By David Lyons
The idea of making Christ known through spiritual generations is deeply imbedded in the DNA of Navigator disciples and laborers. Here’s a glimpse of how that DNA, passed through the generations, is showing up today.
In October, Navigator leaders from all over the world gathered in Kenya. We had spent months preparing for the forum by studying Isaiah 40-66. I remember once asking a group of Navigator missionaries what promises God had used to launch them into their ministry. Nearly all of them turned to Isaiah. It’s safe to say that these chapters contain most of the promises that are foundational to our Navigator family and movement.
So in this Forum we were returning to our scriptural roots. We spent each morning studying Isaiah together. In the afternoons, Mike Treneer took us deep into the text. He exhorted us to: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many (Isaiah 51:1-2).
Isaiah spoke those words to God’s people more than a thousand years after Abraham had died. The promises that God had given to Abraham had been passed on from generation to generation until they were inherited by Isaiah. Then Isaiah passed them on to the people of God who lived during his lifetime. Those same promises were passed down through many more generations to our more recent spiritual ancestors: Dawson Trotman, Lorne Sanny, and others.
Because of that heritage, Navigators have often spoken of “claiming God’s promises” as foundational to our work. However, as Mike Treneer pointed out to us in Kenya, it seems better to say that God’s promises claim us. It is God who pursues and leads us. He enables us to believe that His great promises and purposes apply to each of us who trusts God. As Dawson Trotman used to say, “The need of the hour is an army of soldiers dedicated to Jesus Christ, who believe not only that He is God, but that He can fulfill every promise He has ever made.”
Toward the end of the Forum, a Navigator leader confided in me that he’d never before really grasped the idea of claiming God’s promises. He’d accepted it because the idea came from leaders he respected. It sounded inspiring. By studying Isaiah during the Forum, and by tracing the promises of God back to Abraham, he told me that he finally “got it.”
Recently our oldest son and his wife had their first baby, the first of our grandchildren who will carry on our family name. But we hope that he will carry on more than our name. We hope that all of our grandchildren will inherit the promises that are foundational to our life and ministry. That is the DNA that has been passed on to us through generations of Navigator disciples. And that is the DNA that we must pass on to this generation and those to come.
David Lyons is an International Vice President of The Navigators. He oversees international initiatives, communications, and networking of 5,000 staff in more than 100 countries. David is author of Don’t Waste the Pain.