A Pure Generation
By Phyllis Nordstrom
It doesn’t take a prophet to tell us that we are living in an impure generation.
For one thing, America is losing its children. In the last ten years the suicide rate is up 400% among 15-19 year olds. One and one half million abortions are per-formed every year and two million children vanish. A child can be bought for $5000 in New York City and for $500 in San Diego.
The national average for divorce is 51% except for those who are in the 31-39 age brackets. There the projection rises to over 62%!
Unfortunately, these statistics in our society are affecting the church! And they are happening in spite of the church. Dare we shrug our shoulders and ask, “Well, what can I do about it?”
What can we do about it? Nothing, that is, unless we believe we can. But it takes more than believing. We must choose to do some-thing about it. Nehemiah was sad when he heard the bad news about his beloved homeland. He prayed about it. But then he took action. In his book we learn his techniques. When one plan failed, he tried another. And this man led the cause of rebuilding the walls of the city around their unprotected homes.
Let’s face it. Neither the church nor the country is any stronger than its families. Today, with the same forces working against the family unit, we must take steps to protect ourselves from evil.
Several years ago God gave us a dream of raising up a pure generation in an impure society, pure families in impure churches. In the fall of 1971, my husband and I came to Ottawa, a river community of less than 20,000 in Illinois. Little did we realize that God chose to place us in a county that ranked second in the nation per capita for both Catholicism and alcohol and drug abuse. Many families had no Protestant for a relative, while neither of us had ever had a Catholic in our family. To us drugs and alcohol were just terms learned from a textbook.
But we found rich soil and people began to be converted. First we taught home Bible studies. Then we taught discipleship courses. Then we taught classes on how to handle finances. . .and to train children. . .and to communicate in marriage. As I looked over the growing congregation, I became aware that a much lower percentage (national average 50%) of the converts were with their original spouses. Many had come into their marriages impure. Self-esteem was low. They were emotionally crippled.
Then God allowed me to notice something else. In our community the weddings were small and poorly attended while the receptions were the most important part of the event. Expensive. Elaborate. A full course meal, an open bar, and a live band were considered “must.”
One day we traveled to the South for a Pentecostal wedding in the family. I had never seen any-thing more beautiful. The service was Christ-centered and lasted nearly an hour. The songs spoke of commitment, and communion was served. I cried. Not because of personal involvement, but because I was made aware of the contrast. In my heart I knew that every girl deserved a Pentecostal wedding. A wedding where the ceremony was the main event.
So God placed within my heart a dream, a dream of raising up a pure generation. I dreamed for the little girls and boys growing up in our church. I saw them pure, with no memory of hovering under the table to avoid their parents’ fights, of girls walking to the altar with no knowledge of having been molested or abused. I dreamed of young men who had never smelled liquor on their dad’s breath. I saw emotionally strong children who would grow up to take this gospel around the world.
One Sunday morning I shared our dream of a pure generation with the congregation. This time they wept. For God planted that same hope in their hearts. And it wasn’t long before they approached us about opening a Christian school.
The school has been in operation for two years now, and forty-seven students are enrolled. But the parents understand that it is not just another program of the pastor and staff, but that they are also teachers. Their teaching shift begins when they pick their children up from school each after-noon and it continues until they bring them the next morning. They realize that we must work together if our dream is to become a reality.
A few months after the school was in operation, one of the young mothers came by. Satan was accusing her again of sins that she had committed early in her life. “Oh, if I had just had the opportunity my children have!” she lamented. “If my parents had been Christians! If only things hadn’t happened to me as a child!”
She felt unworthy of responsibility or leadership. I reassured her that she had indeed been forgiven. God had forgiven her. Yet her guilt remained.
One day later I read I Corinthians 6:9, “Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” The words of the next verse leaped out at me: “and such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ…” (NKJV) Past tense. Such were some of you.
When I shared this passage of Scripture with the woman who had a sense of guilt, the sword of the Spirit cut away her guilt. She understood. She was pure. In God’s sight she was as pure as her children were.
We are seeing our dream come true. This was dramatized for me recently when one of the young girls in our church got married. It was a big wedding. She planned every detail to be her testimony. This extended to her decorating color scheme-all white. Her flowers were white. Her cake was white. Even the groom dressed completely in white: tux, tie, shoes, and socks!
One of the special times for me on every wedding day is to spend the last few moments before the ceremony alone with the bride. Her mother is already seated. The bridesmaids have already walked down the aisle. And the two of us are alone for a moment, during which I talk to her and pray with her.
I had just finished praying when Shelly whispered, “Sister Nordstrom, will you reach down and pull off that blue garter. When I go down that aisle I don’t want anything on that is not white.”
I’m not asking God for just one pure person now and then. I’m asking God for a pure generation. Pure parents. Pure children. Pure singles.
I gave birth to three sons in four years. Six years later, along came our daughter. My three sons are now grown. Not long after our school was completed, our second son, Paul, came home for a visit. As we stood together in the kitchen at home, Paul, who stands 6 ‘ 3 “, draped his arm around my shoulder. “Mom,” he said, “Didn’t John (our oldest son) do a great job building those bookshelves and cabinets in Dad’s office! I didn’t know he was such a good carpenter. How did he do the carving along the top?”
A pause followed. Then he continued. “Aren’t you proud of Philip (our youngest son)! That’s really something to be chosen to tour California and Hawaii this summer with the Men’s Glee Club.”
Another pause. Longer this time. “Mom, which boy do you think you did the best job with?”
Now that’s a question each of us has probably formed in our minds from time to time but one which we dared not voice. But here it was. I looked heavenward for an answer, and it came.
“Paul, give me some time. I don’t know yet. Get me some grandchildren. Let me watch how you raise your children. When I see how you raise your children, then I’ll know which one I did the best job with.”
Each parent must train her own and each church must strive to develop pureness. Let’s rebuild the walls around our homes. When all else failed, Nehemiah called upon families to rebuild the wall around their own homes. Let’s do it! Together and individually let’s dream God’s dream of raising up a pure generation.
This article “A Pure Generation” written by Phyllis Nordstrom is excerpted from Reflections the August 1986 edition.