Monthly Archives: January 2007

Ready?

Lisa Kline, an intern candidate for my company’s summer position, wrote about the Echo-Boom generation in her application. She made some interesting observations that caught my attention. Today’s youth may not be ready for the future.

Echo-Boomers are those people born from 1982-1995. This is the first generation to grow up in a truly digital world. They had personal computers at home and are technologically savvy.

Eco-Boomers are the most protected and watched over generation in history. Many of them have never ridden a bike without a helmet or ridden in a car without a seat belt.

Lisa pointed out that each member thinks of themselves as special, unique. They all grew up being told they were above average. They were rewarded for participation rather than achievement. This has caused many Eco-Boomers to grow up with a feeling of entitlement. Consequently, they tend to seek over indulgence and instant gratification.

Focusing on the here and now, Eco-Boomers have a difficult time thinking long term. The future seems too far away to worry about. Many of them are not taking the precautions to be ready for the future. This is one of the biggest drawbacks of the Eco-Boom generation. They may not be ready for what lies ahead, especially if the world they inherit leads to a declining standard of living.

When you have so much, it can be hard to accept less. What happens if that becomes the reality? If this trend were to manifest, there could be millions who would struggle to accept a world where things are not as good as they used to be.

Eco-Boomers were raised to view themselves as part of a whole. Schools today focus on teamwork not always individual accomplishment. Many class assignments are now group projects.

Beyond the change in mindset, there are more students in the Eco-Boom generation than Generation X.  This means that if there is less in the future, there will be a greater number of people competing for those resources and opportunities. How would this reality hold up against the teamwork mentality they were raised with?

The future is uncertain. However, it does appear to hold challenges especially if adults today fail to prepare children for tomorrow. 

Is your family ready?

Into Thy Hands, Lord

Kneeling before thee, Lord, I am praying, claiming a closer communion with thee, longing to sever from selfish ambition. Break thou each fetter and set my soul free.

Into thy hands, Lord, take me and mold me, even as the potter handles the clay. Make me a vessel fit for thy service. Cleanse me and fill me, and use me today.

Fruitless has been the way of my choosing. Now I am leaving the future with thee. Treading the pathway of joyful obedience. Lord, see me ready thy servant to be.

Not in my own strength can I accomplish. All thou art planning for me, day by day. Owning the limit of human endeavor, humbly I seek, Lord, the grace to obey.

-Jessie Mountain (1895-1981)  from The Song Book of The Salvation Army

Everything

Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life.
Yet my desires are often fixed, caught, on illusions of fulfillment.
I ask that God, through my freedom, may orchestrate
my desires in a vibrant loving melody rich in harmony.

-Today’s Prayer from Sacred Space (www.sacredspace.ie)

The Lost Art of Remembering

“Our society is slowly forgetting how to remember. We are forgetting how to remember those who have come before us, their mistakes and successes, and how the past affects us today. It is virtually impossible to know where you are going unless you know where you are coming from.”  – Lisa Kline

I read the above words while reviewing internship applications for my job. Every year, I pick an editorial intern to work with our team. Lisa submitted two papers. Both have some challenging thoughts in them.

Her article described her expereince while visiting England. She spent some time at a number of key landmarks. One was Warwick Castle, the legendary castle built during the rise of William the Conqueror. The site is one of the top ten attractions in the United Kingdom. It was opened to the public 1978 when the Tussauds Group bought it.

Lisa described how the once proud castle looks more like an attraction at an amuzement park. With a giant ice slide and skating rink under construction, the historic landmark focuses more on entertainment than education.

Lisa wrote, “After a day there, I knew no more at all about the historical significance of the castle and it town, but I did know that there was going to be a big ice slide in a month.”

Her point is that the morphing of Warwick Castle mirrors trends in society. Lisa wrote, “The problem is not so much with the people who work to preserve places like Warwick Castle, but rather with society. Without making the place into a theme park atmosphere, Warwick would never bring in the kind of money necessary to keep the place going. Any love of history and effort to remember that history has been lost to our insatiable need for entertainment.”

