Facebook- Deer Hunting – Legacy

Leaving a Legacy Logo copyAt the end of the last school year we were praying for graduates at our local church.  As one of the father’s was praying over his son he became very emotional and turned towards the people from our church who attending and with great passion said, “We all took part in this!  We are all being rewarded!  You all helped us raise him!  We couldn’t raise him on our own, it took all of us!  He isn’t just my son, he is our son (pointing to the church family in front of him)!”  At that point there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

It was a very touching moment and reinforced an important element of vision God has called His church to pursue.  It is exemplified in the last two verses of the Old Testament.  In anticipation of Jesus coming, God promised that He would send the prophetic among God’s people to turn the hearts of children and parents towards one another. Mal 4:5-6 send you Elijah the prophet Turn hearts fathers to children and children to fathers.  He was announcing that in the covenant design He was going to establish through Jesus there would be a restoration family among God’s people.

Jesus reaffirmed this design when He mentioned that there would be a restoration of family among those who follow Him.  They would gain many new family members (mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers) as they laid down their lives for Him.  Mar 10:29-30 Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake,  30  but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children.  This is part of the design of God’s house the psalmist identified as a “home for the lonely.”  Psalms 68:5-6  A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation.  (6)  God makes a home for the lonely

We have a buzzword we use to express this part of God’s design for His people.  We call it “Legacy.”   It is a multigenerational perspective of living in which the heart of God’s people are turned toward the children all around them.  It brings a beautiful family feel to God’s house in which everyone labors together to see children raised in God’s love and purpose.

When a church embraces this covenant design it will stand out as a shining light in a culture among which family is being destroyed.  As we look around today it seems like the opposite is true.  The enemy is seeing to it that the heart of children is turned away from fathers and the heart of parents it turned away from children.  In the past 50 years through such things as no fault divorce laws beginning in the 60s; the downside of the sexual revolution of the 60s (no need for marriage in sexual expression); the unfortunate consequence of the rise of the welfare state in which there is financial reward to raise children apart from fathers and marriage; sex education in the public schools in which children are being taught “how to have sex outside the structure of family; as well as the current movements to redefine marriage have all contributed to undermine family and separate parents from children.

As God’s people live with legacy in mind, we help reverse the effects of the breakdown of family.  We cannot overemphasize the importance of older adults taking an interest in the children God has placed around them.  We have many examples in  which older adults take an interest in, and spend time with children that are not their own biologically, but they are spiritually.  We can’t overemphasize the importance of the life of an older saint touching the life of children around them.  Doing simple ordinary things together often has a much stronger impact on a child than we realize.

We have a saying to help reinforce the idea of legacy, “Everyone should have a Paul (those older in the Lord they look to for wise guidance), a Barnabas (peers they serve Christ together with), and a Timothy (those younger ones whose life they take an interest in to provide guidance and example) in their life. This helps facilitate the multigenerational perspective.

Facebook Post

I came across a facebook post from a young man in our congregation and the guy who took him hunting that exhibited the important things that happen when the hearts of the generations are turned towards each other.  It really showed the importance of one life touching another in simple everyday ways.

Facebook Post :  “I had a fun day deer hunting yesterday with Hunter. After hunting we went and ate some of the best cornbread and BBQ in Kansas. It was beautiful from dawn to dusk. Snow, mud, guns, and nature. Thank you very much Hunter for being willing to take me hunting this year.”

Hunter:  “No prob. I’m bummed we didn’t get anything, but it’s always fun to get out.”

Response: Yea it’s a bummer, but it was still worth it all the way!!!

I found out later from Hunter’s wife that he got a little sick during the day and hoped it (along with not getting a deer) didn’t disappoint the young “Timothy.”  That didn’t matter to him at all.  To that young man it will probably be a day he will remember for the rest of his life.  An older guy he admires, who loves Jesus, took enough of an interest in him to take him hunting and out to eat, it doesn’t get any better than that.  I bet he will end up doing it for another young guy some day when he gets older.  Legacy in God’s house is a beautiful thing.

Enter the text or HTML code here

Share

Building Healthy Churches and the Corresponding Effect on Legacy

Listening to Young AtheistGod has instilled among us many core truths we are pursuing together.  I want to highlight two of them and show their interaction with each other,  reinforced by recent research.  The two truths are the importance of building strong local churches and an emphasis on legacy (imparting into the coming generations).

