As I read David’s words, “That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD” (Ps 102:18 NAS), I was stricken. What is God doing in our lives that will make an unborn generation look to Him?
Over the past few years I’ve become a huge advocate of an idea that has transformed the culture of our home into an environment where we embrace God’s Word with deeper affection. We tried so many ways to have an effective family devotion time and at various ages some things worked better than others.
When our daughters were about twelve years old we introduced them to an idea I’d been doing for years. We talked about the value of God’s Word and how it not only renews our minds but how it nourishes our spirit. When we understand our minds are being renewed but even when we don’t our spirit is being nourished if we are engaged and experiencing The Author as we read The Book.
The goal was to start in Genesis and read at least one page a day writing the date at the top of the page. On special dates like birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, etc mentions could be made converting our Bibles into keepsakes and even heirlooms for future generations to hold. Amazingly we never ever pressed them on this again yet they both achieved this very reasonable goal of daily turning the page. It was just a matter of time before they both finished their entire Bibles and we bought them new ones that they are well into now as I write this.
I found this picture of a man who was almost 100 years old holding the Bible he carried in World War II. It struck me when I thought about how valuable this treasure would be to his grandchildren, their children and so on.
Friends of ours who live in England posted this next picture holding Smith Wigglesworth’s Bible – thank you for the inspiration Dan and Joanna Hargreaves. Again I was taken by the priceless treasure this Bible had become to future generations.
My college roommate, Todd Teeples, came to visit Oklahoma City and my daughters met him and his family for the first time. He had been my first Christian friend and actually bought me my first Bible. I marveled to see my daughters peruse the sacred Scripture with almost a sacred enthusiasm as they looked over all my dates, writings, highlights and thoughts. I took my daughters to buy Todd a nice Bible. At lunch I shared my Bible with his family, now more than ¼ of a century old held together by radiator tape I used when it started falling apart. Then I made the presentation to Todd explaining how much he’d impacted my life.
I’m so glad Todd didn’t merely forward me a reading plan but actually bought a physical, tangible Bible that will impact my grandchildren’s grandchildren one day long after Todd and I are celebrating in heaven together.
No generation can effectively disciple itself. A single generation simply cannot contain God’s eternal legacy. We must effectively hand off the baton to the next generation both while we live and after we die.
Below are some verses I find meaningful in regard to inspiring and empowering the next generation church. Below those verses are a number of pictures to provide creative ideas of how you might inspire your children and your children’s friends. At Destiny we have now provided classes helping young teens learn how to illustrate their faith creatively in Scripture. This led to my wife, Tracy, volunteering to teach the idea in Art class in our Christian school. Their work is breath-taking and one Sunday after I finished speaking I discovered a post from one of her students. The young teen had taken the text from my message and interacted with it on a creative level expressing the ideas in art form. It was an “over the moon” moment for me to see someone get what I felt was in God’s heart for us that day.
You can simply search #illustratedfaith to find tons of these illustrations. It has quickly become a movement among this next generation. Thank you Krissy, Tracy and Andrea for devoting yourselves so selflessly to introduce this idea to our church family last year at the conference for young girls.
I’m believing for a legacy to be established through our surrendered lives that awakens the call of God in our children for the next generation!
Ps 48:13-14 …that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever. ESV
Deut 3:28 But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see. (NIV) Commission, encourage and strengthen the next generation.