“An ‘Open Letter’ to our sons and daughters.”
He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him. (Luke 1:50 NLT)
But you, O Lord , will sit on your throne forever. Your fame will endure to every generation. (Psalm 102:12 NLT)
Let this be recorded for future generations, so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord . (Psalm 102:18 NLT)
I’m not old, but I’m also not young. There are probably more years behind me than I have left on earth. As I watch my generation’s sons and daughters take their place in society, and especially The Church, I am excited and grieved about what I see.
This “Open Letter” isn’t just my opinion about how things “should” be done in the church. It isn’t about temptations I see your generation succumbing to. My desire is to speak wisdom into your life. May you leave a greater legacy for God than those before you.
I’m not going to rail on you for having tattoos, certain philosophies of ministry, liberalism in the church, piercings and ear gauges, or an ultra conservative worldview. I just won’t do it.
I don’t want you to think I consider myself an expert on anything. Actually, my only credential is my age, my experience. Of course, with my experience comes some personal pitfalls life can bring, and the testimonies of God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, and power.
So this letter is for you, the younger, more talented, quicker and smarter than I. It’s purpose is to help connect my generation and yours, for the Kingdom of God.
Please allow me to begin with some apologies. I apologize personally, and on behalf of those in my generation who have not done a very good job of running the “race”, or of “passing the baton” of faith. My generation has been one of self-indulgence, breeding independence (rather than inter-dependence), selfishness, and a party mentality. We’ve done such a fine job of cultivating that mentality, or spirit, you can go anywhere in this country and easily spot it. Even in the church.
I apologize for making “ministry” something God never intended it to be. I put such an importance on “working for God” I sometimes didn’t accurately express my faith, or struggles, with those I loved. I felt I needed to carry myself a certain way, to where I wasn’t quite sure if even the Lord recognized me. I lived a hypocritical life, preaching one thing but living something different. No wonder the hand-off has been rough.
Most of the time, my mistakes, my sins, were unintentional. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change anything. If I had it to do all over, I’d probably do some of the same things again. And I’d be wrong. But no one on earth has the luxury of seeing Heaven’s perspective about everything. We can only do what we can, learn from each other’s experience, and continue to do our best, with God’s help.
So, with my apologies made, and my heart transparent, I’d like to share a few thoughts one generation should say to the next.
First thought – hold fast to Truth.
We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders. (Psalm 78:4 NLT)
He always stands by his covenant – the commitment he made to a thousand generations (Psalm 105:8 NLT)
After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel (Judges 2:10 NLT)
There IS such a thing as “Absolute Truth”. Truth has always been truth whether anyone knows it, believes it, or shares it. Truth isn’t truth because it receives the most votes or gets the most “likes” on Facebook. It is not based on popularity. It can’t belong to one group of people, denomination, political party, ethnicity, gender, age, social status, or occupation any more than another.
Yet truth must be sought, believed, and embraced. It must be shared, unaltered. Altered truth becomes a false truth, which isn’t truth at all. Truth must be passed on from generation to generation, or each generation will walk farther and farther away from it.
Truth, usually, is revealed in bits and pieces, increments, much like a puzzle picture becomes clearer with each added piece. That’s why it is ever so important for you to keep seeking truth, and it’s sole Author. He is the One Who has the ability to open your understanding even to the concept of absolute truth.
Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers set up by previous generations (Proverbs 22:28 NLT)
I’ve noticed the idea of absolute truth is hard for some to handle. Some use it to try and control others, manipulating others to do what they want them to do. They hold “truth” over other lives like a club of sorts. They even blame God for the way they act, saying they’re just defending truth.
Others propound the idea truth must be redefined for each generation. But as Proverbs talks about not moving the “ancient boundaries”, to change the meaning and substance of truth every twenty to thirty years is like moving someone’s property line every so often. Someone is going to be cheated.
I feel each generation really struggles with the process of handing off the baton of truth. Because truth can make someone very uncomfortable and demand much change, it is easier to compromise just a little to make it more acceptable and less divisive.
But someone gets cheated! Someone loses each time the fence is moved. I believe each generation has become more “cheated” than the previous one. As the world continues to spin, almost out of control, the church is allowing more and more “property lines” to be violated.
Sons and daughters, like it, believe it, embrace it or not; you are now being called upon by The Truth Himself to stand for truth. The Holy Spirit wants to show you where the old “fenceposts” of truth really should be. To give you revelation from the Word so you can regain the ground lost through compromise. Future generations are, right now, in your care. My hope and prayer is for you to be better stewards of Truth than your predecessors.
Please search the Scriptures and the God of the Scriptures. Let the Lord show you “the property lines” like He did for Abraham, Moses, and Joshua. Find out what Peter meant when he wrote “God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness…”
Second thought – prepare for God’s outpouring (3 parts)
a) Prepare to speak.
‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants – men and women alike – and they will prophesy.” (Acts 2:17,18 NLT)
I personally believe we are living in the last of the last days. Sons and daughters, I believe you will see the Coming of the Lord. I share this next part with that belief in mind.
God says He’ll pour out His Spirit upon all people. All people. The context of this scripture is interesting, and needs to be understood. On the Day of Pentecost, there were people, Jews, gathered from all over the Roman Empire, and beyond. They had gathered to worship, to celebrate. God used that opportunity to send the Holy Spirit to the 120 believers in the upper room AND those gathered for the Feast.
Now, please don’t stop reading because I said something that made your mind tilt. You may think the Spirit was poured out upon JUST the believers in Jesus. That’s true, to a degree. But multitudes, “all people”, were affected to the point they began to say, “what’s going on around here?” Sure, those gathered heard the commotion and probably saw the fire (Acts 2:1-4). But when God pours out His Spirit it isn’t just for the Elect. He’s not willing any perish. Since the Spirit is the One Who draws souls into the Kingdom, it stands to reason God didn’t flood just the 120 with His Spirit.
