How does your family wind down the "old year" and welcome in the new one? Our family has some annual reflective practices that start on Christmas day (the Jesus Box), then take more recognizable shape with written goals at our church's Vision Sunday service, and then more fully crystallize in practical form as we dialogue them on our annual family getaway the first week of January.
There are some years where my joyous reflections of the previous 12 months leap up off the written page like the joyous jumps represented in this picture (which was a lot harder to capture than you might imagine). There are other years where I am tempted to burn my old- school wall calendar in the fireplace as a symbolic response of forgetting the stresses and trials of the preceding year.
Which extreme version did 2022 represent for you?
As we reflect on the year ahead, I want to encourage us to think about those two powerhouse institutions, the family and the church, and what we can do to position them for maximum influence.
About 80 years after the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah, Malachi brings the fire with a reminder of our most powerful places of influence. If your church teaches the tithe, then you’re likely very familiar with Malachi Chapter 3 and the importance of firstfruits. But don’t miss the instruction on the influence of the family in Chapter 2, verse 15:
“Did God not make them (the husband and wife) one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring.” Malachi tells us that the prayers of men were hindered in this passage because of their ill-treatment of their wives. He accuses them of profaning the sanctuary and breaking faith with the marital covenant. In the final verse of this book, he says a day will come when the hearts of children will be turned back to their fathers and fathers to their children.
Friend, with the dramatic influx of parents taking up the reigns of discipleship in their homes right now, I believe we are living in the shadow of that day where hearts are turning homeward and heavenward.
Parents, let the sobering truth of the inheritance of Malachi's words sink in: there is a portion of the Spirit in your marriage. And the goal, the desired outcome of that relationship, is generational in nature: God desires that we would raise up godly offspring who will repeat the process until Jesus returns.
God’s eye is on the next generation. Is ours?
If you know me, you know I’m on a mission to reclaim education for the next generation from preschool to college. Today's GenZ and Alpha generations represent the most anxious, depressed, atheist generation in the history of our nation. As I wrote in Outsourced: Why America's Kids Need an Education Revolution, two forces have conspired to bring the reality of these stats to pass: A vacuum of leadership in the home and a residual spiritual impotence in the local church. Our children have been outsourced to the lowest bidder, America's public school system, an entity that has turned them into drones and clones.
If we are to see the “earth filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea,” the movement must begin in the home and overflow through the local church.
Maybe right now, God is stirring your heart to join the rescue mission. If so, DM us to talk further. We are standing by to help you break free from traditional education, to support families that are stepping out in courageous anticipation, and even to open your own church doors to the rescue mission.
The harvest is ready and the workers are few.
Malachi's mission calls us to step up and be part of the change, to keep the home fires burning and the vision fueled for impact.
As you start out this next year, why not begin with a renewed focus on the family, consecrating marriages and family to the call of Christ? Out of that overflow, we can partner together to train up a generation who will shift the culture for the kingdom.