Cornerstone’s youth ministry, relaunched as ‘Generations’ in 2000 after a 3-year hiatus, celebrated its 20th anniversary this month. It’s been my great joy and honour to watch many of these young lives journey into adulthood.
Many of our ‘then’ young people are now serving in Cornerstone as pastors and staff. These lives stoked in the fire of God are now effective ministers and some have been sent out as church pioneers, pastoring, labouring in the fire of the Holy Spirit, serving locally and in the nations. They’re no more young teens but men and women, many married with family.
What God has wrought through these yielded vessels are stories to be told – just like how my husband and I took the divine plunge into the ministry 30 years ago – life encounters still burning in the flames.
The God of generations is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In Hebrews 11:8-9, it says, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.”
I remember when we received our mandate from God, and I believe the next generation is destined to build better and wiser. As in Hebrews, each generation received the same promise as the first, yet each had distinct God-encounters, unique in form and function. But when the same promise is personalised, wrapped in faith; when their hope in Christ is embraced, the promise becomes surer. And, as the mandate and promise are one, to build generationally means building on the promise and labour of the previous generation, with respect and honour.
Indeed, God has given gifts and callings to each generation to fulfil. Therefore it’s important for each to complete the given scope and blueprint. If each generation begins to do its part, take up its responsibility, understand that there are battles to fight, and begins to connect; the next generation can take its own up. It’ll come into – and receive – its increase, to fulfil its lot. It’s to enlarge the tent, to lengthen the cords, and strengthen the stakes. When Chronos meets Kairos, God’s generational treasure becomes reality.
As Joshua recognised the presence of God and hung around Moses’ tent of meeting, this same presence of God went with Joshua, and God became his witness.
Remember when the Children of Israel were in Egypt – once the people were circumcised, God said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt off you, so the place was called Gilgal which means to roll away.”
The reproach of Egypt had to do with their past and was marked with three things: a history of slavery, oppression, and their disobedience. And, when the kings of the Canaanites heard about the Children of Israel at Jordan, we read that “there was no spirit in them any longer.”
Continually, God reminds me that He’s the justifier and, as servants in the House of the Lord, our portion is to continue in His faithfulness. Our portion is to recognise who our Father is, and He will teach us His ways.
David taught us a key lesson that we’re not to return insult with insult, to bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. In 2 Samuel 16:11-12, Shimei, the son of Gera, cursed him, and David said, “Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the Lord has ordered him. It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing this day.”
When David’s men were all ready to kill Shimei for cursing him, David’s overcoming response pleased the Lord such that when he returned as king to Jerusalem, mercy did not depart from David’s mouth regarding Shimei. David pens Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Isn’t this a promise we all want?
2 Corinthians 4:17 describes it this way, ‘This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison’ because one day, all reproach will be over and the reproach experienced in faith will win for us eternal commendation, honour, and praise. The Prophet Isaiah says there are treasures of darkness, hidden riches of secret places through the generations.
On that day when Christ appears, who we are will also be revealed. Therefore, in fear and trembling we shall live, for in Christ alone we stand!