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The lesson below is the conclusion of three on the “Faith Train” that I taught at our kids summer camp: Camp Faith (you can check out pictures of that camp at thewayout.org). I thought I would pass the lessons on to you as a simple reminder of how we need to operate our lives.
In 1969 the Woodstock Festival or simply Woodstock—was a music festival that attracted an audience of over 400,000 people, (Many of them hippies) scheduled over three days on a dairy farm in Bethel, New York (not Woodstock as originally planned). It actually turned out to be a free concert (because of the unexpected crowds) where nothing was sold. No tee shirts, no records, nothing! There was also a 17 mile traffic jam that lasted eight hours. Many people just walked to the concert! It rained off and on throughout the concert and the last performer was delayed so long because of the rain that only 30,000 people were left by the time he came on. Jimi Hendrix closed that concert with his stellar guitar performance of The Star Spangled Banner and then Woodstock was history and so were the hippies of the 1960’s. The very next year was 1970 and the “Me Generation” was born.
How did the hippie’s peace, love and unity fall into such a selfish new group of people? It was feelings. Whenever a person lives out their life led by only their feelings they are headed for a train wreak! When a person lives for their feelings and follows their feelings they live for themselves. You can’t have peace, love and unity and think only of yourself. You must think of others. Only Jesus can help us love others truthfully. Only Jesus can bring true peace and only Jesus can bring real unity.
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a great multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests!” Luke 2:13-14
You see, that was the promise that the angels came to proclaim on that first Christmas Eve. Peace was the promise only for those “on whom His favor rests.” And it still is! Peace, love and unity is only for those who put their hope and faith in Jesus Christ. Only those who put their faith in Jesus are favored by God. Only those who receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior are God’s friends. Only they will know peace, love and unity with other believers in heaven one day because Jesus makes that possible. The hippies couldn’t make that happen because they were hooked on their own feelings. Their train rolled on for ten years and finally derailed to make way for the “Me Generation.”
Me, me, me must shrink away and Jesus must be lifted up. We must all realize that we cannot lead our life. Faith in Jesus must be first, facts of that faith must fuel our lives and feelings must stay in the caboose (in the back) if we are to stay on track in this life.
John the Baptist was like the first real hippie…he had long hair and a scraggly beard. He wore animal skins and lived in the wilderness alone. He even ate grasshoppers dipped in honey. Unlike the hippies of the 60’s though, He came out of the desert to tell people that Jesus was coming and that they needed to repent (turn away from their sins) and follow Him. Stop living for themselves and their feelings and turn around and head the right direction. Jesus was that right direction! He still is! John baptized people. That is he dipped people in the water and brought them back up again to make a picture of dying to self and rising up new in Christ. Even Jesus got baptized by John to show the people how to do it. John gathered a lot of followers whom he baptized, but when Jesus came to him he announced to everyone:
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. John 1:29
John knew that he was not the answer to life’s problems. John knew that he was not the engine to the train of life. John pointed to Jesus. Jesus was the answer then. Jesus is the answer now. He is the same yesterday, today and forever more!
John’s disciples told him that everyone was leaving him to follow Jesus, but John didn’t get all emotional and feel depressed, he didn’t get mad because Jesus was more famous, he didn’t cry, throw a temper tantrum or start talking bad about Jesus. John said:
He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30
Jesus must become greater kids…we must become less. We must put our feelings behind us and put our faith in Jesus before us while we in the middle fuel our faith! Faith, Facts then Feelings: Jesus in the driver’s seat and us in the caboose. Then and only then do we have friendship with God. Then and only then does His favor rest on us. Then and only then do we have peace, love, hope…and unity.
Are you on the Faith Train? Get on board if you haven’t already. We’re headed through life on the pathway to heaven where we will finally see the one we had faith in all along. King Jesus, Savior, friend and Lord! Now that’s a concert that I will certainly not be missing!