Some of us were around in the late 1960s when sex, drugs, and rebellion impacted college campuses and so many urban areas.
As the chaos grew, God’s people began to cry out to Him in desperation. The result, in the late 60s and early 70s, was a burst of spiritual revival in America, often called the “Jesus Movement.”
While some of this activity was undoubtedly more emotion than substance, God was still at work, and thousands were genuinely converted to Christ. As part of this movement, many of us college students joyously spent our spring vacations sharing our faith in places like Daytona Beach, Florida, where we saw Jesus touch many lives with His gospel.
But the spiritual awakening of that era was relatively short-lived and, in many ways, limited to personal—“me and Jesus, Jesus and me”—connections to Christ, along with the rise of new flavors of Christian music rather than a more vibrant faith that impacted all of culture.
So while many were becoming followers of Christ, culture continued its secular slide. As evidence of that, in 1969 California became the first state to officially weaken the legal status of marriage by enacting no-fault divorce, signed into law by none other than Governor Ronald Reagan.
More tragically, in 1973 the Supreme Court’s infamous decision in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion for all fifty states. And our general culture, evidenced by our motion pictures, television programs, and other forms of entertainment grew even more crass, obsessed as it was with self, sex, and “stuff.”
Sadly, even much of the church of that day bought the lie that we can pursue Jesus alongside the gods of comfort, materialism, and pleasure.
What we forgot was that unless we are daily taking deliberate steps to grow in our faith in and love of God, we will spiritually drift, and our walk with Him will be shallow, impacting very little of the world around us.
Fast forward to today. American culture is even more secularized than it was in the 70s, and the church is now viewed as either irrelevant (at best) or bigoted and hateful (at worst). So what can we do?
Some Christians feel that things are so bad, our only hope is to wait and pray for Christ’s second coming. Let me be clear: I hope He comes today. But let’s face it, He may not return for many years. That date is up to the Father.
But this is no time to despair! Let us never forget Jesus’ challenge to His followers:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV).
Jesus is Lord of ALL! His followers are not to play defense, but offense! Following Him should impact everything we do, 24/7/365.
We are to move into our world, trusting that He is with us and empowering us to reach others for Him and to train them to follow Him until they too become disciple-makers.
Beyond that, whether we are in media, business, law, government, medicine … our love for Him will inevitably affect how we do our work. To know what to do and how to do it in ways that please Him will take concentrated study of His Word and the counsel and power of His Spirit. It will also take a willingness on our part to be lovingly but courageously different from our peers.
Where we fail to live up to His standards, we will need to repent, seek forgiveness, and get back to walking with Him. But we need to pray for each other and encourage each other as we seek His lordship in our respective callings.
I believe we are heading for another Great Awakening in America. Please join me in praying that this awakening will not only be wide, but deep as well, penetrating all aspects of our lives, our families, our cities, and our nation!