Tsiyon Messianic Radio Newsletter - Vol 14.20 - 02/07/6019 TAM
- 05/13/19 AD
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“Arise, shine; for your light has
come, and the glory of YHWH is risen on you.
For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples;
but YHWH will arise on you, and his glory shall be seen on you." Isaiah 60:1, 2
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are living in the very time when Yeshua said we need to be watchful, because the
end of this age is nearly upon us, and the Son of Man will be returning soon.
You would think with so many signs of the times in evidence that there would be
increasing interest and concern for spiritual matters, to be ready for His
return. But no, quite the opposite is true. What we are seeing as we consider
the attitudes of those around us matches the prediction of the Scriptures for
these times to a remarkable degree, as if the Bible writers had traveled forward
in time and actually had seen our world today! For example, there's this:
But know this, that in the last days, grievous times will come. For men
will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant,
blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural
affection, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, no
lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, conceited, lovers of pleasure
rather than lovers of God; holding a form of godliness, but having
denied its power. Turn away from these, also. 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Indeed, the vast majority are so completely driven by the attitudes listed
above for these last days that they have little time or
for their spiritual lives at all, let alone being watchful for the soon
return of the Messiah. Sadly, this seems to be true for professed believers
as well as for those who profess little or no faith whatsoever. Statistics
show that 70% of the population in the USA claim to be "Christian." Based on
that figure alone one would expect a significant amount of conversation
about spiritual matters here in America. Yet, according to a recent social
study report in the New York Times, and reprinted below, only 7% of
Americans talk about spiritual matters on a regular basis. That, of course,
means that 93% of Americans donot talk about spiritual
matters as a part of their regular conversation!
what are Americans talking about?
Well, it turns out that men and women talk about different things, and God
is not listed.
We are told that men talk about 4 things:
Sports / Hobbies
Maybe their jobs
And dirty jokes
We are told that women have a variety of things they talk about:
Relationships & Sex
Celebrity gossip and news; also general gossip in their lives
Being updated with their friends and their stores (i.e. So how did
the date go with so and so? Did you ever find that gift for your
Their boyfriends or husbands
Personal things concerning themselves
And on and on .. etc. etc. …
me if this sounds judgmental, but wow! Is this picture shallow or what? Now,
measure that in the light of Yeshua's words:
"The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings out that
which is good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart
brings out that which is evil, for out of the abundance of the heart,
his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45
other words, what you talk about (or fail to talk about) is a pretty good
indication of who and what you are on the inside. Based on what the vast
majority of people talk about, it becomes clear that they are mostly
concerned with selfish and shallow pursuits, and are very rarely, if ever,
talking about their Creator or their spiritual obligations to Him. We might
expect this from people who are unbelievers, but what about the majority
religion in America - Christians? This is a real shocker, but only 13% of
church-going Christians claim to have a spiritual conversation even once per
week! This is proof positive that the Christian Church system has failed
both God, and His people. This doesn't mean the Scriptures have failed, that
God has failed, or that His Son has failed. It means that real believers
need to start earnestly seeking after the authentic faith, or be swept away
with the lukewarm church. That's why we're here - and why you are reading
of this apathy of believers is part of the sign that the Son of Man is at
the doors. That you are reading this shows that you are different. You care
about Him and you are on the watch for His return. Rejoice, He is coming
Join me tonight, for our live video stream at
tsiyon.net, at 8 pm cst, as we consider the
final portion of Luke 21, and the signs listed there of His soon return. Be on
The decline in our spiritual vocabulary has many real-world
Reprint: The New York Times | Jonathan Merritt | Oct. 13, 2018
than 70 percent of Americans identify as Christian, but you wouldn’t
know it from listening to them. An overwhelming majority of people say
that they don’t feel comfortable speaking about faith, most of the time.
During the Great Depression, the playwright Thornton Wilder remarked,
“The revival in religion will be a rhetorical problem — new persuasive
words for defaced or degraded ones.” Wilder knew that during times of
rapid social change, God-talk is often difficult to muster.
We may have traded 1930s-level poverty and hunger for a resurgence in
racism, sexism and environmental cataclysm, but our problems are no less
serious — or spiritually disorienting. While many of our most visible
leaders claim to be religious, their moral frameworks seem
unrecognizable to masses of other believers. How do we speak about God
in times like these when God is hard to spot?
As a student of American Christianity and the son of a prominent
megachurch pastor, I’ve been sensing for some time that sacred speech
and spiritual conversation are in decline. But this was only a hunch I
had formed in response to anecdotal evidence and personal experience. I
lacked the quantitative data needed to say for sure.
