DashHouse.com

The Blog of Darryl Dash

This blog is about how Jesus changes everything. He changes:

Our relationship with God

Our relationship with others

Our vocations - how we live and work in this world

Our ministries

This blog exists to explore some of the ways that Jesus changes everything. It provides resources and articles that will help you think about the ways that Jesus can change every part of your life.

The Lord himself invites you to a conference concerning your immediate and endless happiness, and He would not have done this if He did not mean well toward you. Do not refuse the Lord Jesus who knocks at your door; for He knocks with a hand which was nailed to the tree for such as you are. Since His only and sole object is your good, incline your ear and come to Him. Hearken diligently, and let the good word sink into your soul. (C.H. Spurgeon, All of Grace)

The Type of Person God Uses

  • it should have struck me before, but sometime in the first year of our marriage, I was struck by a startling realization: my wife and I are different
  • you would think that I might have realized that before our marriage, but for whatever reason I didn't
  • in that first year of marriage, I discovered that I was a morning person, and my wife was an night hawk
  • my brain shut down right around the time that hers started working

  • what's more, my idea of a good time was to retreat from the world and to barricade herself in my house
  • her idea of a good time was to throw open to doors and invite the neighborhood in

  • I liked to plan; my wife was spontaneous
  • I believed in punctuality; we'll just call my wife a free spirit

  • and somewhere along the line I realized: the differences between us could either be the points of greatest conflict in our marriage, or they could become the points of greatest strength
  • I realized after a while that I didn't really want to be married to somebody like me
  • I began to see that our differences, when nurtured and embraced, could lead to new and exciting adventures for both of us
  • our differences created opportunities for both of us to mature, and for her strengths to compensate for my weaknesses
  • we could choose selfishness and defensiveness, or we could choose contribution and caring
  • the moments of greatest delight in our marriage have been those moments that we have enjoyed the differences between us

  • the greatest strength of any group of people is going to be the synergy that comes from being different
  • Paul talks about this in Ephesians 4, which I'd like you to read with me
  • it's found on page 1319 of your pew Bible
  • (Ephesians 4:1) As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
  • (Ephesians 4:2) Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
  • (Ephesians 4:3) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
  • (Ephesians 4:4) There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called--
  • (Ephesians 4:5) one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
  • (Ephesians 4:6) one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
  • Paul is saying that there is an underlying, fundamental unity within the church
  • we don't have to manufacture it; it was given by the Spirit
  • it's simply our job to keep it
  • all believers belong to one body; all are united under one head, Jesus Christ himself
  • we are all one body

  • but there's a potential problem
  • because verse 7 reads:
  • (Ephesians 4:7) But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
  • in spite of the unity of the church, Christ has given us all different roles to play
  • it doesn't take very long in the church before we discover what I did in my marriage
  • there are differences between us
  • there are differences in giftedness
  • according to Colossians 3:11, there are differences in nationality, race, education level, social standing, wealth, gender, religion, and power
  • and these differences are going to be a challenge at times
  • that's why Paul says in Ephesians 4:3, "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit"
  • it's something that's going to take effort
  • it requires diligence

  • one of our greatest potential strengths as a church is going to be our diversity
  • one of our greatest potential points of conflict as a church is going to be our diversity
  • God uses all types of people - people with different gifts, backgrounds, preferences, and backgrounds

  • one of the things that excite me about Richview is our diversity in age
  • very few churches have the pronounced age differences that we enjoy
  • I've invited three representatives of different age groups to come up this morning
  • they don't know what I'm going to do, but they've agreed to sit up here so that we can stare at them for the rest of the service

  • as we look at these three people, they're very different
  • that's exciting to me
  • these differences can be the points of greatest synergy in our church
  • or these differences can end up being the points of greatest conflict
  • every week, God has called us to serve these three generations

  • the greatest challenge we face today is adapt to our changing times, so that it may be said of us as was said of David:
  • (Acts 13:36 NLT) David...served his generation according to the will of God.
  • this is our calling; this is our challenge
  • if we are going to serve our generation, we're going to have to be in touch with our times
  • we're going to have to know who we're called to serve
  • our model will be the men of Issachar, mentioned in 1 Chronicles 12:32
  • (1 Chronicles 12:32 NLT) From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the temper of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.
  • we somehow need to understand the temper of our times in order to know the best course for our church to take

  • so let's look at our friends
  • on my extreme left, we have a builder
  • a builder is someone who was born between 1920 and 1945
  • we had a hard time finding someone to admit that they were a builder
  • but here he is - my friend Albert

  • in the middle, we have a boomer - Linda Nolan
  • a boomer is someone who was born between 1946 and 1964
  • we're not sure when our boomer here was born, but I'm told it was pretty close to 1964, wasn't it?

