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The apostle Paul writes this, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).“
Now, as Paul looked out from that prison cell and considered beloved believers, he knew one thing for sure: grace finishes what grace starts.
The God who saves his people is the God who will sustain his people. Paul’s confidence was not in the signs of hope that he saw in the Philippian congregation – although he found many signs of hope and many reasons to be encouraged. His ultimate hope was in God. He believed that God would carry on to completion the work that He had begun in the Philippians.
The title of this talk, as we close this pre-conference, is looking for signs of hope when we consider the next generation. I think it’s dangerous to look at the next generation and see only signs of hope, just as it would be dangerous to look at the next generation and see only causes for alarm. Every generation faces its share of challenges and opportunities. Often times, the opportunity is in the challenge.
It’s also dangerous to assume that the next generation is going to come along and fix all of the things that the previous generation got wrong. I think that’s a common tendency among young people, to sing along with John Mayer, that we’re waiting for the world to change. Hoping to finally get our time in the driver’s seat.
Why? Because then the wars would all be over and we’d make everything right again. But if you consider the history of the world and the history of the church, you find that often when young people seek to correct the errors they see so clearly in their elders, they wind up fixing some things—but also messing up a lot of other things. Then the next generation comes along and fixes a different set of messes.
So no generation is the greatest or the last hope for Christianity because generations aren’t where we put our hope anyway.As I look over the landscape of evangelicalism and see trends and surveys, and talk to church leaders who are seeing some success in reaching younger people—I have just a few observations that give me hope because these are evidences of the Lord’s work in our day. I have confidence that the God who has started to work in us will bring it to completion.
The first sign of…