Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Where Are They?

If you are thinking a year ahead, sow a seed;
If you are thinking ten years ahead plant a tree;
If you are thinking a hundred years ahead, reach your generation.

Brandon Richards, a new friend from Texas who is a phenomenal web designer (he works for Benny Hinn’s ministry as the web designer); wrote the following on his blog in response to my posting entitled, Limping Together to Change the World:

“I have to admit Brian hits a sensitive spot with me with his post. I’ve often wondered and for quite some time now, I’ve looked for someone, to use his word, to ‘limp’ with, and realized that I haven’t met anyone nor seen anyone…Where are they? [spiritual fathers] I keep hearing about them… and yet...I find myself still looking around and not seeing anyone I find that I’m being drawn closer to by God.” (emphasis added)

What I hear in Brandon’s heart—which I believe represents the heart of the emerging generation—is clearly the cry of Elisha’s heart when his mentor Elijah was taken away in the chariot of fire: “My father! My father!” (2 Kings 2:12) The verse continues, “And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them apart.”

I hear the same sound of Elisha’s heartfelt love for his mentor and teacher, Elijah, coming forth from those within this generation. Although Elisha lost his spiritual father, numerous young adults today are still waiting for a seasoned believer to be a spiritual father or mother to them. There are many who have never experienced the companion of a mature, seasoned mentor to walk with them amidst the difficult times.

Can you identify with the heart cry of Elisha? Is there a longing deep within for the affections of the older generation? Have you ever wondered, “Where are they?”—as you cried out to the Lord for a father or mother in the Lord?

It seems that this deep, God-initiated yearning for the tutelage of the previous generation is coming forth in this hour in the hearts of the emerging generation. Just as Elisha cried out, “My father! My father!" when Elijah was taken away—so too, is God increasing the fervency of the cry for the mantle of the spiritual fathers: The culmination of their anointing, wisdom, counsel, knowledge and revelation.

Where Are They?

In 1982 several streams within the Charismatic movement converged to form an apostolic network, Network of Christian Ministries (NCM). Although its inception was glorious, it failed to perpetuate its influence beyond the seminal stage. Dr. Emauele Cannistraci—one of the founders of NCM—identified the primary cause: The failure of the fathers of the emerging network to heed to cry of the spiritual sons for fathering. David Cannistraci, author of The Gift of Apostles, highlights this heartrending story that transpired during the 4th annual gathering in Anaheim, California:

During one fragile moment in that conference, several spiritual sons lifted up a collective appeal for the spiritual fathers to assume their roles as mentors to the younger generation of world changers. The sons were calling for a movement of the fathers. It was an awesome occasion, according to Dr. Cannistraci. Tragically, the cry was never fully answered. ‘The missing ingredient was fathers coming together with their giftings and reservoirs of knowledge, networking to pass on the legacy to the younger generation. Networking can be far more powerful if the fathers are available to the sons’ says Dr. Cannistraci. ‘Without that ingredient, a network will be short-lived.’” (emphasis added)

The sons and daughters are crying out in this hour for what the Lord has deposited in the older generation; the mantles of the Elijahs of today; the fathers and mothers. If you are of the older generation, are you willing to respond to this call as a spiritual father or mother in the Lord?

Regardless if it is a church, network, or movement, spiritual parents are absolutely essential. It is time for the spiritual fathers and mothers to embrace their calling in order to enable the younger generation to fulfill their destiny in Christ. Weigh carefully the words written by Frank Damazio, author of The Vanguard Leader, and a father to many: “Without spiritual fathers, the church cannot achieve its ultimate destiny.”

Spiritual fathering is an element of discipleship that cannot be replaced by programs or artificial substitutes that fails to bring an impartation of life from the older to the younger. The older and mature saints must carefully examine their life in order to assure longevity even beyond their lives upon the earth. Once they’ve been given their last breathe, their influence should proceed for generations to come.

This is evident in the lives of the biblical Patriarchs. Yahweh chose to reveal himself in the generations following the Patriarchal fathers as the “God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob”. This clearly demonstrates that He is a trans-generational God that desires to see the younger generation build upon what the previous generation accomplished. We must see eternity so that we may build generational legacies through the application of daily spiritual fathering.

Where are they?This question begs the following summon: Are you willing to respond to the cry for spiritual fathers and mothers?

Today I am calling forth the older generation to take your God-ordained role as spiritual fathers and mothers in the lives of the emerging generation. As a part of the “Roe vs. Wade” generation, I personally ask for your forgiveness for the arrogance of our youth. Please forgive us for denying you access to our lives during our youth when we went about our own way. Forgive us for spurning your outstretched hand when possibly you did try to reach out to us. And, most of all, forgive us for not honoring you as our parents. We specifically repent for dishonoring both our natural and spiritual parents. We chose this day to honor our natural parents and our spiritual fathers and mothers.

I declare this day that no longer will we say, “Where are they?”—rather, we will say “Here they are!" Come forth fathers and mothers! Come forth in Jesus' name to the rightful place of honor that we bestow upon you this day. You will no longer be ostracized, but we choose to receive your wisdom, your insights, your compassion, your tears, your warmth, your sacrificial giving—and, your shortcomings. We choose to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8) so that we may learn to honor you as our spiritual fathers and mothers. We desperately need what God has deposited in you. Without your tutelage we cannot walk in the fullness of our destiny.

