"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving...For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations." Psalm 100:5
"For He established a testimony in Jacob...which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children; that the generation to come might know them...that they may arise and declare them to their children." - Psalm 78: 5-6
"To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever." - Ephesians 3:21
By the age of 50+ your diverse experiences in the Lord - both good and bad - have brought to you through the first, second and now into the third season of life. You have been seasoned and prepared to understand your true calling - to model His blessings to all generations - and to then speak that blessing. Talk about a high calling!
At Paradise Church in Phoenix, AZ we are learning the joy of growing and walking in a fresh intimacy with our Heavenly Father, with the aid of the new Trading Up video workshop - featuring Doug Sherman and Mark Bankord helping boomers make small daily steps - from lving a self-centered life to a God-centered life.
If you are ready to gain a fresh perspective on your second half of life mission, and then coached on how to best tell the 'story of your life' with the power of the Spirit of God, then you are going to love this book!
50+ers have been called to bless future generations by creating and documenting our unique spiritual legacy, says author and pastor John Boneck.
John has done the body of Christ (and surrounding culture) a BIG favor in writing 50+ The Emerging Joshua & Caleb Generation - which is destined to give added purpose and power to Christians of every generation.
"We're not retiring, we're refiring," says John in his Introduction. The elder generations have always been called upon by God to bless future generations. This book prophetically declares blessing the generation is not only 'mission-possible' - it is truly 'mission-critical' in this hour of history!
John begins by sharing the commonalities between God's faithfulness to all generations, as reflected in Joshua and Caleb - which he sees as a big part of the clarion call and mission statement for the 50+ baby boomer generation.
PART I: Activating God's Purposes
After receiving a promise from God, have you ever had to patiently wait for the fullness of time to bring it about?
Me too. How about wandering 40 years in the wilderness, which is what Joshua and Caleb were given God's grace to endure before finally reaching God's promise land.
Forty years is almost half our lifetime on earth, but it is a blink of time in eternity. God wants His purpose fulfilled by every generation to carry on His family legacy. Caleb's purpose was to pass God's promised inheritance onto his children - and present-day Joshuas and Calebs will do the same.
"The younger generation needs us, we are called to be their covering...we are to lead the next generation into kingdom life. They can't make it to God's promised land without us," John boldly and passionately declares.
"We are called to live with the Spirit of the Lord at the center of our lives. We are called to train the younger generation in spiritual warfare...to be elders in the gate and a protection for those who seek refuge."
Chapter two illuminates the topic of shaking off the "Wilderness Years". The residue of life's stumbling blocks, or "necessary suffering". Boomers often feel like "spiritual orphans", unaccepted and unfulfilled in a modern church that sees the younger generation as its only hope.
If we accept the premise that our children are our only hope, it may also lead to a feeling of being disqualified for God using us to accomplish greater things our own future - and our children and grandchildren's future also.
"If you think you are not qualified because of some things you have done, then you do not understand how much you Heavenly Father loves you," says Boneck, pointing to the numerous examples of God's most faithful men, like Moses, David and the Apostle Paul, who were used mightily despite their many character flaws.
"All that you've experienced, both good and bad, have now qualified you for the great calling and purpose in your life in the years ahead - and at one of the most crucial moments in history," writes John.
The author recounts his defining moment when God the Father hugged him, saying "for the first time in my life, I had a personal recognition that God the Father loved me." From that day on he understood; he existed to love God and live a Kingdom life. He could then move beyond seeking his identity in the church.
"Our great calling for future years is ahead of us, but until we let go of past hurts in our lives, we may not understand or see the plan," writes John.
The payoff for shedding baggage of the past is "to protect future generations from having to walk through some bad things. And if needed, to confront the lie that your sin is greater than God's forgiveness."
On the topic of spiritual warfare, John quotes from Rick Joyner's book, "The Final Quest", which details how Christians have become imprisoned in their own minds and by spirits of deception from the enemy, bad theology and the lies of the world system.
Once we comprehend the enemy's tactics - and how he uses divisive and religious spirits to counterfeit the church and power of God - we are in a position to "make demons tremble... to bring healing and hope to those around us and to future generations."
The author's deep respect for the importance of our words, i.e. "Life and death are in the power of the tongue," ( Proverbs 18:21) is beautifully reflected on each page. The reader is called to clearly discern who we may be allowing to defines us - the world, our mind or God.
How do we as children of God think your Heavenly Father sees us?
Far beyond our earthly parents, Father God delights in showing His love in every circumstance because sees all of our potential. But most Christians have not seen Him clearly, often looking through the distorted lens of religion, says Boneck - reflecting agreement with Doug Sherman in his important book, More Than Ordinary, and Trading Up workshop.