Lisa pointed out a distrubing trend with Western societies. Many people are so focused on today that they don’t want to take the time to learn from the past to have a better tomorrow. Remebering the past is becoming a lost art.

Do you know someone from another generation? If you do, consider spending some time with them to hear their stories. You could learn a lot about how things have changed and how so many things stay the same. Once these precious people die, their memories and experiences die with them unless someone else carries it on.

That is why remembering is so critical. So what are you remembering?

Losing It

Sometimes we just have to come to a point where we lost it. Things build up, and we snap. In a recent issue of ESPN The Magazine, Tenessee Titans lineman, Albert Haynesworth, talked about his episode this season. Haynesworth stepped on the head of another player in anger and was severely fined by the NFL.

Looking back on my last week, I can relate with much of what Haynesworth said in his interview. It is never just the thing that caused the outburst. It is always everything that led up to it.

The ESPN article explains how the incident impacted the Haynesworth and even led to him addressing personal problems and developing improved football form.  But it certainly caused soul searching too.

Seth Wickersham wrote, “Haynesworth knows the hypocrisy of what we want from him. We want him to rid himself of the dark currents that pushed him to bloody a man’s face, and once purified, to be a better father, husband and man. And when he’s done with that, we want him to beat on his opponents and puch his way to the quarterback.”

Ultimately, the final chapter is not written in this football story. It appearsthat Haynesworth has become stronger on the field while his family life still needs a lot of work.

The story shows how a moment of rage can actually lead to a better future. Sometimes we need to lose control to realize our real problems and come to the end of ourselves. If we handle the situation right, a disaster can become a blessing. 

Haynesworth’s story also highlights the downside of success – something usually has to give to achieve it. And in the case of many pro athletes unfortunately it is their personal life.

What are you giving up to achieve the successes in your life? Is it worth the cost?

Fame

The American society has become obsessed with fame. This seems especially true about the youth culture. I noticed this as I talked about the popularity of American Idol with some friends from my church fellowship.

The other day I had the opportunity to see the season premiere of this popular music talent show. It was only my second time to see the show in the six seasons it has been on the air. And it was my largest dose of “reality” TV ever.

Wow – there must be a lot of “unique” people in Seattle. You would think that more people would have self awareness or at least honest friends. I couldn’t figure out why so many people liked the show or would stand in long lines to audition. My friends said that everybody wants to be famous. Their son said that was especially true for everyone he knew at his high school.

At first, I thought, ‘Well, I don’t really want to be famous.’ But then I remembered a conversation the other day where I admitted one of my struggles with writing was the reality that I would probably never be the next Philip Yancey or C.S. Lewis. Part of me craves fame just like the would-be idols on the TV show.

I believe our desire for fame results from a number of factors. We all like to be noticed. This connects with our struggle for identity and acceptance. Fame is usually followed by money or the ability to make a living doing something other than the typical job. It can be easy to think that famous people have it made. But fame brings with it a number of limitations and challenges.

The human heart also desires fame because we all struggle with pride and idolatry. Frequently, we desire fame because we are jealous of what others have.

Jesus, change my heart. May I desire to make You famous. May I accept your love and affirmation as all I need. Guide me that I can know how to live for Your glory and nothing more. Purify my desires and my sense of what is important. Make me like You because You become of no reputation to save even those who rejected You. Amen!

Dying to Live

245 people will be killed today for their belief in Jesus

What are you living for?

Pastor Carter recently said in a sermon, “What we need to learn in the church is how to practice dying.”

He’s right. The call to follow Jesus is an invitation to life through death. Wow, what a paradox.

Today, if you are the praying kind, I invite you to take a few minutes to pray for those who are behind bars or have been oppressed for the cause of Christ.  

Jesus, let Your  peace rest on those who are oppressed for Your name. Give them strength. Bring them to my remembrance. Provide for their families out of Your bounty. Help me to know how I can make a difference in loving the persecuted Church. 

May those around the world in bonds for the Gospel, shine as a bright light and show love to those who have done wrong to them. Turn the hearts of their captors to You. May Your power through love show its might even against the coldest heart. Bring freedom to the captives. Be glorified in earth as in heaven.

Amen!

For more information on the persecuted Church visit www.persecution.com