by BRIGADIER GENERAL DAVID WARNER, USAF (RET.)
As partners in God’s kingdom, we carry forth the legacy of Jesus Christ
Don’t you love it when the Lord reveals something new through His Word? I have read Matthew many times. And I’ll admit that I usually skim past the genealogy to get to the “meat” proclaiming the birth, life and good news about our Savior. Recently, however, my eyes were opened to two truths that penetrated my heart, ensuring that I will never again fast forward past these verses and forever ponder my lineage and legacy.
Truth #1: Several weeks ago, I was blessed to visit with Morgan Jackson, senior vice president of Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH). Morgan’s ministry is committed to getting “God’s Word everywhere for everyone.” So far, they have recorded the Scriptures in over 800 languages and dialects and have leveraged numerous methods to distribute these recordings.
In his introduction, he asked which part of the New Testament was the most compelling for many of the world’s cultures. Stymied, I uttered the usual—the good news about Christ. Morgan captured my attention by saying it’s the first seventeen verses of Matthew’s gospel. Why? Because many cultures treasure and value their lineage—where you come from establishes your right to say what you say. The fact that Christ’s lineage traces back to Abraham establishes Christ’s bona fides.
Truth #2. Through Christ’s death on the Cross we have been grafted into that genealogy; through Christ’s blood, we are now in His “bloodline.” How amazing is that? Now comes the hard question each of us must answer: “What am I doing to extend the genealogy?”
This summer I had the privilege of participating in two events that exemplified the legacy of Christ, where His lineage is being carried on. On Memorial Day at OCF’s Spring Canyon conference center, the newly constructed Fort Shine Lodge was dedicated to the memory of 1LT Jonathan Cameron Shine, who gave his last full measure in service to his Lord and his nation in October 1970.
What we celebrated was not 1LT Jon Shine’s death, but his life. For in his last moments on this earth, his thoughts were on his comrades in arms and on his Savior, ensuring that his life, through his last breath, was focused on extending the lineage of Christ! Shortly after his death, Jon Shine’s brother, Al, and his wife, Sandra, named their young son Jonathan Anthony Shine. Now, LTC Jonathan Shine, one week after the dedication, assumed battalion command at Fort Bliss. LTC Shine is constantly aware of his lineage. He continues to live up to the legacy of service and calling established by his uncle and by his dad and mother.
In late June, I attended Anchor Points, which is OCF’s executive leadership course dedicated to pouring into the lives of OCF’s future leaders. I met a family who has withstood five deployments in fifteen years of marriage. How have they done this? By living a life worthy of the call, staying on their knees, immersed in the Word, and surrounded by loving fellowship. Throughout their journey, their faithfulness has allowed them to withstand the hardships that come with a life in the Army, and the ability to shine Christ’s light to others.
Another family came together through an interesting series of events. The spouse grew up in Liberia and as a teenager endured that nation’s civil war in which hundreds of thousands perished. She was able to escape and come to America where she met her husband. Through her struggle she knows what it is to be set free and to live a life for Christ. Now a mother of two beautiful daughters, she and her husband are committed to living a life worthy of the call of Christ.
With autumn’s arrival on the horizon, as you settle into the routines of school and work, I challenge you to carefully consider where the Lord has you, who He has brought into your life, and then answer if you are living each day for Christ. Rejoice that you have been bought at a price and are now part of this amazing lineage.
As we stand at the foot of the Cross, have we lived up to a life worthy of the call (Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:20)? The God of the Universe, creator of all things, has invited you to partner with Him in His kingdom in the places He has you right now. If we really grasp the enormous truth of His calling on each one of us, we should be passionate and excited about the mission He has for us daily.
Brig. Gen. David B. Warner, USAF (Ret.), and his wife, Lori, served as OCF Executive Director couple from 2010-2020. They assumed the position in August 2010, after retiring a month earlier from the United States Air Force out of Headquarters Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.