A Story to Tell

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Psalm 78:4 “We will not hide them from their children but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done.” We all have a story to tell and it is commanded by the Lord that we share what He has done in our lives.

One of the stories in my life goes like this.  Many years ago in the small town of Cedarville, Ohio a young couple who were students at the then Cedarville College felt led by the Lord to start an AWANA program at Grace Baptist Church.  Not far down the street from Grace Baptist was a little girl who was about to enter 3rd grade.  People from the church came around knocking on doors and inviting the children to come to their AWANA program.  I went to a different church, but my parents sent me to that AWANA program.  After three years I earned my Timothy Award and three years later I earned my Meritorious Award.  I heard the program went on through high school, but Grace Baptist did not have AWANA into high school.  I did the next best thing, I worked in AWANA for as long as I could.  Move forward a few years and I grew up, got married, and had three daughters.  We moved to Rochester, MI.  We heard about First Baptist Church of Rochester (FBCR) from our friend Vicki and also found out they had an AWANA program.  Since AWANA had such an impact on my life, I wanted our daughters to be able to attend AWANA.  What a bonus for us.  AWANA started at Cubbies (3 years old) and went all the way through high school.  I had always wanted to earn my Citation.  It was one of those things on my bucket list.  I asked about being able to get my Citation and found out I could do the work needed and earn my award.  Finally, a few years ago I started learning my verses and doing the other work needed so I could earn my Citation.  It was a joy to do the work my daughters were doing and also to say verses each week to the T and T girls (3rd -6th grade) that I was working with.  They were not easy ones to say verses to either.  They never gave me any slack and if I had one word wrong they were sure to make sure I knew it.  They held me to a very high standard.   Even though we moved to Grand Rapids last June, I still so desperately wanted to earn this award so our youngest daughter and I continued the work.

A few years ago, God led a couple to attend FBCR that had a love for AWANA and now Chad is the Director of the AWANA program at FBCR.  Remember that couple I mentioned who started the AWANA program in Cedarville, Ohio so many years ago.  That couple happened to be present as I received this award.  Chad’s in-laws started that AWANA program so many years ago.  Who would have ever thought that a dream that I have had for so many years would result in me finally receiving the Citation award with the couple present who started the AWANA program that started my love for AWANA and for God’s Word so many years ago.  Only God could orchestrate such a thing.

The moral of this story is to be faithful to the work of the ministry and watch God work.  That AWANA program produced a love for AWANA in my heart.  I now have my Citation along with my three daughters.  Thank-you, Mr. and Mrs. Pycraft for your love for the Lord and His Word.  After the Israelites crossed the Jordon River, they picked up stones from the middle of the Jordan River.  The purpose of the stones was so the children would ask “What do these stones mean to you?”  Again I want to remind us all, we all have a story of God in our lives.  We are commanded by God to share it.  It seems fitting that a picture frame from Cedarville University would be that “stone” of reminder.  To God be the glory!

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Repetition = Importance

Grandpa Dad Danna Danielle crop

My Grandpa Lichty had a knack for telling stories.  He remembered an amazing amount of details and something always reminded him of a story.  The details he shared were so vivid that no one would ever dream of telling him maybe one of the facts was not true.  I remember listening to him telling story after story, but I do not remember the stories.  I can still hear his voice, but the stories have long since faded from my memory, which makes me very sad.  Even if all the details were incorrect, it would be so nice to share some of those stories with our daughters. What I can share about my Grandpa is his love for his family and his dedication to the Lord which I saw through his tireless service at the church.

Throughout Scripture, we are reminded “not to hide them (God’s Word) from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” (Psalm 78:4).  I am amazed at how often God encourages us to talk about Him and His glorious deeds.  Repetition equals importance.  God reminds us frequently through different authors the importance of sharing what God has done or is doing in our lives.

“…You shall love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).  I often wonder what caused the corruption of complaining as the Israelites wandered in the desert after their miraculous escape from Egypt.  I wonder if the Israelites had been so busy talking to their children about the great things God had done for them while they sat around the campfires, walked on the pathway of sand, got up in the morning, ate their meals, went to bed at night…if they would have had time to complain about the myriad of things they found to be unhappy about.  When we rejoice over the goodness of God, the difficulties pale in comparison.  The joy in our hearts bubbles over with such gusto that complaining and negativity become unwelcome bedfellows.  The sound of our own voice complaining tastes like the bitterness of sour milk to our souls.

Why is it so important to talk at all time in all situations about what God has done?  “…Which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” (Psalm 78:5-7).  As we read the Old Testament this is seen repeatedly.  We see that those that forgot the works of God and did not share those great moments with their children were corrupted by sin.

As we marvel at the good things God has done in our lives, it serves a dual purpose.

First, our children hear us talk about the effect of God in our lives.  What God is teaching us.  How we are growing.  How God is convicting us of sin. How we are growing through the situations we are put in and how to practically apply the truths of scripture in our everyday lives.  It will be so much easier for them to follow the Lord on a daily basis if they see it lived out in front of them on a daily basis.

Second, it serves as a reminder to us about how God is working and has worked in our own lives.  I have a failing memory, and I think if we were all honest with ourselves we would all admit this is true. Yet, as we rehearse the goodness of God, the work of God in our lives, and the transformations that have taken place in our lives because of our walk with God; it would remind us no matter where we are, God is with us.

“And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:2).  It has often been repeated, “We are one generation away from apostasy.”  It is not for lack of churches, lack of Bibles, or lack of Christian literature.

Rather, it is for a lack of authenticity, lack of hypocrisy, and lack of intentionality.

So where do you fall?  It is not just our children we should be sharing with.  Barnabas shared with Paul. Paul shared with Timothy.  Are you sharing all the great things God has done? Or is your walk with God a ritual rather than a living, growing relationship with your Savior?  Maybe we can evaluate ourselves by our words.

“We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near.  We recount your wondrous deeds.” (Psalm 75:1).

So if I could eat some corn-on-the cob with Grandpa right now, I would share with him all the great things God has done in my life and in the lives of our daughters.  Would he feel his legacy of service and love for the Lord was carried on and the seeds he planted lived on to the fourth generation and then would he say as only Grandpa can say, “Well, Danna, let me tell you…”