Our 2nd week looking into Half Time activities will be spent paying attention. In the book Half Time (Bob Buford) he said something that resonated with me. Buford said, "I've not always paid attention to my life." Sounds like a simple statement that could be made about most of us. It sure fits me! But shame on me for being so flippant about the beautiful gift of life!
In Matthew 16:2-3 Jesus comments about how we are concerned with the 'signs' that foretell the weather (which we can do little about) but we don't look around and pay attention to the signs of the times. Maybe it's time we look around.
A new film recounts the underground church in Iran shows Muslims fleeing radical Islam and joining Christianity as the most rapidly-growing church movement in the world. The church is mostly led by women who are observing and reacting to oppression, discrimination and gross-misinformation promulgating their plight. These are the signs of our times. And by the way ... the Church has always found a way to thrive in the depths of persecution and oppression. I wonder if these places and times are where we shine our light most brightly!
Teachers and professors tell me that an increasing number of students cannot string together a series of sentences that form a coherent thought. Interviewers tell me that people routinely show up for job interviews in shorts and t-shirts. Parents tell me about young adults that are content to stay home, smoke pot and play on their phones and computers, rather than seeking work that will pay housing and living expenses. Many cannot write a check or balance a checkbook. These are the sings of the times.
Country concerts and even Justin Beiber events are being interrupted by overt and blatant worship of Jesus, about whom Beiber said, "Having trust in Jesus at your worst times is the absolute hardest, but He is faithful to complete what He started!" These are the signs of the times.
People are complaining about politics, the environment, the medical industry, racism, self-help and depression, all of which are very real and very misunderstood. Almost none of the information we receive about these societal issues are accurate and/or helpful. Jesus was moved with compassion as He looked out on the multitudes (Matthew 9:36) and observed they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. These are the signs of our times.
Well ... we cant do much about the weather. We can't control the flow of information from biased sources. We CAN control our actions and choices. And we CAN trust and rely on those places where God's Spirit is moving, working and doing great things. We CAN even invite God's Spirit into our lives, our church, our homes, our actions and our community. Sunday we will talk about ways this CAN happen right here in Abbeville! Randy