12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” 13 Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” 15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
A few weeks back I went through a photo album that I hadn’t cracked open for probably at least a decade. Memories rushed back through my mind, some of them straight to my heart, as I began to sift through the face-filled photos. I stumbled across the featured photo and remembered the fun evening I had shared as a Senior in high school with friends. This particular photo had been posted on a community bulletin board in my small high school and a fellow student had articulated their sentiments for then Bridgette Greene on my face with an ink pen. I giggled as I showed the photo to my husband. It’s funny now. But it wasn’t funny back then.
I can remember vividly sitting in an all-school assembly as a Junior, just one year before this photo, as the senior class “wills” were being read publicly. The Senior students were allowed the opportunity to leave a lasting testament to an underclassman in a spoof on a dying man’s last will and testament. Among those humorous statements being read over the sound system was one given by a fellow female student who took on the task of humiliating me on a regular basis. Why? She hated how I had chosen to live. I was a notoriously determined young lady–determined to live by and speak up for the principles of God’s Word. I had standards. I had convictions. And they weren’t just principles that had been lorded over me by my parents. They had become my own and I was passionate about them. I was passionate about Him.
“I will Bridgette Greene the ability to peel her nose off the ceiling and realize she’s not all that.” “I will Bridgette Greene the ability to practice what she preaches and get off her high horse.”
I had some lessons to learn (and quick!) on extending mercy to those who hate you. I was like most young people who still had some living and learning to do so that I could reach out with boldness but also with grace. But I had never lived in a way that warranted such public verbal flogging…or so it felt to me at age 17.
As the news was released of the recent shootings in Oregon I felt the sense of quiet contemplation that many believers sensed. “It’s here.” While all of the school shootings have been devastating over the past few decades, this one twisted the knife in the gut of all who claim to be followers of Christ most assuredly. The Christian was the gunman’s target, in the face of “One nation, under God”.
These past few weeks I’ve been reading through the book of Judges and couldn’t help but sense this generation’s struggle as Gideon came on the scene in chapter 6. Israel as a nation had, once again, turned their backs on God and were most definitely suffering the consequences. The people of God were without His protection from their enemies and finally reached a place of desperation before they turned to God for rescue. God didn’t immediately send aid, but sent a prophet reminding the people why they were suffering. And then God sent an Angel to raise up a new judge to lead the people out of their mess.
Gideon was the baby of the family, just doing what he was told, “out back” taking care of his required chores. And the Angel of the Lord called him “a mighty man of valor” (vs 12). The Angel let Gideon know exactly what God was asking him to do, only to receive a response that most of us would undoubtedly give, “How can I?” Gideon had heard of God’s works but had not experienced them firsthand because of the rebellion of his father’s generation. This was his first Divine encounter. Yet he still heard and responded.
While there’s so much more depth to be discovered here, I must bring this to a close by stating the following to this current generation:
1/ I am sorry that the Church at large has in recent times and in many cases diluted the Pentecostal experience in such a manner that you have not experienced signs, wonders, miracles, and powerful moves of God. Much of our ministry to reach you has put you in a similar position that Gideon was in: the weakest clan, and the least in your family. It was assumed we could not win you and would frighten you if you were aware that supernatural encounters were available.
2/ God is calling you now to own this time of Harvest. It is no time for weakness to dominate your thinking or pursuit of His presence. What lies just ahead before Jesus comes will require you to step beyond a worship set of well-produced music to a place of intercession, study of His Word, and knowing what you believe and why you believe it.
3/ YOU CAN! You can do this because God designed you and created you to live in this generation, at this time, with these circumstances, among the worldwide hatred of Christianity, and with anticipation of Christ’s soon return. “The Lord is with you.”(vs 12) This is your time. It’s time to own your convictions and standards based upon God’s Word and the Holy Spirit Who resides within you.
Chresten and I have always felt a call upon us to bridge the generational gap, which will propel the Church into the future. We desire to raise up a new generation of Pentecostals, filled with the Spirit and driven by conviction. Our prayer is “God, raise up some Gideons who will hear Your voice, obey You, and follow You like no other generation before them.”
Calling on YOU!