Operation Next Generation

Did you know it takes only one generation for faith to be lost? A scary thought, isn't it?

The Faithful Generation

Just before crossing into the Promised Land, Joshua charged the people to choose once and for all who they would serve.
Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:14-15 (ESV)
The people whole wholeheartedly agreed with Joshua to serve the Lord, but things didn't stay that way.

The Fallen Generation

"And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel." Judges 2:10 (ESV)
Wow! In just one generation the people went from faithful followers to completely fallen. ONE generation! The Good News is that God always preserves a remnant, a small group of faithful followers to pass on what He has told us about how to love, serve, and honor Him.

In God We Trust?

The United States of America was founded by believers seeking religious freedom to worship as they saw fit. Many of the founding fathers professed faith in the God of the Bible. The rights Americans hold so dear derived from biblical teachings. Our money is even imprinted with the statement "In God we trust." Where are we now, generations later? More than a stone's throw in the opposite direction, I dare say. It hasn't been that way long, though. America was still considered a "Christian nation" in the 1950's. But, now we're two or three generations removed. Where are those committed to following the Lord now? (Can you see me jumping up with my hand in the air?) It is up to the faithful remnant to pass on the things of God--to our children and to those around us.

What About You and Your Children?

All of this means that it is up to parents and those who work with children to pass our faith on to the next generation. Yes, faith is not inherited like blond hair. Each person must choose Jesus as their own personal Lord and Savior. Nevertheless, God clearly states in His Word that parents and elders are responsible for teaching the things of God to our children.
He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God. Psalm 78:5-8 (ESV)

Where Do We Begin?

Start now. Start today. Make a plan and stick to it. It doesn't have to be fancy, elaborate, or what I call a "conquer the world plan." Start small and work your way up.Choose one of the following options to begin implementing once a week. When you have that down, try twice a week. Slowly work your way up from there. The important thing is to be intentional about passing your faith on to your children.
    Read the Bible together.
Pick a verse, section, chapter, or a devotional. It doesn't matter. Just read God's Word together. Interested in a family devotional designed for busy families like yours? Click here. See this post for 6 Steps to a Family Devotional.
    Pray together.
Make it more than "Now I lay me down to sleep..." or "God is great. God is good. Thank you, Lord, for this food. Let's eat!" Not sure where to start? Tell God thank you for at least one thing. Tell Him one thing that you are worried about and ask Him to help you. Then pray for one other person. You can also sign up for our E-Team to receive a free copy of "How to Pray with P.O.W.E.R."
  • Serve the Lord and others together.
Before or after you do, talk about why we serve others. See this post for more information.
  • Talk about what the Bible says.
Time spent in the car is a great place to start. Share what you are learning in your personal Bible study. Review what each person learned at church that week. Work on a family memory verse. Talk about what the Bible says about things happening in your day or life.
  • Share things you are thankful to God for and ways you've seen Him answer prayer.
Go around the table at Thanksgiving dinner, but don't let it stop there. Make thankfulness and praise part of your regular routines (Philippians 4:4).
  • Guide your children in finding mentors.
Is your spouse not a believer? Are you a single parent or do you know one? Single parents and spiritually single parents need godly mentors for their children. Kids need a man and a woman they can look up to, respect, and emulate in the faith (like Paul and Timothy's relationship, 2 Timothy 1:1-5). Have fun and happy discipling!

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