Faith is significant to them, but it takes a back seat to life accomplishments and is not necessarily perceived to affect their ability to achieve their dreams.
Among adults the areas of growing importance are lifestyle comfort, success, and personal achievements.
Those dimensions have risen at the expense of investment in both faith and family. The turbo-charged pace of society leaves people with little time for reflection.
Spiritual practices like contemplation, solitude, silence, and simplicity are rare. Practical to a fault, Americans consider survival in the present to be much more significant than eternal security and spiritual possibilities.
Because we continue to separate our spirituality from other dimensions of life through compartmentalization, a relatively superficial approach to faith has become a central means of optimizing our life experience.
As if “spiritual principles” are not practically applicable! Please. This attitude shows that too many Christians are not being taught the truth of the Word, which is all about how to live, that is, how to be and what to do in any situation. People cannot be living truth unless they first hear truth.
The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church. Our biblical illiteracy and lack of spiritual confidence has caused Americans to avoid making discerning choices for fear of being labeled “judgmental.”
This increased leniency is made possible by the very limited accountability that occurs within the Body of Christ. There are fewer and fewer issues that Christians believe churches should be dogmatic about. The idea of love has been redefined to mean the absence of conflict and confrontation, as if there are no moral absolutes that are worth fighting for.
That may not be surprising in a Church in which a minority believes there are moral absolutes dictated by the Scriptures. The challenge for every Christian is to know his/her faith well enough to understand which fights are worth fighting, and which stands are non-negotiable.
How can we present life-changing truth to people if we tiptoe around the basic truths of Scripture? Of course we want to present them as palatably as we can, but at some point whether or not a person chooses to ingest and digest the truth is about his own level of hunger. For centuries precious Christians have been subjected to indigestible junk food, as in, “Gag me with a fable.”
Look, we are running out of time. Let’s make “Hey!” (as in, “Hey you, come to Christ!”) while the Son shines. The Devil is not shy about loudly and relentlessly proclaiming his lies and we should be no less bold in declaring what we know to be God’s truth. People’
The influence of Christianity on culture and individual lives is largely invisible. Christianity has arguably added more value to American culture than any other religion, philosophy, ideology or community. Yet, contemporary Americans are hard pressed to identify any specific value added.
In a period of history where image is reality, and life-changing decisions are made on the basis of such images, the Christian Church is in desperate need of a more positive and accessible image. The primary obstacle is not the substance of the principles on which Christianity is based. The most influential aspect of Christianity in America is how believers do -or do not- implement their faith in public and private.
It is people’s observations of the integration of a believer’s faith into how he/she responds to life’s opportunities and challenges that most substantially shape people’s impressions of and interest in Christianity.
In a society in which there are no absolutes, every individual is a free agent, we are taught to be self-reliant and independent, and Christianity is no longer the automatic, default faith of young adults, new ways of relating to Americans and exposing the heart and soul of the Christian faith are required.
Culture is shaped by people, and people are influenced by other people, either for good or for bad. The primary obstacle is “not the substance of the principles on which Christianity is based.” The problem is that those truths are not being taught.
It is not that we need “new ways of exposing the heart and soul of the Christian faith.” What we need to do is teach the heart and soul of Christianity, and that is Jesus Christ, the Living Truth, Who is not a “God-man” or an “all God and all man” being with Whom we cannot possibly identify, but a Human Being Who perfectly trusted the same Heavenly Father He encourages you and me to trust.
Only the Lord Jesus can really touch your heart to the degree that your love for Him makes you a “bond slave” to Him, and anoint you with the power, authority and conviction to tell others this magnanimous truth.
Getting Back to Basics
“The True Church can never fail. For it is based upon a rock” ― T.S. Eliot
“Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon” ― Martin Luther
“Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man” ― Dwight L. Moody
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The book is available worldwide in paperback, e-book and Kindle book at Amazon.com, Kindle Store, Createspace (an Amazon company) and in hard cover at Lulu Enterprises Inc.
James Langston is available for interviews, media appearances, book signings, and speaking engagements.
About the Author:
Langston, a former U.S. Naval military officer, faithfully served his country for 27 years before retiring in 2003. He is founder and senior pastor of the Pilgrim Outreach Ministries.
Langston is ordained and licensed through World Evangelism Fellowship of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is a 1976 graduate of El Campo high school in El Campo, Texas.
James and his wife Cecilia have been married for more than 34 years and have six children and twelve grandchildren.
They live overseas in Italy.
James Langston, Senior Pastor,
Pilgrim Outreach Ministries Naples, Italy
“The Building of A Church”