This past Monday evening (February 11, 2013) at 6:30 pm, heaven became a much brighter place. My dear and precious brother in Christ surrendered his spirit into the Father’s hands and stepped into eternity. I already miss him!
Gary Dean was one-of-a-kind. A man full of faith, love and a passion to know His God and reveal Him in greater ways. The only thing that surpassed his joy and charm was love for Father and His children.
Gary was my pastor. He shepherded my soul, loved me and prayed with me through whatever circumstance I was facing and always encouraged me in a variety of ways. He was a safe place; a harbor for me. He knew everything about me and lovingly accepted me without qualification. Did I already say that I miss him already?
One of the things I admired most about Gary Dean was that despite his age, he was still capable of spiritual migration and transition. He had that quality about him overall, not just in his spiritual life. Don’t get me wrong. Gary liked the way he did things and, like us all, would tend to stick to his ways. But when it really mattered, he was open to change.
Gary was a professional photographer for close to 50 years. In the mid-90’s, I watched him convert his photography business from film over to the digital process. He was ever learning…….he called it “fiddlin'”…….and he was able to successfully make the transition from the way he had always done it, over to an entirely new process.
Last night after I got home from being with his family, I couldn’t sleep. I thought about Gary and what he meant to my life. The Holy Spirit sort of pulled me back from my grieving and sadness to show me a broader picture. The Holy Spirit spoke to me about generational transfer and how humility is such a key component in that type of Kingdom transaction.
I am a firm believer in the truth that the Kingdom is actually advanced trans-generationally. Father, as the God of Abraham (1st generation), Isaac (2nd generation), and Jacob (3rd generation) reveals this truth as He painstakingly works over the years through lives and relationships to eventually establish the Kingdom through the production of 12 sons (4th generation and 12 being the number of Divine Government).
I’ve experienced the power of this truth in my own life. As I have honored the generation(s) before me, men like Gary Dean, and yielded my youthful arrogance and pride over to love and respect in relationship with elders, I have experienced the type of growth, maturation and understanding that I have always, and I do mean ALWAYS, desired. It has brought the beginning of a fullness to me………..not only to me, but to those lives that I am privileged to touch and in developing a corporate expression of Christ.
No, I’m definitely not perfect but I have discovered how to be perfected. Biblically, there is a huge difference. Relgion strives for the former while Father is interested in the latter. He is interested in maturing sons and bringing them to glory. One of the major ways this process of perfecting, equipping and transformation occurs is through generational transfer or, to give you a more biblical tone, the hearts of the fathers turning to the sons and the sons responding in like manner.
Because I have sought out such relationships, I have had and still have deep, meaningful relationships with elders; men of great wisdom, experience and revelation. What I’ve found is that they themselves have been dealt with significantly by Father through their lifetime regarding pride and they continually are seeking to transition.
The most fruitful relationships I’ve experienced, such as the one with Gary Dean and my father-in-law, Bert Maxfield, are totally symbiotic. There is no hierarchical construct to them. As fathers, these type of godly men stand secure in their knowledge of who they “are” in God, aren’t attempting to work through an organization/system and aren’t intimidated by being questioned because they themselves are still questioning/seeking. And, beyond that, they are entirely interested in your life, what Father has been speaking/doing in your life and aren’t simply trying to impress you with how much they know. These are men, truly walking under God’s rule and interested in extending it rather than building and preserving a personal legacy. Understanding the power of generational transfer and genuine investment into the fertile fields of spiritual sons, they LOVE as they have been trained by the Father to love…………..they willingly give all they have away…..freely.
That’s the elder side……now, I’d like to say a word about the younger.
Ambition never walks alone. An earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, especially religious towards God, is always accompanied by pride. Religious ambition to “do for God” will never accomplish what humility before God will accomplish. In sheer strength, talent and ability, a young man can accomplish things. But, accomplishing something doesn’t mean it is what Father desires to be achieved; especially if it is a pre-existing form or standard. A young man can spend his years, energy and effort in attempting to achieve for God as an orphan/servant. Until the younger come to learn humility and partake of the elder’s wisdom, what is truly being accomplished is Father’s work of deconstructing the younger’s pride of life. I can offer testimony to that truth from my own life. I used to “know” what my ministry and calling were about and I “knew” how to do it! And there wasn’t anything that was going to stop me from achieving it! (I am shaking my head now and chuckling to myself) I didn’t have a clue. But what Father had prepared for me was beyond my comprehension and is continuing to be revealed at this present time. Our pride and trust in our own strength limits God; it doesn’t accomplish His purposes.
Proverbs 20 tells us, The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair. The gray hair means experience. Experience brings knowledge and the proper application of that knowledge which is wisdom. The Kingdom is advanced through the young offering their strength to merge with the elder’s wisdom. In this type of relationship, the younger finds the affirmation and identity as a son, as well as the safety and security of deep spiritual insights and wisdom. In return, the elder receives the respect, significance and honor that a life well spent deserves. The secret is to learn the truth that the Great Cloud of Witnesses is privy to in Hebrews 11 & 12………..apart from one another, no one is going to be perfected. That truth brings humility and it must be applied to the elder generation and, most especially, by the younger generation.
I am extremely blessed! I have experienced such meaningful relationships with elder men as I have described above. And, by Father’s grace, will continue to do so. But, I also am experiencing meaningful relationships with the younger generation. These young men are humble, seeking Father and gifted/graced beyond my wildest imagination. By their very nature, all of these relationships are symbiotic. There is a natural transaction of Christ in the exchange of life. I am beginning to see and understand, this is where things truly get done according to Father’s purpose. There is a grace and a capability of God that flows through these relationships unlike any I have ever known. It is not contrived or hyped. As long as the humility of Christ is present, these relationships are as real as it gets.
So, in the passing of my dear brother, Gary Dean, this is what the Spirit speaks to me. Life on this earth is fleeting and fragile. Above all, it is precious. If you will search for Him, you will find Father at work in your life and if you are open to it, deep work, perfecting work, meaningful, eternal work can be accomplished by humbling yourself in relationships across generational barriers.
Keep your peace!