Passing the Baton of Faith
Posted on Aug 24, 2017 in Faith Updates
A Generation Who Did Not Know God
(Excerpt from Unstoppable: Running the Race You Were Born to Win by Christine Caine, copyright Zondervan, 2014)
Joshua was the man God chose to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land, and he displayed incredible strength and courage in doing so. He was a mighty man of faith and an inspiring leader, but look what happened:
The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten… After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done for Israel. (Judges 2:7-8, Judges 2:10)
I find it almost incomprehensible that after living a life of such great faith, seeing countless signs and wonders, and winning so many victories, Joshua and his generation dropped the baton from one generation to the next. By God’s grace, they had defeated the Amalekites, crossed the Jordan River on dry ground, seen the walls of Jericho come down, and even seen the sun stand still. Yet after all of these miracles that showed the power and provision of a mighty God, the next generation – an entire generation – did not know the Lord or the work he had done for Israel.
Where was the legacy of Joshua’s generation?
Were they so busy defeating foreign armies that they forgot to remind their children that it had been the Lord who fought for them?
Were they not purposeful about passing those stories on to their children?
Did they not encourage their children to encounter God for themselves?
Maybe after many hard years of war, the parents dropped their guard, complacently dwelling in cities they had not built and eating the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards they did not plant.
We don’t know what happened, but something went horribly wrong. Whatever the gap, it had a crippling effect on the next generation. Whatever the reasons may have been, someone somewhere dropped the baton of faith. They stopped carrying on the baton of faith, and a great big God became so small in the eyes of his people that an entire generation could no longer see him.
As the Church, we are entrusted to pass the baton of faith from one generation to the next.
• The goal of the race is to become more like Christ.
• The baton is Christ at work in me and through me to the world.
• The race is the process of becoming like the one I’m running toward, Jesus Christ.
Since our race is focused on Jesus and His work, we’d best turn to Him to ensure we understand His priorities.
A teacher of the law asked Him this question:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36)
Jesus’ answer has come to be called the Greatest Commandment.
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ ” (Matthew 22:37-39).
It’s clear, then, since Jesus says this is the greatest commandment, that our top priority is to love God with everything we are and to love our neighbor.
Then after His resurrection, before He ascended to heaven, Jesus made a second crystal-clear statement about His greatest priorities. We know it as the Great Commission:
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
My observation is this: the Great Commission is clearly the logical outgrowth of the Greatest Commandment. If we love God with all that we are, then we want to enjoy Him and be with Him and live in His presence forever. Am I right? If the deepest and most all-encompassing love of our life is God, what could be more important than living in His presence every day of our lives on earth and for all eternity?
So likewise, if we love our neighbors as ourselves, we want them to know and enjoy that same thing; we want them to know God, enjoy Him, and live in His incomparable presence all the days of their lives on earth and for all eternity. True?
Therefore, the more the Greatest Commandment grows in our lives (the more we love God and neighbor), then the more the Great Commission grows in our lives (the more we want to invite others into living for and with God now and forever).
Do you see the critical link here?
If we love, then we want to disciple – to lead others to Jesus and teach them to follow Him. If we disciple, then we must love. We cannot do the one without the other.
I want to propose a radical thought for you to consider.
I believe that every baton God gives us, no matter what it might be, puts into practice one or the other or both of these priorities of God. The work of Christ in us, His work in our own lives and through us to the world, fulfills either the Greatest Commandment (to love) or the Great Commission (to make disciples) or both.
Here’s What’s Happening at Faith
Sunday Morning Fall Kick-off
Faith Family, we’re excited to begin another year of life and ministry together! Sunday, September 10 is an exciting morning for us: Adult and Youth GROW opportunities begin at 9am, Children’s ministries begin at 10:15am, Pastor Brad will kick off an important sermon series, and we’re hosting an all-church picnic on-site immediately after worship. We hope to see you there! We look forward to seeing what God has for us this year.
Grow Group – Sunday mornings
When you think of God, what do you see? When you describe God, what words do you use? Join us for an 8 week study on Sunday mornings at 9am that dives into 8 attributes of God: his goodness, sovereignty, holiness, wisdom, justice, love, and faithfulness. Fall more deeply in love with God as you encounter Him as He longs for you to see Him. Class begins September 10. Contact Heather at email@example.com.
“Keep On Keeping On” Grow Class
Calling adults of all ages! Did you know that God’s promise to “never leave you nor forsake you” is a sure thing? Do you believe that God is and will be there in all of the seasons of life? When the storms come, He is there. When you are desperate and don’t have words, He is there. When you face adversity, He is there. When you feel like you’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting, He is there. When you’ve reached the later stages of life and wonder if you’re still useful, He is there… saying YES! Join us this fall at 9am as we share our stories and are reminded of God’s promises and presence in our lives, from beginning to end (and forever). Class begins Sunday, September 17 with a potluck gathering on September 10. Contact Sue for more information about fellowship on September 10.
Fall Kick-off Night of Worship
Join us for a night of worship and prayer as we kick off our fall ministry season on Wednesday, September 13 at 6:30pm. All are welcome! The worship team will lead us in songs from all generations and styles, and help us celebrate the start of our new ministry year. All are welcome to join as we lift our voices in celebration and worship to our God. After the service we will fellowship and enjoy an ice cream treat.
Confirmation Class Informational Meeting
Parents of 8th or 9th graders and their student are invited to an informational meeting for Confirmation. If you would like to learn more about enrolling your child in this class, please come to the Legacy Chapel on Sunday, September 24 from 11:30am to noon. Older students who have not yet taken the class are also welcome. Questions will be answered and expectations clarified for this year long class meeting Sundays from 9-10:15am. If you can not attend, but would like more information, contact Nick or Lynn.
A Woman’s Journey of Discipleship: Bridges, Crossroads, and Friends
Women of all ages! We are excited to journey together this year in exploring what it looks like and what we act like when we live as a disciple of Jesus. Join us on September 20 at 6:30pm as we kick off the year with fellowship, food, and fun! You’ll also hear about how we’ll be spending the year working through a 3-part study on discipleship (by Navigator’s ministry). We are eager to see what God’s going to do in/through us! Studies begin the week of September 25. Class options are: Tuesdays, 9:30-11am or Wednesdays, 6:30-8pm. Childcare available by request. Cost of book: $11. For questions or registrations, contact Deb at 612.384.7376 or via email
Covenant Pines MEA Retreat
116 Student Ministries group will attend Covenant Pines for their fall MEA retreat, scheduled October 18-20 for junior high students and October 20-22 for senior high students. Covenant Pines offers an early bird discount price of $119 for junior high and $125 for senior high if students are registered and paid for by August 31. Price goes up another $15 after August 31. Sign up today by clicking HERE!
Online Giving = Good Planning
Want to help your church manage its resources well? Setting up monthly automatic giving allows you and Faith to plan more strategically the use of our resources. Doing so is easy. Click here!