I’ve done a lot of work with youth over the years. Between the Student Ministry here at Brentwood Baptist and my involvement with Young Life, I get a front row seat to all of the passing fads that sweep through young people’s culture. A few years ago, a phrase swept through high schoolers and filtered down to other age groups, as well; the term was YOLO. YOLO was an acronym for “You Only Live Once”and usually gave some neurotic teen justification enough to do something insane.
“Jump from the roof of the house, onto the trampoline and into the pool? YOLO.”
“Going 90 mph down Wilson Pike because I’m late for school? YOLO.”
You get the point.
However silly this all may be, is it really all that different from a greater cultural teaching that we buy into wholesale? In 2007, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman starred in The Bucket List. Everyone and their mother wrote out a list of things to accomplish before they “kicked the bucket”after they saw that movie. You yourself may have one. Don’t get me wrong, there is not a thing wrong with living adventurously, but there are those who live life according to this misconception, that their next breath may be their last and then that will be all she wrote.
I have heard many descriptions of what the Christian life should look like. I have heard elaborate discourses talking about the lengthy and unending processes of sanctification, but I have also heard it put short and sweet. Being a Christian and living as a Christian means living eternally now. The ways of this Earth lose their appeal because we have gotten a taste of something that we will one day know fully and will be immersed with for all of time – Jesus. My last devotion with you was a bit on the bleaker side of things and a little tough to chew on because there truly is a cost in following Christ, but there is also such sweet victory to be had in clinging to His name.
John’s Revelation speaks of the day when we no longer speculate, when we no longer see dimly but clearly the God of the Universe. In the fourth chapter, we gain a glimpse of the throne room where Christ, in all of His magnitude, will be justly seated and everyone around him will do nothing but lay themselves prostrate at his feet and cry “Holy” with the utmost joy in their hearts. Chapter seven speaks of the multitudes of people that will be before the Lord. Every tribe and tongue will be represented, proclaiming the greatness of God Almighty.
Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelation 7:15-17
I take inventory of my life. I weigh the scales and come to one conclusion; I fall so incredibly short of any sort of reward such as this. To sit on this, to read it over and over and know that this is for eternity, I can do nothing but sit in shock. What a scandal! Scandal, let’s break down that word a bit. We gain insight as to what that word means every time we walk through the check-out aisle at the grocery store. “People,” “Us Weekly,” they all are quick to dole out the latest gossip on the latest scandal in which someone was done such an injustice. This term definitely has a negative connotation in our cultural understanding of it. Scandal indicates that something terribly wrong has just taken place. “[B]ut God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This is ultimate injustice. This is scandal that God saw fit to send His perfect Son to die for a sinner like me. This is a truth worth living for. This is not news that one takes in and decides to put off reacting to at a later date. No, this is news that rips one’s soul up in such joy that they decide to commit their lives fully to the God who fills their lungs with breath. We here at Brentwood Baptist pray that you take a moment to be romanced by this astounding news of the Gospel, the news of the Cross. Let that tingle shiver down your spine as you contemplate the moment when it all clicked for you. Whether you were a child or retired, God relentlessly pursued you because you bear His image, you have His name written all over you. We ask you once again to consider Group Connect and know that this event may be that next step for many in becoming wonderfully wrecked with God’s unmatched love.
Things to Pray For:
- That every single person in attendance at Group Connect gets absolutely floored by the scandal that is the Gospel.
- That we all may be good stewards of God’s holy mission that He has laid out before us.
- That Lives. Be. Changed.