  • and then, closest to me, we have a buster - my friend Jonathan
  • a buster is someone who was born between 1965 and 1984
  • we don't even have the next generation up here - Generation Y or whatever you're going to call them; those age 15 and under
  • but these are the three generations that we are called to serve

  • now, aren't you glad we have all three?
  • some churches don't have every generation represented
  • some churches just have one or two
  • but we have the privilege - the calling - of serving all three generations
  • but is it going to be easy?
  • every week, we have all three groups within our church

  • we're going to look at eight areas of church ministry and how these three relate to what's going on
  • let's begin by thinking about the PROGRAM STYLE of the church
  • how is the church going to be structured?
  • Albert and the rest of the builders tend to like formal and structured programs within the church
  • they like things to be well-planned and to be carried out well
  • they like the formality of a program, whether it's a Bible study, prayer meeting, or whatever

  • Linda and the boomers, however, are a little different
  • Linda is not as concerned about programs as she is relationships
  • she wants the program style of the church to be relational
  • busters will naturally be drawn to events that allow them to relate to others and to find fellowship
  • it's no accident that churches began to focus on fellowship and koinenea as the busters began to run the church

  • but then the busters came along
  • a buster's approach to programs can be summed up in one word: spontaneous
  • busters are at their best not when things are too structured or formal, but when they have a chance to be spontaneous and imaginative in what goes on
  • don't tie them down with a formal program and expect it never to change; allow them the freedom to experiment

  • this relates to their FOCUS
  • our build ers tend to focus on programs
  • our boomers tend to focus on people - usually their friends
  • our busters tend to focus on community - building an authentic community of people who can be real with each other

  • this next part is huge
  • because when it comes to MINISTRY, these three people are motivated in completely different ways
  • if you want to motivate a builder, appeal to their sense of duty
  • you can motivate a builder using guilt
  • you can appeal to their sense of duty
  • some of them lived through the depression
  • they served in a World War
  • they are motivated by duty

  • when it comes to boomers, though, motivation is found through fulfillment
  • if you want to motivate a boomer, tell them that Christ's commands lead to true fulfillment

  • a buster is completely different
  • do you know how to motivate a buster? through a challenge
  • a buster will buy into a cause
  • if a buster sees a need, he or she will rise to the challenge
  • the motivation is very different for these three groups of people

  • now we come to the Sunday morning worship service
  • what do these three groups of people think about WORSHIP?
  • for someone like Albert, their idea of appropriate worship is a service filled with reverence
  • they have the conviction that worship is to be conducted with solemnity and seriousness

  • someone like Linda doesn't necessarily mind reverence, but for her worship should include dialogue and interaction
  • there should be some give and take in worship
  • a boomer won't mind if there's some talking back and forth between the audience and the platform

  • I told you that the key word for a builder's style of worship is reverence
  • do you know what a buster prefers? energy
  • a buster worships best where there's some volume and intensity

  • let's talk about something minor like MUSIC
  • we'll generalize here
  • what type of music does a builder prefer? hymns
  • what type of music does a boomer prefer? generally, a blend
  • and do I need to ask what type of music a buster prefers? contemporary praise
  • no wonder there are sometimes tensions between the generations!

  • and then we come to SERMONS
  • this is where my job gets tough
  • what type of sermon does a builder prefer? expositional
  • start at chapter one verse one, and when you're done move on to chapter one verse two
  • what type of sermon does a boomer prefer? how-to sermons
  • they want to know how to grow spiritually, how to be a better parent, how to deal with depression
  • and then we come to the buster
  • it's important with the buster to address the issues
  • they won't respect a church that preaches from chapter to chapter of the Bible, but never tackles the tough issues: what about homosexuality? is premarital sex wrong? how does a Christian respond to poverty or war?
  • the issues are important to them

  • you can see why, when we gather on a Sunday morning, we have vastly different preferences and tastes for what takes place in worship, music, and the sermon

  • we'll cover two more areas of difference
  • let's look at SUPPORT or what used to be called MISSIONS
  • builders support missions
  • it's a sacred trust for them
  • but boomers tend not to be as focused on missions as they are missionaries
  • don't talk about missions in abstract terms to a boomer
  • talk about the Kerrs in Japan
  • talk about the Fosters in Angola
  • busters are going to be more interested in projects and known causes
  • they will respond if you tell them about the percentage of people who don't have a Bible translation in a certain area
  • they will sign up for a short-term missions project
  • all three have an interest in missions, but that interest is unlocked in different ways

