Gen Z, Jesus in Everyday Life, Loving Others, Mentor, Mothers, Mothers and Others, My Story, Surrender to Jesus

Happy Mother’s and Other’s Day!–Passing the Torch of our Spiritual Heritage

2 TIMOTHY 1_1-2

~ A Little Background ~

On the night of July 19, 64 AD, a year or two before Paul penned this letter from the cold, overcrowded, unsanitary dungeon of a Roman prison, Nero torched Rome. (Presumably to circumvent the Senate’s restrictions to clear space for an extensive new palace.)

For six day the fire raged, devouring 10 of the city’s 14 districts. The losses were catastrophic! Countless lives, homes, businesses, temples, crops, etc. were reduced to ash.

And everyone knew he did it.

He knew he did it.

But in an effort to exonerate himself and redirect the ferocious ire of his people, Nero pinned the blame on the already detested Christians. He ingeniously capitalized on the energy created by their consuming desire for retribution by fueling their existing prejudice with false accusations and ordering the torture and excessive persecution of several thousand throughout the empire.

In other words, Nero distracted his people from the conspiracy surrounding the inferno by giving them an outlet for their rage. And in the process, he took care of an annoyance (the Christians) and isolated himself so he could start construction on his palace.

And it worked.

As a result, churches, like the one in Ephesus, which were already crippled by ungodly behavior, skewed theology, apostasy, heresy, and persecution (see 1 Timothy) were coming apart at the seams. Church leaders, including Timothy, were subjected to constant barbarity. Many were publicly tortured and martyred along with their congregations. This not only undermined effectiveness, but it also eroded their confidence and grit at an alarming rate.

This was a season of terror like nothing Christians had never known before. Darkness and fear ruled the day. Hatred and violence closed in on every side. Their rights were savaged. Friends, relatives, neighbors were brutalized or killed almost daily.

And it was all government sanctioned.

Then Paul was imprisoned…

2 TIMOTHY 2_9-10

Incarceration was nothing new to Paul. In fact, five or six years earlier he was under house arrest in Rome. And despite the constant presence of an armed guard he was relatively comfortable, had several visitors, and enjoyed a few freedoms. But this time was drastically different. He was chained up like a notorious criminal and forced to live in deplorable conditions. Any hope of relief or freedom this side of heaven was nil.

As wretched as his situation was, what most agonized him was the abandonment he felt when everyone in Asia Minor deserted him (1:15; 4:10, 16), with the exception of Luke (4:11) and Onesiphorus. (1:15)

How he was able to acquire the materials and light to pen this beautiful and final letter to Timothy I don’t know. But I do know Paul knew his time here on earth was short, that his life and ministry were about to end, (4:6-8) and he wanted to encourage and strengthen his spiritual son as he passed the baton of leadership into his shaky hands. (4:5)

2 Timothy 2_9b

You’re probably thinking…

This is great stuff! Cheyenne, you’re a genius! (OK, maybe not—a girl can dream)

What on earth

does this have to do with

Mother’s and Other’s Day???

2 TIMOTHY 1_5

Nestled in the opening of this empowering letter, Paul highlights Timothy’s heritage of faith (1:5; 3:14-17).

Its foundation was laid by his mom and grandma—not Paul. Yes, Paul most likely introduced these ladies to Jesus on his first missionary journey. But…

  • It was these two women who raised him and taught him about life.
  • It was these women who loved and guided him.
  • It was these women who planted seeds of faith in his young heart.
  • It was these women who nurtured that seed until it grew into a thriving devotion.
  • It was these women who prayed for him and helped him prepare for God’s call.

So when Paul visited on his second journey, Tim already knew Christ, had a profound faith, and was “well thought of by the believers” (Acts 16:2). This incited Paul to adopt him as his spiritual son and take him with them on their journey. (vs. 3)

Imagine if these two women kept their faith to themselves. Didn’t share with Tim or nurture his faith. How would have his life been different—and ours with no 1 & 2 Timothy?

Their influence changed the trajectory of his life!

So much so that Paul’s reminders of these two influential women would have brought comfort to this fainthearted and weary man. Their names alone would trigger memories of their love, unwavering faith, and the many lessons they taught him. These memories, in turn, had the power to ease his anxiety in the midst of fear, discouragement, and brutality.

2 TIMOTHY 2_1-2

Ladies (and gentlemen), that’s what this has to do with Mother’s and Other’s Day!

As mothers and others, we have the opportunity to imitate these women and influence the generation coming behind us—influence that will resonate long after we’re gone.
  • We can raise or help raise them and teach them about life.
  • We can love and guide them.
  • We can plant seeds of faith in their young hearts.
  • We can nurture those seeds until they grow into a thriving devotion.
  • We can pray for them and help them prepare for God’s call.

