Is The Answer Within Ourselves?

Chris Cuomo from CNN recently made a statement on TV saying that our nation does not need God and that everything we need to make a better place is within ourselves. When you ignore the reality of God, you cast off your conscience and any restraints to keep you from committing sinful acts. By choosing to exchange the truth about God for a lie and choosing to worship and serve the creature instead of the Creator, God also gives you up to the lusts of your heart. And before you try and justify yourself, consider this example as to how quickly we can plunge ourselves into perversion.

Abortion is running rampant in our country, nearly 1,000,000 babies are killed legally in America each year due to abortion laws and practices. This is one of the greatest genocides in human history. God tells us that life begins at conception and science confirms this truth as we have every bit of DNA that makes us who we are at the moment of conception. 90% of abortions are performed because the child is considered an inconvenience and because of the parents selfish desires. We murder children and use terminology that makes us feel better about it (it’s a woman’s choice and it’s a woman’s body). We choose to believe the lie that you and your mom have the same body, when any rational person would admit you and your mom do not share the same body; you are both unique individuals. We do all of this to ease our conscience and to justify the termination of innocent life. It’s bad enough that we openly sacrifice children on the altar of convenience and selfish ambition, but it actually gets worse. Now we are harvesting organs and parts from aborted children and using them in vaccines.

If we are brutally honest with ourselves, apart from God we are not good enough to make things right. Departing from God and His Word has only plunged us into a bloody mess. God says that pure religion is to care for orphans and widows. Meaning we are to care for the most vulnerable in our society; innocent children who aren’t given a chance fall well within that realm.

God is willing to forgive all sins, even abortion. But we must come to Him on His terms. He calls all people to repent and believe the gospel. Putting your faith and trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ (who is God), who died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin.

It would be a wonderful thing if we started valuing life as a gift from God. As Christians we cannot vote for leaders who are pro-choice, we must vote for leaders who oppose abortion and value life. We must use our voices to speak the truth and to defend the cause of the most vulnerable in our society. We don’t need to use force, but we do need to speak up. God have mercy on our souls.

Psalm 5
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
    evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
    you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
    the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

Casual Christianity

Excerpt taken from this article: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/06/23/im-pastor-and-want-to-quit-church-now.html

“Only 39 percent of active believers consider the Bible as the literal word of God. Only 5 percent have shared their faith with a non-believer. More than half of all church members attend church once a month or less.

If we quit the casual way we approach God’s principles can you imagine what would happen in our personal walks of faith and in our community of believers?

My conversations over the past several years revealed the spiritual habits necessary for personal and church growth and revealed the “why” behind disengagement in the church.

The truth is, if we don’t feel passionate about something we don’t do it. If we don’t like something that happens in the church, we find another one. If the spiritual practices don’t fit our lifestyle, then we don’t do them.

This mindset permeates our “I want it now and I want it my way” culture and is only enforced through social media, website choices, TV options and countless other platforms that have risen in prominence in our lives. This is not the way God intended the church to live.

Jesus felt the church was worth dying for – it should be our mission as Christians to value living for it.”

Christian Women are More Committed to Faith than Men

Excerpt from: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/christian-women-religious-christian-men/

“As a study conducted by the Pew Research Center finds, based on a broad range of factors, Christian women in the United States express a higher level of religiosity and religious commitment than Christian men.

For example, more than seven-in-ten Christian women (72 percent) say religion is “very important” in their lives, compared with 62 percent of Christian men.

Women are also more likely than men to read Scripture at least once a week (49 percent vs. 40 percent) and believe the Bible is the Word of God (78 percent vs. 72 percent).

While there are likely to be numerous factors that influence this gap, I suspect the most important is the difference in Bible reading habits. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers for Bible reading and prayer.

 

 

 

 

As Donald Whitney says, the most important spiritual discipline is “the intake of God’s Word. No factor is more influential in making us more like the Son of God than the Spirit of God working through the Word of God.” Whitney also adds that “of all the Spiritual Disciplines, Prayer is second only to the intake of God’s Word in importance.” Prayer is second in importance because it relies on our knowledge of God, which comes from reading his Word. Without engagement with Scripture, our prayers are lacking. It’s like having a phone conversation in which the other person can hear us but we can’t hear them.

While I don’t want to underestimate the complexity of addressing the problem, I think the core solution is to encourage Christian men to read their Bibles. What if women are more inclined to pray, attend church, and say their faith is very important to them simply because they’ve first taken the time to encounter God in his Word?”

 

 

Source: Article: “Why Are Christian Women More Religious Than Christian Men?” by Joe Carter

Singles and Church

This is an excerpt from Barna Trends:

There are more married people in church than single people. You probably already know this just from looking around every Sunday—but here’s some data to prove it. According to a recent Barna study, less than a quarter of active churchgoers are single (23%).

The same Barna study found the majority of singles who are not active in or committed to a church are searching for meaning and purpose in life (55%). In fact, almost two-thirds of these singles (65%) are looking for ways to improve themselves and nearly one out of six (15%) would be motivated to go to church for the opportunity to find out more about God.

One in five (21%) singles who are not active in or committed to a church are interested in going to church to have support during difficult times. One-quarter of singles (23%) would be motivated to go to church if they simply knew that anyone would be welcomed into the church community.

 

Source: https://www.barna.com/single-minded-church/

Sharing Faith

“When was the last time you had a conversation about God? For most people, the unfortunate and surprising answer to that question is not very often. Spiritual conversations are exceedingly rare for most Americans, and even for Christians, who are at best reluctant to have them.”

