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ILLUSTRATION… Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92
A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness
5. (Tie) Sexual lust
Survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when…
they had neglected their time with God (81 percent)
and when they were physically tired (57 percent).
Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising
situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).
Sebastian Kresge started a five and dime in 1899 and it grew – people came to his store for good prices on decent products – his idea of a “blue-light” special reinvigorated the retail industry…at it height thousands upon thousands of stores serving millions and millions of people…
But then, something happened…something happened. Some claim it was do to increased competition – another company started by a young man named Sam Walton was giving Kresge’s stores a run for their money. Still some claim Kresge’s stores just built too much too fast…by over-expanding they found themselves deep in debt.
But today, I’ll tell you why the once mighty Kmart, the eventual product of Kresge’s five and dime, is in bankruptcy today, and its actually a simple reason…they forgot what they were known for.
Instead of continuing to offer great prices on decent products…they began to compete with the Targets and the Meijers in quality merchandise beyond their customers reach, while on the other end facing the low-pricing of Sam Walton’s creation, Walmart, at every turn. (When Kmart announced they were bringing back the blue-light special and lowering prices throughout the store, then I knew they were doomed. If Kmart has too announce that they have lowered prices, then they’ve lost their identity.)
Soon, being pulled at both ends, Kmart finds itself with the agony of closing stores and firing workers because instead of continuing as they were “known” they tried to change…and failed.
Why do I tell you this story?…because we are “known” too! God knows us. But often we try to be someone different than the way we are known. And if we continue to be something that God knows we aren’t, we are going to end up in a spiritual bankruptcy where God has planned so much more.
GENERATIONS AND THE BIBLE
A new research report from the Barna Group examines recent nationwide studies on how different generations of American adults view and use the Bible. For the purposes of this research, the Mosaic generation refers to adults who are currently ages 18 to 25; Busters are those ages 26 to 44; Boomers are 45 to 63; and Elders are 64-plus.
There is often more that unites the various generations than divides them. The Barna research regarding the Bible confirms the central role this revered text has for most Americans. A majority of each of the four generations believes that the Bible is a sacred or holy book. Another commonality is that millions within each of the generations report reading the pages of Scripture in the last week.
There is also significant generational overlap regarding people’s views on the nature of the Bible. Similar proportions of the generations embrace the most conservative and most liberal views. For instance, the highest view of the Bible is that it is the actual word of God and should be taken literally, word for word, is embraced by one-quarter of Mosaics (27%), Busters (27%), and Boomers (23%), and one-third of Elders (34%). The extreme view on the other end is that the Bible is not inspired by God is embraced by proportions that are also statistically close to one another, including Mosaics (25%), Busters (19%), Boomers (22%), and Elders (22%).
However, despite these similarities, the Barna studies show that the youngest generations are charting a new, unique course related to the Bible. Here are the types of changes being forged by young adults:
Less Sacred: While most Americans of all ages identify the Bible as sacred, the drop-off among the youngest adults is striking: 9 out of 10 Boomers and Elders described the Bible as sacred, which compares to 8 out of 10 Busters (81%) and just 2 out of 3 Mosaics (67%).
¡öLess Accurate ¨C Young adults are significantly less likely than older adults to strongly agree that the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches. Just 30% of Mosaics and 39% of Busters firmly embraced this view, compared with 46% of Boomers and 58% of Elders.
More Universalism: Among Mosaics, a majority (56%) believes the Bible teaches the same spiritual truths as other sacred texts, which compares with 4 out of 10 Busters and Boomers, and one-third of Elders.
Skepticism of Origins: Another generational difference is that young adults are more likely to express skepticism about the original manuscripts of the Bible than is true of older adults.
Less Engagement: While many young adults are active users of the Bible, the pattern shows a clear generational drop-off, the younger the person, the less likely then are to read the Bible. In particular, Busters and Mosaics are less likely than average to have spent time alone in the last week praying and reading the Bible for at least 15 minutes. Interestingly, none of the four generations were particularly likely to say they aspired to read the Bible more as a means of improving their spiritual lives.
Bible Appetite: Despite the generational decline in many Bible metrics, one departure from the typical pattern is the fact that younger adults, especially Mosaics (19%), express a slightly above-average interest in gaining additional Bible knowledge. This compares with 12% of Boomers and 9% of Elders.
