What is God Asking You To Do As He Uses Generation Z to Spark Revival? (Episode 66)

In this episode, Erin Olson challenges the listener to ask the question about what God is asking each believer to do as it relates to Generation Z and sparking revival. This generation is not lost, and Erin discusses the importance of fully engaging students with Truth and Light.

Transcripts of this episode are available at http://www.sandalfeet.org/thedepotpodcast.

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Erin Olson

Hello, and welcome to this week's episode of the depot podcast. I'm your host, Aaron Olson and I am so grateful you're joining me today. Now this week, I'm going to keep this message short and sweet. I hope you'll appreciate it. And I know that my family appreciates it when I get my message short and sweet as well. I'm currently working through a Bible study written by a woman who's speaking specifically on Revival. And it's about not revival as a large part. But it really is about reviving our own individual hearts.

What she says basically is that revival starts with us and within us, each one of us. And today's reading, that I did was actually talking about sometimes saying less is more to get the point across. And it was just talking about something I can totally relate to, because she mentioned how sometimes her husband says, I just need the highlights, I don't need the whole story. I actually hear that very often in my own house, especially from my husband. And so what I want to say that today is going to be brief, it's just going to be less is more, because the Holy Spirit has something to say.

So I want to start today's message off with this question for you. Would you say that you need to be revived?

Now think about that for just a minute.

So would you say that you need to be revived? Does your heart need revival. And I don't specifically mean that your hearts are in a bad place. Like you feel as if you're sinning and doing everything wrong? Or that you need to confess or that you have some kind of shame and guilt or any of those things. That is not what I'm talking about.

I'm simply asking you the question, do you feel like you need revival, like your spirit needs a reset, or a refresh, or perhaps a fresh outlook or a new perspective. You know, life is hard. And things get hard. And sometimes if we're looking at the world, we can get cynical, and our views can become hard. Our hearts can become hardened because of the hard things in this world. And if we look too much at certain things, we actually feel like we're losing, especially as Christians, but take heart, we're not losing. We're not losing because Jesus wins. Always. Regardless of what is going on in the world. Jesus has won and will win. And that's the end of the story. But in the middle of it all in the middle of that story in the middle of your story.

As we're building our stories, we need to be revived from time to time. And we need to remember, I think the best way for me to describe this too, is that I've recently had the opportunity to spend time in an arena with 12,000 people. The majority of these people were teenagers, students, specifically middle schoolers, high schoolers and college age students. It's were a student conference that takes place every year. And it's not just one church. It's one church who hosts the event. And a lot of the people there are members of that church. However, students come from many regions around the country to come to this conference. And it is a several Day event. It's about three days where Christian worship artists come and the the students in worship and there's a different speakers. Some of them are speakers that tour on speakers, you'll know some of those names if I mentioned them to you, others are pastors who lead congregations. And so they gathered together every year and talk to the students. Now our students today are facing so many things. And as parents as people who care about the generation that is rising, we should be concerned. And I want to note specifically and I don't know why this just came to me. I wasn't originally planning on speaking about it, but I know that a few years ago there was this trend, basically because of cell phones, and the things like that gadgets, techy gadgets, that there were some studies shown that said that students did not have good attention span. If you spoke for more than 10 minutes on anything they were zoning you out. And I want to say that that we should not allow that to be true. I believe I firmly believe I have been a parent who is taking been taking my children into church services, since they were toddlers. I didn't want my children to go to their church. And for me to go to my church, I wanted the children to learn how to sit and behave, not fidget, not talk, and not play with toys. But I wanted to teach them at a very young age, that they can sit in a room and listen to what the pastor has set so that they can engage in corporate worship. And so if we are people who go with the flow, and listen to what the majority say, and they're telling you that children can't handle this, whether they're toddlers, or elementary school students, or middle school, high school students, that they can't engage for more than 10 minutes, I want you to call their bluff, I want you to say, that may be true for your children, that may be true for some children. But that is certainly not going to be true for my children. And I want to make this point because I think what we have allowed is for this very superficial worship experience or very superficial teaching experience for our students to engage with. And we've left them without the tools that they need, right. They sit in classrooms for eight hours throughout the day. I mean, some of these classes are 50 minutes long. And they can sit in church for 50 minutes, they can sit in church for an hour, they can do it. All right, just take their phones away and make them sit there. They're hearing the Word. And I say this because I was in this arena with all of these students. And it was a long, like worship was long. And the speakers were speaking for 4550 55 minutes. And I saw the youth taking notes. They were writing down what these speakers had to say. And the speakers were able to engage these students because they, they could talk to them. And now these students, these speakers were all different ages, there were some that were in their 50s, there were some that were in their 20s, some that were in their 30s, some that are parents, some that aren't. So it's not about what age we are, when we're speaking to them. It's about how we view them and how we respect them and how they respect us. So if you believe firmly believe that your student can sit through a 45 minute message, and they're sitting under theologically correct, engaging, encouraging Bible believing teachers and pastors, they will hear the truth. But if you want to jump on that bandwagon that says my child can't listen to a message longer than 10 minutes, and I'm talking to some of you youth pastors, I hope you share this with other use paths, youth pastors, if you know them, or if you are one stop doing that students can hear for more than 10 minutes. And they need to you cannot go deep in Scripture in only 10 minutes, you're giving them a very, like I said, a very superficial high level, basically not helpful message. If you do that, and you're doing a grave disservice to the students that you've been entrusted to care for. And as parents, your children that you've been entrusted to care for students can engage and I witnessed this this weekend.

