FUTURE AND HOPE (Article) by Abidan Paul Shah

FUTURE AND HOPE Article by Abidan Paul Shah

(Published in the newspaper Daily Dispatch, Henderson on November 12, 2016)

future-and-hope“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Last month Americans all across the land proved with their ballots that they were dissatisfied with the direction of our country. What is being called “one of the greatest political shakeups in history” is a glimpse into the soul of the real USA. Americans have overwhelmingly declared that they do care about the economy, security, and morality of their country. They do want a better world for their children and grandchildren. Once again they are seeing a future and a hope. These are indeed exciting times in our nation’s history. Along with the other positive changes, here are some more that we cannot afford to ignore:

  1. Unite as Americans – It’s obvious that we are more divided as a nation today than we’ve ever been. Wicked forces have done everything they could to tear us apart along cash, class, and color lines. It is vital that we bring about a healing in our great nation. We will have to reach out to each other and show love and compassion. The world is watching to see if we are still the “United States.” The wise king Solomon wrote, “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
  2. Equip our next generation – It’s imperative that we train our kids in politics, economy, and morality just as much as we train them in sports, dance, and music. We cannot shelter them from the issues facing our nation and the world. Instead, we should prepare them to change the world for the better. If they are to continue the good changes that are coming, we will have to teach them to lead with wisdom and courage. As Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
  3. Prepare for a spiritual awakening – The recent shakeup proves once again that God is not through with our nation. When we study our nation’s history we notice that He sent the greatest spiritual revivals when things were really low. He loves to work in dire situations because it brings all the glory to Him. We cannot forget to give Him thanks for giving us a second chance. But that’s just the beginning. We will have to return to the promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Abraham Lincoln said, “My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.” The dream is still alive.

A MESSAGE TO OUR iY GRADUATES (ARTICLE) by Abidan Paul Shah

A MESSAGE TO OUR iY GRADUATES Article by Abidan Paul Shah

(Published in the newspaper Daily Dispatch, Henderson on May 28, 2016) 

Ecclesiastes 1:4 “One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.”

amessagetoiyMany of you are wondering – “Who are the iYs?” They are the younger group of Generation Y or the Millennials, born between 1991-2001. Unlike the older Ys, the iYs have a very different mindset. We cannot afford to ignore or be ignorant about them any longer because they will soon be the largest demographic in the US. In fact, about half the world’s population will be 25 years old or younger, which social scientists are calling the “youth bulge.” They warn that any time there is a surge in youth population, there will also be a rise in violence. The rise in group violence in America and across the globe in recent years is proof that it has already begun! What can we do? To start with, we need to understand what made them the way they are.

Think about the major events of the past two decades – coming of the Internet in the mid 90s; terrorism at home with the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995 and then September 11, 2001; school shootings starting with the Columbine massacre in 1999; biggest financial crisis in 2007 since the Great Depression; the rise of extreme religious violence in the world, especially with ISIS recently; the coming of smart phones, text messaging, and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.). As much as all these events have made a significant impact on the iYs, the main impact was much closer. We are the main impact! Tim Elmore explains this in his book “Generation iY: Secrets to Connecting with Today’s Teens and Young Adults in the Digital Age” (2015 edition). He uses 4 words to describe the iYs. I’ll summarize it here:

  1. An Overwhelmed Generation: We’ve made decisions for them all their lives and now they’re facing the world on their own. We’ve expected
    Tim Elmore - Generation iY

    Click on the image for book by Tim Elmore – “Generation iY: Secrets to Connecting with Today’s Teens and Young Adults in the Digital Age” (2015 edition).

    the best from them constantly and now they’re too stressed to perform. 94% of students reported feeling overwhelmed by their lifestyles; 44% said they felt so depressed it was almost difficult to function; almost 10% had considered suicide in the past. This is why they try to escape reality by turning to online fantasy.

  2. An Overconnected Generation: We gave them technology too early, too much, and without accountability. They don’t need us anymore. They have Google and Wikipedia. They’re connected 24/7 with their peers online who are more important than real people across the room. Most of their connections are shallow but who cares. They simply go around repeating what others say, nothing new or unique.
  3. An Overprotected Generation: We have saddled them with safety seats, safety belts, and safety helmets. We’ve told them – “Don’t go anywhere. It’s not safe.” Is it any wonder that they don’t want to take any risks? Now many are also struggling with obesity and other health issues.
  4. An Overserved Generation: We’ve told them repeatedly – “You are special and everyone is a winner.” Guess what?! They actually believed us! According to a lag-time study at San Diego State University between 1975 and 2006, there has been a big climb in narcissistic tendencies among American students. A growing number now actually have Narcissistic Personality Disorder! Every day I come across employers who are frustrated because anytime it gets a little tough, they’re gone!

To all iYs – If you want to be the trendsetters among your peers, you will have to be different. In other words, “Be an iY by age but not by attitude.” Learn to be patient not instant. Communicate with people face-to-face. Remember, you have to earn it. You are not entitled to it. Listen to adults and not just to your peers. Don’t listen to adults who have ulterior motives. Be slow to tear down old boundaries. Learn to take risks. Technology is no substitute to expertise. It’s not all about you. You’re not always right. Make Christ your Savior. Pray and read God’s Word daily.

To all of us – It’s not enough to expect just the iYs to change; we have to do some changing as well. Begin by taking responsibility for where they are. Don’t condemn constantly. Embrace them. Give them adult responsibility. Reward real skills and remind them that not everyone wins. Invest time in them by teaching life skills like budgeting, cooking, planting, and maintaining. Give them hope for the future. Pray for them. Make Christ your Savior. Remember 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”

A Message to our iY Graduates by Pastor Abidan Shah

A MESSAGE TO OUR iY GRADUATES by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

amessagetoiy

Introduction: This morning being graduation Sunday, I want to preach a message titled – “A Message to our iY Graduates.”