  • finally, let's look at the SAYINGS of these three groups
  • do you know what builders love to say? "Are you sure?"
  • they're cautious; they don't always like change or bold new initiatives
  • what's a boomer going to say? "Just do it"
  • sometimes there's been enough talk, and you just need to get to the action
  • the buster is sitting there watching all this go on
  • do you know what a buster loves to say? "Whatever"

  • can you see how different we are?
  • now let me ask you a question: which generation are we called to serve?
  • all of them
  • this is our calling; this is our challenge
  • which type of person is the type of person God uses?
  • God uses busters; God uses boomers; God uses builders
  • we need them all here
  • let's thank them for coming up this morning

  • our diversity in age is going to be one of our greatest struggles - and one of our greatest opportunities
  • when you have a piece of fabric, the rips usually take place at the seams
  • but if sewn properly, the seams can be the strongest part of the material

  • let's talk about builders this morning - those who are age 55 and up
  • I take my hat off to you this morning
  • we need you!
  • many of you have sacrificed for years to build the church
  • it's because of you that we even have Richview Baptist Church and other churches around you
  • we are forever indebted to you for the contribution you have made in the past, and that you continue to make today
  • we are committed to continue serving you
  • we don't want you to go anywhere
  • let's show our appreciation to those builders who have shown themselves faithful

  • it's our job to continue what you've started
  • we don't want to do anything new
  • we want to recapture your passion
  • we want to affirm you for everything good that you've accomplished
  • I thank you for being who you are, and we need you in the future
  • we will never displace you; you are vital to our future

  • let's talk about the boomers
  • boomers, you're the missing generation in many churches
  • many between the ages of 35 and 55 have left the church
  • I'm so glad that you didn't
  • you began to lead this process of change in society and in the church
  • we need you
  • we value what you have done, and what you're continuing to do
  • we need you in the future

  • now let's talk about the busters
  • one thing I'm learning is that busters don't play games
  • I've been in some churches with no busters, and boy, are you ever missed!
  • I value your commitment to authenticity
  • I applaud the commitment you show to whatever cause you believe in
  • we need you
  • people sometimes say that you are the church of the future, but I disagree
  • you are the church of today; we need you, and we appreciate you

  • the differences between the generations can be the greatest source of tension in the church
  • or they can become our greatest strength
  • imagine if Richview was a church that could model to other churches what it was like to be unified in the middle of incredible diversity in the Body

  • what's it going to take?
  • three things
  • ONE: APPRECIATE THE DIFFERENCES
  • I think an important first step is to recognize and appreciate how different other people are from us
  • life would get pretty boring if everyone else was just like me
  • when we begin to understand how we're different, and see our differences as a strength rather than a weakness, our attitude chang es
  • each generation makes a unique contribution that the other generations can't make
  • and together we find wholeness and maturity
  • like the men of Issachar, we need to understand the temper of our times in order to know the best course for our church to take

  • SECOND: REMEMBER WHAT'S WORTH FIGHTING FOR
  • do you remember the list I just gave you of the differences between builders, boomers, and busters?
  • you can summarize that whole list with one word: preferences
  • do you know what preferences are? just preferences
  • are preferences worth dying for?
  • yes, but the one who has to die is you
  • the area of preferences is an area in which we need to die to ourselves
  • (Philippians 2:3) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
  • (Philippians 2:4) Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

  • we will fight for God's Word; we will battle for his commands
  • these are worth fighting for
  • but we'll never battle over preferences
  • once in a while, when differences come up, I think we need to back up and say, "Is the issue a timeless command or principle of Scripture, or is it merely a preference?"
  • remember GST - goals, strategy, and tactics
  • goals never change - the goal of glorifying God and leading people to maturity in Christ
  • strategies never change - exposition, prayer, evangelism, fellowship
  • but tactics always change
  • "Methods are many, principles are few; methods always change, principles never do"

  • THIRD - AND MOST IMPORTANTLY - GET TO KNOW AND LOVE SOMEONE FROM ANOTHER GENERATION
  • Dann Spader writes, "People usually do not trust those they do not know"
  • the flip side of that is that people cannot help but trust those whom they know and love
  • I would challenge busters here - adopt a builder!
  • visit with them
  • get to know them
  • talk to them as they come into the church
  • don't even tell them what you're doing - just pick one and begin to really love them

  • the same with builders
  • adopt a boomer or a buster
  • find out what makes them tick
  • meet with them; pray for them
  • love them

  • every Monday morning, I meet with a builder
  • our friendship has grown
  • we are seeing Paul's words come true
  • (Colossians 3:11) Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
  • because what type of person does God use?
  • God uses people of every age who are willing to do what David did - to serve our generation according to the will of God

