| Woe To The Shepherds/Next Generation|
Woe to the Shepherds
When I talk about shepherds here I am not only refering to pastors- but also spiritual leaders, mentors and parents- we are all shepherds.
This is something that the Holy Spirit has been stirring up in me for about a week now. It's been building and building. I pray that all of this comes out according to His will.
As I was listening to some songs on the radio (Christian radio) the other day with my 14 yr. old daughter in the car, it hit me how awsome these words were that were coming from these young people. Their passion for Christ and living their life abandoned to Him was so clear. "Take my life, take my will,....I give it all to you." "I put myself up on that cross." "May your name be glorifed in all the earth." "If we are the body- why aren't his arms reaching?Why aren't his words teaching? Why aren't his feet going? Why is His love not showing them there is a way?"
Even my own 14 yr. old daughter plays the guitar and writes her own songs- "Your'e my All in All", "More of You, less of me-take all that's within me. Take my heart and make me more like you".
This next generation is blessed with a passion for the Lord. They have zeal for His truth. They are willing to live sacrificially, they are willing to give it all for Him.They see He is worthy to be glorified in them and in everything they do-- yet they look to the shepherds, to the older generation for support, for an example of how to carry this out- and what do they find? Hypocrisy. Staleness. Fake lives. Fake love. Many who are just trying to buy their way to heaven. They see self-centerdness, selfishness, the love of prestige, authority, spiritual granduer, and even material things.
They don't see self discipline, self sacrifice, total surrender of the will, body and heart. Kids can see through hypocrisy in an instant. Adults are not fooling anyone except themselves if they think they can hide their prideful selves inside a title, or position, or even just being the adult figure.
What will happen to these kids and young adults as they grow and mature. Will their zeal and innocent passion be squashed and silenced ? Will they see that there is "no point because look at 'so and so'- he say's one thing yet he/she is a complete hypocrite. But look everyone listens to him and puts him on a pedestal". Will they be shepherded to do the "right things" in the name of church. Will they be mentored into lukewarmness because that is the way it's "always been done."
My heart aches for these young people. Who will show them the way? Who is willing to live sacrificially for the sake of our children? Who is willing to die completely to self- not for our own good but even for the good of the next generation? This is our responsibility- as parents, as shepherds, as leaders, as mentors. It's not about us! It's not about "oh, poor me, this is so hard". This is about our children and the next generation that we will be accountable for.
If we are to lead them so that they might be a revival generation- a generation that may move heaven and earth- then we had better get our act together. Many parents and shepherds are so selfish and self-centered and don't even realize it. What is best for the young people? What do they need to see? They need to see that our word is good. That we are truly honest. That we are willing to sacrifice whatever need be. That we are able to love unconditionally- not because we just want them to behave well for the sake of the eyes of others.
We need to instill in them that our entire reason for being is for the glory of God. We are here to glorify God in our hearts, bodys, minds and souls.
The Lord has impressed upon me this last couple of years that when He chastises me about something (which happens all the time)- it is not necessarily about me- it's about my kids. He has shown me the great responsibility we have to this next generation to be living examples of Christ to them. I have this feeling that I cannot explain that He is not only jealous for His people- but that He has a jealousy for this next generation to be shepherded according to His will. I can feel this when He says "Why do you think this about you?" When I make a decision that surrenders my will to Him, when I die to self by acting in self-discipline, when I choose to put others first, their feelings first- this is not about me. It's for the young ones in my midst.
When He took me into the wilderness to free me from bondages and perform heart surgery- He didn't do it necessarily for me - but for the young ones. I know this and this is one of the reasons I never gave up. I feel responsible, as we all should, that if we know we are in bondage to certain things or areas of our life need changing - think of the next generation if nothing else. It is our responsibility to show them what "freedom" is. To stop the bondages from passing down to the next generation.
"But if anyone causes one of these little ones who trusts in me to lose faith, it would be better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around the neck. Mark 9:42
Do you know that this next generation is willing!? But they are sick to death of empty religion and the exaltation of human flesh. They are hungry for holiness and for the Lord alone, they will live for self-denial and sacrifice but when they look to the church and to the parents - they don't see this. It''s not accepted and is brushed off a "kids stuff". They see that the Lord alone, is not enough for mom and dad or for pastor 'so and so'.
The Lord is looking for a generation who will not be interested in recogntion, reputation, or making a name for themselves. Their only concern will be the glory of the Lord in the earth.
As shepherds and parents and role models- are we up for the challenge to show them the way? To give up our very own lives so that these young ones may bring restoration to the world? To give up our own self-seeking, our own wills, our own idols, and loves. If we love them we will. If we are obedient to the Lord, we will.
In Him, Chanin
| 2004/4/19 10:24||Profile|
| Re: Woe To The Shepherds/Next Generation|
Thank you, Chanin, for listening to the Lord and relating some of His heart to us.