I believe God is in the process of pouring out His Spirit in unfathomable measures. As it was back 2000 years ago, so it is today. People are sensing a spiritual “tug” on their hearts, a hunger for spiritual things. But without clear direction from a Son and Daughter of God, all they can say is “what’s this mean?” Thank the Lord, Peter heard the questions and was able to say, “This is that!”
This is one reason why God says His sons and daughters will prophesy. Not necessarily talk about the future, but declare to your world what God IS doing! You see, when people are questioning the “now”, speaking of tomorrow doesn’t resonate. They need a NOW word from a NOW God, through sons and daughters anointed to understand and speak into others lives. If no one is speaking Truth with Heaven’s unction, people who are asking the questions will come up with their own answers; or fall for anything “spiritual” that comes along.
To prophesy is to speak with God’s inspiration, His unction. It’s to take the Word being communicated in Heaven and declare it on earth. The Word God is speaking RIGHT NOW. The Word we are supposed to “live by”; that which proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).
So in these last days the Lord is looking for, and finding, sons and daughters to speak the RIGHT NOW word, telling all who ask “what does this mean?”, “this is that!”
There’s something else to expect and prepare for as the Spirit is poured out.
b) Prepare to see.
You will see visions. You will gaze upon the work God is doing, see the people who are asking the questions, and understand by inspiration of God what needs to be done in order to connect the Question with the Answer. God will supernaturally show you how to make Heaven’s will done on earth. You will see things as they can and should be. You will see scriptures “opened up” as never before. You will see ways to minister that may seem odd to some, but right to God. You will say along with Jesus, “I only do things I see my Father do.”
I believe our young men and women will see visions revealing God’s love for all mankind, like Peter did. A vision that opens the eyes of God’s sons and daughters to see the value of everyone. Over the last 10 – 20 years there’s been a huge push toward diversity and value. Society has been inundated with teaching and training of all kinds concerning diversity, tolerance, and value. At the same time, hate crimes and bullying have been on the rise. People are at a loss for words and can’t seem to understand “what’s this mean?” Many are buying the idea that man, apart from his Creator, is capable of fixing all his societal and relational issues.
But God will give you eyes to see, and the ability to speak His value into each life.
Sounds wonderful, and I am beginning to see signs of it happening. Yet there’s one more aspect of the Outpouring I want to emphasize. One more thing I want to add to this open letter.
c) Prepare to be shepherded.
Shepherd – “to give advice and instruction to (someone) regarding the course or process to be followed.”
“Your old men (and women) will dream dreams.”
Dream. To see a vision while asleep.
“Those in the latter stages of life shall continue to see what God’s doing, though they lie in a state of repose. Their physical activity may be diminished, but they are still connected with God’s plans and purposes. They see where they’re going, and know where they’ve been.” (my expanded paraphrase of the above quote)
I see this as such a vital part of God’s Outpouring. The young and the old working together to answer the questions the Spirit’s Presence stirs within people. The young, learning from, being mentored by, the old. The old, gracefully and prayerfully encouraging the young to rise up and take their positions in the Kingdom of God.
As an older man, this subject is very near my heart. I have sensed for several years a new, possibly final, outpouring of God’s Spirit on the horizon. God is anointing and raising up a new generation of spiritual leaders.
My word to you is simple. Connect with the “dreamers”. Allow them to speak into your life. Encourage them to “shepherd” you, “giving advice and instruction regarding the course or process to be followed.” Draw from them wisdom gleaned through years of walking with God. Receive their insight, prayers, and correction. Let the foundation and platform they have built with God help establish and lift you to do even greater things.
Third thought – live your life with purpose.
When you’re young, there’s a feeling of invincibility. I remember being in my teens, then my 20’s and 30’s. I could whip the world, drive all night, move pianos, plant a church; whatever I wanted to do, I believed I could do it. And time flew by.
Now I’m almost 60. I sure would like to have known then what I know now. I would have lived more “on purpose”; loved on purpose, prayed on purpose, even played on purpose. I’d have followed Paul’s advice more closely.
“Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit…” (Ephesians 5:16 – 5:18 NLT)
Throughout this nation, there’s the mentality of fun and entertainment. Entertainment isn’t necessarily wrong, but it can become such a time waster. The Lord knows I wasted way too much time over the years. Entertainment, whether movies, games, television, music, can be a good relaxation tool, or a huge diversion, a distraction, from what’s really important.
“…but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” This is the key for living your life on purpose. Understand what He wants you to do, then do it with all your might.
There are many things, even good things, things other people seem to “get by with” doing, but in the end only rob you of time, influence, and opportunity. Don’t let yourself get pulled into that way of thinking. You are called of God, called to make a difference, anointed to speak to your generation, equipped to see things through God’s eyes.
There are people, imperfect but powerful men and women of God, who have served in the Kingdom of God with integrity. “Faithful” is what the Lord calls them. They have built, with God’s help, that which you and others are inheriting.
These men and women of God have been given, at this time, the highest, most important calling of their entire lives. They’ve been called to dream, to incorporate the things God has done in the past, connecting them with what He’s doing today. To shepherd sons and daughters like yourself and help equip you with the spirit of integrity and faithfulness.
God will finish His awesome work! Heaven’s grandstand will be rocking with celebration as we each find our place in His work, living our life on purpose.
The “generation gap” doesn’t exist in God’s work. Let’s join together, each doing our part.
Sons and daughters, I love you. I believe God will do greater things through you than He has through me, and my generation.
And I will help in any way I can.
Thanks for reading.