TELL THE COMING GENERATION
Psalm 78:4 – We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. ESV
14 years ago I was the first person to be hired at Faith and Victory Church. This is old school, side ways church days. So, I’m at the church for Pastor Crystal’s Bible study, fresh out of job, Seraphina was barley 3 months old, and somehow the conversation between Pastor Matt and myself went in the direction of how I was the PTA president of the elementary school and how the church could use some help. Have I mentioned how I was also the first person (and only person) to be fired from the church? Those early years were rough! Looking back on it all, I would have fired myself. I praise God for Pastor Matt and his resilience to work with me, invest in me and to never give up on me. All of that investing and pouring into has brought not only spiritual growth but personal growth as well. While God has a lot to do with it, that investment has led to a children’s ministry that is thriving and continues to grow but also the start of a school where the kids of this church can learn in an environment that focuses on God.
At some point though, there will need to be someone else who will carry on the torch of children’s ministry. Someone who will invest in the young minds, pour the love of Christ in them, and help train them help in the way of the Lord. Who knows, it may very well be one of the kids sitting before me tonight.
You may be asking, what does this have to do with us? Well, I’m glad you asked!
Tonight we’ll be talking about how we need to invest not only in our own children, but all of the children (and youth) of this church so when we’re gone, what was started 20 years ago will continue on generation after generation after generation.
My first point is:
- Invest in others.
Scripture – Numbers 27:12-23
- God tells Moses to go to Mount Abarim to see the promised land which he will not be entering due to his rebellion at Kadesh with the waters of Meribah.
- Can you imagine how Moses must have felt when God tells Moses that he isn’t entering the promise land after (???)
- Today, most people would be angry at this. They would complain, post on facebook, etc.
- Not Moses. V. 16, “Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation”. Moses was thinking of his people. He wanted someone to take his place, who would reap for himself and Israel the reward for all of his toil and patience.
- We have to think ahead to the future by being in prayer and in our actions – investing – for the next generation, that this church will be taken care of and will advance when we are long gone.
- 1 Peter 5:2-4 – Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
Personal illustration to make point – Becoming an ordained pastor was and is one of the most defining moments in my life. I didn’t grow up in the church. I was the typical, there’s a heaven and everyone goes there. Live a good life, don’t murder and you’ll be good. I came to Christ when I was in my 30’s. So everything I know as a Christian is based on what has been modeled to me by the leaders in this church. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for people investing their time, their knowledge, and their love of Christ in me.
Scripture references – Deuteronomy 3:28 – But command Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see. NKJV
Deuteronomy 31:23 – And the Lord commissioned Joshua the son of Nun and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you.
Why it’s important – Leadership doesn’t last. Good and wise leaders know this. That’s why we are always looking for that person or persons who will pick up the baton and keep what has been built moving forward. There is no “I” in team. This, what we have here at Faith and Victory, wasn’t accomplished by just one person. It’s been a multitude who have poured their blood, sweat and tears into the foundation of this church. Looking around this room, I see countless people whose lives have been invested in.
Blessings for following – This is the fruit of investing in the next generation. Changed lives. Changed family trees.
Jeremiah 3:25 – And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.
Destructions for ignoring – If we don’t take the time to invest in the next generation then the chances of this church dying off in the future is high.
Doing some research, I came across a Barna study that says that 1 out 4 people are being discipled AND they are discipling others.
Then, another 1 out of 4 people are being discipled but are not helping other’s grow closer to Christ.
How are we to grow the Kingdom of God without investing in one another? Christianity is not meant to be a private faith.
Point back to investing – Investing in someone else will encourage you to invest in yourself. How? Not wanting to lead anyone astray. Plus, how good does it feel when someone wants invest in you? I don’t know about you but it certainly feels good to me! It’s encouraging.
