Posts Tagged ‘Heritage’


Laila and Claire having funIs it age, nostalgia or wisdom that causes us to see what others take for granted? At times I find myself standing on a precipice and seeing across time even when in simple situations. Part of that is a growing awareness of how God interweaves our lives to accomplish His purpose. Especially lives that on the surface don’t appear to be connected. One such moment happened this weekend, when my son and his family came to visit from Alexandria, VA. There were several times when we got all the kids and grandkids together, and the gatherings were great and enjoyable. It had been a year since Ben and his family had been in Kansas City. I must be honest, nine young grandkids can be chaotic. They yank so hard at your attention.

We had several gatherings, but one thing was clear, our family of six kids and four spouses and nine grandkids enjoy spending time together. They visit, talk, communicate and play. They care for one another. I am proud of that, for I have seen far too many broken families.

Grandkids playingAlthough my attention was on my family this weekend, especially my grand children, at one point I found myself standing on that precipice of time again. Oddly enough it was because of my grandchildren.  In the picture you see 4-year-old Laila having a simple conversation with 5-year-old cousin Claire. They were simply sitting on the steps of Tonya’s home having a great time, enjoying the 74 degree weather in January! To them it was a moment that quickly passed, soon forgotten. Their mother’s were watching with joyful hearts, and to them it was a warm but fleeting moment. I saw something entirely different, for God had transported my mind to that precipice again, the one with His view, His Eternal View.

My Dad enjoying his grandkids

My Dad enjoying his grandkids

Unknown to my family visiting and having fun around me, I was transported back to a day in March 1995. It was Sunday, March 26th, and the weather was warm and sunny like it was for Laila and Claire. Instead of this home being Tonya’s and her husband Ben, it was where our entire family lived. Tonya and Ben were high school sweethearts. There were no grandchildren yet. We were coming home after church. When we drove into our driveway, we saw my brother Tim sitting on those same steps. He wasn’t laughing. His face was red. His expression made my stomach sicken. I knew something was wrong. I jumped from our Van and Tim cried out “He’s dead! Dad’s dead!” Time came to a screeching halt. Even now the tears flow from my eyes.

Laila and Claire on the painful porchThere Laila and Claire sat, oblivious to the eternal power of their great-grandparents prayers, oblivious to that painful moment that rocked my world 17 years ago at this very spot. They may not realize it now, but they will. God holds them in His hand. They are His, and they will come to know Him as their Creator God. This will happen not because of any special talent or ability they may have. This will happen simply because God takes His possessions seriously. And my parents gave my grandchildren to God. They dedicated them to Him, even though they never got to see them. My wife and I continue in those very prayers. And now, we kneel on that same precipice, and pray for that same Godly Heritage.

Our Eternal Connection

My grandchildren are connected across eternity with Jim and Clare Tompkins. Their children will share the same connection. One day my children will recall my prayers for their children and grandchildren. And so God will continue His work, His Will on earth, because my Dad and Mom took His Word seriously, and prayed that His will would be done in their family, just as His will is done in heaven.

One day, perhaps soon, I will stand with my parents and see how God’s grace has worked and is working in our family. I will know how God works through our prayers and concerns. I will fully understand the importance of a Godly Heritage. And my prayer today is that my children and grandchildren will take my place on that precipice of eternity, the unseen precipice that only those who see with the eyes of the Holy Spirit can stand and kneel upon. For when you stand there, seeing as God sees, you pray!

Joseph Could See that which was Eternal

fruitful bough conquers the wallGod described Joseph as a fruitful “bough” in Genesis 49:22. The Hebrew is actually “ben” or son, but the context caused the translators to use the word “bough” as in a plant.

“Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall. Genesis 49:22

However, I believe God wants us to realize that, as His Sons, we are plants, and our children and grand children are branches. They are connected to us in a real sense, an eternal sense. When we see our connectedness, we will see the need to pray far into the future. For only as we grow strong through our connectedness will we be able to climb the wall, or as I see it, overcome barriers and enemies. This is what Joseph experienced.

The archers bitterly attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him severely, yet his bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), by the God of your father who will help you, by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that crouches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. Genesis 49:23-25

Joseph was a dreamer, a man who saw things that others did not. His brothers treated him cruelly, and his response was “what you meant for evil, God meant for God!” Joseph knew that precipice, stood with a view to eternity. Joseph survived all those hardships because he could see his connectedness with his family and with God’s purpose. Do you? Do you live with a view of eternity? Are you afraid to stand on that precipice of time and see your connectedness? Do not go there if you see no value in prayer.

As I talked with my kids on that painful porch, we recounted the neighbors that had died while we lived there. One troubled teen had perished in a car crash as he was fleeing the police. That family later moved away, broken and defeated, the parents later divorcing. Another neighbor, a father experiencing tremendous back pain from repeated operations, took his own life. Years later, his son committed suicide as well.

praying on the precipice of eternityTragedy happens in our lives, in our families. It happened in Joseph’s life and among his family. How your family handles that tragedy will depend upon whether you see the God who controls the precipice of eternity, whether you are willing to see your life from His point of view. He who overcomes the wall and stands firm to the end is the one who sees the connectedness of family, even those you will never see. You must be willing to kneel on that precipice of eternity before the throne of the one who holds eternity in His hands.