Four Secrets of Significance (Romans 12:3-8)

  • when I was a child, you could lock me in a room for ages - as long as you gave me some Lego to play with
  • it didn't matter how much Lego you gave me; I would make do
  • I spent hours with the stuff, and to this day believe that Lego is the greatest toy that was ever invented
  • take away the Meccano, take away Mr. Potato Head, even take away today's Playstations and Color Gameboys, but don't take away my Lego

  • the highlight of my career in Lego was the year that I received motorized Lego
  • it allowed me to create vehicles that actually moved
  • but for me, nothing ever could compete with the simple, lowly Lego piece that you received today when you came in
  • different colors, different configurations - some two wide, some one wide
  • some of them two long, some four long, some eight long
  • with those pieces, you could build anything - and I did!
  • airplanes, cars, houses, offices, hospitals, jails
  • you name it, I built it

  • I don't know if you've ever seen a real Lego display
  • people actually construct models of the Eiffel Tower and Buckingham Palace in Lego
  • this Christmas, I've already decided what I'm getting my daughter for Christmas
  • I might even let her think that I'm buying it for her

  • now, look at the Lego piece that you received this morning
  • it doesn't look like much, does it?
  • what are you going to do with one piece of Lego?
  • once in a while, I'm ashamed to say, when I found one piece of Lego lying around, I wasn't too careful with it
  • if it made it back into the Lego bin, great; if not, what is one piece of Lego worth?

  • in fact, I think that if Lego pieces could think, they would feel rather insignificant
  • significance is defined as "the quality of being important or being regarded as having great meaning"
  • a piece of Lego, significant? give me a break!
  • I'm pretty sure that most pieces of Lego, if they could think, would feel very insignificant indeed

  • but I think pieces of Lego need to learn the four secrets of significance, don't you?
  • you don't really look like you agree with me
  • I think Lego pieces could really benefit if they knew four secrets that would completely transform the way they thought about themselves

  • here's the first secret I wish Lego pieces knew
  • EVERY PIECE IS A GIFT
  • isn't that true?
  • this morning, when you came in, an usher handed you a piece of Lego
  • I don't know what you did with it
  • you still may have it, or you may have thrown it out or given it to someone else
  • but you received a piece of Lego
  • and it came from someone who had a reason for you to receive that piece of Lego
  • there was a plan to you receiving that piece
  • it was a gift

  • now some of you might have looked at that piece of Lego and thought that it wasn't worth very much, but you did receive some Lego, didn't you?
  • to illustrate this concept of having received a Lego piece, think of what the Bible says about the concept of spiritual gifts
  • (Romans 12:6 NLT) God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.
  • that's the spiritual equivalent of saying that God has given everyone here a Lego piece
  • let's draw some parallels
  • you didn't choose the piece you got
  • when you came in, the ushers should have just handed you a piece of Lego
  • you might not have liked the color or the shape they gave you
  • you might not even have wanted a piece at all
  • you did not choose what you received

  • you might have felt that your piece was insignificant
  • answer honestly: how many people either threw away the piece of Lego they received or gave it to someone else?
  • why did you do that?
  • because you placed no value on the piece that you received
  • that's probably because you didn't have to go out and buy it
  • but I did! if you don't value your piece, give it to me!

  • or you might have wondered what this piece of Lego was for
  • how many people asked questioned why on earth they were being given a piece of Lego?
  • I'll bet you've been wondering what that piece of Lego is for ever since you received it!

  • the same reactions take place in the church when God passes out these supernatural abilities mentioned in Romans 12:6
  • nobody chose the piece that God gave them
  • I didn't and you didn't
  • if we believe that God knows better than we do, then we need to accept that God has given us just the piece that we needed to have, and that no other piece in the world would be better suited to us
  • and it also means that we can't take credit for the piece that God gave us
  • it's him who gets the glory - not us

  • but you might have looked at that supernatural ability that God has given you and undervalued it
  • you might feel that you don't have a piece, or that the piece God gave you is too small
  • you might have questioned why God gave you a piece at all
  • you're struggling with significance
  • but the first lesson that we need to learn is this: everyone has received a piece that came directly from God
  • Romans 12:6 says it clearly: "God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well"

  • do you agree?
  • every piece is a gift, and every person here has received a gift
  • take a look at what you've been given
  • value it
  • it was given by God

  • not only has everyone received a piece, but I think there's a second secret
  • EVERY PIECE IS PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER
  • isn't that the truth?
  • one piece of Lego by itself isn't worth very much
  • you can't even do much with two pieces of Lego
  • but once you start to put pieces of Lego together, watch out!
  • because each piece of Lego begins to play its role in becoming part of something much bigger