Ecclesiastes 1:4 “One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.”

Overall Background: Before we go any further, we need to answer the question – “Who are the iYs?” To answer that, we need to understand the breakdown of the generations. Different research groups divide them at different ages. My information is coming from the United States Census Bureau, the Pew Research Center, and few other research sites:

  • G.I. (born 1901-1928) – over 88 years, 4.5 million
  • Silent (born 1929-1945), 28 million
  • Baby Boomer (born 1946-1964), 75.4 million
  • Generation X (born 1965-1981), 66 million
  • Generation Y (born 1982-2001) 83.1 million
  • Generation Z (born 2002-present) 60 million

Generation Y or Millennials (1982-2001) can be divided into 2 parts: the early between 1982-1990 and the later between 1991-2001. Generation iY are those in the latter half, ages 15-25. Unlike the older Ys, the iYs have a very different mindset. We cannot afford to ignore them or be ignorant about them any longer because they will soon be the largest demographic in the US. In fact, about half the world’s population will be 25 years old or younger, which social scientists are calling the “youth bulge.” They warn that any time there is a surge in youth population, there will also be a rise in violence. The rise in group violence in America and across the globe in recent years is proof that it has already begun! What can we do? To start with, we cannot just condemn them, lecture them, and complain about their work habits, their addiction to social media, and their attitude about life, we need to understand what made them the way they are and then offer some biblical wisdom to them and to ourselves.

Some questions to consider: Do you care about our young people? Do you care about their future and the future of our nation and our world? Keep in mind – Our success is not in what we do for ourselves in our lifetime. It is the investment we make in others after we’re gone. Moses invested in Joshua. Elijah invested in Elisha. Jesus invested in His disciples and then in Peter, James and John and then especially in Peter. Paul invested in Timothy. What impact are you making in the future? Are you saved?

To start with, let’s understand the world of the iYs:

I. IS THEIR WORLD SO DIFFERENT?

Think about the major events of the past two decades:

  • Internet in the mid 90s
  • Terrorism at home with the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995 and then September 11, 2001
  • School shootings starting with the Columbine massacre in 1999 to the latest one on April 23, 2016 in Antigo, Wisconsin
  • Biggest financial crisis in 2007 since the Great Depression
  • The rise of extreme religious violence in the world, especially with ISIS recently.
  • I can go on and on but the major one is the coming of smart phones, text messaging, and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and the list goes on and on).
Tim Elmore - Generation iY

Click on the image for book by Tim Elmore – “Generation iY: Secrets to Connecting with Today’s Teens and Young Adults in the Digital Age” (2015 edition).

As much as all these events have made a significant impact on the iYs, the main impact was much closer. We are the main impact! Tim Elmore explains this in his book “Generation iY: Secrets to Connecting with Today’s Teens and Young Adults in the Digital Age” (New edition came out in 2015). He uses 4 words to describe the iYs. I’ll summarize it here:

  1. An Overwhelmed Generation: We’ve made decisions for them all their lives and now they’re facing the world on their own. We’ve expected the best from them constantly and now they’re too stressed to perform. 94% of students reported feeling overwhelmed by their lifestyles; 44% said they felt so depressed it was almost difficult to function; almost 10% had considered suicide in the past. This is why they try to escape reality by turning to online fantasy.
  1. An Overconnected Generation: We gave them technology too early, too much, and without accountability. They don’t need us anymore. They have Google and Wikipedia. They’re connected 24/7 with their peers online who are more important than real people across the room. Most of their connections are shallow but who cares. They simply go around repeating what others say, nothing new or unique.
  1. An Overprotected Generation: Because of the crazy lawsuits of the 80s and 90s, we have saddled them with safety seats, safety belts, and safety helmets. We’ve told them – “Don’t go anywhere. It’s not safe.” Is it any wonder that they don’t want to take any risks? Now many are also struggling with obesity and other health issues.
  1. An Overserved Generation: We’ve told them repeatedly – “You are special and everyone is a winner.” Guess what?! They actually believed us! They think that it’s all about them! They actually believe that the future is in their hands! They feel that their problems are the nation and world’s problems. According to a lag-time study at San Diego State University between 1975 and 2006, there has been a big climb in narcissistic tendencies among American students (2 out of 6 scored very high here). A growing number now actually have Narcissistic Personality Disorder! Every day I come across employers who are frustrated because anytime it gets a little tough, they’re gone!

So what can we do?

II. A WORD TO THE iYs

If you want to be the trendsetters among the iYs, you will have to be different from your peers. “Be an iY by age but not by attitude.” Let me suggest a few things:

  • Learn to be patient not instant.
  • Communicate with people face-to-face.
  • Remember, you have to earn it. You are not entitled to it.
  • Listen to adults and not just to peers.
  • Don’t listen to adults who have ulterior motive.
  • Be slow to tear down old boundaries.
  • Learn to take risks.
  • Technology is no substitute to expertise.
  • It’s not all about you.
  • You’re not always right.
  • Make Christ your Savior.
  • Pray and read God’s Word daily.

III. A WORD TO THE REST OF US

It’s not enough to expect just the iYers to change, we have to do some changing as well:

  • Take responsibility for where they are. We created them.
  • Embrace them. Don’t constantly condemn them.
  • Give them adult responsibility.
  • Reward real skills and not everyone wins.
  • Invest time in them by teaching life skills like budgeting, cooking, planting, and maintaining.
  • Give them hope for the future.
  • Pray for them.
  • Make Christ your Savior.

1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

Who are you imitating and who is imitating you? Are you Saved?

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