Weekly Uplift - Empowering The Next Generation
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Empowering The Next Generation

 

pastor michael

 

 

 

 

By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London 

 

 

 

 

Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 17:1-2, Psalm 78:1-7 

Sunday 28th February 2016

 

 

As we continue the on-going series ‘Experiencing the Power of Multiplication’ today, here is a brief recap of the message: ‘Transition from ‘Not enough’ to ‘More Than Enough’’ which we examined in detail last week. We agreed that God has a desire to bless us with more than we require or need.  As we focused on the specifics of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, we understood this as a prototype for handling life situations relating to lack or insufficiency. If a situation is not working in our hands, then it is imperative that we hand it over to Jesus. Just like the five loaves and two fishes were insufficient for feeding the five thousand, once Jesus took it, blessed it, broke and gave it out, it became more than enough for everyone.

 

Looking at life from God’s viewpoint is vital to embracing His best for us. In rounding up, we looked at 4 lessons we can draw out from this miracle, namely: (1) What God intends to accomplish through our lives is beyond our efforts (2) God is able to meet every need (3) God want us to depend on Him, irrespective of the need confronting us, and lastly (4) God doesn’t give us what we need, but more than enough.

 

Today, I would like to challenge you with this message that I consider to be the crux of this entire series. Today’s message is titled ‘Empowering the Next Generation’. Let me begin this message by pointing out that the conversation that we read about between God and Abraham in our foundation scripture

was purely to introduce Abram to the next generation. God had a generational mindset as He engaged with Abram, in contrast to the puny need that Abram wanted met – the provision of a child, in order to jettison the childlessness label he had lived with all his life. In the same way, God is thinking of the next generation after us, whereas we often tend to focus on our needs and that of our household. This was St. Paul’s mindset as he wrote in 2 Timothy 4:6, ‘For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come’ (ESV). Like Paul, we also must always be thinking of the generation coming behind us. In other words, all that we’ve been given by God need not end with us. As we’ve discussed in a previous message, seeds before God’s eyes are precursors for forests. In the same way, everything God is doing in our lives is generational.

 

The story of Joseph in Genesis is a classic example of a generational arrangement by God. He was thrown into a pit, eventually sold by his brothers into slavery and unwittingly thrown into prison. Despite all of this, God was beside Joseph because within him were treasures, divinely locked up for the coming generations.  Conversely, within each of us are God’s treasures for the coming generation, and for this reason we cannot be described as being ordinary. Before long, Joseph navigated his way out of prison with God’s help. He eventually played a huge role in rescuing his family and the entire nation of Israel by inference from famine and starvation. Before this story played out as it did in the book of Genesis, little did Joseph know that his life would unfold in this fashion. Your life has the potential to become a wonderful story as well, since the same God who stood with Joseph in Genesis is also with you today.

 

Genesis 5:1 reads: ‘This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him. Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created’ (KJV). Following this text is a list of generations – X begetting Y. Many atimes, when we read portions of scripture like this, we flip the page to the next one, skipping the generations in search of another easy-to-read narration. Yet, there is nothing written in scripture that is meaningless. This list of genealogies is God’s way of telling us that He is a generational God. Another genealogy list in Matthew reveals this: ‘The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham’ (Matthew 1:1 KJV).

 

 We began earlier with the conversation between God and Abraham in Genesis 17:1-8. Let’s read it once more: ‘When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.  No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.  I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” Multiplication refers to generations. There is a seed and a dream within each of us that must not expire, until it is expressed for the delight of the coming generation. As God kept Joseph and St. Paul in order that their posterity was preserved, so God has every intention of watching over each of us.

 

God did not grant Abraham request because of his need. Rather, he granted that request in furtherance of His assignment for Abraham. So He does for each of us. The moment we align our need with His assignment, things begin to work out for us. St. Paul had this in mind when he wrote in Romans 1:14, which read: ‘I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise’. Each generation owes the next one something significant. Hence, God wants us to approach our next assignments mindful of the next generation. It is imperative that we consciously and deliberately prepare for this. As believers, we must carefully think, plan and forge ahead. 

