In understanding the times, generational batons are in the process of being passed within the global church today. The dynamics of those elements of the Body demonstrating the reality of God is unlike any previous era. The generation that launched the church of today began with an outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord.
From segments of the world where believers were severely persecuted to segments where through fervent prayer, the spiritually hungry were reaching beyond the status quo of a powerless complacency, the result has been the seedbed for the generation at hand.
Today, within a world connected and defined by technology is a clutter and clamor to be heard. Distortions and manipulations of reality abound as much within the global Body, as they do within the world around it. Yet, before us lies a dynamic.
It is a subtle dynamic, the potential with a threshold of which spiritually has never before been broached on this level. Across the generations, beginning with those passing the baton who were igniters of the fire, are generations linked together for what lies ahead.
Understanding and embracing the continuity and power operating beyond single generations is vital to both the fullness and destiny God intends for His people.
Yet, a serious challenge exists with the continuity, the linking between generations. Indeed, especially within the Western church today, the culture of the world impacting those emerging into adulthood, is a clutter and clamor deeply rooted in attitudes and behaviors designed to undermine a life of faith in God.
During the late 1970s, I ran a company that looked behind the scenes into the dynamics of markets and customers. Our efforts were foundational to strategic decision making and planning. defining market opportunity, as well determining the feasibility of new technologies. We measured behavior, attitudes and the dynamics which anticipate change and forecast trends.
However, these were the early days in which activists, politicians and companies began making questionable use of research, surveys and statistics to enhance their goals and efforts. In this setting there emerged a book, the premise of which bears on defining these realities with integrity.
This book is appropriately titled: “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics.” Sadly, more often than not the misuse of otherwise valid statistics has become the means to persuade, promote and deceive rather than to define and bring clarity. Today, such distortions of truth have been used to promote programs and dogma and to raise funds within sophisticated circles of the Church.
Christianity Today recently illustrated this misuse of statistics with the example being used of 80 percent of the youth leaving the church, never to return. There simply was no foundation to these claims. However, data developed by LifeWay Research revealed that about 70% of young adults who had attended mainline and evangelical churches regularly for at least one year in high school, in fact, dropped out — for a time. Yet, almost two-thirds returned as regular parishioners.
Looking beyond the matter of the manipulation of perceptions, this issue points to a significant and highly contested spiritual battleground: the continuity between generations.
The Historical Generational Dynamic
At the core of the Lord’s reasons for choosing Abraham was that he would instruct his children and his household after him, to keep the way of the Lord (Gen 18:19). This simple, yet significant dynamic has defined the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob over the centuries. Despite the importance of Abraham’s encounters with God, what followed and established the foundations for the descendents of Abraham transcended his life. It illustrates the importance of the process that builds upon and unfolds when the generations are properly linked.
The Lord explained this to Abraham at the time he entered into his covenant with God. Scripture tells us that God spoke to Abraham telling him that his descendents would be strangers in a land that was not theirs. In that context, their host nation would afflict them for 400 years. For this, God would judge that nation. Then his descendents would return to the land God gave to Abraham. The Lord’s outlook is beyond time with the generations linked.
The Cultural Generational Pathway
In revealing Himself to Moses and the generation of God’s people Moses led, God referred to Himself as the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
God has always had a plan and a purpose for those called by His name. It incorporates a cultural pathway to eliminate the distortion and side-trips to bring clarity to the will and destiny God has for his people.
The Apostle Paul wrote the Romans, who were experiencing a cultural paradigm shift with their new-found faith: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed, by the renewing of your minds, that you might find that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”
During a recent venue in Vietnam, I had occasion to explain our God-centered entrepreneurial community program to a group of university students. Almost all came from a perspective of having little to no spiritual foundations. Yet, as I began talking about cultural identity, the development of their gifts and the plans needed for walking out a purposeful and meaningful destiny, I found not only an eagerness, but a hunger for the spiritual dimensions God uses to enhance and fulfill these dynamics.
Among the people of God, the connections that endure from one generation to another have their foundation in culture: biblical, Jewish, Kingdom culture. When those elements converge to operate within connected generations, there is a spiritual force released beyond what a single generation, having had the baton of the mantle passed to them, could do on its own.
When Pioneering Generations Connect
Joshua was groomed by Moses. After his and Caleb’s significant response to reconnoitering the Promised Land, Joshua’s role with Moses was significant. Amazing challenges were surmounted to the benefit of the entire community, due to the alliance between Moses and Joshua. Then, it became even more so when Moses was gone and Joshua assumed his full mantle of leadership. God is continually using His people, who are willing to get outside the box, to pioneer.