It's disenheartening when I look around at the student population here at UGA. There's a fairly high percentage of "Christians" (particularly if you count Catholics), but a very few have anything resembling true Life. But there [i]is[/i] fire, and there [i]is[/i] passion, in some of them... I know that many more, or even all, could be thus if they had been properly raised in the Lord.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.[/b]
Do we really believe that? Do we act like we do? I take it as a promise from the God of Heaven. I hope and pray it shall manifest in my relationships with the young (not only my own, should the Lord ever make me a father, but to others whose lives He places me in).
Lord knows I am weak in my conviction to fulfill the role He has given me, as a man and as a Christian... I pray He shall keep me from neglecting the duty of shepherding, by word and by deed.
His will be done, in us as it is in Heaven,
| 2004/4/19 11:15||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: Woe To The Shepherds/Next Generation|
They don't see self- discipline, self sacrifice, total surrender of the will, body and heart. Kids can see through hypocrisy in an instant. Adults are not fooling anyone except themselves if they think they can hide their prideful selves inside a title, or position, or even just being the adult figure.
You are right.
We need to live this, not just talk about it.
I am including myself in this, there is still a stronghold that needs to be broken personally, it is not hidden from anyone and it will be dealt with by the grace of God. I am not going to go into it here.
The old adage that [i]"things are better 'caught' than taught"[/i] applies.
Are we setting the example to follow?
Do we 'say' and not do?
This 'self' is at the root of the problem. It has been coming up a lot recently and this morning the Lord has been impressing this in confirmation, meditating on [i]"taking up YOUR cross"[/i]
Via email this morning by way of our brother Lars,
Just a snippet:
[i]"The cross effects its ends by destroying one established pattern, the victims, and creating another pattern, its own. Thus it always has its way. It wins by defeating its opponent and imposing its will upon him. It always dominates. It never compromises, never dickers nor confers, never surrenders a point for the sake of peace. It cares not for peace; it cares only to end its opposition as fast as possible.
With perfect knowledge of all this Christ said, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. So the cross not only brings Christs life to an end, it ends also the first life, the old life, of every one of His true followers. It destroys the old pattern, the Adam pat tern, in the believers life, and brings it to an end. Then the God who raised Christ from the dead raises the believer and a new life begins.
This, and nothing less, is true Christianity, though we cannot but recognize the sharp divergence of this conception from that held by the rank and file of evangelicals today. But we dare not qualify our position. The cross stands high above the opinions of men and to that cross all opinions must come at last for judgment. A shallow and worldly leadership would modify the cross to please the entertainment-mad saintlings who will have their fun even within the very sanctuary; but to do so is to court spiritual disaster and risk the anger of the Lamb tuned Lion.
We must do something about the cross, and one of two things only we can doflee it or die upon it. And if we should be so foolhardy as to flee we shall by that act put away the faith of our fathers and make of Christianity something other than it is. Then we shall have left only the empty language of salvation; the power will depart with our departure from the true cross.
If we are wise we will do what Jesus did: endure the cross and despise its shame for the joy that is set before us. To do this is to submit the whole pattern of our lives to be destroyed and built again in the power of an endless life. And we shall find that it is more than poetry, more than sweet hymnody and elevated feeling. The cross will cut into our lives where it hurts worst, sparing neither us nor our carefully cultivated reputations. It will defeat us and bring our selfish lives to an end. Only then can we rise in fullness of life to establish a pattern of living wholly new and free and full of good works."[/i]
The Cross Is a Radical Thing
A. W. Tozer
Thanks Chanin, more than food for thought here.
| 2004/4/19 11:26||Profile|
| Re: woe to the shepherds|
I know that many more, or even all, could be thus if they had been properly raised in the Lord.
Youre exactly right here! I still have an 8 and 5 yr. old at home whom I feel very responsible for. Not to mention my 14yr.old's friends and others whom i come in contact with. Luckily I can start a little sooner with the two youngest!
When my oldest daughter was about 12, I really started to see some of the same character traits in her that i had and knew they were not pleasing to the Lord. And i knew I had inherited them from my parents. I am so thankful that I caught this early. Perfectionism, self-image issues, critical spirit, etc.....I knew I had to put a stop to it- and it had to start with ME.
yes, the cross is where it's at! If only the shepherds would be "cross-centered", if their messages were cross centered, their public lives and private lives were cross-centered.
And I am talking about me too! It is a constant process. Even as the Lord deals with me on some of the last straggling details of my strongholds that want to hang around. I look at my kids and think- I've got to do this for them. I cannot be a hypocrite. They need to see Jesus in me.
I have "The Cross is A Radical Thing" on my website. I love it. This is what i have been trying to teach my kids for the last two years or so. And that this life is not about us. To put others before ourselves. The cross and denying one's self is foundational and kids need to grow up knowing this.
It is all by God's grace that I am even where I am with this.
You know it only takes a few Godly women and men to change things according to His purposes. And if one or all of my kids is to be one of those- I have got some serious seeds to sow and a lifetime of carrying my cross. But one day we will hear "Well done, my good and faithful servant." :-)
In Him, Chanin
| 2004/4/19 12:03||Profile|
" I can feel this when He says "Why do you think this about you?"
I am hearing the same words.
| 2004/4/19 12:58||Profile|