My wife Crystal was recently talking with a non-Christian friend of hers. At the time two news stories had gone viral. The big headline was about a Wisconsin company that announced it would be the first to offer free microchip implants for employees. Any Christian who has read Revelation 13 knows what this sounds like: the mark of the beast!
The second story was about a local sex trafficking ring that law enforcement had broken up in Orange County, California, where we live. Crystal's friend connected the dots. The friend said that if available she would jump at the chance to put microchips in her children so she could track them and keep them safe from the dangers that lurk about — like trafficking.
The friend's logic makes sense, until we read Revelation. Most of us know about the infamous mark prophesied there, but either shrug it off as fiction or have become numb to it because we have heard it taught so often. We know it is out there somewhere, but there is a football game to watch or a taco to eat or social media to waste our lives away in.
What if this mark is real? What if it is the sign the antichrist requires for all people who want to sell or buy? What if the Bible is right? Are you ready? How about your millennial child or neighbor or barista? Is he or she ready? Probably not.
With microchips implanted in humans (on their right hands or foreheads as Revelation foretells), bitcoins growing as a world currency and Teen Vogue magazine chipping away at moral decency by publishing an article instructing youth on how to sodomize each other, as I see it, the millennial generation is being prepped to discard traditional norms and embrace the mark. I am not saying that bitcoin or microchips or Teen Vogue will be used specifically, but the technology is here! So is the cultural mindset. This is not some sensationalized scare tactic. The stage has been set. It could happen tomorrow.
As Christians, what should we do? Most who have grown up in church or have been going for awhile will have a checklist: make sure we are ready (repent of our sins), tell the lost the good news (we have the Christianese down pat) and train new believers how to follow Christ. We know what the manual says. We can recite the great commission. That is all good, but somewhere along the way there is a misfire. What we say we should do and what we actually do rarely match.
Despite our all-too-frequent non-action, the church has the answer. The gospel can change a person in a moment. It changed me. Jesus is the solution. If your heart is right and you mean it, I guarantee that you will be transformed.
We have the answer, but we have too many Christian posers in the pews each Sunday. Too many were saved at a Billy Graham rally (which is a very good thing), call Jesus Lord, go to Bible study, listen to Christian music — you are part of the program we call church. But at home, you watch porn or cheat on your spouse. At work you swear and when you file your taxes you cheat.
I have been rescued from hell. I came out of the darkest stuff (see my I am Second video for the details) and I had an encounter with God. He transformed my life and now that I am walking with Him there is no way I am going to go back to my old life.
You can be rescued too. Run from anything that stirs youthful lust. We are vessels. How can God use us when we have filled ourselves with sewage. It is important to live pure lives so we can be used by God to fulfill every good work. We must let God consume every part of our lives. He is a consuming fire which makes us holy as He is holy.
If we are ever going to reach millennials (or anyone for that matter), we must start with ourselves. I am challenging Christians to take seriously the great commission as our mission. We must not be satisfied with status quo church. While we love our Boomer and Gen-X church programs, we have disconnected from millennials.
I speak at public high school across the nation in what I call Kill the Noise Tour. Kids are hungry for God. They come forward to accept Christ by the hundreds. I am not eloquent but I speak their language — I know the culture. And I am passionate about seeing people come to know Christ and His presence.
I also speak at churches. This fall I am embarking upon a tour called Wake Up (see ryan-ries.com). During the launch weekend, at my home church of Calvary Chapel Golden Springs, in Diamond Bar, California, nearly 700 people came to the altar either to accept Christ or to accept this challenge. Everywhere I speak, Christians fill altars in response to this challenge. I will not be quiet. I will not let millennials be forgotten or lost. We must reach this generation now.
The stage is set. Are you awake? Are you ready?