 

On another note, the devil is also planning against the success of the coming generation. The story of the four Hebrew children in the book of Daniel underscores this. These four young men, intelligent and capable were handpicked specifically for their unique gifting. As soon as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were selected, their names (identity) and food (diet) were changed. Not only were their diets changed, their godly values were substituted with worldly ones. As we would not be here forever, we must now begin to prepare for the upcoming generation, so as to place them in good stead for their own lifetime. If we do not prepare adequately for them, then we would unfortunately have failed them. Hence, let’s make it a vital part of our lives to empower the next generation.

So as we become all that God wants us to be, and do all God intends for us to accomplish in our lifetime, we must be mindful to leave behind a legacy for the next generation. In other words, we must be all, do all and leave something behind for all those coming after us.

 

Here is Psalm 78:1-7. ‘Give ear, O my people, to my law; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments’.

 

I have noticed a generational gap, usually obvious between one generation and the next. It is usually the difference between the values and the attitudes of different generations. God’s word must however remain the foundation of our lives – we may work on changing the method, but we cannot compromise on the message. The fashion sense in the world has unwittingly crept into the church now – it is now fad. However, we must be quick to ask that ‘Where is your honour and dignity?’ And bible based messages have now been replaced by motivational teaching. We must be careful!

 

The Moses of our generation must arise and raise the Joshuas. Elijahs must raise Elishas. Davids must raise the Solomons.  Pauls must arise to raise the Timothys and the Titus. Parents must be intentional about raising your children. Psalm 127: 1 reads: ‘Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth’. If children are arrows according to this scripture, then as parents we must be prepared to shoot them in the right direction. If we don’t, then someone or something else would do so, aiming for the wrong target. We must be deliberate and intentional about this.

 

Here are seven things that Abraham did to empower Isaac’s generation:

 

(1) Abraham circumcised Isaac: We find this occurrence in Genesis 21:4 which reads: ‘Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him’. He dedicated Isaac to God. In the same way, as parents we must be deliberate in dedicating our children to God, circumcising their hearts for Him.

 

(2) Isaac was celebrated: Genesis 21:8 reads, ‘So the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the same day that Isaac was weaned’. Every child must feel celebrated, valued and appreciated. Each child has a dignity and this must be preserved. When children are celebrated, they would be quick to request to be taught more by their parents.

 

(3) The bond woman and her child were sent away from Isaac: Genesis 21:14 reveals this: ‘So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water; and putting it on her shoulder, he gave it and the boy to Hagar, and sent her away’. There are negative things we must keep away from our children – practices, habits, attitudes. These are tendencies which have the potential to compromise their destinies. When it is time to speak up, please do. A child that is not disciplined would discipline the parents inadvertently. Better still, we ought to introduce them to God’s grace and love.

 

(4) Abraham taught Isaac to obey God: Besides speaking, let your children learn from your actions. As heads of teams within a local assembly, or wherever God has placed you, be diligent in showing those God has placed under you what you can do as well. When God demanded a sacrifice from Abraham, he did not hesitate in Genesis 22. He went ahead and obeyed God totally, even when the request seemed illogical.

 

(5) Abraham set the stage for the next generation: Abraham ensured that Isaac did not marry from the Canaanite country in which he lived. Instead, he sent his servant to pick Rebekah for his son. By doing this, he influenced the decision of the next generation according to God’s will. In the same way, we have a duty to influence some critical decisions for our children as God has forewritten it.

 

(6) Abraham empowered Isaac: Genesis 25:5 reads, ‘And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac’. Each of us as parents must release our God-given treasures and graces to our children.

 

(7) Abraham sent the children of his concubines away: It is important that we put our house in order before we exit this world. Here is Genesis 25:6 reads, ‘But Abraham gave gifts to the sons of the concubines which Abraham had; and while he was still living he sent them eastward, away from Isaac his son, to the country of the east’. Every issue must be resolved so that the lives of our children are secure in our absence.

 

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