"Religion is a false god. It keeps us from following the first and greatest commandment of loving the Lord our God will all our heart, soul and mind. (Matt. 22:37) Religion keeps people in bondage or worse." Like Joshua and Caleb we are called to cast off acting religously in favor of living righteously.
"Just imagine what it would mean if you personally could help ten people you know to remove the religion from their lives and instead walk spiritually, in a deep love relationship with God...Well, when you are radical in your love for God and ruthless with the false god of religion, that can happen."
Wow, what a great challenge for every baby boomer today. To be a part of God's transformation of others lives. "To walk in our calling as our Father has intended, our eyes have to be free of personal prejudices, biases and discrimination...seeing every member of the body of Christ as special."
The importance of always looking forward become more challenging in the second half of life - due to the tendency to hold on to hurts or losses from the past. "When we look forward rather than backward, we see things differently than the world sees them...We declare blessings to future generations...We act as elders providing life-giving words of wisdom" based on a lifetime of seeing God's faithfulness in our lives.
We also begin to look outward, rather than dwelling on our inward self. We begin to live life outside the church walls in close fellowship with our Maker, which keeps us growing, moving and challenged. John gives a great example; Start viewing yourself as a church greeter rather than waiting around for others to reach out to you first.
PART II - Applying God's Purposes
"Now that we have entered the second half-century of our lives, who do we look to for guidance?" asks John.
The answer is much closer than you think.
"God has been preparing you to walk in power and authority, love and compassion, wisdom and understanding, gentleness and strength, and mercy and grace throughout your life. We, as the Joshua and Caleb generation, also get to set the standard for future generations," writes Boneck.
"What if your whole life has been a preparation for doing some remarkable things in your senior years, asks John, using Biblical examples such as Simeon, who witnessed the fulfillment of God's promise, that he would see and even bless Baby Jesus before his own death. God wants us to do likewise - to hold and bless our grandchildren and perhaps great-grandchildren in the years ahead.
In Ephesians 4:13-15 Paul admonishes the elders to grow up, "... to attain the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we will no longer be children...speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things unto Him who is the head - Christ."
Who better to demonstrate the power of God than our generation's spiritual grown-ups? Who will set the standard for future generations if not us? Jesus has blessed us in order to be a blessing to our family and community.
Jesus often blessed his disciples as well as crowds. "He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. ..while He blessed them, He was parted from them and carried up into heaven," Luke 24:50-52.
Jesus final act on earth was to bless those watching Him ascend to the Father. John explains spiritual parenting as, "not widely seen or understood in the church at large. Consequently some us 50+ers don't recognize the spiritual mantle we are actually wearing."
John clarifies, "We, like God the Father, want to see spiritual offspring, to bless them, speaking power, fruitfulness, and multiplication into their futures, ordaining them to their place of dominion as sons and daughters of the Father, living with Kingdom authority."
Wow again. We must become a spiritual model for our spiritual children - by continually turning to our Heavenly Father in all circumstances with trust, thankfulness and love. The Apostle Paul fathered many spiritual children, such as Timothy.
"Our society and cultural Christianity have fostered a lot of spiritual orphans, not connected to spiritual parents, although they want to be. In each person, God the Father has placed a spiritual genetic desire to be connected to spiritual parents...We have learned so much along the way, our hearts for them compel us to share the stories of God's faithfulness," writes Boneck, echoing Doug Sherman's recommendation to share recent "God stories" which model our daily Christian walk in the Trading Up video workshop.
If this sounds like an important new assignment from God for you, then you'll love the closing chapters of this book which suggests guidelines for how to get started "blessing" the generations.
John suggests a good first step for 50+ers is to begin writing down your spiritual legacy. Why? Because we overcome the accuser of the brethren by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. (Rev. 12:10-11).
Spiritual legacy stories is not preaching, nor teaching, it is simply sharing a spiritual life experience that has made and impact in your life. "They touch the next generation, they guide our children and grandchildren" in powerful ways we may never know. The result, "That they (future generations) may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments." (Psalm 78:7).
"These powerful life stories break through the religious spirit that is prevalent today...Our stories will help usher in the next 'Great Awakening'. We are the true emerging generation, stepping into our calling, covering future generations and leading them to their 'promised land'".
Indeed, the generation gap is about to be filled by 50+ers who are ready to declare an end to the era of estrangement and restoring generational connections. John offers readers his simple "Spiritual Legacy Mission Statement: We will declare God's faithfulness, power and provision to future generations, that they too may know and live in God's love and purpose."
The last third of the book is devoted to providing tools to help you share with others what God has done in your lifetime. You can watch several of these spiritual legacies that MorningStar 50+ers have recorded on Youtube.
At this Youtube link you can meet John in his intro video for MorningStar 50+ Conference in May 2013.
Final thought: This book is a game-changer for every boomer wondering if their best years are still ahead... or behind!