Proverbs 27:17 – “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”
- Invest in your marriage – when we choose to take the time to invest in relationships within the church, this in return helps strengthen our marriages by helping us to building a strong, supportive community that takes the time to help our brothers and sisters in Christ. For instance Pastor Shelly and some other ladies have started a ministry where they minister to ladies who have been married 5 years or less. It’s a way to help them navigate those early years of marriage, give them advice, share with them the struggles they had and how they overcame them. This is what investing looks like. Divorce is not an option. Some couples didn’t have a good example of a godly marriage should look like so they need guidance. Sometimes it’s by having a sister or brother in Christ come along side them by giving wise, godly counsel.
- Before you can help other’s you first need to invest in your own marriage.
- 1st – submit to God. James 4:7 – Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
- Spend time in the Word together. 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. The Bible is our manual “how to” manual for life. In children’s ministry, we refer to the Bible as our weapon against the enemy. This is where we go to learn about our mighty savior and redeemer, about his ways and how we are to apply them to our lives. Read the scriptures with your spouse and pray scripture over one another! Get close to God together.
- Pray together. Romans 12:12 – Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Are you and your spouse praying together every day? If not, commit tonight to pray with your spouse daily. Pray together when you wake up and pray together before you go to sleep. Pray over your spouse when they are at work. As you begin to draw near to God with your prayers you’ll grow closer to one another as well.
- Attend church together as a family. Be here when the church doors are open. Attend prayer night together. Attend Bible studies together. Serve together. Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Community is important. We are more than just a community though, we are family. I love my family; they are incredibly important to me but I need you guys. The love, support, accountability, and encouragement we receive here is priceless. Surviving some of the things we’ve gone through in the last several years would not have been possible without the church.
- Edify each other – Ephesians 4:29 – Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
- On my last roadtrip home I listened to this book by Gary Thomas called “Loving Him Well”. It’s a really good book and I highly suggest it for all the women in this church. One of the things I took away from this book was asking my husband what I can do for him that I am not already doing and no matter what he said I had determined I would do it. My husband gives so much of himself for me and when was the last time I told him how much I appreciated him or did the same for him? I want to invest in my marriage so that it stands the test of time, so that when my girls eventually get married, they can live out the same model that has been shown to them. Are you investing in your own marriage? You can’t help younger couples if your marriage is in chaos. Husbands – lead your families. Lead them in prayer, bible study and spending quality time together. Wives – submit to your husbands!
- Ephesians 5:21 – Submitting to one another in the fear of God.
- This isn’t just for our spouses but for everyone we speak to in the church. We should be building one another up, not tearing each other down through gossip, slander or being judgmental. We are not in competition with each other. Why can’t we celebrate each other’s successes? The successes and growths of each ministry that is birthed in this church. It reminds me of my kids when they bicker back and forth over petty things. Aren’t we supposed to be the adults who are modeling godly behavior for our children? I’m getting off track here……
- Have accountability – Galatians 6:1-2 – Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in sin, you who live by the Spirit that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Communicate with each other. No secrets. No lies. Be transparent, be accountable to one another. Having accountability will help keep you both on the path of righteousness.
When we choose to not invest in our marriages, it can lead to many problems. One of the reasons couples divorce is because “they’ve grown apart”. How does that happen? Because they chose to not invest in their relationship.
Matthew 19:4-6 ESV – He answered, “have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate”?
Invest in your marriage. Spend time together. Learn how to communicate. Go to church together. Serve together. Fellowship with other couples. Do it the Bible way and get bible results. This is for every area of your life.
- Invest in the children – My last point this evening is that we need to invest in our children. Now this is for everyone so don’t zone out on me if your children are grown and out of the house or you’re single and don’t have kids. Jesus has called ALL OF US to make disciples which means we all need to disciple the children of this church. We ALL need to help train them up to be leaders in this church and we need to all teach them what serving the church looks like. We have to train up the next generation and so forth so that this church will remain standing until the day that Jesus returns.
Matthew 28:19-20 – Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.
