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Prayers or predictions for 2018

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As we walk into 2018 in the next 48 hours, Editor Gerald Harris has some thoughts on the powerful role of the Church in shaping secular culture.

Every year there are scientists, business moguls, psychics, prognosticators and even some preachers who attempt to foretell what we can expect in the coming year.

Some scientists, for example, are saying that in 2018 they will begin testing reverse aging techniques on humans after having success with mice. Others contend that within the next year aquaculture will provide the majority of the world’s seafood. It is also predicted that the James Webb Space Telescope will be launched into orbit to discover liquid water on other planets.

Business tycoons say that in the future businesses like Amazon and Alibaba won’t replace shopping malls, but will merge with them creating “smart stores” that will have supercomputers that know everything about their customers and sales representatives better trained and educated than those found in today’s retail environments. The future technology will make shopping at physical stores feel as seamless as shopping online.

Psychic medium Kelle Sutliff prophecies that a major news outlet will be hit with a huge defamation lawsuit that will almost ruin its network and this suit will shape up all news media.

Sutliff also predicts that President Trump’s tweets will calm down and he will continually be investigated until year 3 when his detractors give up trying to incriminate him, because of their failed attempts in the past. She also declares that more cover-ups will be found on the Clintons in 2018.

In sports, Darron J. Phillips of the New York Daily News has stated that Oklahoma will defeat Georgia in the semi-final round of the NCAA Football National Championship game and that they will also beat Alabama in the final game; and Baker Mayfield will “plant the OU flag in the middle of the new Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Hopefully, Chubb, Michel, Fromm and All-American linebacker Roquan Smith will have something to say about that prediction.

Phillips predicts the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl, Duke will win the NCAA Basketball Final Four Championship and the New York Yankees will win the World Series.

Jamie Greenbean, pastor of a Baptist Church in Central Texas, makes predictions every year and has announced his belief that two or three mega-churches will close their doors in 2018, beginning the coming wave of emphasis upon small, neighborhood, community churches.

I have no particular insight or inclination toward prophesying what may happen in 2018. And I need no other reason than the one given in Deuteronomy 18:20-22 where it is decreed that if a prophet fails in his prophecy, he must be put to death.

However, there are some things I am praying for in 2018. First I am praying that I will not become a cynical, negative old man. I recently read II Corinthians 4:16 where one translation says, “Therefore, we do not despair.” Another translation says, “Therefore, we do not give up.” When we look at our world today it is easy to become discouraged and despair – to even want to give up and say, “What’s the use.”

But in that same verse, Paul says, “but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” I fully realize I am not getting any younger and my physical body cannot keep up with my children and grandchildren (I was reminded of that in our family touch football game on Christmas Day).

Thankfully, however, Paul says, “Our inward man is renewed day by day.” I am praying that I will do those things that will result in my inward man being renewed day by day in 2018. I want to be a vital, vibrant, positive, spirit-filled Christian every day in the coming year.

Secondly, I am praying that Georgia Baptists and Christians around the world will focus on reaching the next generation for Christ – our Mission Board leadership has alerted us to this crying need.

Evangelist Steve Hale, in his book War-Torn Teens, says that today’s teens “are the first generation raised predominately by working mothers. They are growing up with the highest crime rate ever. They are a part of the most domestically fragmented generation ever; and they are a part of the most sexually promiscuous generation in America’s history.”

Hale also says this next generation will have the privilege of “defining the values of our nation, shaping the future of America’s economy, embrace a standard of family values that will effect the well-being of the nation and dictate the future of the church.”

So, I am praying that we will be successful in reaching this next generation for Christ. I will not give in, give up or give over my grandchildren to a society that does not know God.

Third, I am praying that our churches will be revived. I fear that many church members have become lukewarm.  The majority of church members are attending Bible study opportunities and worship services less frequently. Evangelism has been put on the back burner. The standards for church membership have been lowered. Compromise has replaced commitment in many cases. The church is losing its influence in the community. We need revival!

Fourth, I am praying for a genuine spirit of unity among Georgia Baptists. We need synergy among our churches, because the combined effort of our churches is always greater than the sum of the individual churches.

Finally, I am praying that our Georgia legislators in concert with the governor will pass a religious liberty bill similar to the one passed by the U. S. Congress in1993 that ensures that interests in religious freedom are protected.

Predictions are a calculated risk at best; but prayers link you with an omnipotent God with whom nothing is impossible.

Georgia Baptists, next generation, predictions, revival, youth

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