I don’t know if I’m into heavy-duty OCD or if God is pushing me, but I feel driven. This started it:
“Greatly blessed, highly favored, imperfect, but forgiven child of God.”
What does that mean and how do you and I activate it? Ephesians 1:3 says “God…who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every blessing in Christ.” God Genesis 12:1-3 reveals the Abrahamic blessing which reaches to all the children of Abraham: “You are blessed…you will be a blessing”. Deuteronomy 28 expands that shorthand to include the physical, financial, business, breadbaskets, and every part of life. One key word opens the door: obedience. Are we hearing the right instructions to obey?
An article about Tanya Harding published today tells how she got into the mess. I’m not sure if getting saved would have been the total answer to that mess. Her salvation would have aligned her spirit with God, but her soul—mind, emotions, decision-making needed (needs) to be healed. When people hear me talking about wounds, I fear they are hearing “boo boos.” No, the wounds are Lizzy Borden kind of inflicted wounds. Ms. Harding’s interviewer says forgiveness is not expected by Tanya, but the ex-skater wants the world to understand how the survival mode afflicts people and how it affects her.
I drive through a section of our town which is not the slums, but untouched by the Kingdom. Drugs, working poor, and those of all ages who have settled for life below their dreams. A study from six or eight years ago revealed that those people tune into TV evangelists and religious programs at a remarkable rate higher than the state average. If they are followers of Jesus, they are blessed by virtue of that relationship. The ache in my soul is how do they make the “favored” part operational?
“Highly favored” is not just words in a song, it is a sterling biblical word. It describes how “blessing” moves into our social, business and street life. Bill Johnson (Bethel Church-Redding, California) teaches that favor is for those the blessed interact with. It has to trickle down or it is not God’s favor.
I keep asking how a church, para-church or non-profit can reach into that neighborhood and deliver a message and skill-set of greatly blessed, highly favored.
Yesterday, Eric Geiger posted “Who are the iGeneration and What Does Research Tell us?” They are the generation following Millennials. Sometimes called Gex x. Born in 1995 through 14-17 years post 1995. Today they are 6-23 years old. Jen Twenge’s book, iGen is the current definitive study. She lists these differences in iGen-ers:
1. Less reading
2. Less happiness
3. Less social skills
4. Less community
5. Less mental health
6. Less sleep
7. Less risks
8. Less altruism
9. Less hopeful
10. Less religious and less spiritual
11. Less emotionally connected
12. Less politically aligned. (For full article: EricGeiger.com)
Ages Six to twenty-three years are critical life-determining years. There is a measurable population of that age group living in the neighborhood I drive through. I wonder how to communicate and influence. Salvation means “Whole!” Not just rescue from hell, but living in the greatly blessed and highly favored tribe.
Of the twelve characteristics, I don’t see any reason the iGen-er would be interested or motivated except for those who are already unique and motivated. (I know outliers whose walk with Jesus and life-dreams contrast.) The twelve characteristics lead to more isolation, disconnection and fearful of and less trusting of outsiders. More depression, anxiety, non-curious and despair.
My soul is churning. That means my conclusions are shifting, but at this moment:
1. Discern what the controlling spirit of that neighborhood is.
2. Pray specifically that curiosity is awakened and heightened. Awakening is the operative word.
3. The “evangelists” learn not only the raw 12, but what lies behind those feelings and characteristics and speak to those felt needs in a safe place—probably not a church. Maybe a church functioning as a coffee house or community center. Beyond the “less” there will be desires, wants and longings.
Highly favored means, endorsed by God, access to resources, support, advantages, assistants to accomplish vision, productive efforts.
Heavenly Father, you desire your lost children to be found. Call laborers into this field. Implant a vision of transformed and anointed iGens. I ask you will grant favor to those evangelists with an natural entrée of influence into the iGens. Teach us strategies. Thank you.
©2018 D. Dean Benton to continue this discussion: firstname.lastname@example.org