Acts 2:23-39 – And Peter said to them, “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. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.
God has given me a heart for these kids. They’re not just your kids, they are my kids as well. I pray over them and all their prayer requests from Sunday mornings. I give God praise in those moments when you see their walls coming down during worship. Then there are those moments when you can see a glimmer of hope in their eyes that they didn’t even dare to have before. All of these beautiful children are so incredibly precious to me. I want to fight for them. To be the guard on the wall who keeps watch over them from the enemy. I would do anything for these kids. I would give my life for them. And as long as there is breath in these lungs, I will be one of many who chooses to take a stand against the enemy to protect them.
It didn’t use to be this way though. When I first started serving in the children’s ministry back in the warehouse it was scary to be honest. That first time teaching looked like this – how long am I in here with these kids? What am I supposed to do with them again? Why won’t this kid stop talking? Why did I say yes? I will never do this again. She’s still talking! How much longer is this service going to last? That was just the first ten minutes of class. Some of you who have served know exactly what I’m talking about here. However, it did get better. Obviously.
Isn’t it amazing though of the heart change that happens when you finally stop fighting God and give yourself over to His plans for your life? That saying, God’s plans are always better than any of the grandest plans you could imagine for your life. It’s true. There was a time I wanted nothing to do with Children’s ministry. It wasn’t meant to be permanent but this, you guys, this is my heart, my calling, my passion. I thank God for this ministry and all I want to do is glorify God with what He has entrusted me to.
Joel 1:3 – Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation.
Teaching these kids, investing in their lives. It is so important. They are just as desperate to know more of who God is just like you. They want to know Him on a deeper level like you do. They want to be close to Him just like you do. We must invest in their spiritual growth like we invest in our own spiritual growth. They will be our legacy when we are long gone. But what is that legacy going to look like? That is the choice we are faced with tonight. Are we going to invest in the lives of the children sitting before us? Or is this going to be a fleeting message that will be forgotten when Sunday rolls around? I hope not. If we choose to not heed what God is asking of us then the question we need to ask ourselves is will these kids still be here in 15 years? Will they be planted here or some other church, starting families, picking up the baton, helping to grow the Kingdom by taking the time to disciple the next generation because someone took the time to invest in their lives. They planted seeds that were continually fed and watered.
Or will they have departed, being lost to the world?
Have you seen what is out in the world waiting to capture our kids at their weakest moments? The enemy is on an all-out full attack to take out the next few generations through abortion, sex slavery – which between 2020 and 2021 generated human traffickers an estimated $150 billion dollars. By the way, ff you haven’t seen the movie – Sound of Freedom – go see it. This is a movie that everyone needs to watch. We cannot have our heads in the sand ignoring what’s happening in our own backyard.
The enemy is brainwashing our kids through educators, social media, tv, movies and everything else under the sun, through bullying, depression and suicide.
Did you know that suicide is the second leading cause of death for kids aged 10-24. Just because we’re Christians doesn’t mean our kids are immune from any of these attacks, what it means is that the enemy is going after them in a stronger fashion. These kids are well aware of what’s coming for them. I’ve never held back teaching this generation that the enemy is on the prowl, but they have what it takes to fight the battle and win because we have a mighty weapon (Bible) that teaches and guides us on how to live righteously.
Psalm 78:4 – We will not hide them from their children but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
Moses took the time and invested in Joshua. Moses was obedient to what God asked of him. Just like then, the hopes of many generations would rest on Joshua’s leadership just like the hope we have now rests on the leadership of this next generation where we have the opportunity to not only invest in them but to build them up in their spiritual lives. We can give this next generation a gift of having it way better than we did when we were their ages. It won’t be by giving them material possessions or vacations but by taking the time to pull them aside, to love on them, encourage them, lend them our wisdom, to lead and guide them and preparing them for the time when the baton is ready to be passed.
Joshua 4:21-24 – And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordon on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
**possible song to close
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