John Piper calls college students to abandon retirement. Â Thoughts?
John Piper calls college students to abandon retirement. Â Thoughts?
Well, I’m happy to announce that today is the official release of my newest book, Better Off Without Jesus. Â This has been a completely different type of writing project for me. Â Mainly because, well, it’s personal. Â It’s my story of trying to decipher God’s voice in midst of the biggest trial I’ve ever had to go through.
It’s not too often the FBI shows up at your door to ask you “questions” and sifts through all your financial records, etc.
It’s not too often that a friend commits fraud against you, causing you to lose everything.
And, if you haven’t noticed, the bible doesn’t directly address how to overcome or work through that sort of stuff. Â This is the sort of thing that leaves us in the land of ambiguity, trying to decipher what God wants us to do. Â But, and it’s a BIG ‘but,’ we all want to hear God speak to us. Â We all want to know what He is saying.
For some that sounds weird. Â But the bottom line is we know God can speak to us…but struggle with insecurity in our own ability to discern whether or not it’s actually Him. Â Anyway, here is what a few people have said about the book:
How do we know when it’s the Spirit or just our emotions? Â We have all made foolish decisions by mistaking our feelings for God’s leading. Â Those decisions often lead to pain and regret. Â My friend Chuck does a great job of explaining the process of joining Scripture with the Spirit’s leading in order to honor Christ in our decisions. Â This is a much needed tool in a time when so many lack discernment.
It took me forever to finish this book because I kept wanting to put it down to pray. Â This book did not leave me with the desire to know “about” the Holy Spirit, it made me want to get on my hands and knees and experience Him personally. In fact, I had sent it to the rest of the guys in my band before I even finished reading it!
_Mike Donehey, lead singer of Tenth Avenue North
How do you know what God is telling you to do? Sometimes we make it awkward or mysterious, but in Better Off Without Jesus Chuck Bomar makes it street-level practical by letting us into his own experience of trying to figure out the right next steps for situations in his life.
_Reggie Joiner, Founder and CEO of Orange
Chuck brings practical truth and insight to what is often a neglected or confusing part of the Christian life.Â I firmly believe if we would practice what Chuck writes about in this book our lives, and thus our churches, would be incredibly changed.
_Dan Kimball, author of They Like Jesus But Not The Church, and pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, CA.
“Better Off Without Jesus” helps many of us who never know what to say when someone tells us “God told me”. Chuck helps bring the issues of spiritual living and biblical discernment into the adventure of living in the Kingdom in a way that moves people toward a deeper spirituality as they follow Jesus.
_Rick McKinley-Â author ofÂ This Beautiful MessÂ and Kingdom Called Desire
I’m speaking at Hume Lake this week. Â There are about 1100 high school students here. Â It’s a ton of fun. Â I’ve been to A LOT of camps around the country and, if I’m honest, I’ve never seen camp done as well as it is at Hume. Â Fantastic place.
Last night was ‘commitment night’ and there are always things I keep in mind for these evenings:
1. The message I give is not the end. Â I used to feel a lot of pressure during these nights, feeling as though everything depended upon my talk or my invitation. Â I don’t anymore. Â I realize the power really is in the gospel message and the fact is my time of speaking is simply a catalyst for counselors to have great conversations that are based in relationship.
2. My goal is to communicate clearly. Â My measure of success is simply in whether or not I articulated the gospel clearly and concisely in a way students can understand. Â I used to measure these nights on how many students stayed behind, or how many counselors talked to me the next morning, detailing the conversations they had after the talk in their cabin. Â Not anymore. Â In fact, to protect my heart in this, after I’m done speaking I simply go backstage. Â This way my measurement is accurate, solely vertical, and I’m not affected by how many or how few kids stay behind. Â This also protects the kids who come to the speaker and confess things they’ve never told anyone. Â This makes them feel like they released a pressure valve, when in fact they haven’t.
3. The power is in the gospel message, not the pain Christ endured. Â Too often these nights are packed with details of how painful or brutal crucifixion was. Â Although there is truth in all this, to me, this is emotionally driven and a dangerous way of communicating to kids – especially who get tired and the more tired they are the more emotional they get. Â I want to protect from pure emotional decisions being made in these nights (knowing God can use emotion, of course), and rely upon the Holy Spirit to use the truth to bring people to repentance.
4. Kids adapt who they are for where they are. Â This is a practical thing I always keep in mind and drives me to protecting the hearts of kids. Â Mid-adolescents lack a sense of self awareness that allows them to separate themselves from the environment they find themselves in. Â Consequently, whatever an environment requires and demands of them in order to be a core part of what’s going on is often what they adjust to. Â That said, I’m cautious (NOT condemning) of the ‘altar call.’ Â At camp environments this type of decision is celebrated, as it ought to be, but it can also be a means for kids to simply adapt who they actually are for where they are in the moment. Â They want to function as a core part of these environments, and sometimes ‘coming forward’ is a way they can do that. Â It can be the ‘thing’ to do in this environment. Â Not always, of course, but I just keep this in mind and pray for it ahead of time.
