is this the future we worried about?

david is one of “my guys.”  we meet together every week and sharpen each other.  sadly, david has recently been promoted and his new position requires a great deal of travel.  between his job and my vacation, we have suffered through several weeks where we were unable to hang out…kind of  like the perfect storm for community.

a few days ago, i received an alarming note from david.  he talked honestly about his spiritual struggle (as he always does) and i could sense the frustration in his tone.  this is what he wrote (and i share it with his permission):

I am struggling with increasing feelings of just how off base America is. How off base I am.  This includes most of the American church goers as well. 2 Timothy 3 is all up in my business and it gives me cold sweats.  I feel like we are on a sinking ship and I am not sure how to launch the life rafts without everybody thinking I am insane.
My kids future makes me depressed.  I am worried that they won’t experience God. They need to be taught to fear him firstly and even that can’t be found at most churches. As goofed up as our childhood was, at least we had a healthy respect for the power of God and a fear of the Rapture.
I feel so luke warm and it scares me.  I am having trouble leading my family to be hot for God.
david concluded his note with this sobering passage he referenced from from 2 timothy 3:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
i asked david to elaborate and he will be sharing in this space over the next couple of days.  in the meantime, i’d like to do two things…
1.  i’d like to hear from those that are struggling with similar feelings.  is david’s “cloud” unique, or are others thinking the same type of thoughts?
2.  i’d like to invite anyone that has words of advice/encouragement for those in david’s position to weigh in.  if you’ve walked through similar circumstances and the lord has delivered you, let us hear about it. 
i realize this is a departure for me, but i feel like maybe the lord is up to something.

5 thoughts on “is this the future we worried about?

  1. Randy, perhaps what David is speaking to is what the quote from Nietzsche meant by “the chaos of the soul”. I have sometimes seen it referred to as “paradox”; growth to a new and higher level come from the destruction of the old way such as culture, society, a certain way of life. Framed in gospel language is that not what salvation is?

    We humans in this age have been trained to use only the rational part of who we are, but we also have an intuitive and imaginative side that we do not stay atuned to. From this side can come profound spiritual inspiration.

    The great Christian mystics were pre-enlightenment; before the emphasis on the rational or reason side of our nature. They all had profound spiritual insights.

    The heart of Jesus’ teaching was love God and love your neighbor; when I stay focused on just that what happens in the World around me takes on much less significance. To use a “Orpha-ite” phrase; it just is.

    Blessings on you and your ministry, Randy.

  2. Last Sunday night after church I made the comment to my pastor that it is depressing sometimes being in the American church. I just got back from almost three weeks in Mexico. The second week I was there I witnessed something profound… We would have sudden prayer meetings in which people would get healed and saved. The part that really stuck out to me was that as soon as people got saved, the first question asked to them was if they wanted to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They said yes and immediately they were filled. Why don’t we see this here in America?
    Recently on my track of becoming a missionary, I was delayed. Someone made a comment to me not to worry because I still had a good 40 years of ministry with my age. It just completely shocked me. What has happened to the anticipation that Christ could come back any day now? I may not have 10 years, let alone 1 year. How much longer is God going to sit back and let everything good that He created be perverted? I spent some time in Guadalajara while I was there and there is a transvestite community there. It blew my mind and I kept asking God how does He put up with this. I know there is still time to reach them, but how much time remains?
    To me it seems like the American church is completely missing the point. I don’t see any resemblance of what the church looked like in Acts. But I’m guilty of this myself as well. We don’t see miracles, thousands being added to the church on a regular basis, loving one another like we should, etc… This country is headed for disaster, and the church is doing nothing about it. We live like the rest of society and people can’t even tell a difference between us and the world. If the Lord tarries, who is going to remain for the next generation to show them any respect or fear of the Lord?

  3. Daniel H. If I might respond briefly to some of your comment.

    I am not surprised at all to how people in Mexico respond to the Holy Spirit. They have not been exposed nearly as much to the Industrial & Scientific Age as we in the culture and economy of the US. They are very much more attuned to the intuitive and imaginative side of us humans than those of us being constantly bombarded with the rational or scientific aspect of a high-tech economy and society. They intuitively understand and believe in the Spirit.

    If the “American church” would work to help balance those parts of human nature, we might see (and understand) the way the Holy Spirit works in our lives.

    Just one way I personally think that can be done, (and I very much understand) how controversial what I am suggesting is; relax some reading, studying, interpreting and attempting to live the Bible from a very literal perspective. When I take the Bible very literal, I have found I must constantly suspend reason in the face of ongoing scientific inquiry and discovery. Just one example: a week or so ago in a discussion with a group of pastors one of them commented that the Bible was a very accurate book of history, true in every aspect of history. My responce was if you are going to hold the stories in the Bible to those standards of historical method, it would be much easier for me to prove the life of Pilate than the death of Jesus. (The discussion or at least my part in it ended with that) Could add that was fresh in my mind when I made the statement in Randy’s previous post about the traditional church being in danger of marginalizing itself.

    Your question; “How much longer is God going to sit back and let everything He created be perverted?”

    Just something to ponder; you see perversion, maybe God doesn’t. He may have some purpose He doen’t feel the need to include you in on. Jesus engaged constantly the “perversions” of his times with love and compassion (breaking bread with all sorts of riffraff).

    Your statement; “We don’t see miracles” Defining a miracle as happening when there is harmony in the human relationship with God, we should be experiencing them constantly. (If fact, I think they are constantly there, we just don’t create the harmony it takes for God to freely move and express openly in our lives)

    I have rambled on much too long, will close with where my spiritual sojourns have led me. The basic teachings of Jesus, love God and my neighbor (first to say don’t always get there) and live in this world (meaning don’t focus much on the next one; it will get to me at some point).

  4. To Spiritual Way:

    While you may have good intensions, your words do absolutely nothing for me. I say this with complete humility and respect for you but in regard to Christianity you are extremely off base. I feel compelled to inform you that you are completely missing it and I suggest you read the Gospels and focus on the cross. It will solve everything.

    Your words and intentions are a perfect example of what’s wrong with us (the human race.) It seems to me that you seek to explain away or humanize all things biblical in an attempt to “understand” God or the way he works.

    We (me and you) are enemies of God without Jesus. You, I or anyone else will not escape Hell without the grace of Jesus. Good actions and worldly wisdom are worthless.

    I challenge you to do as I am doing. Confess that you are full of sin by nature and that you are bankrupt of wisdom and purity. Jesus can’t resist a contrite heart.

    I am not trying to get in your grill. Believe it or not I care.

  5. I feel the same way. Like I have a huge backpack on filled with literal crap and I can’t get rid of it or it’s smell. I too worry about my kids. They are so much more spiritually aware than I was and am now, but as I have been thinking about the reason for that, God has made it perfectly clear…less crap. My children love because they truly love without pain or judgement. They are kind because they have kindness in their heart. They are not worried that the receiver might not give back or that they may be taken advantage of they just give and love. The bible says that we are born in sin…but at some point my kids have been able to receive the love and forgiveness that only Jesus gives and it is visable on their faces and in their eyes. I still feel like I have my backpack of crap(worries, sin, anger, confusion, etc.) but I have hope in the fact that when I look at my kids I can see that God is truly at work. God has continued to show me that it isn’t how you feel about your walk, but your walk itself. Don’t know about much, but I know that all I can do is continue to walk by faith and not by sight…or emotion.

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