David Kinnaman, who directed the analysis of the research, explained that the central theme of young people’s approach to the Bible is skepticism. They question the Bible’s history as well as its relevance to their lives, leading many young people to reject the Bible as containing everything one needs to live a meaningful life. This mindset certainly has its challenges but it also raises the possibility of using their skepticism as an entry point to teaching and exploring the content of the Bible in new ways.
The president of the Barna Group pointed out that since many young people want to learn about the Bible it should be an opportunity for Christian leaders.Perhaps young people want to participate more in the process of learning, not simply attend Bible lectures or be trained in classrooms. Mosaics and Busters have come to expect experiences that appear unscripted and interactive, that allow them to be open and honest with their questions, that are technologically stimulating, that are done alongside peers and within trusted relationships, and that give them the chance to be creative and visual. Their expectations may or may not be entirely healthy, but without considering these issues, the Bible will continue to lose hold on the next generation.
How valuable is salt? 40 million tons are required each year to fill our needs. Homer called it divine. Plato called it a "substance dear to the gods." Shakespeare mentioned salt 17 times in his plays. Perhaps Leonard da Vinci wanted to send a subtle message about purity lost when he painted "The last Supper." In that painting an overturned salt cellar is conspicuously placed before Judas. In ancient Greece a far-flung trade involving the exchange of salt for slaves gave rise to the expression, "...not worth his salt." Special salt rations were given to Roman soldiers and known as "Solarium Argentums" the forerunner of the English word "salary." Thousands of Napoleon?s troops died during his retreat from Moscow because their wounds would not heal--their bodies lacked sal...
Generation Y wants to be engaged, but it does not give marketers much time to do so. “So many are multi-tasking that the concept of time loses meaning with Gen-Y,” says Simmons Research Co-CEO Bill Engel.” They seem to squeeze 31 hours of time into one day. Their whole life is built on a multitude of choice for products. They largely ignore marketing. Gen Y is a group that grew up with a lot of commercialization, a lot of media choice, a lot of communication choices, and a group that depends a lot on peer group influence. We have to get away from using demographics when marketing and start using behaviors to decide what media to be involved with”. With Gen Y it’s all about relevance and behaviors. (Media Life 3/14/06)
* 42 percent of workers reported that yelling and verbal abuse took place where they worked.
* One in ten said that physical violence had occurred where they worked.
* 34 percent had lost sleep because of workplace stress, and 23 percent had been driven to tears.
* Almost two-thirds, 65 percent, identified workplace stress as a problem for them personally. [And the other 35 percent must have been too busy the answer the
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Focus on the Family compiled the following conclusions of the effectiveness of 25 years of addressing the search of intimacy with "safe sex" ideology. (From Fresh Illustrations)
Ten percent of all 15 to 19 year-old females become pregnant each year. ("Kids Having Kids," A Robin Hood Foundation Special Report on the Costs of Adolescent Childbearing, June 1996, p 1. )
More than 80 percent of pregnant girls under age 17 who give birth and keep their babies end up on welfare, costing society a staggering $21 billion a year. (Ibid, 20. )
Three million new cases of STDs among teens are reported each year.
Win Arn, a leading church consultant conducted a survey:
He surveyed members of nearly a thousand churches asking the question, “Why does the church exit?? The results? Of the church members surveyed, 89 percent said, “The church’s purpose is to take care of my family’s and my needs.? For many, the role of the pastor is simply to keep the sheep who are already in the “pen?ha...
1,000 unwed teenage girls become mothers
1,106 teenage girls get abortions
4,219 teenagers contract sexually transmitted diseases
500 adolescents begin using drugs
1,000 adolescents begin drinking alcohol
135,000 kids bring guns or other weapons to school
3,610 teens are assaulted; 80 are raped
2,200 teens drop out of high school
6 teens commit suicide
(Taken from "Right from Wrong" by Josh Mcdowell page 18).
The Boston Globe documented how the lottery saturates poor Massachusetts neighborhoods with outlets. For example, Chelsea, an economically struggling community, has one lottery retailer for every 363 residents. By comparison, the affluent suburb of Milton has one for every 3,657 residents. Chelsea residents, many of whom are on welfare, spend nearly eight percent of their incomes on lottery tickets.
… a store owner [in Chelsea] told us, “The lottery is no good. It robs from my neighbors. People lose a lot of money. The government has no business being involved.” Then we learned that when the social security and welfare checks arrive, local residents line up outside the store and down the sidewalk hoping to parlay their meager subsistence into instant wealth.
Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family Newsletter, April 1999