Ruined house after earthquake
Stretched out on my mat, I reached to pull the stack of clothing near. Lying back against my pillow, I began to pray. “Father God, I beg You. Please, let us sleep safely through this night. Even just one night, ple-e-ease–” Sobs interrupted my bedtime pleadings. Tears rolled down my cheeks, pouring from deep wells that surely should run dry.
The after-shocks that occurred during daylight hours never affected me, but the jolted-out-of-sleep nighttime terrors tormented me. Transporting hundreds of cans of clean drinking water,
Search for any advertizing team’s prime target avatar, and you’ll see my smiling face; I’m an advertisers’ dream. Pitch your wares often enough, and even the things I know aren’t a good idea, may move me to the buy button.
Case in point: I’m very aware that eating pork-anything in fast-food restaurants disturbs my digestive system. Nevertheless, several years ago, the five weeks of television’s repetitious displays concerning the mouth-watering delight of the new pork burrito tempted me. Still, I held my ground, forcing myself to remember past experiences.
Alas, during week six, I caved like one of Pavlov’s drooling dogs.
Technology makes adults obsolete. Anything the teenager wants to know can just be Googled. Communication with the older generation is totally unnecessary.
While it sometimes might seem as though our adolescents have adopted that stand, acquiring a load of information isn’t always the only thing needed to make a decision. Often, an injection of experience helps in the processing of the stats and summaries.
The most effective teachers and preachers know that folks of all ages are more likely to recall the main points of any teaching if illustrated by a compelling story. Knowing this to be true in my own life, I filled the weeklong lecture hours on the “Character of God” with personal anecdotes to keep the students in that hot and humid African classroom awake, as much as to help them remember the point of each story. In the evening, my Swiss colleague taught them a lively chorus to drive home the same key points of the day’s teaching.
The marvelous selection of Christian music available at the touch of a stylus (or fingertip) might mean that the teens can find any number of songs to accompany any information their searches may uncover, but they simply haven’t lived long enough to have the personal experience to sort out the volume of information acquired. Enter a trusted senior citizen, eager to share a lifetime of stories showing God’s faithfulness in directing her path.
Over a period of five years of Christian summer camps, teens surveyed came up with hundreds of questions to which they earnestly sought answers. Of course, responding to the survey while attending church camp might have influenced which questions they held in common. These two questions topped their long list: How can I know God’s will for my life? How can I really know if God’s calling me into the ministry?
Surprisingly, these same questions are being asked by Christians of all ages. The young person seeks to make the right start towards a fulfilling future. The employed middle-aged adult wonders the same when, year after year, he feels no satisfaction with his work. Even the person entering retirement asks the question. Her children are grown; her company has given her the retirement party; and now what? How can I know God’s will for my life? How can I know if God’s really calling me into the ministry?
Standing in the midst of teens, each one swaying to the extra-loud music and singing with nearly-supernatural gusto, I felt my senior heart being enveloped by a burning sense of hope for our nation. This concert lifted up the name of Jesus and proclaimed the sovereignty of Almighty God. My eardrums throbbed, and being blind, I couldn’t sing the words projected on the huge screens, but my body urged me to join the adolescents.
Chris Tomlin Concert (from Chris Tomlin Facebook page)
My hands clapped with the changing rhythm and my lower half moved just like the dipping and swaying shoulders. Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, my feet never left the teensy wooden spot on the bleachers to which I’d mentally nailed them. The earthquake-like undulations behind and beside me let me know my young friends had no such inhibitions.
I’d been to a Chris Tomlin concert a few years back, so I knew that the first two bands—so full of percussion, volume and youthful rhythms—would be followed by the master of worship. Chris Tomlin doesn’t perform at a concert. Instead, he leads the entire arena into the presence of God with what can only be called genuine worship. Would the kids still display such enthusiasm when Chris took the stage?
During the set change, a video urged the audience to tweet anything they wanted Chris to answer during the new feature of this concert—a live Q and A session. Being old doesn’t mean I’m not with it. I whipped out my I Phone, and passed it to my sighted friend to type in my question. (I knew I’d never get Siri to receive a dictated tweet in all of this noise.)
“What should we ask him?” the teen behind me said to her friend.
Midnight, like most pampered house cats, wanted for nothing. He jumped into any lap, any time. He enjoyed fresh water and canned Friskies cat food in every flavor the ads declared delicious, as well as nutritious. Our home provided a loving castle for this feline king. What more could he want?
The three little girls of our household named him Midnight, because nestled in a child’s palm, the little ball of jet black fuzz felt like a furry sphere of darkness. However, to my mother, the cute, bright-eyed kitten was “Pretty Boy.” Can you guess to which name he would respond most?