The oral tradition initiated by Abraham evolved into a carefully scribed written one. The psalmist (Psalm 105) captures the focus as God uses connected generations to advance His agendas: “Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His presence continually. Remember the works He has done, His wonders and the judgments He has pronounced.”
When Joshua took the helm, the Lord gave Joshua a clear word: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged.” The Lord then told Joshua to adhere to the words God had given Moses as the basis for the success this “community” of pioneers he was leading.
The mentorship and partnership of purpose between Moses and Joshua represents the highest potential in the order of things in our cultural destiny as a people of God. Moses provided the means of continuity for the next generation by putting it all in writing. Then the Lord emphasized to Joshua the importance of keeping themselves immersed in these words as the foundation for their future success and prosperity.
David carefully passed on his legacy to Solomon He did so in written plans (I Chron 28:19) he had developed in concert with the Lord: “All this, the Lord made me to understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the work of these plans.”
From the time the Angel of the Lord so instructed Abraham (Genesis 22:17), the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as a people, over the millennia, have retained the trans-generational continuity God designed to fulfill their destiny as a society of game-changers.
We share in that cultural destiny. Jesus referred to this culture as the Kingdom of God. This is what Jesus was praying in His high-priestly prayer (John 17) that: “We would be in the world, but not of the world.” This very Jewish statement, in essence, says that we are a culture within a culture.
A Change in Thinking
Jesus began His earthly ministry with the words: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” To repent simply means to change your thinking. To grasp the truths connecting the seen and unseen realms requires a different way of thinking, thinking that transcends the culture of the world around us.
Viewing the world around us through the prism of culture and history requires a long-range, big-picture perspective that transcends time. While not even scratching the surface, that opens us up more to the perspective, the thinking of God. The priorities and even biblical traditions outlined by Moses serve to nurture the God-dependency, trans-generational and culture within a culture framework. It is the foundation for what God intended for those called by His Name in the world: to be the head and not the tail.
The West, for all its positives, has digressed into a culture defined and driven far too much by the myopic and materialistic. Short-sighted, instantaneous gratification represent the prisms which determine the priorities for too many within the society in which we live. This short-term approach to the priorities of life also provides generational constraints which tends toward the clash of generations rather than the building upon one another.
Americans tend to define, operate and polarize themselves within generational boundary constraints without bridging the gaps to capitalize on their continuity. Those born between 1924-1945, the Silent Generation led to The Baby Boomers, those born between 1946-1964. The Baby Boomers followed an era in which the future of Western civilization was in the balance. Then came Generation X, those born between 1965-1976, followed by the Millennials, those reaching adulthood in the mid 90s to early 2000s. Each are driven by different perspectives and priorities.
Yet, that is not to say that generations will not reflect a different focus. It is to say that the common ground of enduring values between the generations is what should be emphasized. I have on occasion observed groups that major in minors and minor in the major things. This is precisely the issue causing Jesus to come down so hard on the religious elite. What they were doing was also for them and not the people. Instead of mapping out God’s blueprint for those they were expected to serve, hungry for self-serving power and short-sighted, they went around trying to stamp out evil based on “minors,” of issues Jesus referred to as the precepts of men.
Having raised up children in the way they should go, one of the most effective means of bridging the gap between generations is the Jewish rite of passage: the bar mitzva and bat mitzva. It is an acknowledgement of adulthood, but with vital, core issue training reflecting the reason God chose Abraham, because he would instruct his children and household (employees) in the way of the Lord. It becomes the foundation for what God is doing.
Scripture tells us not to be conformed to the world. Do not let the world squeeze you into its mold, but rather be transformed in order to enter the higher destiny that God has ordained for each of us known by His Name. To do so fully requires a trans-generational culture and thinking. It requires a reset, what Paul referred to as a renewal, in our thinking.
The author of the book of Hebrews illustrates this trans-generational thinking that operates beyond time in making the astounding statement about the “great cloud of witnesses, who apart from us, would not be made perfect.”
Beyond the Realm of Time
When Jesus took His inner circle to what biblical accounts refer to as the Mount of Transfiguration, they stepped outside the realm of time. Jesus had the habit of slipping away and sometimes spending the entire night in prayer. This time he took James, John and Peter with him.
