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Summary: The spiritual life of those in their teens. It reflects one of the greatest opportunities that we have... and a calling that I trust God will stir in each if us.

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Being Faithful to the Future

Series: NEXTing - Serving Jesus’ Call to the Next Generations

Brad Bailey – June 5, 2011

‘Teen Spiritual Life’ video (3:55 min)

Montage video from Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers by Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, (DVD and book published by Oxford: Oxford University)

The spiritual life of those in their teens. It reflects one of the greatest opportunities that we have... and a calling that I trust God will stir in each if us this morning.

As we headed towards the start of this year… I began to pray about what God might have for us in terms of priority and pursuit… and God drew me into a call to serve Jesus’ call to the next generations.

I shared with our team of pastors and elders and there was certainly a shared commitment.

This calling is really a re-engaging a calling…. In 2000... God gave us a two fold call… facility and the next generation.. in 2001 God responded… ten years ago this month we dedicated this facility…. began something… it was not a place to call home but a facility to steward the future. We knew that we must not seek a monument but a movement. We are stewards of that calling.

Whatever is good… whatever is great… is that which we don’t want to see lost. And ultimately the greatest good is the work of God… and the greatest means to lasting is to invest in those behind us.

The Psalmist writes,

Psalm 78:4, 6-7 (MSG)

“We're not keeping this to ourselves, we're passing it along to the next generation— GOD's fame and fortune, the marvelous things he has done. …So the next generation would know, and all the generations to come… can trust in God.”

This is not merely a desire that they would know ABOUT God but to actually experience a life of trusting relationship.

In Psalm 71 we read…

“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” - Psalm 71:18 (NIV)

These are not the cries solely of parents but of all who can see what matters most…ALL who recognize that the most important responsibility in life… is being faithful to the future.

In defining our vision as a community… we have stated… that our vision includes being,

“A church where successive generations of lives and leaders will be blessed to rise up and reach their own generation.”

• As a community we have taken that calling to heart in many ways. We have invested in developing a significant opportunity for younger lives to gather – children, youth, and younger adults. We are committed to relating, raising up, and releasing younger lives while also staying integrated as a multi-generational community.

• But the challenges that younger lives face has been raised even higher and we desire to serve the call they must rise to. They face a culture that has now become clearly post-Christian, post-modern, and pluralistic. We may join many who bemoan the loss of traditional morality.

> But those behind us don’t need our regrets… they need our faith... the dynamic of a living faith that joins the reality of change. They need us to become less interested in the good old days… and more faithful to join them in the days they must make their way.

• It’s not an easy road. As many may already know, a majority of youth leave the church before their second year of college. They don’t necessarily leave their faith entirely… but they wander in various ways… often at a great cost. Many of us know because we have been those lives… the connection we found with God just wasn’t personal enough or vital enough keep hold of us. [1]

In this mini-series we are going to engage some of what that involves… a choice that we sum up with the word ‘NEXTing’

NEXTing is about Serving Jesus’ Call to the Next Generations

The word ‘generations’ is plural because we are not focusing on a particular generation but on the reality that there are always lives ten or twenty years younger that we share a responsibility for. Everyone can be a part of NEXTing.

God is always raising up new generations…but how are we participating in that process? How might we hinder that process? How might we help that process? In this series we will each discover how we can serve Jesus’ call to those who follow us… whatever our age or stage in life may be.

We see a dynamic example of this in Joshua 24. If you are familiar with the Old Testament and history of Israel… you may recall that Joshua is the one who served as the leader of God’s people after Moses died. [2] [3]

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