Last week, I talked about the importance of being a World Changer so you can raise World Changers. This week I’m going to share with you the five “stones” needed to do so. While there are many strategies and tips you can use to help you on this journey, I have found these particular five habits to be indispensable in raising young men and women after God’s own heart.
Are you ready?
Stone 1: Because God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6), and God’s grace is the foundation to dynamic living and ministry, ALWAYS be quick to apologize to your children when you blow it. And between you and me, that happens more frequently than we care to admit. They will respect this, and it will actually serve to bridge any gap in communicating the next four principles.
Stone 2: Spend regular time in the Word, prayer, and worship so as to train them. Concerning God’s Word, Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (NIV). You can do this in regular, planned times as well as unplanned, teachable moments.
I always counted it my privilege to put my children down at night. We would read the Bible, discuss it, and pray. I would then lay my hands on them and pray over them, “ … and Lord, make them World Changers!” Then I would sing a song over them (this is what God does for us—Zephaniah 3:17) and I have even on occasion done a rap over them (not necessarily recommended and no Scripture comes to mind here). Should I have lost track of time in the evening, inevitably one of my children would come to me: “Daddy, can you put me down now?” They looked forward to this time together.
Stone 3: Have them spend regular time each morning with Jesus. Each of my children had to do their five things before breakfast and this was one of them. Over time this duty turned to delight.
Early one morning while praying with a cup of coffee in my hand and circling our back porch (coffee and walking help keep me focused that early) crying out to my heavenly Father, I turned to find my little 3-year-old Jenny Rose following closely behind repeating, “Father, Father,” and gesturing with her hands as she saw me doing. I laughed and cuddled her as I was struck by the sincerity and simplicity of her heart. Little children can be this way.
Some years later I found that in order for me early in the morning to grab my Bible that lay in my study, I needed to step over this same “little one” whose posture in prayer was now quite different—prostrate on the floor crying out in desperate prayer to her heavenly Father. My “little girl” was blossoming into a World Changer.
Stone 4: This stone will need some time shaping. Instill in them a sense of divine destiny. About King David it was said, “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep” (Acts 13:36, NIV). Feed their dreams. Constantly encourage them to pursue God’s purposes. But graciously help them extract “self” from their visions of kingdom exploits. I know I needed this as a young man desiring to be in a Christian rock band. Eventually, God began to reveal His true purposes for me, but only as I embraced the principle of “more of Him and less of me.”
Stone 5: To raise a giant killer and kingdom builder, you must move them toward ministry. Initially you will take them with you, but later they will initiate ministry on their own. I have taken them evangelizing, their mother has introduced them to nursing home ministry, and they have all helped in the planting of our church here in Orlando, Florida. I love hearing their stories of how God has used them to share the gospel with students, professors, or workmates. Here is where we see the fruit of our years of hard labor. And it is so worth the sacrifice.
May these five principles serve as stepping stones toward instilling kingdom values in your World Changers-to-be (and you just might want to check your supply of Popsicle sticks).
Now … let’s go slay some giants!