Right? I know that students are not perfect. I know that I can see them in the hallways, I can see them out, I can see them down before everything started, I can see that they are students, right. They're running around tapping people on the shoulders, they're making slightly inappropriate comments at times. However, in the next moment, I was able to witness this large crowd of youth worshipping the Lord with raised hands, not because someone told them to but because they did. And they wanted to completely unashamed of who Jesus is trying to comprehend who Jesus is to them, who the Holy Spirit is to them. What scripture is saying to them, digesting perhaps what the world is telling them versus what this preacher or this teacher or this speaker is telling them from the Bible, right processing all these things.

And so I know that there is hope for this generation

And I think it's in those moments where we see this hope that we, you and I, that we can be revived.

That we can remember that all is not lost. And instead of just saying that all is lost, right, that's what people would want to think. Or sometimes we just get so exasperated and feel hopeless or helpless, and we throw up our hands in despair, we should actually throw up our hands in prayer, and pray for this generation. Pray for the ones who will answer the call, in their classrooms, in their homes, in their communities, pray for those who will be set apart, who will make the choice to follow Jesus and follow Jesus with their whole heart to impact the lives around them. We need not to dismiss them, but we need to encourage them.

We can't just say that Gen Z is just so bad that times are so bad that things are just going downhill quickly. I know the millennial generation got a really bad rap.

We have termed slang terms for millennials. So we automatically lumped Millennials as all millennials, when honestly, not all Millennials act the same way. The same can be said of this generation of Generation Z. And whatever generation comes next.

It would be so great to say that we could say that the entire Gen. Z is on fire for the Lord. But that's simply not the case now, and it may not ever be, but we do know that there will be some.

But what we can say, and what we must say, is we must encourage those who do know Christ in this generation, and those who are trying to know Christ. I was having a conversation recently with somebody. And I just said it was simply amazing. To watch these people come, it's the middle of summer, they could be anywhere doing anything else. But they chose to be there. And I know some there were there with eager hearts. And I thought to myself, Man, I wish when I was a teenager, I had access to something like this. I can't imagine what that impact could have been on me. I didn't have that opportunity. I didn't see that. It wasn't available to me at the time when I was a teenager. But I thought wow, how many? What would I have done differently if I had heard the word delivered? And if I had been encountered, like that, if I had encountered Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the words of Scripture, the truth being poured out as a teenager, how different would my life have been? And so I'm grateful for opportunities like that, when I get to see the youth coming together, we need to be encouragers.