As He prayed, His face was altered and His garments took on a bright whiteness unlike any earthly garments. As this change, this transfiguration took place, Moses and Elijah appeared in the realm of glory with Jesus.
There are many very important observations gleaned from this amazing event. It marked the turning of Jesus to Jerusalem and the incredible shift of restoration Jesus was to bring to mankind. It illustrates, through Peter’s impetuousness, the limitations of our human perspective when there is so much more.
Yet, for me what shouts is that this event gives a glimpse into the unseen realm around us that operates beyond the realm of time and where the generations connect. It illustrates that the potential for bridging this gap into this realm is through the avenue of prayer.
There also was a reason Jesus took His inner circle with Him. He was exposing them to the reality, the NOW of this dimension, which would forever change their response to the world operating around them. Indeed, it was the launch by which John, Peter and James were never the same and became the catalysts of changing the world around them.
In our efforts in Vietnam, the focus has been on providing broad opportunity among the brethren to start self-supporting businesses. Then among the leaders we work with, we are developing the means and strategies by which they connect with, walk with and mentor the next generation of entrepreneurial marketplace leaders.
In this process, a dynamic of trust and continuity has been set in motion across communities in which this thrust has been operating. Indeed, the fruits of these efforts are becoming a light, attracting the non-believers around them. Did not Jesus say: “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” The reality of God is being demonstrated, drawing in the an ever-widening circle of the spiritually hungry, responding by provoking change in the spiritual climate.
The Kingdom of God is being manifested. The way of the Kingdom challenges the way of the world. You live by dying (to self). You bring increase by generosity. You bless your enemies. You lead by serving. Honor comes through humility. The Kingdom culture connects the generations and is the bridge between the seen world that we live in and the unseen world. It exists simply a breath away, or as we have observed, a prayer away. To the degree that we grasp and tap the unseen realm, we become game-changers for the seen world around us.
My great-grandfather was born in Ireland. His dad, my great-great grandfather, died as a hero in the Crimean War when my great-grandfather was but an infant. My great-grandfather immigrated to the US, alone, when he was 16. He was a man of faith, who became an intenerate pastor for communities without churches in rural Alabama.
My dad, who lost his mother when he was nine, was the chosen grandson my great-grandfather used as his assistant with the services he held in those unchurched communities. I recall my dad telling me about my great-grandfather. Although he died years before I was born, even as a boy, I felt this unusual connection with him, with his mantle in serving God. I have no doubt there were prayers prayed by my great-grandfather that are being fulfilled and exceeded in the Kingdom work I currently have underway.
Indeed, we live with the knowledge of having so great cloud of witnesses around us, observing the level at which we tap the realm that connects the generations across the ages. Yet, as we meld our futures between three and even four generations of those now living in the seen realm, we harness a great potential that far exceeds what might be accomplished through any single generation.
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and then Joseph. When the generations within a community are bound together for common purposes in their service to the Lord, it is the trigger for releasing creativity, growth and destiny through which the blessings transcend the ages.
Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner and spokesman for the higher dimensions of business leadership since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program, Mr. Ruddick imparts hope and equips economic community builders to be blessed to be a blessing where God’s light is dim in diverse regions around the globe.
He is author of “The Joseph-Daniel Calling;” “Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;” “The Heart of a King;” “Something More;” “Righteous Power in a Corrupt World;” “Leadership by Anointing;” and “Mantle of Fire,” which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders with destinies to impact their communities. They are available in print and e-versions from www.Amazon.com, www.apple.com/ibooks and www.BarnesandNoble.com.
Global Initiatives Foundation (www.strategic-initiatives.org) is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 non-profit whose efforts are enabled by the generosity of a remnant of faithful friends and contributors whose vision aligns with God’s heart to mobilize economic community builders imparting influence and the blessings of God. Checks on US banks should be made out to Global Initiatives and mailed to PO Box 370291, Denver CO 80237 or by credit card at http://strategicintercession.org/support/
Likewise, email us to schedule a seminar for your group’s gathering on the Joseph-Daniel Calling or on anointing the creative in business.
2017 Copyright Morris Ruddick — firstname.lastname@example.org
Reproduction is prohibited unless permission is given by a SIGN advisor. Since early 1996, the Strategic Intercession Global Network (SIGN) has mobilized prophetic intercessors and leaders committed to targeting strategic-level issues impacting the Body on a global basis. For previous posts or more information on SIGN, check: http://www.strategicintercession.org