What a privilege!

For me, there is no greater thrill than this!

But we must be intentional and determined. We have a small window to make an explosive impact on these young ones as Lois and Eunice did on Timothy! If we wait for “the right moment” we’ll miss our chance. How we invest in this generation will equip them to stand firm when life gets hard and the world turns against them and as well as prepare them to continue this heritage to future generations. Our love, unwavering faith, and lessons can bring comfort in the midst of sorrow, pain, and fear both now and in the future.

If this isn’t your area of ministry, you still have a vital role to play: PRAYER.

And it’s imperative you do.

Pray also for those of us who possess this call.

2 TIMOTHY 4_2-4

Gen Z, ages -0-20, is on the cusp of becoming the largest generation in America ever—in a few years, “The Screeners” will dwarf “The Baby-Boomers.”

Crazy exciting, right?

But here’s the thing:

Gen-Z is the first official post-Christian generation.

Let that sink in a moment—or three.

And they’re being led by a generation (my generation) that once participated in all “the church stuff” but don’t anymore.

Because

  • They got bored
  • Didn’t grasp or weren’t shown the Vibrant Relevance faith and Scripture has in their daily life
  • The joy of The Relationship got lost in all the human-imposed rules, rituals, and regulations
  • They were burned by the church or, more likely, someone in the church
  • They allowed the heretical, judgmental, hypocritical, deceitful actions of a few be their rubric on how they judged all Christians and even God

As a result, attending church, studying the Bible, and enjoying “the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts” (2 Timothy 2:22) fell off the priority list leaving a vacuum for Biblical illiteracy to grow like a cancer to ravage our country.

2 TIMOTHY 3_14-17

More and more members of my generation are declaring “no religion.” Even if these souls believe in God, they’re passively or actively rejecting Him. He and His Word aren’t invited in their lives. And what little Biblical knowledge they do have is most likely not getting handed down to their children—Gen Z.

Heart-breakingly, there are also far too many who do go to church regularly but don’t habitually engage with Scripture on their own. This means their Biblical knowledge is disjointed at best and lacks depth.

And as you guessed it, it’s not likely they’re teaching or modeling Biblical principles for their children either.

The by-product of this neglect, Gen Z, as a whole, is clueless about God’s story:

  • They don’t know the promises. The hope. They don’t know there is another, more fulfilling way to do life
  • 50% have never stepped into a church or opened a Bible
    • “Basics” like Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, The Flood, Abraham, Moses, Sampson, David, Daniel…stories we assume are part of everyone’s knowledge base, aren’t part of theirs
      • When other literature alludes to Biblical references, they don’t understand their significance and miss the point
  • They actively reject God and anything related to Him
    • 13% are declared atheists

And if that isn’t enough to break your heart,

Gen Z is also

  • The most anxiety prone generation ever
  • Has the highest stress level of any generation ever
  • Has the highest cases of depression of any generation ever
  • Has the highest suicide rate of any generation ever

I don’t think this is a coincidence.

2 TIMOTHY 3_1-5

Questions:

  • What will this generation be like in 10, 20, 30 years when they are moving into positions of leadership and power?
  • What will their kids be like?
  • Their grandkids?

Answers:

  • After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel. (Judges 2:10)
  • Read the rest of Judges 2 to get a glimpse of the future.

My heart shatters when I meditate on this data in correlation with the Biblical history I see being repeated in our pro-religion, anti-Christian culture.

This is my boys’ generation!

The generation of their friends.

The generation I love.

The generation my heart burns for.

The generation I’m passionate about.

Therefore, I refuse to give up or lose hope!

I choose to step into the gap and fill the void. I chose to be a Lois, Eunice, and Paul.

And ladies and gentlemen, mothers and others, I invite you to join me.

  • To step in and stem the tide.
  • To reach out and pray for this generation.
  • To engage with them. To mentor them.
  • To teach them.
  • To love them.

The majority of Gen Z may not have a heritage like Timothy, but we can help them build one to bring to the next generation.

They’re amazing kids!

Smart. Articulate. Kind. Fun. Searching. Aching for something bigger than themselves.

They’re also crazy easy to love.

Don’t believe me? Take a week and ask God to expand your heart’s capacity to love them. Ask Him to tell you how to pray—and how to get involved—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially, ___________. And see what He does.

Our spiritual climate mirrors the spiritual climate when Tim met Jesus. The battle for these hearts and lives is on!

As mothers, we’re on the front line.

As others, we’re on the front line.

The best part, JESUS WINS! We have the final chapter of the book, we know how it all turns out. But for now, we must trudge through all the tense moments, the scary events, and plot twists and carry on.

Are you with me?

2 TIMOTHY 2_3-4

Blessings, xoxo

Cheyenne


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