"Father break our hearts over the arrogance that we have demonstrated. Forgive us for even thinking somehow that we are the “Greatest Generation” ever without paying the price of sacrifice that previous generations paid. Have mercy on us. Help us to see as You see. Through your mercy, enable us to be a "living sacrfice, holy and pleasing to you" (Romans 12:1) as a generation. Let us not miss the moment to pick up the mantles of the older generation. Teach us to obey, to serve, to pursue as Elisha did.

Thank you Father that we will be able to say in the days ahead, 'Here they are!'"

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

11 comments:

Brandon Richards said...

@Brian - You extremely kind with your remarks.

To address your post... I'm torn about it. Some have said I'm in pity. I'm not convinced that it was a cry of pity to myself to have a mentor, but a cry of frustration, fire, love to awaken the slumbering ones and to shake myself.

To me all of the houses of our lives should be complete and we should be making war against the enemy, but we can't fight a war without the counselors, we can't be strong without it.

[ Proverbs 24: 3-6 ]
3 Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:
4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.
6 For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.



So I want to make war, and yet my question "Where are they?" So I look around...


[ Proverbs 24:30-34 ]
30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.
32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.
33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
34 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man."


... and they sleep.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME POST - Interesting that God's calling on Abraham was to be a FATHER to many nations....

May the Lord raise up mothers and fathers for the spiritual orphans.

Interesting though, I lived with both parents most of my childhood, and yet I had an orphan spirit. Even though I have known the Lord for many years, it wasnt until recently through a time of deep healing that I had an experience where I knew that the Holy Spirit was connecting me with the Father in a way I had not experienced before - for the FIRST TIME I experienced the spirit of "adoption" that the Scriptures talk about. I have since been interceding and praying this same experience over my family, our church and our community..and even our nation..

Thanks Brian, and Brandon..for your insights and sharing your hearts..

~Cathy

Anonymous said...

I read the blog and I agree that spiritual fathers and mothers are essential for a community that is stand the test of time. I remember reading about Elisha a while back. One of my most memorable thoughts is when the time came, Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah's spirit. Without boring you with the train of thoughts, I ended with this. To be fruitful and multiply; to live according to the gifts God has given us, and be fathers ad mothers to sons and daughters to whom the Spirit of God shall be passed down exponentially.

The one thing I deal with is this. How do adult men who feel fatherless become fathers?

Jose

weave said...

Brian,

It has long been the cry of my heart to father young men. I am an imperfect vessel, for sure, but God has deposited a good bit into me.

Our culture is in desperate need of godly, manly men, to teach by example, and by other means.

"Leaders don't bow to reality, they change reality."

Brian Francis Hume said...

Brandon, Cathy, Jose, and Mark,

Thank you for your comments. Each of you bring viable points into the dialogue. Jose asks a great question that needs to be explored further: "How do adult men who feel fatherless become fathers?" And, I believe, Cathy may have hinted at an answer in her reference to an "orphan spirit" that could inhibit us from pursuing this calling to spiritual parenting.

I think this might be new material for another posting.

Any thoughts out there...?

Cathy said...

I think before we can be real spiritual parents, we need healing from the Lord with regards to our own identity as His son or daughter....I was reminded of this article/testimonly that I read a number of months back..it may shed some light on this ..

http://www.shilohplace.org/Article-Exposing_Roots_Of_Spiritual_Orphan.htm

brandon said...

that article link is http://www.shilohplace.org/From%20Slavery%20to%20Sonship%20Article.htm

brandon said...

Sorry to post so much. That article is great, matter of fact I think I've said some of those same words.

Karen said...

I believe that the "orphan spirit" is rampant in our churches. We do not deeply grasp the love of the Father and, thus, cannot love others purely. He loved us. We love Him back. THEN we love others. It is a process that requires revelation WAY beyond head knowledge. And for most of us it does require deep healing and cleansing as well as deliverance from the Holy Spirit.

Many of us, truly, do find this healing as spiritual fathers and mothers personify this love to us. So yes, the need for spiritual Fathers and Mothers is critical.
Karen

Anonymous said...

Why do you think that people, men specifically, miss out on "grasping the love of the Father"?

My thoughts on that question:

After going through the book "The Way of The Wild Heart", by Eldredge, I personally identified with the concept of lack of initiation. Where as, there were areas of life where I had no map and no guide but still burdened with the expectation to not only know "what a man is" but also "what a man does" just because I'm male.

Reminds me of stereotypes like "all guys know how to _____." Meaning you're not a man if you don't know how to ______.

-Jose

Steve Bunkoff said...

Brian;
Thanks so much for releasing the cry in your heart and the cry of a generation. I have had the privilege of being discipled (fathered) by a few men over the 35 years of my walk with the Lord. I have also had the joy of being a spiritual father to many. It IS a missing ingredient in the church. As Director of the Simeon Company at IHOP, my desire is to release mom's and dad's in our community. Here is one KEY to pass along to the young. Go after it. Be proactive in finding quality men who will speak into your lives. Ask them to do it. Ask them if you can "hang out" with them. Fathering is first relational. Seek to build relationships with those men whom the Lord highlights. They will NOT come to you and ask "to be your dad".