What do you value?

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9 NIV

My paternal grandparents were very influential in my life. I remember holiday Sundays at noon meant the entire family gathered for a special meal with card playing afterwards. My paternal grandmother would select one of the grandchildren to sit on her lap so we could learn how to play the card game. My family called it 'cut-throat' cards which meant if you made a mistake you'd hear about it. Being invited to play with the parents was considered a rite of passage and an easy way for the adults to steal your money.

My maternal grandmother was clearly a matriarch and she raised three daughters with strong matriarchal qualities. Summers at the cottage meant fishing before dawn so we could clean as many crappie, bluegill and perch to fry to eat for breakfast with blueberry pancakes requiring real maple syrup. My mother's family were society people with a network that included business owners, farmers, politicians and teachers. All the grandchildren were athletes so Summer swim meets were a family staple. Cousins held state records for certain swimming events.

The Bible includes a gazillion references to family. I believe I can open the Bible to almost any page and somewhere there will be an important biblical principle about family. There are stories about regret, success, failure, forgiveness, exclusion and sacrifice. There are story lines of horrible fathers, meddling mothers and children that are just plain nasty. Sometimes grandparents save the day. Other times children save their parents and rescue entire bloodlines from disappearing.

Family doesn't have to be biological. God designed it to be so much more. Belonging to God's eternal family begins when we invite Jesus Christ into our heart. We initiate God's influence in our ordinary-everyday lives. There is no other way to gain access to this family or achieve its benefits. Our commitment to live according to God's way of life is tempted and tested. Maturity of faith and belief in God develop over time as he attends to the messiness and triumph of the ordinary-everyday life. Our relationships reveal the evidence, the ultimate credibility factor, where we reap the rewards of living out what God intends for his family. Each generation is responsible for living into God's purpose and vision for their lives.

Generations are extremely important in the bible. There are whole sections dedicated to identifying the blood lines of a particular family. In the old days, we used to call that section the "begat" section. God is interested in how we invest in the next generation. The biblical record includes tales about generations that followed God and were blessed by God's favor. It also includes accounts about generations who did what they thought was right in their own eyes. (Judges 17:6) Within every generation there is a story, a claim of identity and the answer to the question, “Who are you?”

Wheatland values the next generation. We invest spiritual and financial capital into Adult, Young Adults, Youth and Children's ministries. Several generations participate in worship, leadership, administration and serving. We diligently commit to learning how to live according the values of God's kingdom. This means our Wheatland story will include the sometimes painful but often redeeming record of what it means to belong to the family of God. Join us Sunday as we celebrate the Children's Musical at our Oswego Campus at both services. You may join us for worship and holy communion at the Naperville campus at all services. Why not invite your whole family to come along with you?

You, O LORD, rule forever; Your throne is from generation to generation. Lamentations 5:19 NIV