Our culture is obsessed with the “end of the world.” Take, for example, the new movie 2012. This big-budget film marginalized its competitors as it racked up $65.2 million, accounting for roughly half of all box office receipts in an impressive opening weekend. The movie tracks the plight of mankind after Dec. 21, 2012, when incredible catastrophes befall the Earth.
The film created a stir before its release when NASA set up a website to debunk its central myth that the world will end parallel with the ancient Mayan calendar in 2012.
We are definitely obsessed as a society, but we don’t have as many people seeking spiritual matters as are going to the movies … right???
Have you noticed the phenomenon of successful television shows such as “Ghost Hunters” on the SYFY channel? Not to mention the most lucrative independent film in history that is currently in theatres, “Paranormal Activity.” This indie-movie is currently grossing over $103 million.
Our society has groups of people camping out with recorders in cemeteries and abandoned buildings, hoping to get just a faint brush with the “other world.” Note to church: They use recorders and measurement equipment because hype and emotion aren’t enough – to paraphrase the 70s rock band, Boston, they want “more than a feeling;” they want proof.
As “the Church,” we are the stewards of “the truth.” If you ever watch one of these paranormal programs, what is simply amazing is the amount of spiritual conversation that happens. I contend that there are more spiritual conversations between these young adults in a “Haunted House” at 2 a.m. than there are in some Sunday School classes at 9:45 a.m. We are so poised, so close to the supernatural, that we have let it become mundane. We are many times, like survivors on an island, surrounded by chaos with the Amazing so close to us. We prattle on more about the Rams’/Chiefs’ poor football standiangs, lunch preparations, and soccer practice than we do discussing the miracles of the things around us, the supernatural blessings, and struggles between good and evil.
The world sees us mired in the day-to-day as much as they are. They see our divorce rates matching and surpassing theirs. They see us argue, hear our potty-mouths, and see us declare moral, emotional and financial bankruptcy.
They often see Sunday School lessons read verbatim from a teacher’s guide or, even worse, taught totally from the hip – becoming more of an opinion panel than focusing on God’s Word. Instead of hearing stunning truth from the pulpit, they oftentimes are subjected to oracular ramblings of opinion awkwardly trying to be relevant. They watch the worship team either focused on the trendy, or bowing at the altar of tradition, and the modern clergy in its inane struggle between vestments of suits or ‘untucked’ with jeans.
But fear not, Church – the good news is … we are so close.
The teachings of Scripture prophesied the Savior.
The teachings of Scripture helped to create the first great country, Israel.
The teachings of Scripture helped to create the present great country, the United States.
The teachings of Scripture formed the church.
The teachings of Scripture RE-FORMed the church.
The teachings of Scripture ended the bubonic plague.
The teachings of Scripture gave us the Great Commandment.
The teachings of Scripture gave us the Great Commission.
The teachings of Scripture have constantly been proven correct.
The teachings of Scripture have saved me, and you.
The teachings of Scripture have given us the opportunity of abundant life on earth.
The teachings of Scripture speak of simply amazing things, from Genesis to Revelation … and now to a post-modern culture, who is looking, searching, hungering, spending their spare weekends exploring to find great proof … it is here, if we will simply allow it to shine through us.
We don’t have to manufacture something; we already have an amazing link to a spiritual world that is mind-blowing and phenomenal. Simply let them see. Don’t be afraid of their questions, engage them. Run in the power of His precepts:
“I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart. Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart,” Psalms 119:32-34.
If we live lives that are supernatural, others will take notice. They will be empowered, and forever changed. This is lifestyle evangelism at its best – lives of praise can cure a culture and save a nation. (John Francis is the worship specialist for the Missouri Baptist Convention and produces MoWorship, a monthly worship podcast available at www.mobaptist.org/worship.)