The recently released American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) indicates that faith is going down across the board. The number of people who identify themselves as Christian has decreased by 11 percent in a generation. The single fastest-growing category when it comes to religious affiliation is "None," which grew from 8 percent to 15 percent since 1990.
The "Nones" are the single biggest group in the state of Vermont, at 34 percent of the state's population. And "None" was the only religious category to grow in all 50 states. http://www.outofur.com/archives/culture/
Change is Constant:
From birth to death change is our constant companion. Mankind noticed the ever presence of change centuries ago. From the changes we ourselves initiate to those we don't have anything to do with, to changes that occur without a moment’s notice, change is perpetual, natural and frequently a sign of life. Change can also leave us feeling lost, out of control, and uptight.
REPONSE TO CHANGE
What we do:
a. DENIAL. When things change, especially unexpectedly, our first and very normal reaction is to deny it; denial is a coping mechanism. We approach change with the attitude that if we ignore change and wait long enough it will go away and things will get back to normal.
b. BARGAINING & NEGOTIATING. Even when we perceive that the situation -- change -- won't go away, we still firmly believe that things worked better before the change. So we try to bargain for reinstating the old system. We campaign for a return to the "good old days".
c. ANGER. However, no matter what we do, reality steps in and we realize that change is here to stay. Faced with the inescapable fact, and that we can do nothing about it, we get angry. Anger comes in many forms and can be directed at those responsible for the change, at those closest to us, and even at ourselves. There is no logic to our anger. We're just angry --angry at the world for making us do something we don't want to do.
d. CYNICISM. Like Solomon in Ecclesiastes. Solomon packed more experience into one lifetime than most people dream of. He built the great temple in Jerusalem and numerous other projects. He studied and taught about many aspects of nature: animals, birds, reptiles, fish and plant life (1 Kings 4:32-34). He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. He wrote songs and spoke proverbs, many of which are preserved in the book of Proverbs. Toward the end of his life, Solomon looked back on what he had learned. He recorded his observations in what is now known as the book of Ecclesiastes.
"I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind" Eccl. 1:14
Solomon used the word "vanity" (“meaningless”) 38 times in Ecclesiastes as he wrote about life "under the sun." The word means "emptiness," "futility," "vapor"; "that which vanishes quickly and leaves nothing behind." From the human point of view, life ("under the sun") does often appear futile; and it is easy for us to get pessimistic.
It is easy for us to get cynical – disillusioned about life. Job loss, church loss, health loss. Solomon’s perspective was limited. He saw only what was “under the sun”. Ours is limited in the same way. But from God’s perspective things are very different.
What to do:
a. ACCEPT - The cold hard truth is that change is a constant, an ongoing process, and is here to stay.
b. COMMUNICATE - Don't be afraid to share your feelings. Talk to your friends and family.
c. SURRENDER YOUR PLANS and live under the SON – Jesus Christ
GOD NEVER CHANGES
We Must Remember that God Is Still In Charge And That God Never Changes!
The Scriptures speak of our changeless God in this changing world. "For I am the Lord, I change not." Malachi 3:6
Our world is in the grip of the infinite, all-powerful God of the universe. He controls the seasons.
He is in control.
He never loses track of what’s going on.
He never gets confused.
He always knows what He will do even before the circumstances arise.
God has a grip on the reins of the world and His purposes will be carried out.
God is a God of new ideas, of innovation. God is a God who initiates change and uses change.
God told Isaiah in Isaiah 43:18-19: "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
We live in a time when God is shaking everything that can be shaken. He does so to shake us lose from building our lives on things that are passing away. To turn us back to the One who is constant and unchanging.
Top 5 things you won't have to worry about changing in the coming years.
· The Bible is still the word of God.
· God still hears our prayers.
· The Holy Spirit will still move.
· God is still on his throne.
· Jesus still saves. (and He will come again)