A New Generation

July Article 2018.jpg

Living Stones Series: First Published in All Around Old Bridge Publication – July 2018

By Pastor Lloyd Pulley

Every day, there is a new tragedy to process. Whether it’s a new mass shooting, a natural disaster devastating a region, or a beloved celebrity taking their own life, one can’t help but ask, “how much of this can we really take?”

I am not trying to make you sad. These issues are worth discussing. When broken things are allowed to go unchecked, they only tend to get worse. When anxiety and depression lead top-flight celebrities like Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain to feel there is no hope, we intuitively know something is deeply broken.

The odd thing is that uncertainty and insecurity in life are nothing new. From the founding of our nation, there have been birth pangs. Our national anthem reminds us of a time when seeing the flag was an answer to whether the country would continue to exist. Yes, this month we celebrate July 4th. Our Independence Day is more than remembering the signing of a document; it is a chance to remember and hold fast to the ideals that helped shape America. Our forefathers came together to work for the good of each other, believing the self-evident truth that all men are created equal, and shaped the nation we all enjoy today.

This July 4th, we need to ask ourselves if the ideals this country were founded on are being practiced. Are we even headed in the right direction?

In each generation, there have been various struggles. We do not want to idealize America of the past and claim it was perfect. There are, however, some frightening reminders that following the wrong path can lead a nation into peril far beyond what we experience today.

Recently, I met and spoke with a pastor from Syria who shared about the violence ravishing a generation of their people. He told me terrible stories of not just of the devastations of war but especially of the oppression of Christians in that area. Imagine parents having to instruct their children about what to do if someone comes into their house and threatens to kill them if they believe in Jesus.

In America, the growing contentious dialogue should serve as a stern reminder that bad paths have bad consequences. Though we are a nation of laws and standards, people cannot and will not act properly toward one another without a corresponding change of heart.

An entire generation of young people are growing up with a greater ability than ever to tap into the chaos of the world through their devices, completely devoid of the message of hope and heart change personal connections give. The temptation for this generation to spend hours on social media sharing the trivial details of their day with their friends rather than getting challenged to think beyond themselves and face their world with compassion and a desire to help.

At Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, we have begun to see this generation rise to meet that challenge.

Every year, we watch our young people go to third-world countries to serve the people and learn how they live. Locally, we see them come alongside churches that minister in the inner cities. And right here in Old Bridge, hundreds of teens help us run our Vacation Bible School. Seeing young people do everything from teaching Bible classes to leading games to cleaning up trash helps remind me of the real power of the Gospel. These are changed kids, and they are changed by the power of God.

When we raise good servants, we raise people who will not add to the chaos and confusion of our world but will instead help fix it. This is the power that comes from the message of hope found only in the Bible.

To help share that message, we are running our annual Vacation Bible School from July 16-21. Meeting at 9am each morning, children ages 4-12 will get the chance to hear God’s Word taught to them through song, Bible study, and games. Kids will have the chance to participate in various group games, relay races, obstacle course, and much more to help them see and understand the joy that can come from knowing God. To ensure that each and every child learns well and knows they are loved, we have an incredible number of servants from our own Children’s Ministry, each of whom have been background checked and vetted by our church staff.

If you are looking for a way to see your children or grandchildren grow into the kind of people that can share a message of hope, I would highly recommend finding a Vacation Bible School at a church near you. For more information or to register for our Vacation Bible School, visit ccob.org/vbs.

Marj Lancaster