What have you done with the Future?
Photo courtesy of New York Post
Last year, during our itineration to the States, the Lord gave me a message about how much the church is changing. I mentioned my fear of a future America, where we could still return and visit, but would just not be the same as we grew up in, spiritually or morally. I mentioned to my wife and her family that I felt something was coming that would change the shape of America, but I didn’t know what it was. I know it is easy to say now that so much has changed, and many are saying that this is the ‘new normal,’ but it doesn’t give me any joy or pleasure in saying that God has confirmed what he spoke to my heart.
Some who heard may remember in my preaching last year, the story of the Masai man in Oloolaimatia village. He had burn scars on his arm where he had been branded, signifying that he had been a part of the village ‘man-hood’ ritual of killing the big 5 in Kenya. A Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant, and Rhino.
Today, wildlife is protected by Kenya’s government, but I asked him if any of his people still hunt the big five. His words were, “this dies with my generation.”
This dies with my generation.
The last message I preached before flying back to Kenya was to the youth at our home church. My Son was included in the congregation and among those who responded in the altars, seeking God. That message was entitled, “This is Yours.” I was preaching to encourage them to take ownership of their future. This is your heritage. This is your place and time to worship. This is your experience. This is your future!
I said many times while itinerating last year in the U.S., “it would be a tragedy to win Kenya and lose America.” We had plans to return to America in June for a short time, but they were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, though the airline did offer to reschedule them for November. Looking at what is happening across our home country right now, through the eyes of the news outlets, I am fearful that when international flights do begin again, what kind of America will we come to?
Many have talked in the past about America not being present in the end times because it is not mentioned in the bible. I also know that during the time that Christ was in Bethlehem, then walking the seashore of Galilee, preaching to the multitudes on the mount, going to Calvary; there was a thriving civilization in what we now call the Americas, building magnificent cities and developing a kingdom. Still, the Mayans did not thrive for long. We have the record of their exploits and pagan sacrifices, but now, that is all we have: ruins. The memory of a once-great civilization is now just an archeological site for explorers and tourists. There are others. The Pyramids. The Colosseum. Civilizations that arose strong, but eventually fell. We are now looking at the fall of America through the eyes of the media. Cities are being burned, and communities are being taken over as rioters destroy our history to fashion their future, without considering the many times this has been in error in the past. Of all the grand cities the Mayans built, it is incredible how little we know about them and their fall from success.
Many people ask us what we find most challenging with the culture in Kenya. Often, we will say it is the food. The food is so different from what we grew up on and from what we are used to eating at home. Sometimes we will say it is the church worship. People worship very differently in other parts of the world than what we were used to in America. The most challenging thing, however, among so many in the cultures of the world, is the propensity for open corruption. People often lie to get ahead. It is telling someone what they want to hear rather than the truth. And this is not a Kenyan thing; it is a world problem. It used to be more hidden in our social circles, but now has crept into the church and made us a powerless generation, who come to a place of worship, that should be a place of reverence, only to hear something that will make us feel good, while our lives are crumbling around us due to sin. Right now, the world is literally burning around us, and we are more concerned with enjoyment, recreation, restaurants, and playing our games than we are with getting hold of God! And we are losing our future. We’d rather be lied to and told that all of this will soon end than for it to be said that we are responsible.
This heritage we have been given is dying with my generation!
It is time for us to start taking responsibility for our future. We have a breakdown of leadership in our societies. In Africa, in America, and the rest of the world. Many want power, and they’ll say whatever it takes to get into that position, but too often fail to lead as their people thought they would, and it trickles down into every facet of society. We don’t need more disconnected celebrities telling us how to live. We need to step up and take responsibility for our actions and our calling. It is easy to follow orders blindly, but if you only follow the rules from a leader who may not have the information you do, you may know that it won’t work, and still, you drive off a cliff together. Navy Captain David Marquett wrote, in his book, “Turn the Ship Around,” “responsibility is not doing what we are told, that’s obedience. Responsibility is doing what is right.”
