Monthly Archives: August 2017

Three Ways to Empower the Next Generation – Part 1

I am so grateful to Jonathan Fletcher. When I first encountered Jesus in 1974, Jonathan met with me for three hours every week for a year, and regularly thereafter until I left university. He became a great friend. He taught me the Christian faith. He explained to me how to read the Bible and how to pray. He recommended Christian books and answered my questions. Even though I had only just encountered Jesus myself, he encouraged me to lead others to faith in Jesus and to straight away pass on what I was learning.

After I left university, Sandy Millar did the same as Jonathan had done, in a different way. He showed me a model of how to live the Christian life, to which I still aspire. Ever since, there have always been people in my life from whom I am learning and others to whom I am trying to pass it on. As in a relay race, we have a responsibility to pass on the baton.

Psalm 78:1-8 1. Tell

You have a story to tell. Every family has stories. Every church has its own stories of what God has done. Every Christian has a story – a testimony. All of us have access to the great story of what God has done in Christ. We have to ‘tell the stories’ (v.6, MSG).

This psalm gives us a sketch of Hebrew history leading up to King David, and stresses the importance of passing it on to the next generation. We see a contrast between the sins of Israel and the goodness of God. Jesus himself quoted this psalm (Matthew 13:35). The psalmist says, ‘We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done… to teach their children, so that the next generation would know them… and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God’ (Psalm 78:4–7).

Juan Carlos Ortiz tells the story of meeting an old lady in his native Argentina who introduced him to a young girl, who was one of her great grandchildren. She went on to tell that she had six children and thirty-six grandchildren. Her family was impressive in number and among her grandchildren were many well-educated and professional people.

Carlos asked her, ‘How did you manage to produce such a large, well fed, well dressed, well educated, extended family?’ She replied, ‘I didn’t. I just took care of the six. And each of them took care of their six.’

Each generation has a responsibility to tell the next one about the goodness of God and to warn them of the mess that we make of our lives when we turn away from God’s goodness. Lord, thank you for those who told us about ‘the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done’ (v.4). Help us to pass it on to the next generation so that they would put their trust in you.

…to be continued.

culled from Day 175 from my Bible In a Year App 2017.

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That Bench in The Garden

“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” – John 1:48

After I received my result in that semester, I needed to clear my head. Too many simulations were ongoing. I knew I needed to make a major shift. I needed all my being to be concentrated on the task ahead. I was stunned.

A time comes when you need to be alone – without the hustle and bustle of everyday’s demand. You just want to be alone to reflect on the past, present and future. You just need to be alone with your God.

The first day I walked into that garden, I didn’t know one day I would have a familiar bench to reflect on my life. Some called it “Love Garden“, others called it “Prayer Garden“. The latter seem to be the original name, which isn’t a bad name seeing that God is Love.

The name “Prayer Garden” lived up to its expectation as it was synonymous with prayers in the evening. For me, it was a reflection place and I had a bench – my bench. Surrounded by green foliage with a couple of ant-hills at some corners, the Garden housed my bench – a concrete bench with a back rest.

It was a gateway for me to my Father. There were times when I just couldn’t explain how I feel to anyone – my friends, colleagues etc. There were times I needed to grief a loss and needed his comfort. There were times, I needed direction and I needed to seek his face.

“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you.” – Psalm 25:16-21

Whenever I was worried, whenever I felt alone, whenever I see that I have drifted away from the pack, I head for that bench in the Garden. I loved it in the evenings, watching the sun set, the cool breeze and the gathering of nature’s night choir.

Yours may not a bench in a garden but you need a place to quietly commune with your father without the earthly distractions. Switch off your phone. Turn off your data. Forget that Soap Opera. Postpone that arrangement. Locate your place and lay your heart before him.

I missed my bench. It was a jolly good bench. I always had directions after using that bench. It was my gateway. Do you have a place to connect?

AmosCP