Last night at our Starbucks Gathering in Winston Salem, I asked a question of one of the young people who was sitting in our circle of fellowship.  His answer and my response has captivated me.  One of the young men said to me in response to my question, “what is the sin you are struggling the most with at this time in your life?”   

His response was “selfishness”.  He went to explain that when he has enough money to put gas in his car and eat, he forgets to worship and be depend solely on God.  He starts to trust in his own strength and focus on “self” more then when he had nothing in the bank.  I told him, almost in a whisper and with a wry smile on my face, “you will struggle with this for the rest of your life.”  

But will he?  Maybe God has something in store for this 9-11 generation?  Our young people may recover that which we sold off to the highest bidder in the preceding generations .  I told him about the bad and ungodly ruts that family life and career pursuits create for the American middle and upper class.  

How hard it is to love God supremely when you have children and a career to maintain, and a home and yard to maintain.  Or you have the dark cloud of an impending divorce hanging over your head.  Or on the positive side, vacations and family entertainment to sort out on a day to day basis.  Our culture demands our busyness and adds more and more to our life.  With a crashing economy, folks will work harder and longer just to keep what they have.  These tough economically difficult days will challenge us and make it even more difficult to depend solely on God to supply our every need and to allow Him to be our chief delight.  

As the only Baby-boomer in the room, I was taken back by the stark realities that our generation must address in order to join with the rising generation and do the will of God.  To truly connect with the 9-11 Generation, we will have to change.  Nothing short of a complete overhaul of the structure of our day, week, month, and year will do.  A complete priority adjustment to seek “first” the kingdom of God and His righteousness will get the job done!

Our generation was corrupted so thoroughly by our godless educational system combined with doctrine of self which promotes the idea that “man” is the administrator of his own destiny.  And that devastating lie of all lies, that we, humans, as a species, were slowly developed over millions of years, by random chance, from a pool of primeval slime.  These lies and their subtle allurements to caused us to look to man exclusively for answers, have hit us so hard and so often that we have a hard time even seeing what has caused our spiritual demise.  We are so causical and rational that we lost the simplicity of faith.  To be like a bird who simple trusts in the Lord of creation to supply her daily needs and wants.

As Paul warned young Titus when he commissioned him to establish churches in Crete; Paul used as motivation of his protege to do the work correctly, a proverbial quotation from one of their own Cretian prophets, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons.  This testimony is true.  Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” Titus 1:12-13  

If Paul were alive today and lived in our culture, what would he say of us Americans?   Would he say with confidence to any young pastor, that Americans are proud, selfish, independent rather then interdependent, greedy, arrogant, ignorant of God's power, idolatrous, pleasure seeking, divisive, and unprincipled and unscrupulous?  Of course he would.   So we are left with the only anecdote to our sinful behavior.  We are commissioned as the older generation to raise up young men and old men who are humble, meek, selfless, passionate, honest, persevering, and faith-filled.

Notice what Paul's first commission was to young Titus, “for this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you – if a man is blameless, husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of dissipation or insubordination.”  Titus 1:5-6

In the context of their obvious sins, Titus was called to turn the people of Crete over to the soundness of the truth.  To establish them in gospel of Jesus, where “real” and enduring  life can truly happen.  To appoint leaders who were walking personally contrary to the dictates of their evil culture.   Who were filled with the power of the Spirit which enabled them to say a guttural “no” the urgings of their sinful nature.

So the simple answer for our problems today is “powerfully” changed lives.  Separation from everything evil and demonic in our secularized culture and dualistic church.  To give our God our decisions about career and how we manage our greatest gift -- our time.  To put the right priority on family and our marriages.  To raise leaders who can inspire the changes that God wants us to make.


How many bad marriages will it take before we learn that we need to have Christ in the center of our romance?  How many money chasing schemes and survival techniques will we have to endure before the Lord reveals to those who are listening, that He must go ahead of us and lead us to the right place for the promotion of His kingdom, not ours?  That He will supply supernaturally, from the throne of heaven, our daily needs. 

This abrupt change of which I speak will rock our self-based culture, it will ruin our economy, but it will adjust our direction to “see” the glory of God manifest in our time.

How many missed opportunities to pray over our children or speak a word of encouragement to them will we have to watch disappear into the thinness of each day, before we make the life changes necessary to redeem those years that the locust have eaten?  How many talks that really mean something will we secure with our spouses to win them back to security in our love and devotion to them and to our God?

The Baby-boom generation has a lot to repent of.  I have had a lot to repent of.  We set the bar of being a christian and “born-again” so low.  When the Jesus movement hit our shores in the 70's, we had a chance to make huge changes in our culture, but financial prosperity and success in the Cold War of the Reagan years left us chasing after the stuff of this life.  Being the world leader in everything, became the lust of our hearts.  Now, 30 years later, we are more in debt financially, spiritually, and emotionally then we could have imagined.  The bubble must burst for “real” change to come!