A few months ago, we talked to our youth bible study group about the roles of people in the bible and their responsibilities. Pharoah’s heart was hardened, but he was still responsible for his actions against the children of Israel. Pilate was used as a tool for God’s will to be performed, but he was still responsible for the order that executed Jesus Christ. His wife was warned in a dream, and he felt the need to wash his hands of guilt because he knew that he was responsible, and the soldiers who carried out the act were accountable for the beating and the crucifixion of our Savior. We know we are ultimately responsible for His death because of the sin curse in the world, but we too often forget. Several in that meeting felt like people aren’t accountable if they are just following orders. If our leader, elder, or President says to do it, then our Christian morals don’t matter, the responsibility is on them, we must do what they say. We have a generation now which talks about our American President as if he is America’s savior. But he does not represent my moral character, though as an American citizen, I am as responsible for his election as I was the previous President. I asked our young people in the bible study, “if the President, military leader, or elder were to come in here today and order you to kill my family and me, what would be the right thing to do?” Almost all said that it would be wrong to disobey those orders and that if it happened, they would have to kill us. I was shocked, but then reflected, in a place where strong leadership is lacking, where leaders want their people to do as they say, and not as they do, it is easy for the individual to lose his sense of responsibility.
In 2008, during the post-election violence here in Kenya, many were killed by friends and neighbors. People who knew each other were told that every one of ‘this’ tribe is your enemy. Without a thought to moral responsibility, homes were burned, property destroyed, and lives were taken. And many today still don’t feel responsible for it. It was just part of politics.
This statement may seem hard to swallow, but the cities that are burning in America are our responsibility. There has been a breakdown in leadership that has allowed corrupt police officers to stay in employment even after multiple offenses. Politicians have allowed a ‘cancel culture’ that protests by removing history and destroying property rather than people taking their message to the polls or even to the leaders themselves who could have made a difference. Many were shocked that churches were closed for the first time in our personal history, but when they were open, we came so frivolously that we took those services for granted. It was easy to stay home when you had a ‘difficult day,’ but now you cry out when your elected leaders tell you you must stay home. And now that some churches are beginning to open, we see the same story. It is easy to play our games and catch up with God when we have time, but that time is escaping you now, and you don’t even realize it.
You are responsible for the downturn America is taking! But for so long, we have able to make things right when we’ve needed it. We put our trust in always being given that opportunity. It was recorded by the author Simon Sinek that a Marine Colonel once told him, “taking responsibility for one’s actions must happen at the time you perform your actions, not at the time you get caught. Trust and Integrity are matters of life and death.”
We are committed people. But our commitments are typically to our family and culture, to jobs and relationships, and too often all of these come before God. Look around at our churches. Many are committed to their church, but outsiders have a hard time coming in because we are defensive of our culture. Often it takes an outside Pastor up to seven years before even he feels a part of a new church because the people view him as an outsider. But if we only focus inwardly, what will our future hold? Many of our young people struggle as they are told by preachers to commit to God’s way, while their families play frivolous games with God to keep control of their culture. And we wonder why the church struggles to win souls?
We are all responsible for what the future holds and what is happening in the present. Inaction is action. If you fail to worship, pray, work, petition, vote, it is your responsibility. This is your future. We are no longer waiting to see what the next generation will do; we are seeing what their plans are before our eyes. What will you do about it? Many came into 2020 saying that they wanted to know The Lord better and have a better relationship with Him, to serve Him better. But when the pandemic came, they shut themselves off from the world, and we found that too many had really wanted a better relationship with the church, not with The Lord of the church, that’s why they lost their faith and vision when they couldn’t go to a particular building. When the Apostle Paul talked about knowing Him better, he said, “that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” We want to resolve by saying, “I want more of Him this year,” but we are not willing to have less of us. We want to know Him and the power of His resurrection, but we’d rather not partake in the fellowship of His sufferings or be made conformable unto His death.
I cannot expect God just to continue blessing America if I have quit praying for America. I cannot expect God to keep giving me prosperity and leisure when I don’t take responsibility for my actions. We don’t live in Kenya to preach American culture, but to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. American culture is a culture that, for at least the last 40 years, promotes homosexuality and the murder of children, it has been a culture of reckless spending and debt. This culture praises celebrities and politicians while mocking God’s morals. And when I go to prayer, I take responsibility for my people. I repent over the sins of America and Kenya. I pray for our leaders, even those who hate Christianity because I am a part of the populace that has allowed their leadership. I take responsibility for my future and am actively working to save lives from detriment, that is what God has called us to do, and I can't expect someone else to step up while I live my life. Christianity is about service, first and foremost!
When I look at America, I ask this generation, “what have you done with our nation? What have you done with our future?” But I also realize that this is my generation, and I want to be working to take it back! I don’t want to just fight for a cause, but I want to fight for our future.
Will freedom die with our generation? It is up to you to decide.