I just read an article that Newsweek put out called, “Are Millenials the Screwed Generation?” Â Interesting read. Â The tag line reads,Â ‘Boomer America’ never had it so good. Â As a result, todays young American’s never had it so bad.Â
There are some interesting stats that compare generations that may be worth your time. Â Here are a few that stood out to me:
1. The median net worth of households headed by someone 65 or older is $170,494, 42 percent higher than in 1984, while the median net worth for younger-age households is $3,662, down 68 percent from a quarter century ago, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center
2. Since 2008 the percentage of the workforce under 25 has dropped 13.2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while that of people over 55 has risen by 7.6 percent. Â The unemployment rate for people between 18 and 29 is 12 percent in the U.S., nearly 50 percent above the national average. Â [Note: I think the pursuit of more education, as I write about in Worlds Apart, has a massive influence in this.]
3. The average student, according to Forbes, already carries $12,700 in credit-card and other kinds of debt. Student loans have grown consistently over the last few decades to an average of $27,000 each. Nationwide in the U.S., tuition debt is close to $1 trillion. Â The articles states this: “This debt often results from the advice of teachers, largely boomers, that only more educationâ€”for which costs have risen at twice the rate of inflation since 2000â€”could solve the long-term issues of the young.”Â [Note: I alsoÂ I write about inÂ Worlds Apart]
They also put together this little video where they compiled some interviews with Millenials. Â This isn’t exhaustive, of course, but I think the insights offered by those interviewed are normal…and perhaps more normal than many still recognize as we approach relationships with younger generations. Go here to watch that and see the article.
You may or may not have caught it on myÂ Twitter, but I am giving away advance reader copies of my forthcoming book,Â Better Off Without Jesus. Â One a week, until the book releases August 7. Â So, I posted something about the “contest” and said to RT for a chance to win a copy.
Well, I’ve had a few people ask me how I’m choosing the winner. Â So, I thought I would let you know.
It’s simple, really. Â When it’s time to announce the winnerÂ I list out the names of those that RT on a piece of paper (or sometimes assign numbers to them).
Then my 7 year old, Karis, picks the name who she wants to win or number that just stands out to her.
Next week my 4 year old daughter, Hope, will choose. Â Then we’ll go back to Karis and so on.
It’s a way that makes it fun for me, unbiased and it’s a small way my girls get to be a part of the ministry. Â Good luck!
There is something within me that hesitates to label younger generations. Â Millenials, Mosaic’s, GenY….whatever terminology you might use, seems to view them more as research or stats or a target rather than human beings. Â But, I understand the need for generalizations when it comes to entire generation. Â Well, I came across an interesting articleÂ that noted some very interesting (at least to me) stats on this generation of [insert whatever term you choose here] we all have a heart for. Â Thought I would note some I found particularly interesting:
1. by 2020 46% of all U.S. workers will be millenials
2. 64% ask about social media policies during job interviews
3. They switch their attention between media platforms (like laptops, smart phones, etc.) an average of 27 times per hour.
4. 66% of them look up a store after learning their friend checked in
5. 71% would like to work abroad
6. 70% plan on changing jobs when the economy gets better
7. 30% started a business while in college
We had a dear family member staying with us for the past 4 or 5 days. Â She is a saint. Â Amazing woman to say the least. Â She loves God. Â She has incredible insight. Â She has a very sharp mind. Â She gets ministry. Â She is wise.
These are all things that make for fun conversations and especially when she throws out statements like, “You know, I remember when we first got electricity at the house and…” Â This is when you know you’re engaged in a fun conversation! Â But over the course of the weekend she said 3 things that really stuck with me. Â Here they are:
1. We were talking about all the different ways leaders are leading churches. Â She understands the approaches and acknowledges the need for different approaches. Â But she looked at me and simply said, “Just do what God wants.” Â I wasn’t complaining about anything, I wasn’t even explaining things I have been thinking/praying through. Â She just gets what it means to be called to something and issued that little nugget for me to chew on. Â Just do what God wants. Â It really is that simple.
2. She was telling me of how she used to lead choir. Â She said she never told anyone they couldn’t sing or that they couldn’t be involved. Â She said she viewed it as her responsibility to help people be used and to make sure they were encouraged to continue serving the body of Christ in whatever capacity they could. Â She said this is the role of a leader in her mind. Â She spoke of leaders that go into churches and inherit a staff. Â She understands that sometimes staff’s need to change, but she also had another insight that I thought was profound. Â She said a lot of times the new leader says things about their staff like, “They just wouldn’t be my first choice” and therefore make a change. Â A leader actually said that to her recently and she responded by saying, “Well, the same could be said about you. Â I’m sure you weren’t every persons first choice either, but they are giving you a chance to succeed.”
3. Right before I left her at the airport she looked at me and said, “Chuck, I have a new urgency for prayer. Â I will be praying because God answers prayer. Â Prayer really works.” Â I said thank you, we hugged, and she walked away…probably praying.