We need to remember that there are times throughout the Bible specifically in the Old Testament where God said to set up stones of memorial to remember his faithfulness, to remember his work so that it would be marked for passer buyers to see and know that He is the Lord. He did this by Memorial stones. And sometimes he even did it through the destruction that came as a result of consequences. Many times he destroyed the cities, led people to exile made the land barren, so that those who didn't know God when they walked by, they would know that God did it. It was also to remind the exiles that God is powerful and you need to repent, you need to turn around you need to come back to him. So he was very specific amount about making visuals, because we don't all hear with our ears. A lot of times we hear with our eyes that penetrate our heart.

He wants people to know that he is the Lord.

I really wish that you could have been there with me. Recently when I saw all of these youth come together. One night specifically the worship leader lead worship and she stepped back often from the microphone and allowed the students and the chaperones and the parents and the other pastors there to worship, not over singing them, but allowing the Holy Spirit to move. It was beautiful. And not every worship leader can do this, it is a gift.

She allowed them to pray. She encouraged them to pray out loud. She prayed with them, she prayed for them. She prayed over the darkness with power and authority to shake the gates of hell. It was a really powerful moment. And like I said, not every single person in that room is following Jesus, not every single person in that room left that three day conference committed to the Lord. However, seeds were planted.

And that's important. We will never know what today brings for a person who heard the word four days ago or one month ago, we will never know.

But it's times like that, in these big events, small events, daily life, whether it be through writing, reading podcasting, conversations at work, conversations with a neighbor, conversations with perhaps a long lost friend that you have been rekindled with, maybe through social media, whatever it might be. But it's opportunities to hear about the goodness and the grace and the mercy of God, that move us and change us.

And honestly, if you and I aren't careful, if we've been doing our Christian walk for a really long time, you and I can find ourselves in a place where we're doing it without joy. Because we're empty.

We get so filled with so much junk in the world sometimes. And we might feel like we're full, like we're bursting at the seams, but we're actually filled with junk and we're not filled with joy. Because we filled up the space that the Holy Spirit wants to reside in was stuff, I really has no business being there.

So if we have no joy, if we're running on empty, our joy cannot spill out on others because we have no joy, we've lost our joy.

And it actually the junk that's in us can become a way to block the light that is trying to permeate through us. One of the pastors one of the speakers preached on Revelation, and he's preached about the letter to the church in Ephesus. And in it, these words were said in Revelation two, verse four, yet I hold this against you, you have forsaken your first love. I mean, that's powerful. You have forsaken your first love.
And what does that mean? Exactly? It means that we've forgotten who, who God is who Jesus is. We've forgotten that. They were doing everything, right. This church and Ephesus, they were showing up, they were loving, they were serving all of the people. They were doing all of the things that with a with a naked eye look, right. But God sees all in he saw that they have forgotten their first love. In verse five of that same chapter, it says, Remember the height from which you have fallen, repent, and do the things you did at first? What did they do at first, they sought the Lord, they needed to know Him. When the church was first birth. They didn't understand the whole concept of Jesus, they had heard about the Messiah coming. But they were overwhelmed with the fact that he had arrived that Jesus was there and that it was tangible. And that grace now was the new definition of faith and how you get to heaven. And it's not your works. And it's not all your offerings, and all of that, and that God is not an angry God. But God is a loving God in a merciful God and he doesn't want anyone to perish.

So they saw the Lord, they needed to know Him. They needed to know about him. They were on fire for him. They couldn't stop their enthusiasm, stop their curiosity stop their desire, because they knew that they were different. They knew that things were different. And that hopefully was how it was when you first came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior in your life as well. Remember, the moment remember those first few days remember those first few months those first few years? Like did you do? How were you who noticed and think about it today?

Do you feel the same way? Are you still in love, acting and love sharing that love. Are you as enthusiastic today as you were that first day.

And if you're not, why?

What has happened? We need as Christians to continue to love our first love. We do not ever want God to say, but I hold this one thing against you, you have forgotten your first love. We can't forget our first love, love God love others, the two greatest commandments love God is first we have to love Him so that we can love others.

When we forget our first love, we forget his power.

