He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:2-5 ESV)
We live in a dark sinful world. There is so much atrocity, so much wickedness, so much evil. Sin’s fruits have been reaped upon mankind and the evidence is overwhelming. Racism, the slave trade, cruelty, violence, poverty, rape, murder & genocide is just the tip of the darkness.
Our society has promoted the slave trade of minors with the sex trade industry. Our society has cast down poor minorities and our prisons are this generations slave masters. We live in a world that is at world war, we just have masked it.
Currently, mass genocide has occurred on every continent in the past 50 years. From Hitler, to democide, the drug trade, to gun violence, to suicides, to overdose, to homelessness, to poverty & wars. Our society is dark.
While much of the darkness in our world gets covered on the front page, Detroit is overlooked. Outside of a joke told by Conan or Fallon about the crime rate in Detroit, you won’t hear much about my city because its an eye sore and no one wants to talk about it. The violence and murders here, seem to get overlooked nationally. (In my travels when I speak about Detroit, people are shocked to hear the statistics).
- In 2012, Detroit recorded its highest homicide rate in nearly two decades. 386 homicides in 2012 according to the FBI, is the worst in twenty years! This placed Detroit second for the city with the highest murder rates, only behind New Orleans.
- Through December 28, New York City had only recorded 414 homicides, despite having a population more than 11 times the size of the city of Detroit’s. If NYC had the same murder rate as Detroit, they would have recorded nearly 4,400 homicides this year, according to a release issued by the city.
The point I want to stress, is that there is a problem. Martin Luther King Jr. did not die for this darkness, he dreamed of a promised land, this nightmare is not it. Sin is still everywhere. Evil still abounds. But there is hope…
- There is Hope in Jesus
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10 ESV)
While our world might be collapsing around us, and just last night more violence in our neighborhood, there is hope in Jesus. There is no hope in a President, or a political party. No hope can be found in drugs or sex. No hope can be found in guns or gangs, for there is only hope in Jesus.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)
Hope in Jesus from real conversions. Hope in Jesus from real change and real life growth, not fake religious imagery & sayings. We must be about real answers in life, real help for those off the way, and real solutions to real problems.
Here’s a couple ways to help:
-Take over your neighborhood (after school activities, volunteer at school, hood cleanup & trash pickup, have block parties at your house, etc. Your neighborhood should know your a Christian and should hear, see and feel it).
-Volunteer in Church, Schools, parks, city and everywhere you go (make your Christian presence known. For too long Christians have hid indoors in their green houses while the world burns around them. Get out there and let people know who you are).
-Help those around you who are less fortunate with food, clothes & love (don’t be condescending but there are those that need help and would welcome your assistance if you were like Jesus and just cared without ego).
-Have your family be the example of real life, real change and real hope (in my house this means not acting, but being real).
- The Bible has the Answers, not us
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14 ESV)
It shouldn’t surprise us that our world is full of so much evil and wrong doing, and it shouldn’t surprise us that we must share in the blame. Don’t blame Hollywood or the gays, or that we took the Bible out of the school, blame yourself for not being obedient.
Much of Christianity has jumped on the bandwagon of blaming the “so called wicked people” out there for the wickedness we face here. But the truth is just the opposite. The wickedness in our lives is what is evidence out there. Let us stop blaming the boogeyman and take responsibility for what we have created.
Much of Christian Evangelicalism is phony and we all know it. The titles are right and sayings are right, but the actions from the top down have left horrible consequences. From preachers doing wickedly and getting away with it, then covered up for, to blaming people not giving enough is the reason why you did wrong (here & here). I could go on and on and on and on…
Here’s why I mention this, if Christian leaders who are supposed to be the example and guiding influences are doing wickedly, why does it surprise us that so many churches are dead, don’t do much and are sad examples of the Kingdom?
- Fifteen hundred pastors in America leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
- Fifty percent of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
- Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
- Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
- Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
- Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.
- Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
-Pastor Darrin Patrick from The Journey in Saint Louis compiled these statistics from Barna, Maranatha Life, and Focus on the Family
Take a drive around my city and you will see the darkness. Yet amidst all the darkness is a plethora of churches. How can there be so many “christians” and yet so much darkness? The answer is more obvious than you may realize, it is a lighting issue. We are not shining like we are supposed to and the effect is visible.
If the light shines in the darkness,at the room is still dark, than we have a light problem. There are so called lights, that aren’t shining. Let today be the day where we as Christians stoke the flame! Rise up and shine!
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5 ESV)
Let the redeemed speak louder,