“Revive Us, O Lord”
by Colonel Donald Sather –
One of the pleasures for the officers on the cabinet is to attend divisional youth councils throughout the territory. My wife and I have just returned from the councils in Hawaii.
We now have a chorus going around and around in our heads that we learned during the weekend:
Holy Spirit, rain down,
Oh, comforter and friend
How we need your touch again…
Let your power fall, let your voice be heard,
Come and change our hearts, as we stand on your word.
Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down!
I had trouble at first because there is never music to follow anymore. They put words up on a screen, a keyboard and singers to listen to, as you try to learn it. My age definitely shows at times like this. If only they would give us a melody line.
However, by the second session, the tune was in my head and the harmony of the group wonderful.
When we received our assignment for youth councils, we were told the theme for this year was ‘Get a Life.’ That theme says nothing and says everything.
Knowing that I am removed from young people for most of the year, I asked the youth department to give to me some information about what is important to the young people of today… and found out more than I wanted to know.
For example, this younger generation is adventurous (I think ours was too).
…They are a remote control society and surf the channels, as well as the Internet, with great ease. They don’t seem to be able to stop, however, and stay on one channel. (But neither can I.)
…They are very self reliant, saying to themselves, “It’s up to me, and I’ll do it myself.”
…They feel pushed academically and athletically, with competition as the watchword.
…They are the largest targeted market segment in the nation today.
…They already worry about money.
…They live for the moment and will participate in what feels good.
…They have a longing for family, yet it is the family which is often missing in their lives.
That is the group to whom I would be preaching.
During the weekend, an excellent workshop was presented by Danny Lehman of Youth with a Mission. He reminded us again that Generation X is the challenge for leaders of today and for the future. If this is true for the secular world, it will be even more true for the Christian church. The title of his workshop was “A crisis in leadership.” The paradox of this is that this generation does want discipline even as their lifestyle contradicts it. Christian leaders must remember this.
I watched the faces of the 40 young people and leaders, listening and nodding that they understood what the speaker was telling us, realizing that they too must have spiritual discipline in dealing with the young people of today.
It came even more clearly on Sunday morning as I watched 40 good-looking, willing young people, some with whom I had shared the workshop, stand and join us on the platform as they accepted the challenge of leadership for the future. They were coming forward to answer God’s call for their lives in full-time ministry as Salvation Army officers.
In conversation with those 40, it became evident they had a firm commitment, a compelling zeal and an unquestioning desire to follow the Lord. This was God’s answer to “Get a Life!”
There was such exhilaration in my soul as we left the meeting that day. The Lord had again proven faithful to his word.
‘Come and change our hearts, as we stand on your word
Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down.’