We forget what he means to each one of us, the Holy Spirit. Jesus, he's our encouraged our he's our comforter, he's our sanctifier, right, he's our intercessor. He's our guide, our provision and our peace.

We can't just get into this rut of reading our Bible. We don't want to just check it off. We have to go into reading our Bible saying, Lord, I want to hear from you today. I want to know you deeper.

So we have to remember the height from which we have fallen like that first says.

And we need to repent if there are things that we've allowed to get in our way. It says because if you don't do that, if you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. In verse six of that same chapter and Revelation two it goes on further to say, but you have this in your favor you hate the practices of, of the others, which I also hate. We hate the things of this world. We shouldn't hate the people of this world. But we have to hate the things in this world because the things of this world are not of Him, their fallen.

But we need to remember the heights from which we have fallen. Those who have received much grace and need to extend much grace, we need to operate in that grace with a heart of gratitude.

I'm so grateful that somebody loved Jesus, and didn't forget his first love and was obedient and walked in that gratitude. And that he pointed me to Jesus. When Jesus told him that I needed Jesus.

His Lampstand was still burning brightly. He had a light that was so attractive that I needed to know what it was that he had that I was lacking in that moment.

And it was Jesus. He introduced me to Jesus.

God was telling these people, you hate what the Nicolaitans are doing their pagan practices right? Pagan he confirmed that they had a favor because they hated the sin. As Christians, we hate sin. We should hate sin. We shouldn't tiptoe into sin. We shouldn't do sins. We shouldn't say some sins are okay. Some sins aren't you know, whatever is best for me.

We need to hate the sin. And the reason why we need to hate the sin is because if if God didn't hate sin, there would be no reason for Jesus, there would be no reason for sacrifice, there would be no reason for offerings.

If sin wasn't important, you and I wouldn't need Jesus to pay the price for our sins. Because it wouldn't matter. It would just be a free for all. But that's not God. God is holy, and he despises sin. So he tells us that we need to despise sin. He doesn't want us to be attracted to those sinful things. So we need to know that the church is not just the physical place of church. It's individually each one of us believers are the church.

In verse seven of chapter two in Revelation, it says, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him. Whoever comes I will give the right to eat from the tree of life which is in Paradise of God.

Eternal life is his gift. And it's planted in the paradise of God.

And it's in that place that we give Him our burdens. Through prayer, we need to turn all of those things over to him. Because we can't continually carry those heavy things by ourselves, he lightens our load, and he lightens our burden, we need to unload the things that feel heavy to us in this world, we need to get them out of our spirit, our flesh, so that the Holy Spirit, which is light can get in us and get out of us. For others to see, this world is dark, very dark. In some days, it looks darker than it's ever been.

But we have hope. Because we have Jesus we need to remember that we need to run on full, full of the Holy Spirit.
We have to be replenished, so that we can reach others. And I love that I had the opportunity to sit in that room with all of those students, and just be refreshed.

And I think it's good. I think it's good to see, sometimes we can go to a conference, if you're a man, you go to a men's conference, if you're a woman, you go to a woman's conference, and we're talking about stuff that's affecting us as adults. And even in that moment, we can feel kind of heavy, we can feel the weight of raising prodigal children, or finances or marital issues, or whatever it might be.

And we still can feel a little helpless, and hopeless and overwhelmed.

But just like when you see a new baby, you know that there's new life, this new thing. And it's encouraging when you see students just going after the Lord, I don't want to go to a country music concert or to a pop concert, and see the youth of America out there cheering because that right, there doesn't mean anything. To me, it has no value whatsoever. It's purely entertainment. But when I sit in an arena with 1000s of students who have their hands raised, crying out to God for help, in their circumstances, help, because there is a generation of older people who have basically given up on this generation, or hers, or the older generation who are so twisted, that want to manipulate the youth of America to turn them into what God has not created them to be. That makes this Holy Spirit anger rise up in me and say Not on my watch. Not today, you are not going to have this generation, you're not going to have this set of students you're not they are called and set apart to do great things for the Lord. And I am not going to allow that to happen. I'm going to do what I can do, to make sure that they have a future that they have hope that they no hope. And that is our call. We are not all called to student ministry or to children's ministry. We're not all called to serve in that capacity. But all of us as believers can certainly do something one thing to help and encourage this generation and specifically, don't give up on them. We cannot give up on them. We should not allow people to tell us what they are capable of hearing and understanding. We need to counteract the pagan culture. Imagine if we still thought it was okay to allow for child sacrifice, like they did in the Old Testament, in biblical times when people would sacrifice their children to the God of whatever. And it was wholly acceptable in that pagan culture, wholly acceptable.

