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July 1, 2003

Remember what it was like before personal computers?  Remember when long distance meant using an operator?  Consider...

For those born after 1980, they were 11 when the Soviet Union broke apart and do not remember the cold war.  They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran.  The Vietnam war is as ancient history to them as WWI, WWII, and the Civil War.


Most have never seen a T.V. set with only 13 channels.  They cannot fathom not having a remote control.  There has always been MTV.  They have no idea what BETA is.  They may never have heard of an 8 track.  The Compact Disc was introduced when they were 1 year old.  The expression, “You sound like a broken record” means nothing to them since they have never owned a record player.


They don’t have a clue how to use a typewriter.  Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic.  They do not care who shot J.R. and have no idea who J.R. is.  We have always known where the Titanic was.


To the average 18 year old today a southerner has always been president.  GM has always made Saturns.  Cars have always had airbags.  Madonna is an aging singer.  Fox has always been a TV network.  Dan Rather has always anchored the news.  They have never wanted to “be a Pepper too.”

Feeling old?  Imagine that growing up behind those born in the 80’s is the “net gen” born in 1990.  For them, the internet has always existed!


Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes in My name one of these children, welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me, welcomes not only Me but also the One who sent Me.”  “Let the children come to Me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 9:37; 10:14)


How do we reach these children and youth with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  Especially when, there is a growing gap between the context of our lives and the context in which they live theirs.  How do we communicate if we find it difficult to relate?


This is a great challenge for us.  But, one which we must face - commit ourselves to - sacrifice for.  Imagine the tragedy for our children (and their children), for the church, and for our nation if we do not.


The good news is that, while children today face shootings at school and the overall devaluation of life, the emerging generation seems to be more willing to hear a message of hope.  With prayer and action we must make the message they hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


I praise God for our Sunday School teachers and youth workers - for parents who are teaching their children about Jesus and living life in Christ as an example before them - for those who continually support ministry to these children with their prayers, time, and money - for the commitment of our congregation to the importance of an Associate Pastor of Youth Ministries.  The crucial importance and results of what you are doing are life changing and eternal.


This summer, as we have the opportunities of increased time as families and in our ministry together, let us prayerfully renew our commitment to evangelism and discipleship.