Invisible but deadly

qpe5988qvom-quin-stevensonHe cradled his head in his rough, battle-scarred hands, breathing heavily. The accelerated pace of his heart drummed so loudly he could hear nothing else. Sweat beaded on his forehead as blood pounded in his temples. He inhaled deeply, attempting to calm himself. He was thankful to have found this temporary refuge, even if it was a grimy old bathroom. The grinding of the pneumatic impact wrench securing nuts on wheels sounded eerily similar to the battle zone. Before he could acknowledge the trigger, he’d felt his body go into a tailspin. With herculean effort, he stood very slowly, making a deliberate B-line for this small sanctuary.

This was all so humiliating.

Stupid, stupid STUPID! Why did he have to be weak like this?!?

None of the guys from the hundred and first had this problem! They were still smoking and joking about the war like it was some video game. Only the weak ones contracted this illness.

His hair brushed back and forth over his hands as he shook his head, acknowledging the lie as it snaked its way through his thoughts. Hadn’t he just been to Jameson’s funeral? Continue reading

Why we need to pray for GenNext (Part 2)

This is the final article in the series “Raising GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here.

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Yesterday, we looked at why prayer is so critical in the effort to raise GenNext. Remember, GenNext is not just children; GenNext also includes new converts and current Christians. Like Jesus, we long for the growth of those who will follow in our footsteps. The effort to train “replacements” begins today, for today is all we have. As with any endeavor for the Lord, we need to be praying throughout the process.

What specific requests should be included in our prayers?

Continue reading

Why we need to pray for GenNext (Part 1).

This article is part of the series “Raising GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here.

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What do you believe about prayer?

Do you think praying is a rote activity?

Is prayer an active or passive endeavor?

Does it have value?

Is it helpful?

Does it actually work?

Continue reading

Edify: Building a Strong Generation

This article is part of the series “Raising GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here.

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Edify comes from the Greek “oikodomḗ” meaning ‘the act of building.’ We often use this word as a reference to spiritual encouragement. Edification is more than perfunctory praise; it is the endeavor to construct something strong.

To date, we have covered the first 4 E’s of Raising GenNext—Engage, Exemplify, Equip, and Entrust. This next E—Edify—is a critical part of the process. There is nothing worse for a person than to put out the effort to do something challenging, only to be ripped to shreds with the knives of criticism.

The millennial generation stands accused of being coddled with superficial praise. However, I believe that many of them (and other generations) can distinguish between genuine encouragement and false flattery. If we truly want to edify our children, new converts, and current Christians, our encouragement must be authentic and constructiveContinue reading

Expanding the Core of Workers

 

This article is part of the series “Building GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here.

photo-1458696765561-12142eaead13.jpegThe preacher looked wearily at the building as he shifted into park. When he had begun the work here, he’d had such high hopes of helping the tiny church grow into a massive group of believers. Over time they could establish elders and deacons and have the youth participate in community outreach.

He pressed his fingertips into his eyelids and slowly rubbed his temples. What is the point in going on? He had been doing all the visitation, hospitality, preaching, building repairs, teaching classes, evangelizing—and to what avail? Continue reading

Entrust: Involving Children in the Important within the church (part 2)

This article is part of the series “Building GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here.

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image borrowed from greatschools.org

Somewhere in the past, someone concluded the primary reason children were leaving the church was somehow related to it’s boringness. There was a slow movement toward making entertainment more important than education and edification. And yet, in spite of the hyped up programs and entertainment schemes, kids are still exiting the church in droves.

One truth has become abundantly clear: Retainment by entertainment is ineffective.

If we want children and young adults to remain in the body of Christ, they need to be an integral part of it’s work. Continue reading

Entrust: Involving Children in the Important (part 1)

This article is part of the series “Building GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here.

It is a valuable exercise to read books such as Little House in the Big Woods and In Grandma’s Attic. These stories reveal how children used to be entrusted with so much more than cleaning up their rooms. They had cows to milk, dishes to wash, horses to tether, fires to tend, wood chips to gather and so much more. I highly recommend reading these books with your kids!

Children for the past thirty-plus years have merely been expected to go to school, be involved in activities, and maybe do a chore here and there for mom. I have to restrain myself from eye-rolling when I hear people say, “Why are millennials so lazy? Why do people feel so entitled? Why is our country falling apart?”

It’s elementary, my dear Watson: When we fail to entrust our children with the important while they are young, they won’t see the value of work when they are older. Continue reading

Sharpening Christians

(This article is part of the series “Building GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here.)

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What happens when you use a knife repetitively? Over time, the blade starts squishing tomatoes instead of slicing them.

Pencils need sharpening. Pens need refills, drills need charging. Tools have to be maintained in order to be effective.

In a similar way, we are instruments of God. Are we sharpened, filled, and charged for action? Or, are we gunked up, run down and dull? Continue reading

Converting Converts into Strong Christians

(This article is part of the series “Building GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here.)

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Water rolled down her cheeks as she was lifted from the cool water. A thrill of joy sang within her. Her sins were gone! She was no longer lost! She wished Jesus would come right at that moment so she wouldn’t mess up this new life into which she was entering. After drying off, she re-entered the auditorium where a small crowd was waiting to hug and congratulate.

One older lady, embraced her tenderly and said, “The angels in heaven are rejoicing for you, dear.”

Yes, the angels were rejoicing! “And so am I!” she thought.

Two weeks later, the same girl lay curled up on the floor of her bedroom crying. Continue reading

How to Equip Your Children to be Future Christians (Raising #GenNext)

(This article is part of the series “Building GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here.)

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Yesterday, we covered why we need to teach our children. Today, we will be covering how to teach our children. This is merely an overview. Entire books have been written on this subject!!

For starters, let me make a disclaimer: I am a youngish parent. My kids are all under the age of 9. What I am about to suggest are principles I have learned from older, wiser people and/or have put into practice myself. Continue reading