BUILDING UP THE NEXT GENERATIONJesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
I love this picture of Jesus dancing with young children. The children show no hesitation to engage Jesus with laughter and delight. They simply come to Jesus just as they are. If you look closely, you’ll notice some adults in the crowd are clapping and smiling, while others appear to be watching with curiosity and skepticism.
Reflect: What is your posture and other nonverbal cues communicating when you’re around children? How welcoming are you when you encounter young people?
Take Action: Make an effort this week to pay attention to your presence when interacting with the next generation. Are you offering a presence that’s inviting and warm, or distant and cold?
SPEAKING VISION OVER THE NEXT GENERATIONThat person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:3
Speaking vision over our children sometimes looks like validating our children. When I see my daughter sharing her toys with a friend during the day, I make sure to mention that in my prayer time with her that evening.
I may say something like, “Thank you, Jesus, that Cherith is a good friend and that she likes to share her toys with others. I know that You are a generous God and I’m thankful for the ways Cherith is becoming more like You in her generosity…”
If I’m speaking this vision in her life, validating her in affirming that she’s a good friend, I am hoping and praying that she’ll grow into the vision of becoming a good neighbor, a goodwife, a good mother, and a good worker.
Validation is free. It doesn’t cost us anything, and the impact it can have in the life of a little one can be eternally significant!
Reflect: What are the roles, positions, and opportunities that God has blessed you with that allow you to speak a flourishing vision over the lives of this next generation? Are you in a role such as parent, teacher,coach, aunt, uncle, neighbor, or volunteer where you are regularly around young people?
Take Action: If you don’t currently have a platform where you’re interacting with children, middle schoolers, or teenagers, check out LWCCYork.com/serve this week for ways you can get involved.
BUILDING BLOCKSBehold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Psalm 127:3
Over the last several weeks we’ve been talking about the things that matter most: following Jesus, spending time with God’s living Word, discipleship, being connected to and serving in the Church. These things that matter the most should matter more to us, and the next generation should be able to notice that they matter to us.
These are the building blocks that are going to allow our children’s lives and the lives of other young people in our community to flourish.
Reflect: Identify three to five young people (ages 1-18) you haverelationships with and answer the questions that follow for each of them.
How do I see ____________ following Jesus?
What is ______________ currently learning from God’s Word?
Is ______________ connected with someone who is helping him or her mature in faith?
What are ________________’s gifts and how is he or she using them in the church or the community?
How am I playing a part in building into ______________’s life in these four areas?
FINDING TIMELove the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9
Read the passage above and highlight all the places mentioned to teach and talk with the next generation.
Wisdom from God’s Word in Deuteronomy and other places tell us to leverage our time to teach our children about God, who he is, and his laws for living life well. Learning about God should not take place ONLY on Sunday morning in church.
Andy Crouch wrote a book entitled The Tech-Wise Family, where he offers wisdom on how parents can shape the lives of their children in a culture that is inundated with various forms of technology. I highly recommend picking up a copy. It’s short and packed with practical ways to lead your family well.
One piece of advice that I’ve started implementing is using our car rides to generate conversation. Andy cites research that says deep conversations take around 7 minutes to really begin, and the car ride is a perfect place to break that 7-minute barrier to go deeper in conversation with one another.
Take Action: On your next family car trip, make the effort not to turn on the music. Ask other family members to refrain from cell phone use for a certain amount of time.
Take Action: Get creative this week in looking for opportunities that could become teachable moments for your children or other young people God puts in your path.
- Songs We Sing
Other Messages in Series