  • the best thing you could get me as a kid was more Lego
  • once I'd built what I could with the Lego I had, it was time to move on
  • and every time I accumulated new Lego, that Lego became part of something bigger

  • Romans 12:4 reads:
  • (Romans 12:4 NLT) Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function,
  • (Romans 12:5 NLT) so it is with Christ's body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has a different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.
  • Paul used the concept of the human body to communicate something important
  • if you look at any part of your body, it is important only inasmuch as it is connected to your body
  • your hair is valuable, and I'll bet you spend a lot of energy grooming it and caring for it
  • but the minute that hair is cut from the body, it is thrown in the garbage
  • a baby boy will suck his thumb all the time
  • that's not unusual at all
  • but suppose that he sucked on a thumb that was not part of his hand
  • that would be repulsive
  • as long as the thumb a baby sucks is attached to the baby's hand, thumb sucking is acceptable

  • a person who is a nail-biter doesn't pay any attention to a fingernail that he or she has bitten off
  • why?
  • because the nail is no longer attached to the body
  • it is good for nothing but to be discarded and forgotten
  • no one gets too upset about a piece of nail that has become detached from the body

  • a thumb or a fingernail that is attached to the body is useful
  • but once a part of the body becomes detached from the body, that part dies
  • each part is a piece of something much bigger

  • the only time that Lego is usefu l is when it's connected
  • the implication is this: God has given all of us a piece, and that piece only becomes useful as we use it as part of something bigger
  • every piece is a gift, and every piece is part of something bigger
  • you're here for a reason - you're part of something bigger

  • there's a third secret that would make Lego pieces feel more significant
  • EVERY PIECE HAS A ROLE TO PLAY
  • in preparation for today's sermon, I visited the Lego website
  • I'll bet some of you never knew there was such a thing!
  • I was amazed by the variety of Lego pieces that exist today
  • there's city Lego, Star Wars Lego, Mind Storms Lego; there's even classic Lego
  • there is incredible diversity in the number of pieces of Lego that have been created
  • no one person could possibly have all the Lego that exists

  • I've brought a few pieces of Lego up here to show you
  • this is the floor
  • this is the thing that I would always reach for first
  • you have the door
  • you have Lego people
  • you have the basic building blocks to form walls
  • but there's no such thing as a spare piece when it comes to Lego

  • Romans 12 says:
  • (Romans 12:6) We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.
  • (Romans 12:7) If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;
  • (Romans 12:8) if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

  • it's refreshing to read the diversity of gifts that God has given the church
  • just as there are diverse needs within the church body, so God has given a diverse abundance of gifts to meet these needs
  • and every believer has a share in the ministry

  • let me tell you that there are gifts I have that you might not have
  • and I guarantee that you have gifts that I don't have
  • there are things that you can do so much better than I can
  • I am gifted in preaching/teaching and leadership
  • some of you are much more gifted in the areas of serving, encouraging, showing mercy, and so on
  • imagine a church which is taught by teachers, lead by leaders, and served by servers
  • imagine a church in which everyone discovered the role they had to play, and used whatever piece they were given to build something bigger

  • every piece is different, and every piece is important
  • some big pieces get all the attention, but every piece is needed
  • there's no such thing as a spare piece
  • you are needed
  • you have a role to play here at Richview

  • one final secret to helping a piece of Lego to feel significant
  • EVERY PIECE IS DEPENDENT ON OTHER PIECES
  • (Romans 12:5 NLT) And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.
  • Tony Evans writes:
  • "The beauty of the body of Christ is that it needs ears and noses and all sorts of parts...Every member of an orchestra doesn't play the same instrument, but they all play the same song...each instrument in an orchestra is needed to fully express the music the conductor has chosen to play.
  • "The body of Christ operates like a good orchestra: different parts doing their work, producing beautiful music under the direction of our divine Conductor, Jesus Christ. There is unity in the music, but diversity in the instruments."
  • we need each other
  • we all have a different role to play, and when we come together and play our roles together, amazing things happen

  • what are you going to do with your piece?
  • God can use the piece that he has given you to set the stage for things far greater than you could dream of, far beyond the borders of your life
  • consider a Sunday school teacher in Boston by the name of Edward Kimball
  • one Saturday, Kimball decided to visit all the boys who came to his class to be sure that they knew Christ as their Savior
  • one of these boys was busy in the back of his uncle's shoe store stocking inventory
  • his father died of too much whiskey when the boy was four
  • he was part of a family of eight, reared in poverty by his strong-willed mother
  • his education had been erratic, because he had been needed on the farm as a boy
  • as a result of a visit by that Sunday school teacher at his uncle's shoe store, that boy made a commitment to Jesus Christ
  • that boy's name was D.L. Moody
  • he went on to become a preacher, and in a day without public address systems, he spoke to more than 100 million people, and hundreds of thousands began to follow Jesus
  • even Billy Graham's conversion can be traced to a succession of converts that extends from D.L. Moody
  • and it all started with a Sunday school teacher in Boston by the name of Edward Kimball

