a list that you can prioritize. You can’t see the big picture until you see everything on a list. How many projects do you have at home that never get done because you forget about them? Write them on a list and post it on the refrigerator. While you’re at work too; get projects and tasks on a list- you can even use an app for this- and look at them at the end of every day. Check off the ones you accomplished and add new ones as needed.

Tip #5: Learn to say no. Too many people double up on their schedule. You can’t be at every activity all at the same time. Don’t double or triple book yourself.

Tip #6: Schedule time off. If you don’t intentionally put it on the calendar it will never happen. I’m not talking about vacation but an afternoon at the museum, shopping, taking a nap, reading a book, anything that will get your mind off work and help you clean out the mental pipes. Walking is one of the cheapest de-stressors you can do to enhance your mood.

I hope you find these tips as helpful as I did!


P.S. Do you want to be fulfilled every day of your life? Do you want to get beyond just living for more than the weekends? Get out of bed this Sunday in time to join us at 9:15 or 11:00 AM to discover how to find fulfillment in your life- every day.