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?

“Passion and Purity” for a New Generation by Abigail Ruth Shah

“Passion and Purity” for a New Generation by Abigail Ruth Shah

(Book Review of Elisabeth Elliot’s classic book)

Passion and Purity

Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot

Passion and Purity starts out with Elisabeth, a senior in college, questioning God, asking Him why she was still single. She touches on the topic of the difference between singleness and virginity, her view on how each was equally important to her. Elisabeth first learns of Jim through her brother Dave. Through the next few years after their meeting they struggle with being apart, being together, loneliness, and self-control. Elisabeth shares her personal struggles through journal entries and letters between her and Jim. While she fights against loneliness, doubts in Jim and in God, Jim struggles with the more physical restraint side. She also talks about what men and women want in a relationship. Men want to chase, while women constantly want to be in control. Men want femininity and vulnerability, but upon further conversation with college men, Elisabeth finds that they do not really know exactly what they want, and neither do women. From here, she concludes that only God can truly know what is good for each person. After years of meeting up for short periods of time, Jim and Elisabeth finally do get married while on the mission field in Quito. Elisabeth makes a good point towards the end of the book about how passion and purity does not end with marriage. You are pure by staying obedient to God and doing what he wants you and your spouse to do. The main point Elisabeth tries to drive home is that God will bring you the right person when He is ready. Not when you want it or feel like you can’t handle the loneliness anymore, but when God knows you and your future spouse are ready.

Abigail Ruth Shah

Abigail Ruth Shah

I personally enjoyed when Elisabeth would bring up stories of desperate, single girls writing to her for help. Many of them cried to her of how much they wanted God to bring them their “prince charming” or how much they loved this one guy but he acted like she didn’t even exist or how terrible a break up was. While these stories were amusing and kind of funny, I did genuinely feel bad for them. It was also interesting seeing how girls and guys and the struggles they face really never change through time. Maybe modern technology and generational views add a variety to the types of struggles, but for the most part, kids back then struggled with the same stuff. For example, one that really stuck out to me was the common, age-old question of: “How far is too far?” While I have not had a whole lot of experience with this myself, I have been contemplating over this question for quite some time. Elisabeth is very blunt with this question… there is no answer. There is no line that is THE line to stop at.

 

While I agreed with most of this book, a few things did not sit right with me. Elisabeth talks of how women should never ever make the first move. Sure, I get it, let the guys chase, but Elisabeth goes as far as to say you can’t even ask a guy friend for a chill Chinese takeout date. She basically says if one day you marry the guy you asked out, and he is unhappy in the marriage, he will ultimately be able to blame you for an unhappy life. I feel like with times changing, it is a little more acceptable for a girl to ask out a guy. I do agree with the man being the spiritual leader and stepping up as the initiator, but nowadays I believe it is more acceptable for girls to sometimes make a move. Another part of the book that I am a little iffy about is where she draws the line on the physical aspect. Elisabeth and Jim don’t flat out say there should be no physical touch, but they talked about physical restrictions like they believed there should be zero physical-ness until marriage. While it does sound good, I don’t know where I stand with the absolutely NO physical touch. Of course I believe there should be no sex before marriage, but stuff like kissing and holding hands that Elisabeth condemns aren’t necessarily sins. I do believe that things like holding hands and kissing can lead to further, more dangerous things and couples need to be careful and know what they can handle personally. I also had a problem with how she portrayed being single in such a bad light. She talked of how it would be such a curse to live a life without being married. I feel like she was being a little over dramatic. I wish she touched on the topic of being happy in Christ even without marriage and being happy in a state of singleness. Yes, being married is great and all and it is a wonderful thing to have somebody that loves you just as much as you love them, but it is not the end of the world if you don’t get married. You should find your happiness in Christ instead of your soul mate. But for her theology, I agreed with her 100%.

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