Posts tagged encourage
The Moral Condition of Our Nation

The Moral Condition of Our Nation

Dear Woodview friends and family,

As long as I've been in ministry, I decided that I would not become political in my preaching, teaching, or writing.  And, as far as I know, I haven't.  That doesn't mean that there haven't been times when I have spoken out about certain issues that are considered political but are really Biblical or moral.  I reserve all rights to speak on Biblical and moral issues (in fact, I would say that is actually what I have been called to do when I was called to ministry!) including things like abortion, sexual identity, etc.

So this article is not about politics -- it is about the moral condition of our nation.  This past weekend certain tragedies shocked our nation (and parts of the world).  But the moral condition of our nation also relates to numerous other tragedies that occurred this past weekend and every day that don't get highlighted as news stories.

It seems to me that there have been two huge changes in our nation that perhaps have greased the skids to where we are today:

1.  We have lost a Biblical understanding of God -- there has always been evil and there have always been people intent on harming and killing others.  But even a couple of generations ago, those same people could at least tell you who Jesus is, they had been exposed to the Bible, and there was an accepted standard of right and wrong based on the Ten Commandments and Biblical truth.

But today there is ignorance of Scripture, there is no fear of the Lord, and right and wrong are left up to the individual.  Why?  Because we have decided that truth is personal instead of objective.

If you can have your truth and I can have my truth, then I can do whatever I want and justify any of my actions.  No matter how they affect you or hurt you.  We have become an extremely narcissistic nation so that I matter more than you do, and I am not here to know and serve and glorify God...He is here to serve me and satisfy me.

2.  We have rejected the sanctity of life and adopted instead the convenience of life -- if babies can be wantonly killed because they are inconvenient, life doesn't have any value. 

If life doesn't have any value, then that means my life has no value.  I have no point...I'm just taking up space and wasting oxygen.  And if life doesn't have any value, then that means there is no reason for me to value your life either.

Now, you put those two things together and I think we can begin to understand the loneliness, frustration, depression and anxiety of so many young people today.  They are growing up believing that there is nothing beyond the here and now, that they are the ruler of their own little personal universe, but that they don't really have any value or purpose or meaning.

So, what can we do? 

  • Repent if we have fallen into any of those ways of thinking ourselves.

  • Pray for our nation, it's leaders (yes, all of them -- that's Biblical), and especially our young people and those who work directly with young people.

  • Encourage and support and pray for the staff and volunteers of Woodview who work directly with kids, students, and young adults.

  • Love and build into young people! This might be your child or grandchild or great-grandchild...or it could just be finding a young person in the church to start loving on. And it won't be easy because at first they might be suspicious of why you are interested in them, but stay at it...be consistent...be authentic.

This Sunday we finish our summer series on The Fruit of the Spirit.  I hope you will be here! 

In Christ,

Jon B. Stradtner 

Life Is Hard


Life is hard!

Dear Woodview friends and family,

This will be a short article this week.  There are two reasons for that -- the first is that I'm sitting at my computer in quite a bit of pain (twisted my back!), and the second reason is that I can state my points succinctly.

My topical statement is:  Life is hard!  I don't think anyone with any years under their belt will argue with that, so let me continue on to the things I'm reminding myself of.

1.  So don't be surprised at the painful trials that come your way, as though something strange were happening to you (1 Peter 4:12).  We live in a fallen world...we each struggle with our sinful nature.  So bad stuff is going to happen! 

We have to understand that we are living in the time between The Fall of Genesis 3, when sin and its consequences entered the world, and the Second Coming of Jesus when this world and all that is in it is redeemed.  That means we are living in a time when things aren't supposed to be perfect or easy or comfortable -- we are living in the time when there is supposed to be suffering, pain, and disappointment.  The good thing is that, because we desire perfection and ache for perfection, it clues us into the fact that we were created for better than what we are experiencing!

2.  Therefore, hold on and walk faithfully!  We face all kinds of trials, but we are not without resources.  We have the Holy Spirit in us to guide us and give us the strength to persevere; we have the Word of God to encourage us and guide us; we have the Church to encourage each other, pray for each other, and hold each other up; and we have the hope of Christ knowing that we will spend eternity with our Lord and King.

3.  So look for the times of joy and the moments of laughter.  Even though this life is hard...there are wonderful blessings in this life!  There are glimpses of eternity and reflections of God and flashes of Eden.  Looking into the eyes of a newborn infant, watching kids run and laugh through the halls of the church building, celebrating a baptism, talking to someone wrestling with but determined to follow Jesus, witnessing the excitement of a couple about to be married, sitting with a brother or sister in Christ who is grieving but not without hope.  These are some of the good things in this life -- at times we need to slow down enough to notice them or see them; but they are there.  And those are the little clues given by God to remind us of His love, His power, and His eternal plan.

See you Sunday!  

In Christ,

Jon B. Stradtner