At the Crossroads

by Dave Batcheller

Tremendous forces are at work shaping the present world we live in. So many events and changes confront us each day that it seems we begin to ignore the realities which surround us. Many of us become increasingly distant and impersonal, easily distracted and entertained. A massive erosion of cultural norms and traditional values is gradually taking place, but most of us have passively accepted this and become numb or calloused to what is going on.

A Brave New World?

People growing up in today’s high-tech, postmodern world face a level of challenges and obstacles which has never existed before. An ever widening globalization is shrinking the world we live in. Technology has made it easy to be in touch with others in an instant around the world, yet never before has there been such a vacuum of genuine, lasting interpersonal relationships. Frequent political, military, and economic developments greatly impact our hopes and dreams for the future. The media seems to control not only most of what we hear, but the ongoing evolution of this new culture. Sex outside of marriage, divorce and broken or blended families are now so prevalent that we have become absorbed in dealing with the symptoms of a disease, rather than a cure. Government, financial, medical and religious institutions are viewed increasingly with skepticism or disdain by many people. Proposed solutions to all the cultural ailments are extremely vague and ineffective against the tide of popular opinion.

The relentless growth of cultural relativism has created a new generation which sees things with a new mind set, one in which there are now very few remaining absolutes. “Truth” is now defined by many as whatever someone perceives it to be. Individual opinion and preference now reign supreme over any antiquated notions of morality or religion.

Where are the Answers?

The personal hurt and inner struggles caused by these pressures, coupled with extensive feelings of abandonment and alienation, are forming a generation of young people who are angry, distrustful and confused. Left in the wake of these societal changes are ever increasing debt, crime, violence and gang activity. Family life is being seriously threatened, and most people now have blurred concepts of success, morality and sexuality. Can we find real answers from science, medicine, politics, or other sources? Rhetoric and hollow proposals quickly rise and fade as we all move on to something new or different.

The Root of the Problem

If human nature is intrinsically good, as many claim, then one must explain the prolific amount of human activities throughout history which are hurtful and self destructive. If our nature is essentially bent towards self-centeredness and pride, manifested in a thousand outward forms, then our only hope would be a complete, internal change of heart. Apart from this type of transformation we are destined to perpetuate the same self destructive practices and downward moral slide.

A man came into human history long ago, and drove right past the surface issues and spoke of the need for a fundamental change inside of people. He declared that “from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts and fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these things proceed from within and defile the man.” In another instance, this famous man said, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man brings forth from his heart what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills the heart.”

A Powerful Solution

The name of this famous man was Jesus Christ. He claimed to have been sent from God to intervene in the human drama, and to deal with this perpetual cycle caused by human nature. Jesus spoke forcefully with great conviction, yet he possessed an unrivaled gentleness and compassion towards people. He challenged the ineffectiveness of government and military might; he spoke against greed, injustice and hypocrisy; and he denounced religious leaders and traditions which had actually become a roadblock to people finding God. He aroused both fiery enemies and devoted followers.

Ultimately, even though he was completely innocent, Jesus Christ gave his life on the cross to deal with the problem of mankind’s human nature and sin. He came to earth to understand and relate to man; he lived a life devoted to serving others; he died so that we might be set free and have a new life; and he was resurrected from the dead to demonstrate the validity and power of his life and message.

To every generation, Jesus brings a message of life and hope to people who have been wounded, disillusioned and crushed by the system around them. He reminds us that God is our Creator and our Father, who desperately wants to have a restored relationship with us. However, because of the sin which dominates our hearts and lives, we cannot see him clearly, or hear his voice.

Jesus set into motion a movement, which despite years of persecutions, modern philosophies, and even the failures of the Christian church itself, will not fade or die out. Instead, the Christian gospel continues to grow as a force in the world, penetrating human hearts in dark places with the light of a life changing message.

Not Religion, But a Relationship

This message is not about religion – whatever images or memories that brings to mind. The life changing nature of this message is that you can have a personal relationship with God, who will forgive your sins and then give you the power and help each day to change from the inside. This is not about a long list of “do’s and don’ts” or some outdated church traditions, but rather a transformation of life caused by returning to God and yielding our heart and lives to him once again.

For centuries, the gospel of Jesus Christ has been altering history and transforming the lives of people. It lives on despite opposition, changing cultures, and the inconsistencies or failures of Christian people. Perhaps now is the time for you to reconsider the message of Jesus, and to experience his life changing presence in your own life.

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