Happy New Year 2013!
Let me begin this message by wishing you and your family a Happy New Year. May 2013 be the greatest year you have experienced thus far.
As 2012 was drawing to a close I began to reflect upon the year that our family had come through and to be completely honest it was truly an awesome year of the favor of the Lord. We have so much to be thankful for. 2012 was a year of harvest for our family. It was also a year of transition and change for our family, our ministry and our business.
Over the last 12 months we have seen amazing things happen. My wife and I celebrated 20 years of marriage. My youngest daughter graduated from high school (I am now the proud father of two college students and in a few months of two adults). Our family was able to purchase our first home. Our family earned more money than we ever have. Our ministry has grown rapidly, reaching 250% more people than in 2011. We are very thankful for what God did in and through our lives in 2012 and are looking forward to 2013 in faith-filled expectation.
As your children reach the precipice of adulthood and begin to stare real life in the face it causes your thinking to change (or at least my thinking has changed). Your concerns are no longer focused solely on daily needs and short-term goals but you begin to look a lot further down the road. What are we doing as a church to affect the future? What am I doing as a believer, husband, father and even as a business owner to leave a legacy for those coming behind me?
I am not talking about estate or retirement planning, although these things are important (just ask your children and your spouse). I’m talking about living our lives to not only impact our immediate circle of influence but to affect those coming after us. Last month (December 2012) my wife and I spent a week in Jamaica and during this time I began thinking and praying and asking God big questions along these lines.
- How can I live my life so that the next generation of Christians can have a greater influence and impact that the church currently does?
- How can we as Christians stop merely having “church services” and begin manifesting the New Covenant to our cultures and societies?
- What can we do to make sure that the next generation of ministers and church leaders are better equipped than any previous generation to fulfill the call of God upon their lives?
- What should we be praying and believing for God to do in our church, in our nation and throughout the world?
- What is the next great move of the Spirit coming to the earth?
We have all heard the powerful truths from the Word of God about the transience of wealth, possessions and earthly achievements. We know these things do not decide our eternity and we know that we cannot take them with us. However, we can leave this world a better place. We can make an impact that is more than momentary. We can spend our lives in ways that create a legacy for the name of Jesus. Our spiritual fruit can be the foundational stones that future generations can build upon.
We are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, an eternal kingdom, and we serve the God who desires to see every person come into His kingdom (1 Timothy 2:4).
- Are we working to preserve the truth of the gospel, ensuring that future generations have full access to the Word of God?
- Are we working to open nations that are currently closed to the gospel?
- Are we working to eliminate hunger, poverty and ignorance from the earth?
- Are we working to end injustice and inequality from the earth?
- Will our legacy be found in the buildings we leave behind or in the children and grandchildren we raise?
I want to challenge each of us in this message to begin to think “generationally”. If our faith only impacts our own lives we should challenge ourselves to begin to think generationally. God wants to do so much more in and through our lives than have us repent and believe the Gospel.
“’I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead.” (Matthew 22:32 NLT)
Most of the time we just read over verses like this but let’s take a look at it for a moment. Before Moses knew God as “I AM” He was known as “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” Abraham did not leave behind a temple, a library, a university or even a ministry. Abraham left behind a son who had the same faith that he did. Isaac left behind a son who had the same faith as his father and grandfather. We know from scripture that because of this generational faith that the Old Covenant was established and that through Abraham’s descendants came the Lord Jesus Christ and that through Him we have entered into the New Covenant.
Are we focused on making sure that the faith that we have in Jesus Christ will be the faith that our children and grandchildren have? Will He be known as the God of Mike, the God of Victoria & Olivia (my daughters) and the God of my future grandchildren?
Here are a few scripture verses that I studied while preparing this message:
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39 NIV)
Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, (Proverbs 13:22a NLT)
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;” (John 17:20 NKJV)
I titled this message “A Generational Kingdom” in hopes of provoking you to action concerning your legacy from a spiritual viewpoint.
Are we developing believers, or to use Jesus’ terminology; are we making disciples?
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)
For those of you reading this with children and/or grandchildren this message is definitely directed to these generations coming after you becoming part of Jesus’ Generational Kingdom. However, the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to His followers extends far beyond our children and grandchildren. Jesus said, “go and make disciples of all the nations.”
Making disciples is not a momentary event. Sharing the gospel and having someone receive Jesus Christ, as their Lord is the beginning of making disciples. When that person has become mature in Christ and is ready to be used by God to help others become disciples of Christ we have truly followed the commandment of Jesus Christ.
How will our lives make a difference for the Kingdom of God? Our “spiritual fruit” will be measured by the difference we made in other people’s lives for the Kingdom of God.
Who did we bless? Who did we love? Who did we share with? Who did we build with? Who did we pray for? Who did we help? This list could go on and on.
Our faith must move beyond our personal needs and must take up the command of the Great Commission. Jesus has made us His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). If we see areas of our culture, our society, our nation or our world where the presence and influence of Jesus are missing it is highly possible that God wants to use us to carry His love to that group of people.
So, stir up your faith at the beginning of this New Year. This can be a year that God uses you to make new disciples. This can be a year where His light and love shine through you. You can make a difference. You can be used to change someone’s life.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 NLT)