“A growing number of Christians don’t see sharing the good news as a personal responsibility. Just 10 percent of Christians in 1993 who had shared about their faith agreed with the statement “converting people to Christianity is the job of the local church”—as opposed to the job of an individual (i.e., themselves). Twenty-five years later, three in 10 Christians who have had a conversation about faith say evangelism is the local church’s responsibility (29%), a nearly threefold increase.”

“The truth is, most Christians are busy with other things: the day-to-day of normal life—jobs, kids, budgets, sports, weather and what’s premiering on Netflix this week. None of this is bad, but the unfortunate reality is that most adults don’t seem to connect their everyday experiences with their faith. Or, at least, they aren’t talking about it if they do.”

“Followers of Christ have something essential and meaningful to share with their families, neighbors, friends and those they come into contact with,” … We ought to help Christians begin to make the connections between their everyday, ordinary life—their sleeping, eating, going-to-work and walking-around life—and the faith that sustains them.”

 

Source: https://www.barna.com/research/sharing-faith-increasingly-optional-christians/

Prayer in America

This is from Barna Research about Prayer in America:
“What we found gives us a much more nuanced portrait of the American prayer life. The most notable aspect of which is it’s individual quality. People pray mostly alone—it is a solitary activity defined primarily by the immediate needs and concerns of the individual. Corporate prayer and corporate needs are less compelling drivers in people’s prayer lives.”

“Though the vast majority of praying adults (89%) direct their prayers to “God,” they don’t all pray to the same god (if they pray to a deity at all). For instance, only half of praying adults (50%) pray to Jesus, and less than one-quarter (23%) pray to the Holy Spirit.”

“American adults who pray with regularity do so with varying motivations, the most common being to offer “gratitude and thanksgiving” (62%). Generationally, this is lowest among Millennials (53%) and highest among Boomers (71%). An equally popular prayer incentive is the “needs of their family and community” (61%), followed by “personal guidance in crisis” (49%). ”

“The generation most willing to cover prayer requests from others are Elders (47%), who are almost twice as likely to do so than Millennials (27%). Just less than half of praying adults (47%) most often direct prayers toward their own health and wellness.

“Almost all American adults (94%) who have prayed at least once in the last three months most often choose to pray by themselves. Not only are most prayers a solo practice, but the vast majority are also most often silent (82% compared to 13% audible and solo prayers). Affirming this shift is the fact that only a very small percentage most often pray audibly with another person or group (2%), or collectively with a church (2%).”

 

Source: https://www.barna.com/research/silent-solo-americans-pray/

Authenticity

Insight into the need for authentic and sincere Christians to practically live out their faith, and to openly address challenging issues.

 

You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church . . . and Rethinking Faith
David Kinnaman, Baker Books (2011)

Book Findings
: Over 33% of young adults said they feel like they can’t ask life’s most pressing questions in church and 23% said they had “significant intellectual doubts” about their faith.

 

Families and Faith: How Religion is Passed Down Across Generations
Vern L. Bengtson. Norella M. Putney, Susan Harris, Oxford University Press (2013)

Book Findings: Several key findings were discovered in this 35-year study of families, focusing on the question of how religion is passed across generations:

1. Parents continue to be the single greatest influence on their children’s faith.
2. When a child sees and hears that faith actually makes a difference in Mom and Dad’s lives, they’re much more likely to follow suit.
3. Young adults are more likely to share their parents’ religious beliefs and participation if they feel that they have a close relationship with those parents.
4. Young Christians who leave the faith are far more likely to return when parents have been patient and supportive – and perhaps more tolerant and open than they had been before the prodigal’s departure.

 

Source: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2018/are-young-people-really-leaving-christianity/

Holiness of God

Statement: Even the smallest sin deserves eternal damnation.
Finding: 61% of all participants strongly disagree with this statement.

“The results jump off the page as the strongly disagree column spikes to 61%. That conviction is fundamentally a conviction about the character of God. If he is perfectly holy and just, he cannot let sin go unpunished. But God is no longer holy—in the minds of six out of ten Americans.”

Source: https://thestateoftheology.com/

Confronting Issues

Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood
Christian Smith with Kari Christoffersen, Hilary Davidson and Patricia Snell Herzog, Oxford University Press (2011)

Book Findings: Young adults are unable to think coherently about moral beliefs and problems. Young adults have an excessive focus on consumption and materialism as the good life.


America’s Changing Religious Landscape

Pew Research Center (2015)
Study Findings: As the Millennial generation enters adulthood, its members display much lower levels of religious affiliation, including less connection with Christian churches, than older generations.

 

Book Findings: There appears to be no shortage of teenagers who want to be inspired and make the world better. But the version of Christianity some are taught doesn’t inspire them “to change anything that’s broken in the world.” Teens want to be challenged; they want their tough questions taken on. “We think that they want cake, but they actually want steak and potatoes, and we keep giving them cake,” Churches, not just parents, share some of the blame for teens’ religious apathy. “…The gospel of niceness can’t teach teens how to confront tragedy. It can’t bear the weight of deeper questions: Why are my parents getting a divorce? Why did my best friend commit suicide? Why, in this economy, can’t I get the good job I was promised if I was a good kid?”

 

 

Source: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2018/are-young-people-really-leaving-christianity/

Ethics

“What we believe shapes how we behave. As we see evangelicals slipping away from foundational beliefs, we also see them rejecting biblical teaching on Christian living. Convictions about the key ethical issues that previously defined evangelical ethics, especially in the public sphere, are weakening as church attendance slackens.”

Statement: Sex outside of traditional marriage is a sin.
Finding: Only 52% of self-identified evengelicals who attend church once or twice per month strongly agree with this statement.

Statement: Abortion is a sin.
Finding: Only 48% of self-identified evengelicals who attend church once or twice per month strongly agree with this statement.

 

Source: https://thestateoftheology.com/