So last year, I enlisted the Barna Group, a social research firm focused
on religion and public life, to conduct a survey of 1,000 American
adults. This study revealed that most Americans — more than
three-quarters, actually — do not often have spiritual or religious
More than one-fifth of respondents admit they have not had a spiritual
conversation at all in the past year. Six in 10 say they had a spiritual
conversation only on rare occasions — either “once or twice” (29
percent) or “several times” (29 percent) in the past year. A paltry 7
percent of Americans say they talk about spiritual matters regularly.
But here’s the real shocker: Practicing Christians who attend church
regularly aren’t faring much better. A mere 13 percent had a spiritual
conversation around once a week.
For those who practice Christianity, such trends are confounding. It is
a religion that has always produced progeny through the combination of
spiritual speech and good deeds. Nearly every New Testament author
speaks about the power of spiritual speech, and Jesus final command to
his disciples was to go into the world and spread his teachings. You
cannot be a Christian in a vacuum.
And yet even someone like me who has spent his entire life using
God-talk knows how hard it has become. Five years ago, I moved from the
Bible Belt to New York City and ran headfirst into an unexpected
language barrier. Sure, I could still speak English as well as I always
had. But I could no longer “speak God.”
By this I mean that spiritual conversations, once a natural part of each
day for me, suddenly became a struggle. Whether I spoke to a stranger or
a friend, the exchange flowed freely so long as I stuck to small talk.
But conversations stalled out the moment the subject turned spiritual.
Before relocating, I worked as a part-time minister at a suburban
congregation outside of Atlanta. Before that, I had attended a Christian
college and seminary. All my life, I used religious language daily in my
home and community, rarely pausing to think about the meaning of my
words. But I was not in Georgia anymore.
Whenever I used religious terms I considered common — like “gospel” and
“saved” — my conversation partner often stopped me mid-thought to ask
for a definition, please. I’d try to rephrase those words in ordinary
vernacular, but I couldn’t seem to articulate their meanings. Some
words, like “sin,” now felt so negative that they lodged in my throat.
Others, like “grace,” I’d spoken so often that I no longer knew what
In New York — as in much of America, increasingly — religious fluency is
not assumed. Work often takes precedence over worship, social lives are
prioritized over spiritual disciplines and most people save their
Sunday-best clothing for Monday through Friday. In pluralistic contexts,
our neighbors don’t read from the same script or draw from a common
According to my survey, a range of internal conflicts is driving
Americans from God-talk. Some said these types of conversations create
tension or arguments (28 percent); others feel put off by how religion
has been politicized (17 percent); others still report not wanting to
appear religious (7 percent), sound weird (6 percent) or seem extremist
(5 percent). Whatever the reason, for most of us in this
majority-Christian nation, our conversations almost never address the
spirituality we claim is important.
A deeper look reveals that the decline in sacred speech is not a recent
trend, though we are only now becoming fully aware of it. By searching
the Google Ngram corpus — a collection of millions of books, newspapers,
webpages and speeches published between 1500 and 2008 — we can now
determine the frequency of word usage over the centuries. This data
shows that most religious and spiritual words have been declining in the
English-speaking world since the early 20th century.
One might expect a meaty theological term like “salvation” to fade, but
basic moral and religious words are also falling out of use. A study in
The Journal of Positive Psychology analyzed 50 terms associated with
moral virtue. Language about the virtues Christians call the fruit of
the spirit — words like “love,” “patience,” “gentleness” and
“faithfulness” — has become much rarer. Humility words, like “modesty,”
fell by 52 percent. Compassion words, like “kindness,” dropped by 56
percent. Gratitude words, like “thankfulness,” declined by 49 percent.
A decline in religious language and a decrease in spiritual
conversations does not necessarily mean that we are in crisis, of
course. But when you combine the data about the decline in religious
rhetoric with an emerging body of research that how much our linguistic
landscape both reflects and affects our views, it provides ample cause
There is also a practical reason we need a revival in God-talk,
specifically at this time in American history. Many people now avoid
religious and spiritual language because they don’t like the way it has
been used, misused and abused by others. But when people stop speaking
God because they don’t like what these words have come to mean and the
way they’ve been used, those who are causing the problem get to hog the
That toothy televangelist keeps using spiritual language to call for
donations to buy a second jet. The politician keeps using spiritual
language to push unjust legislation. The street preacher keeps using
spiritual language to peddle the fear of a fiery hell. They can dominate
the conversation because we’ve stopped speaking God. In our effort to
avoid contributing to the problem, we can actually worsen it.
Christians in 21st-century America now face our own serious “rhetorical
problem.” We must work together to revive sacred speech and rekindle
confidence in the vocabulary of faith. If we cannot rise to this
occasion, sacred speech will continue its rapid decline — and the worst
among us will continue to define what the word “Christian” means.
Have you seen this new
- News Bytes
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