Will your family be a fruitful bough? Will your family grow into a Godly Heritage? Are you able to SEE Him who is invisible? He stand firm to the end who can SEE!

For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. Psalm 61:5 


honor-church-leadersIt is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations. Ex 12:42

Have you ever had a night so wonderful, so memorable that you could remember every detail of that night one year later? What about 5 years? What about 50 years? The Jewish people have been remembering a night that happened over 3700 years ago. Wow, that must have been some night! Such a night was remembered because of its importance to the God of this universe and to the people of this world He created.

Moses had instructed all the people two weeks earlier to take a yearling lamb, without spot or blemish, and on the 10th day of the month bring it into your home. Then four days later they were to kill that lamb, eat the lamb, and take its blood and put it upon the lintel of their front door. At midnight, the Angel of the Lord went throughout the land of Egypt, and wherever he saw the blood of the lamb, he would pass over the house. Where there was no blood, he would enter the home and slay the first born son.

You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. And when you come to the land that the LORD will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. (Exo 12:24-28)

This story is an excellent demonstration of the importance of Honor for church leaders, your pastor, deacons and Sunday school teachers.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Heb 13:17)

applying-the-bloodNow imagine if Joe and his wife Sarah had skipped church to go fishing or shopping or whatever. Moses and Aaron had instructed everyone on what to do. They weren’t at the meeting. They got back into town and didn’t know what all the buzz was about. They heard snippets of lamb and blood, but they thought that sounded absurd. They started talking to their friends and got them questioning what Moses said. Don’t you think that is a bit extreme? To waste a perfectly good lamb like that? Blood on my new door post? Why I’ll never be able to get that off! Why I just spent $500 on a new door! Before long a whole group of people had decided to ignore Moses and Aaron. So they lightly regarded the words of Moses and influenced other people to do the same. Honor leads us to value church leaders, and give weight to what they tell us. Dishonor leads us to scorn and devalue what church leaders tell us. To treat it like some teenagers treat the words of their parents.

Midnight came, the Angel went into their homes, they heard a noise, that woke them, going into their son’s bedroom, they found his throat cut. In fact, every one of their friends who scorned the instruction of Moses discovered the same grizzly scene.

a-cry-goes-out-at-midnightAnd Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead. (Exo 12:30)

What kind of night would be remembered for 3700 years? The night that meant the difference between life and death for you and your family.

do-not-curse-church-leadersHonor for church leaders is critical for your lives? Why? Perhaps we can glimpse the ways of God by reading Acts 23:1-5. Paul demonstrates the importance of Honoring Church Leaders. When he was commanded to be slapped by some old guy, he hurled a stern verbal insult at him. Then someone whispered in his ear that the old guy was Ananias, the High Priest! He quickly apologized, quoting Exodus 22:28 “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.” God equates cursing a church leader with reviling God!

When you honor your church leaders, you are honoring God. They are God’s messengers, God’s representatives. We demonstrate our honor of God by honoring the Leaders He has set before us.

Jesus took this cursing one step further. It is not the words you speak that matters, it is the heart attitude you have. You can say “yes” with your mouth but be going “Yea right like I’m gonna do that” with your heart.

Paul said: Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls. Church leaders are keeping watch over your souls. That is their job. And how you honor your church leaders will determine the reward of how goes your soul.

Honor Determines the Destiny of your soul.

Joh 12:26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

honor-determines-the-destiny-of-your-soulPaul wrote to obey your leaders, for they watch over your souls. The Gospel of Christ is inexplicably tied to the preaching of His Word. If you do not honor the messenger, you dishonor the Word. God honors his servants, for they follow Christ, and He honors His Son.

The Cross is the Anchor of the Christian Walk. Our daily walk, our daily life in Christ must begin at the cross. At the cross we lay aside our fleshly wants and desires, our sin and selfishness, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. At the cross we lay claim of the exchanged life. At the cross we identify with the Resurrected Reigning Jesus Christ who lives in us and through us. At the cross we realize that God uses pastors and deacons and elders and teachers to build up the church, to work to conform us to Jesus Christ. We honor the cross in their life and the fact that they are God’s messengers to us.

To dishonor the preacher, the pastor, the Sunday school teacher is to scorn the Savior whom they serve.

Can’t I go direct to Jesus? Yes you can. But understand the God has a divine order of things. He has given gifts to the church to build it up, to teach to chasten to rebuke to instruct. If you fail to honor God’s Way, you are playing with the destiny of your soul.

parable-of-the-talentsJesus told a parable of the ruler who gave talents to his servants, and then went away. One servant said he feared the master, so he went and hid his talent.

He failed to honor his pastor (so to speak) and robbed himself of spiritual rewards.

