Brothers Beget Cousins

RiverCrossA River between you and me can become a border between our children.

Phinehas is a cool Bible character. He was a pastor’s kid, and good at dealing with any ugly business in the ministry. He once drove his javelin through a fornicating couple right where they lay and stopped a major retaliation by God. He loved to be on the front lines, helping the worshipers lead the army into battle. In this story he is sent on a special mission:

The tribes who settled on the east side of the Jordan were a bit oddball, non-conformists, even suspect of rebellion – or maybe it was just that they lived on the other side of the river.  One day news came from over there that they were building a huge alter – on their side of the river! Head office felt threatened because there was only one official alter and it was properly on the west side of the Jordan River. And then typical of the western multitude, rumors spread and fears formed that God might judge the entire nation for the sin of those few rebels on the far side of the river. Fears of rebellion escalated.

So Phinehas was chosen to take this message, “If you turn away from the Lord today by building this alter then tomorrow the wrath of God will come on us all. Why can’t you just fit in, come over to our side and be like everybody else?”

But the leaders of the east wouldn’t back down and answered, “If building our own alter over here is a rebellion, then let the wrath of God come on us alone and don’t you worry about trying to save us. Because like you westerners, we will build a legacy for our children in the land that God has called us to.” They weren’t being ugly, but they were not about to miss their own destiny just for the sake of being nice and getting along. And they weren’t trying to diminish head office, or the main alter, or move the place that God had ordained for sacrifices, their desire was to reproduce the divine design as a witness to their own children that they were no less a part of Israel. The river between east and west should not ostracize future generations from the commonwealth of Israel.

It turns out the whole thing was just a big misunderstanding, but here’s the point of the story; Phinehas gave them permission, and once you have permission, it’s no longer rebellion.

As for us in Asia, we are not building a new vision but reproducing the vision of our movement in our part of the world, and we have permission from our leaders to plant churches across Asia so our kids will know who they are.

A year ago Terry and I met with Pastor Glen Foresburg and his team in Ft. McMurray, Canada, to talk about succession. His church has partnered with our Thailand ministry for 32 years, but his young leaders and our young leaders have never met, and unless we do something about it, this partnership will end when us old guys are gone. How shall we fill the gap that naturally widens with each succeeding generation?

When it runs between brothers, the Jordan is no more than an inconvenient river crossing, but for the next generation it becomes a dividing border, or, it can double us – if we’ll not try to control the vision from one side of the river, and allow new ministry platforms to be built that will connect the cousin generations to their common inheritance.

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3 responses to “Brothers Beget Cousins

  1. It’s sad people would automatically get suspicious but thank God for Phinehas’ ability to discern the truthfulness in the easterners words. Sometimes people are suspicious of us because they don’t understand what we’re doing, but it takes people of integrity to recognize integrity. Thanks for this biblical example.

    • Message Bible. Luke 9: 48-50 “…You become great by accepting, not asserting. Your spirit, not your size, makes the difference.”
      49 John spoke up, “Master, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t of our group.”
      50 Jesus said, “Don’t stop him. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally.”

  2. I’m coming to realize more than ever the diverse, yet blessed and operational body parts within the church. Each one with a unique God divine function and assignment upon them. I say let us rejoice and celebrate our individual operations and demonstration of God within our world. Oh how blessed we can truly be if we love one another and receive from each other’s strengths and giftings. BLESSED WE SHALL BE INDEED! 1Cor. 12:12-26 NKJV 12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body….14 For in fact the body is not one member but many. 18 … now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 24 …..But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
    Love chooses to believe and receive the best of each person.
    Thank you brother for addressing such a sensitive, yet pertinent, issue within our faith family. God bless you continually with courage, strength, and boldness from the Lord God Almighty. 🙂

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