When the Holy Spirit moved upon our fathers in the 1970's with a move of grace so profound, the religious elite questioned their free spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit. There doctrine was too simple.  They and we questioned their simplicity to chase after God's will no matter the cost.  There longing and heart desire to “hang out” with the Lord and His people was more valued then the acquisition of a new car or a larger home.  Not to say that industry and hard work are not desired by the Lord, quite the contrary.  It is work to extend the kingdom of God.

But they and we took the bait, and off we went, exploring the depths of our political agendas and our career opportunities.  Building kingdoms unto ourselves rather then for the true King of heaven and earth.  Eventually we sold out this rising generation by sending working class jobs overseas to the lowest bidder.  Today we have entangled ourselves in a war that has many unknown enemies and that will not end anytime soon.  Much tragedy awaits us!

Then with great fervency, our greatest foe Satan Himself used our blessings to ruin us.  By twisting our good intentions just enough and focusing us on the temporal kingdoms of man, he flipped us around and distracted us to push hard for the increase in knowledge, space exploration, more technology.  In turn, our economy grew, with newer and more advanced weapons and more slick and fancy devices to communicate with each other, but our time for God became less and less.  Sound a little like Israel's demise?  Where did that fall from grace lead the Lord's covenant people?  Complete loss of all they had!

God is not mocked.  The Lord of heaven and earth is going to take that which the enemy sought to use to ruin us, and He will convert these technological advances to extend His Kingdom faster.  He will grant us the opportunity to reach the world with His Message and bring His people closer together in our time.   


Our enemy also used the powerful medium of alluring entertainment in sport and in Hollywood's creation of attractive superstars that wooed us us to gaze at their skill and beauty.  Then add a little more time, some more pride of man, and more division, and we were sunk.  Our church life became more divided over the issues of style and entertainment and our worship became man-centered.  Our love of music and lavish forms of entertainment began to erode the sharp edge of proclaiming the simple message of a crucified Savior and our own crucified life.  

We lost the value of a “changed” life as our greatest asset in promoting the message of Jesus Christ.  Today we are taking notice of this same kind of free “Jesus only” movement emerging in our rising generation of young people.  At the same time we are also seeing their destruction.   

With the claims of war hanging over their heads, proliferation of illicit drugs and dependency on those drugs, the emptiness of a broken family, sexual confusion, a busted economy, declining home values and career opportunities, and a bankrupt government.  All these weigh very heavily on this generation.  Without them we are done!  But they are rightfully skeptical of our intentions.  Whether we are planting a church, starting a company or new school, or just performing a good deed in our community, the 9-11 generation doubts our motives and they can not connect with our exclusively narrow bombastic style.  

We need to recapture what was about to emerge in the “Jesus” movement of the 1970's.  Add to the freeness of their time to do the will of God, a determined effort to spread the message of Christ to the known world, put that message into an ardently determined person.  Send those people into every part of the social strata of our culture.  Teach them to present all of God's truth to sinners in their own radically overhauled bodies and life changing “Jesus” story --- and we will see “real” change in our time!  

To defy the spin doctors on what makes us happy and begin again to form true communities of faith, where Christ dwells in and surrounds His people.  Where Jesus is our chief joy.  Not how well we preach about a “better” life as christian men and women.  Not the power of our political viewpoints.  Not the measure of skill in our worship.   NO, we can't hide from our mistakes and our sins, we must admit them.  And our transparent honesty will buttress the foundation of everything we build with the rising generation in the days that lie before us.

Our confession is found in Eph. 2:20-21, “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.”

We will only sell the Jesus of a “new” life in Him, and His self-denying and cross-bearing way!  The only way.  The narrow way.  We will join with this generation and step, with them, into the endless pool of faith in God and His provision, seeking to bring the glory of the Lord back into the center of our gatherings.  Again I recite Eph. 3:21, “to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen”

We will establish and present the only food that really satisfies the hungry sinner, that which truly brings us together to pray and study, that food and that satisfaction is found only in Jesus Christ!  Why do we gather?  Because He is there ready to meet with us because He loves us!  

This is our vision at LLI Fellowship.  To establish places of where the Lord can move, small intimate gatherings where the “real” stuff, our internal struggles, and real problems are openly dealt with by love and grace.  

Where we see the power of God manifesting on the inside of God's people and in our corporate gatherings.  What an amazing work to be a part of!  To be in the business of creating a climate where the Lord is worshiped in Spirit and Truth.  Where His power can destroy decades of lies that corrupted us and destroyed our understanding.  To release us together into the wildest of all adventures; that adventure of following the Lamb of God to the far reaches of the earth.

Where the simplicity of Jesus and His power are seen and evidenced on the faces and in the eyes of those who gather with us.  Whether at a Starbucks coffee shop, in an open field, city park, home, school, college campus, or on a mountain top, we “know” the Lord tabernacles with His People.  And in His corporate nearness, our lives are changed.  

Our attitude of selfishness is blown to pieces by His incredible unpretentious love.  We are one, and He is all the glory in Emmanuel's land.

Forever in His Love,