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Mat 25:14-30)

dishonor-robs-you-of-light-and-rewardsWhen you fail to honor the requests of your church leaders, you rob yourself of these benefits:

  • You rob yourself of spiritual light for salvation,
  • Your rob your children of spiritual light, for they will grow up with an attitude of scorn toward the church, toward the pastor.
  • You rob yourself of rewards for God uses His messengers to speak to you, guide you and to watch over the welfare of your souls.

roast-preacherThe Pastor, the Sunday school teachers, are entrusting you with wealth in the form of spiritual truth. To honor them means to grow in the truth they teach, to honor their teaching. The benefit is eternal. When you fail to honor them, you will walk in darkness.

Sometimes we have Roast Preacher on the after church menu. This teaches dishonor to our children. Learn to Honor the Pastor at meal time.

Honor Determines the Prosperity of your soul.

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. (Psa 92:12-15)flourish-as-the-cedar-tree

Those who honor church leaders honor the Lord. They will be planted in the house of the Lord. They will flourish in the courts of our God.

“Well I go to church. I give a little money.” But that is not being planted. Planted implies you grow roots. You establish relationships. I’m not saying that you should be here every time the doors are open. But you should seek to Honor God by your faithfulness to the leadership of the church.

I have a friend whom I used to teach in Sunday School. We along with some others helped to start Lenexa Baptist Church in 1990. After a year or so we called a young clothing salesman from Oklahoma. He had pastored a couple small churches in Oklahoma. He was kind of green. He and I spent some time together at youth camp, and he shared that he was Calvinistic in his theology. But he was still very evangelistic. I respected his views and advised him to keep it under his hat. Well, he let it slip one Wednesday night, and it got spread among the deacons. One deacon, my friend was quite adamant about getting Pastor Steve to resign. He got several other deacons stirred up. They called a meeting in which they called on Steve to resign. I, along with another deacon stood up for Pastor Steve and called for respect for Steve, and pleaded for sound minds to prevail. Well, they got all upset and quit, and all of a sudden a church that was pushing 150 became a church of 90. (Steve stuck it out and today Lenexa Baptist runs a couple thousand plus every Sunday)

I believe my friend’s life was impacted by his dishonor. He lost his wife and he lost his children. He is became a Pastor, and has struggled in pastoring. Now he is pastoring even though he has had a divorce. His children are alienated. He has struggled with honor in his pastorate. I believe when you dishonor church leaders, you will reap dishonor in your life.

I was witness to another deacon revolt at a growing young church in Olathe, and I stood on behalf of the pastor once again. This time seven deacons decided to leave. I don’t know how their lives turned out, but I do know it destroyed the heart of the pastor Tom Grove. It also caused the church to fold. He had done nothing worthy of their treatment, and a man’s ministry was destroyed. Other lives were affected. Woe to all those who cause others to stumble.

honor-determines-the-direction-of-your-familyHonor Determines the Direction of Your Family

Eli is a picture of the way dishonor for God can ruin your family and even your descendants.

And there came a man of God to Eli and said to him, “Thus the LORD has said, ‘Did I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh? Did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? I gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’ Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever. The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men. And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day. (1Sa 2:27-34)

eli-fell-over-and-diedThose who Honor God, He will honor. Those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Your children will not honor you, God will not honor you. Sure enough, his sons were slain, and when Eli heard the news, He keeled over and broke his neck and died.

How Honor Built a Godly Family

rechabites-honored-their-fatherHave you heard of the Rechabites? Read about them in Jeremiah 35.

Jeremiah called the descendants of Rechab in to the temple and offered them wine to drink. But they answered, “We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons forever. You shall not build a house; you shall not sow seed; you shall not plant or have a vineyard; but you shall live in tents all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn.’

They had honored their father Jonadab for over two hundred years. And because they had demonstrated honor, Jeremiah offered this word from the Lord: “But to the house of the Rechabites Jeremiah said, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father and kept all his precepts and done all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.””

When we honor the Lord, and we honor the lord’s messengers, we can ask God that of our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and beyond there will never be a time that one of our descendants will not stand before the Lord God. To me that would be the greatest reward, that my children and grandchildren would walk before the Lord. This is a Godly Heritage. This is a Legacy, that my family stands before the Lord!

Do You Doubt the importance of Honoring your church leaders? God repeats the command:

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. (1Th 5:12-13)

They are the only ones whom God says are worthy of Double Honor.

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” (1Ti 5:17-18)

If you have dishonored your church leaders in the past, confess your sin, there is mercy and forgiveness at the cross. Confess your sin to your children, there is mercy and forgiveness at the cross.

My Dad was an Area Committee Coordinator for the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts. It was late 1979 and early 1980 that the Institute was rocked by a scandalous discovery. It was discovered that Steve, Bill Gothard’s brother, was carrying on affairs with some of the staff secretaries. Rumors flew around the country. Some accused Bill, and at best said he should have known about it. Many said he did know and was even involved. It drove Bill to resign from his own ministry. But the board did a thorough investigation and asked Bill to come back. There were other problems as well.

looking-unto-jesusThrough it all my Dad kept faithfully serving, never got involved in the rumors, never showed any dishonor toward Bill or the organization. I couldn’t believe it. I remember one day going in to my dad’s office and saying, Dad, how can you continue to serve Bill the way you do?

He just looked at me and said, Son, I keep my eyes on Jesus.