I was privileged to meet Jed Duarte, a third generation missionary to Brazil, for coffee as a get-to-know meeting. Very quickly, my heart was blessed by his testimony of absolute surrender. Our theme this year is I Will Follow. Here is a young man who made that decision and is having the time of his life. I wanted to share it, so we sat down for a quick interview. Jed and his family will be with us at Grace Baptist Church on September 30 for the final Sunday of Mission Weeks.
There is no end of talk about the characteristics of the millennial generation. As a millennial myself, a characteristic that I am burdened about is the willingness to criticize the older generation. Sure, every generation, including the millennials, has its blind spots and failures. You would be hard pressed to find a preacher in his 60’s who would not readily admit theirs. My question is this. What should the focus of millennials be as we are taking the mantle of ministry? It seems that many of my generation are so focused on the issues of the past, valid and invalid, that they have forgotten the present mission. Many would rather sit behind a keyboard and criticize than knock on doors and preach the Good News. God did not commission us to be critiques but to be couriers. I believe we need to refocus and set our priorities right.
- Focus on Continuing
Paul commanded Timothy to continue not critique in the things he had learned. Let’s not be so in love with “new” that we ditch what is good old, real Christian practice. I hear so many criticize the last generation’s standards as legalistic throwing them out the window not realizing they have just ripped out key protections of purity wisely put in place. Check your heart when you find yourself zealous to disregard that which you have been taught. Be careful to follow the wise advice of the Apostle Paul to continue in the things you have been taught.
- Focus on the Commission
In these last days, we must use the strength of our youth to preach Jesus boldly, publicly and constantly. The devil would love to sidetrack us with the wrong doing of a preacher, a vendetta against standards or a desire to be accepted. Bottom line, Jesus has called us to follow Him so that we could be fishers of men. We need a laser focus on the great commission influencing others to follow suit and turn our worlds upside down. Have you stopped to think that the time taken to write that criticizing blog may have been better used planning an outreach campaign or just getting some tracts and going soul winning. Let’s be busy for Jesus and for souls!
- Focus on the Christlikeness
This is the ultimate goal of every believer. Jesus has clearly revealed Himself in the Word and commands us follow His example. Let us be passionate about following His commands to hate sin, to be holy, to love not the world, to preach the Gospel everywhere, to walk as children of the light and to prove all things. It saddens me to hear millenials criticize the older generation’s practices as legalistic and unbiblical while many of them simply had a desire to follow Jesus and obey his commands—to be Christlike. We must personally focus on following and becoming like our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Do you long for God to move in your life, in your church and in our nation? I believe that God is still in the business of hearing and answering prayer for revival. Some may scoff at the notion of revival, yet time and time again throughout history God has a revived His people as the cried out to Him in contrition. God is looking for believers to be desperate for His reviving presence. As you pray for revival here are some helpful points to personally consider.
- You must put away any unconfessed sin. Isaiah 57:15 “For thus saith the high and lofty One
That inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, With him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” The heart of our Lord is to revive. We must do our part and He will do His.
- You must put away any doubtful habit. There is plenty that dazzles and distracts. Some we see as outright sin and we avoid it. However, some habits are like weights that hold us back from all that God desires to do in and through our lives. What is your weight? Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” No earthly habit is worth the substitution of God’s reviving presence.
- You must obey the Holy Spirit promptly. John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:” The role of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to guide into the truths that we are to be living. We cannot please God if we choose not to listen and respond.
- You must confess Christ publicly. Psalm 51:13 “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” The revived believer will have no problem speaking out for Christ. It will be the desire of his heart.
Revival is still possible and God’s Word gives us guidance in how to experience it. May God cause my generation to have a passion to see God move. Remember, with God all things are possible.
In this post I expanded on Robert Evans’ Four Points concerning revival.