I have been married to my wonderful wife for more than 20 years. I have enjoyed being a dad for more than 13 years. And I have been ministering to the next generation for more than 23 years.
In all this time, there is one thing I have learned that I desperately need: to hear a word from God. I was reminded of this fact recently as I was preparing a devotional time for a group of national NextGen leaders. The text I felt led to share from was Matt. 14:22-29:
“Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.
“Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out for fear.
“But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’
“And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’
“So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus” (NKJV).
I love how Jesus uses one word: “Come.” That one word from Jesus was all Peter needed to experience a supernatural miracle.
I took note that Peter didn’t take a survey of potential pros and cons. He didn’t gather the disciples to come up with a consensus, and he didn’t collaborate with the others to develop a water-walking strategy. He simply knew, by faith, that if Jesus wanted him to come out on the water, all he needed was that one word from Him.
Don’t get me wrong—I am really into collaborative conversation. I am part of Gen X, which views leadership like a TV show from the ’90s, such as Friends. We all want to sit around sipping coffee and feel that the best idea will come to the surface. Also, my role as national NextGen representative of The Foursquare Church requires a high level of networking and collaborative dialogue. I truly understand the power of a unified vision.
However, if our conversations and collaborations are not centered on a clear word from God, then we not only are missing the mark, but also potentially leading an entire generation astray.
Consider when Moses sent out his secret service on a recon mission into Canaan (see Num. 13-14). These guys did their research. They evaluated the condition of the society and had all the right stats. When they came back to share their findings with the people, the consensus was grim.
The popular opinion led to an entire generation wandering around, until eventually it died off without experiencing the fulfillment of God’s promise. Only two men, Joshua and Caleb, were clear on what God had said. They remained faithful to the word of God that told them they would overcome and inherit the land.
I believe in unity in the body of Christ. I understand the power that is found when we, together, determine God’s will. However, this generation doesn’t need another survey of public opinion or research on the latest trends. The fact is, this generation is being overexposed to so many thoughts and opinions that they don’t realize Jesus said He is the way, the truth and the life. They don’t need someone’s opinion; they need a word from the way: Jesus.
We need to clearly and definitively hear from God and do what He says. When we do this, check out the results: “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matt. 7:24).
By: Kelly Fellows, national NextGen representative for The Foursquare Church