One of the oldest magazines published in America, The Atlantic (founded in 1857 as a literary and cultural commentary magazine) recently featured an article containing research that shows an effect of local churches on whether or not children grow up to become atheist.  The article’s title “Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity” is very revealing.  It contains research from a study about militant atheist’s journey toward unbelief.  I encourage everyone to read the article at http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/06/listening-to-young-atheists-lessons-for-a-stronger-christianity/276584/

The author, Larry Taunton, and his Christian organization launched at nationwide campaign to interview college students who are members of Secular Student Alliances (SSA) or Free thought Societies (FS). These college groups are the atheist equivalents to campus Christian organizations and they meet regularly for fellowship, encouraging one another in their (un)belief, and even proselytizing to atheism. They are people who are not merely irreligious; they are actively, determinedly irreligious.  What Taunton and his team discovered revealed the effect of local church experience on legacy.

 The research found a common profile of college atheist

AtheistThey had attended church.  Most of the participants had not chosen their worldview from ideologically neutral positions, but in reaction to Christianity. Many had previous involvement in church during their formative years.

The mission and message of their churches was vague.  These students heard plenty of messages encouraging “social justice, community involvement, and being good,” but they seldom saw the relationship between that message, Jesus Christ, and the Bible.   Stephanie, a student at Northwestern said “The connection between Jesus and a person’s life was not clear.” This is an incisive critique. She seems to have intuitively understood that the church does not exist simply to address social ills, but to proclaim the teachings of its founder, Jesus Christ, and their relevance to the world. Since Stephanie did not see that connection, she saw little incentive to stay. They heard this idea over and over.

They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life’s difficult questions.  Many had gone to church hoping to find answers to challenging questions like evolution vs creation, sexuality, the reliability of the Bible, Jesus as the only way etc. Others hoped to find answers to questions of personal significance, purpose, and ethics. Serious-minded, they often concluded that church services were largely shallow, harmless, and ultimately irrelevant. As Ben, an engineering major at the University of Texas, so bluntly put it: “I really started to get bored with church.”

They expressed their respect for those ministers and others who took the Bible seriously.  Without fail, our former church-attending students expressed similar feelings for those Christians who unashamedly embraced biblical teaching. Michael, a political science major at Dartmouth, told them that he is drawn to Christians like who have convictions, adding: “I really can’t consider a Christian a good, moral person if he isn’t trying to convert me.” As surprising as it may seem, this sentiment is not as unusual as you might think.  Penn Jillette, the atheist illusionist and comedian said, “I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…. How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

Ages 14-17 were decisive.  For most, the high school years were the time when they embraced unbelief.

Their decision to embrace unbelief was an emotional one.   It wasn’t just rational decisions but often emotional ones as they encountered difficult life and family circumstances, like abusive parents etc.

The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism.  There were many vague references to YouTube and other videos, not specific instruction or teaching on atheism. Lack of firm convictions by churches and mishandling of church problems also were a factor.  One college student, Phil reported, “Church became all about ceremony, handholding, and kumbaya,” Phil said with a look of disgust. “I missed my old youth pastor. He actually knew the Bible.”  His youth pastor was replaced by a hipper youth leader who could attract more youth with fun and games and a cooler approach.   

Overall the longing for authenticity was there but they didn’t find it in churches.  The students were, above all else, idealists who longed for authenticity, and having failed to find it in their churches, they settled for a non-belief that, while less grand in its promises, felt more genuine and attainable. One student Michael said,  “Christianity is something that if you really believed it, it would change your life and you would want to change [the lives] of others. I haven’t seen too much of that.”  Authenticity/sincerity was seen as indispensable.

This should be fuel to the fire of what God has called us to pursue together.  The way we serve Christ, build the church, and deposit in the next generation is critical and interconnected.  Please read the article.

 

 

Enter the text or HTML code here

Share

Alternatives to the modern educational ideas

Recently we had a grandparent get up on Sunday Morning and give praise to God for our staff and how our church school positively influenced his grandchildren.  His grandchildren had to relocate to Arizona and had just started public school.  Our school was a challenge for them academically  but they did well.  When they enrolled in public school they were way ahead of the other students.   Math was so easy for his grandson that he was quickly bored.  The granddaughter was immediately put in a position of helping tutor other students.  He realized afresh the quality education they had gotten in our school and encouraged the teachers and staff to keep going.

We have taken a turn over the last few years towards an emphasis in Classical Education.  On of the foremost Christian thinkers and cultural apologist in our nation today is Charles Colson.  This week Colson released an audio and a short video in praise of Classical Education as an alternative to the breakdown in modern educational ideas.  You will like it.

Try to listen to the audio first at the following

 

Enter the text or HTML code here

Share