And yet, people would say that we're not doing that today. And I would call their bluff, I would say you are wrong, and you are lying, because you are sacrificing children.

You're just doing it with different terms.

And so for us today, let us remember to never forget about the younger generations and the generations to come. They have potential.

And again throughout the Old Testament and I've talked about this so many times before because I think it's powerful as you read through second First and Second Kings versus Second Chronicles. You read about the Kings coming to the throne and then getting off the throne and going on to the throne and the descendant of whatever King to whatever King you always see they either did right in the sight of the Lord or they did evil in the sight of the Lord.

And there is always a consequence to one of those actions.

When they did right in the sight of the Lord, usually good things happen, there was peace in the land.

And hopefully, their children made right choices as well. Not always, but sometimes. But the ones that did evil in the sight of the Lord, there were consequential catastrophic consequences for the people.

And I don't want consequential catastrophic consequences for my children who are part of this generation Z, my future grandchildren who will be a part of whatever next generation comes, and so on, and so on, until Jesus returns.

So we can believe, and we can pray that the this generation breathing right now will be so fed up with the mess that generations have caused for them, that they will rise up against culture.

And they will put Jesus back on the throne in a big way. And that is what I'm praying. We need to as the church as a body of believers, we need to be there to hold their hands, not only while they're falling, and they make mistakes, because they will their students, we make mistakes as adults, but we need to lift them back up. When they do fall in for those who have yet to be born again, we need to speak truth into them. And we need to show them the way we need to sit with them. We need to read Scripture with them, we need to have hard conversations with them, not just allow them to sit with their heads buried in their phone, or hope that somebody else tells them or think it doesn't matter. It does matter. It not only matters for our lives here on Earth, but obviously it matters for the eternal life, which is the most important that they be reconciled with Jesus, to live fully with him.

So for a moment, think about you, does your heart need revival? Are you in a place where you're actively pouring out your joy?

Speaking truth, not harsh truth, but speaking life?

You're permeating light.

Where do you need to sit with the Lord and just say search my heart, clean it clear out what is not a view and what is not useful anymore. soften my heart again. So that I can reach the youth I can reach the people you put in my path. Because I firmly believe that this generation is different, this young generation is hungry. They have been given so much to set them back. And I think they are going to revolt against the system and say they're not that dumb. And they're not that naive. They want more they want deep.

And we need to give them the access to do that.

They are hungry. If you ever just sat in a room full of teens and ask them what they want.

They want relationship, they want community.
They want truth. They want boundaries. They want that they need that. Sometimes they just don't know how to communicate that.

Parents, family members. We just think that they're just kids. Kids will be kids growing pains they learned and they live in there. And they do all this. But sometimes the lessons they're learning are dangerous these days, way more dangerous than many of us experienced as teenagers and students, even younger elementary students.

So know that these students are craving community. They want peaceful families, they want peace in their hearts, they want that they don't want the chaos.

And I think it's our obligation to help them find it. And we find that through the person of Jesus.

So that's your task this week, just to not only search your heart to look around you and see the generation, the young generation that is around you. And ask yourself, how can you get involved and what can you do to help them to help them spark revival. So until next week, be very blessed. Thank you for listening to the depot podcast. If you like what you heard today. Don't forget to subscribe to the depot podcast on iTunes CPN shows.com, or any place you listen to podcast. Please also visit my ministry website sandalfeet.org for books, blogs and other biblical resources. You can also follow me on Facebook at Sandalfeet Ministries on Instagram at Erin.Olson. I look forward to gathering with you next time.