  • what are you going to do with your piece?
  • it might seem insignificant
  • but it's not
  • as for me, I'm going to keep my piece of Lego to remind me of the four lessons of significance
  • every piece is a gift
  • every piece is part of something bigger
  • every piece has a role to play
  • and every piece is dependent on other pieces
  • what are you going to do with your piece?

Y2K Discovery Service

  • a few years ago, few people had even heard of the Y2K challenge
  • but I doubt that there are few people in this room today who haven't heard about Y2K
  • it's in the media
  • you can hardly pick up a newspaper or magazine without reading about it
  • as of today, there are 54 days left until the odometer rolls over to two followed by three zeros

  • Y2K is significant for a number of reasons
  • obviously, sitting in a church, it's significant because it marks about two thousand years since Jesus Christ was born
  • that's almost the forgotten side of Y2K
  • two millennia is a very significant milestone since Jesus was born in a little town in Israel

  • increasingly, I find that when people talk about Y2K, they're talking about the Y2K computer bug
  • and we'll talk about that for just a minute
  • it's going to be frustrating because there are so many opinions and so many experts on the subject, and the spectrum of opinion here probably ranges from one extreme to the other, as well as those who don't really care

  • but first, what is the Y2K bug?
  • simply put, many computers were designed to use shorthand to record dates
  • for instance, many computers would take today's date and record it not as 11/07/1999, but as 11/07/99
  • year 2000 therefore would be recorded as year 00
  • the problem is that some computers won't know how to handle the truncated dates
  • when it encounters today's date, 11/07/99, it won't know whether it's supposed to mean November 7, 1999, or November 7, 2099
  • when you multiply this in the billions of lines of computer code out there, outdated hardware, and embedded computer chips, you have the potential for a very large challenge

  • what does that mean?
  • I'm not an expert on the subject, but let me give you a range of opinions of what that will mean
  • on one side, you have those who are predicting major catastrophe
  • according to them, there will be widespread failure of industry, power utilities, financial institutions - sometimes even hairdryers, microwave ovens, and toasters
  • heating systems will shut down, airplanes will fall from the sky, banking records will be wiped out, and riots will ensue
  • it will be, according to these people, TEOTWAWKI - short for The End Of The World As We Know It!

  • how popular is this opinion?
  • one year ago, of five experts appearing on a panel, four predicted that Y2K would be a major disaster
  • one guest said that the problems were so severe, we might not even make it to January 1, 2000
  • many have spent the past year or even more stockpiling food, water, diesel generators, and even cigarettes as the new currency when Y2K comes around
  • I know many who are taking a very dim view of what will happen on January 1, 2000, and who would strongly challenge anyone who says otherwise

  • some who used to advocate the doomsday scenario are now changing their views
  • Peter de Jager, one of the leading experts on Y2K a few years ago, sounded the alarm about how devastating the results of Y2K would be (based on his speculation)
  • now, after careful study, he is saying that he speculates that it will not be as bad as he first predicted
  • in an article entitled Doomsday Avoided, he states, "We've finally broken the back of the Y2K problem"
  • Jerry Falwell, who sounded the alarm in a series of sermons, has now said, "Since my series of messages on Y2K began in August, 1998, I've been pleased with the substantial progress that has been made in both the government and private sector in dealing with this matter. While I expect Y2K to be annoying and somewhat disruptive, I do not expect it to be as serious as some are projecting, or as I first feared possible."
  • a recent column in the National Post was entitled A New Year embarrassment for Y2K doomsters: the statistics paint a picture of a millennial breeze rather than a hurricane
  • it states, for instance, that doomsday scenarios of what would happen this year have fallen through; that when problems have occurred, they have been recoverable
  • at Ontario Hydro, for instance, only 2% of their systems had Y2K bugs
  • of these, only a quarter would affect service
  • even if these problems had not been fixed, technicians would have been able to work around them on January 1, 2000
  • a CNET report dated this past Thursday stated, "Now, just weeks away from the red-letter date, much of the initial hype has subsided. Although some problems have appeared, most experts believe that serious damage from the most celebrated bug in high-tech history will be minimal."
  • in fact, this article goes on to say that most of the effects of Y2K will not be from the bug itself, but from lawsuits, preparation, and the vast amounts of money spent on canned goods and generators

  • it would be interesting to find out what people thought here
  • I'm sure there's a diversity of opinion right in this room - and some of you will never be convinced otherwise!
  • one of the difficulties in this area is knowing whom to believe
  • anyone can pretend that they are an expert
  • it's hard to sort out who is an authority and who isn't
  • some are very antagonistic against those who hold different views
  • the expert I quoted before, Peter de Jager, said of one Christian group he addressed, "This was the first time I had met a group of people who seemed to look forward to a severe problem and resented any information which contradicted that belief and expectation."

  • in thinking about the Y2K issue, I've ended up asking a question
  • what is it in Y2K that has struck a chord in our society about fear?
  • I don't know about you, but it would appear to me that we are suffering from millennial anxiety
  • films such as Blair Witch Project, Sixth Sense, and Stigmata are cleaning up at the box office
  • soon, Arnold Schwarzenegger will be appearing as an honest cop fighting the devil himself in The End of Days
  • the North American market appears ready for horror
  • there is some sort of millennial angst in the air - so much so that many fear the public's hysteria around the Y2K problem more than the problem itself

  • take a look around and you'll see anxiety all around you
  • what about the stock market fluctuations?
  • what's going to happen in the Asian market?
  • will Y2K crash your computers?
  • and this doesn't even address the set of personal issues we carry around about retirement, marriage, health, and so on
  • one pastor says, "Even in the past six months, I've probably received more letters about fearing the future than I ever have in my lifetime from different people. I don't know what it is...It may be the fact that there's 76 million baby boomers going through middle age crisis. It may be this incredible over-hype about the Y2K problem - like Chicken Little - "The sky is falling!" But whatever it is, no matter what crisis comes up, there's always going to be another one behind it. That's the way it's been through the history of humanity"
  • we are fearful of our future

  • should you be worried?
  • you're not alone if you worry about the future
  • but worry is an optional misery
  • you don't need to worry - it's a choice you make
  • this is one area in which we who follow Jesus Christ have a distinct advantage over those who don't in the area of worry

  • when you know this book and you know God, you know you don't need to worry
  • as opposed to someone who doesn't have God in his life - doesn't have Christ in his life - we know, in the first place that God knows everything in advance, that God knows the future
  • God's been in the future, in the past, in the present
  • he's not constrained by time< /li>
  • nothing is ever going to surprise God, disappoint God, catch Him off guard
  • he already knows everything that's going to happen in my life
  • the Bible says that because of that God has made some incredible promises regarding your future.

  • there are over 7000 promises in the Bible
  • thousands of promises
  • many of them have to do with your future
  • I want to look at two promises that will withstand the threat of Y2K
  • these are promises that Jesus makes to all who follow him

  • PROMISE NUMBER ONE: NO MATTER WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS, GOD WILL BE WITH ME
  • God will be with me even when I am tense and nervous

  • none of us can predict the problems that we're going to face in the future
  • we don't know what's going to happen in the next three hours, much less tomorrow or next week or next year
  • but regardless of what you go through in the future, you won't go through it alone
  • this is a basic truth taught over and over in the Bible
  • there is never a time in your life when God is not with you
  • there are some times when you don't sense his presence, but that's your problem, not God's
  • God doesn't move
  • God never leaves you
  • he's with you all the time
  • and God will be with you no matter what you go through in the future.

  • Isaiah 43:2 says, "When you go through deep waters and great troubles, I will be with you."
  • this is a central truth that you need to grasp
  • you will never be without God in your life
  • he's always there
  • he says, "I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you go through fires of oppression, you will not be burned up. (Notice you go through them. You don't stay in them.) And the flames will not consume you."

  • in your future, you are going to face some deep waters, and you're going to think you're going under for the last time
  • and in your future, you are going to face some major troubles - count on it!
  • and in your future, you are going to face some fiery troubles
  • the heat's on and you think you're going to burn up
  • but God is going to be there and you're not going to go through it alone.

  • Jesus said it like this in John 16:33:
  • (John 16:33) In the world, you will have trouble, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.
  • the point is: when Jesus is near, you lose your fear
  • I can face anything, if I know I'm not going through it alone
  • when Jesus is near, you lose your fear.

  • most futuristic movies, movies about the future, tend to be pretty bleak
  • they're very rarely rosy and happy environments
  • Waterworld, Dune, Mad Max or the Schwarzenegger-Terminator kind, where in the future it's every man for himself, you don't know who you can trust and there's very little love if any, few relationships, a lot of loneliness, a lot of alienation
  • it's usually like after World War III and everybody's in fear
  • those movies intentionally play on this fear of abandonment, the fear of aloneness, the fear of being deserted in the future
  • a lot of people, even Christians, are developing this kind of siege mentality, survival mentality - "I've got to stockpile and get ready because the world is coming to some crisis. As a result I've got to face it on my own."
  • no, you don't.

  • the fact is, if you know this book, you don't have to worry
  • in this first promise: God is going to be with you no matter where you are, no matter what happens, no matter what happens in the economy

  • PROMISE TWO: NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FUTURE, GOD WILL PROVIDE FOR YOU
  • Charlene read one of my favorite parts of the Bible earlier today
  • it's found in Matthew 6
  • in it, Jesus said:
  • "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes" (The Message)
  • I'll read it again
  • "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes"
  • when we make God our primary concern, and put him first in our lives, God looks after everything else
  • as one person put it, "If you make earth your primary concern, you get nothing. If you make heaven your primary concern, you get heaven, and you get earth thrown in for free"
  • the number one way that we can deal with the future is to give our entire lives to God, and the resulting promise is that God will help us deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes

  • (Isaiah 65:24) "I will provide their needs before they ask. I will help them while they are still asking for help."
  • if we know that, we shouldn't worry
  • we don't need to worry

  • we've just looked at two incredible promises that God has made regarding your future
  • there is no way they are not going to be fulfilled
  • they are guaranteed
  • you can take it to the bank!
  • it's going to happen
  • God is faithful and He has promised over and over and over again to care for you.
  • have you ever really realized, really felt, the kindness of God, the care of God in your life?
  • God loves you
  • you matter to God
  • he cares about you
  • but have you ever really felt the tenderness of God?
  • has it ever really griped you, grasped you where you understood how much you really do matter to God?
  • when you get that, it's going to change your life and you'll have no reason to worry.

  • listen to this verse
  • God is speaking
  • listen to the tenderness of God, how compassionate he is about you
  • (Isaiah 46:3) "Listen. I have upheld you since you were conceived."
  • the moment of conception in your mother's womb, when that cell was first formed, from that moment on, God was holding you up
  • nine months before you were born, God says, from the point of your conception
  • you wouldn't even have been born if God hadn't nurtured and allowed those cells to grow
  • you wouldn't even be here
  • he says "I have upheld you since you were conceived and I have taken care of you since birth."
  • even when you didn't know God, even when you didn't know His name, even when you were thumbing your nose to Him and walking in the exact opposite direction He was watching out for you
  • he was caring for you
  • you don't know all the trials and the tragedies you've missed because God was taking care of you
  • he says from your conception and your birth, he's been there every moment of your life.

  • and, on the other end, he says, "Even when you're old, I will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you."
  • it's like bookends
  • from your first moment of life to the final breath of life on this earth, God has been there and he will take care of you.
  • "I will care you and I will save you. Can you compare me to anyone? No one is equal to me or like me!"

  • these two benefits we've just looked at are benefits of knowing Jesus Christ
  • they are the benefits of salvation
  • God says when you put your trust in his Son, Jesus Christ, God will be with you and God will provide for you

  • that's how much God loves you
  • he's looking to rebuild a relationship that was in tatters
  • no amount of good behavior, going to church, quitting bad habits, or even being religious was going to help it
  • but God welcomes you, says that he sent Jesus Christ to restore that relationship, and invites you to come this morning and accept his promises for the future

  • let's pray together
  • some of you might want to take the next step about finding out about Jesus
  • it might shock you when I say that Christianity is about restoring a relationship with God - a love relationship
  • it's not about going to church, being religious, or breaking bad habits - it's about a relationship
  • a relationship in which God says, "I've loved you from the moment you were born. I'll be with you in the future no matter what. I sent my Son, Jesus, to earth to restore that relationship. Now come into my open arms"
  • you don't have to earn it - Jesus did it for you
  • all you have to do is come

  • you could pray with me
  • "Today, Jesus Christ, I want to put 100% of my faith in you, not in the economy, not in my talent or connections or anything else. But I put 100% of my faith in you, Jesus. I want to trust you, that you will be with me in the future as you are right now and that you will provide for me. I come to you today, realizing that I've been estranged from you, and that Jesus provided the way back to a restored relationship. I pledge now to follow you, to give my entire attention to you, knowing that you will help me deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. I will live for you and make you my primary concern, knowing that you have promised to meet all my needs. In your name I pray, Amen."
  • if that's your prayer today, or if you would like to find out more about how to have a relationship with God, then please talk to the person who brought you, or fill out the communication card in your program and take it to the information center
  • we'd love to talk to you more about this