Sins of Our Fathers

Christian family values can help combat generational sin.

Linn Winters
Apr 22, 2018    43m
In this sermon Pastor Winters talks about how our family dynamics are passed down from generation to generation. He explores the concept of generational sin and how hard it can be to break. He suggests that the way to break this cycle of sin is to raise your family with christian family values. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Linn Winters: 00:00 Hey, Cornerstone. How you guys doing?

Linn Winters: 00:35 Okay, before we get started. I just want to take a couple moments to have a family talk. You know what a family talk is, right? It's that thing that happened when you were a kid, and you were hanging out with the neighbors family and all the sudden a family talk broke out. And you went to the other room so you didn't have to listen. That's a family talk. Okay? And we're going to have a little family talk right now. And here's what you need to know. If you're here and you're a guest, if you're here and you still haven't figured out, Jesus, if you're here and you're a baby Christian, you're exempt. You don't have to listen to the family talk. The truth is we're going to have a conversation about all of us kind of carrying our load, and doing what we need to do. And babies don't carry their load, babies get carried. Okay, so if you are in any one of those three categories, you're okay.

Linn Winters: 01:18 But the rest of us, we need to have a family talk. So when we got ready this year and prepared this year's budget. We took a look at what we gave last year and then we said, okay, let's, let's make a budget that's less than that. Okay? So even if nobody new gives, if nobody ups their giving, if we just received this year, what we received last year, we'll actually have margin. We'll have a surplus at the end of the year. So we made a very modest budget. The dilemma that we find ourselves in right now, and we still don't understand it, we don't know what happened. In January our giving, went through the floor. I don't know if we bought too many Christmas presents, you know, and just said, "Hey, you know, we've got to make up for that. And we sent our tithe to Visa." I don't know what we did, but the giving in January went through the floor. The giving in February was only slightly better. Now the good news in the conversation is since then, in March and April, we're hitting all the marks were doing just fine. It's January and February, but here's the dilemma. The hole we put ourselves in is significant enough, deep enough, that we are literally chasing our tails. We are behind on multiple, multiple, multiple bills. We have vendors who have not been paid.

Linn Winters: 02:37 Now your staff in response went in, we cut another $300,000 out of the budget. And some of you are going to go, "Oh, that's good, you know, because you guys probably cut fat and all that stuff." No, we didn't. We didn't build a fat budget. We had to cut ministry out of the budget, and that's just what we had to do. Because we had to have some sort of a plan to somehow finish at the end of the year even. And I'm just going to give you as an example. One of the things that we had to cut that just eats me up is, some of you, I think most of you know that pastor Tim's been our college director. But his position is transitioning. He's now going to be kind of the second backup speaker to me, and then he was doing a lot of outside speaking in order to supplement that. In the midst of that, we need to rehire a college position and as we sit here today, we have eliminated the college position of our staff.

Linn Winters: 03:29 Here's what tears me up about that. If you read anything about anything, about anything, about young people, and they will tell you that the number one place that our young people in church are blowing up their lives is college. They leave their families, they leave their home and boom and their lives blow up. So you and I are literally sitting at one of the most vulnerable moments in their life when they're going to face temptation at a level they've never faced temptation before in their life. And our answer right now is good luck. And I'm just going to tell you that to me, that's a horrifying decision. But it's where we're at. We had to find places where we could cut, and that's where we live right now. So here's the deal. If everything goes even,if nobody does anything, we're going to finish the end of the year even. We've taken out the deficit. The problem is we're going to be behind on our bills the entire year until the end, because of January and because of February.

Linn Winters: 04:25 So here's what I'm asking you. I'm asking you to fix it. And if you're one of those families that somehow opted out in January or February, I need you to fix it. If you're somebody who's never given, now's the time. I need you to step in and start giving. And I know some of us are going to go Linn, "You know this has got to be just we're not managing our money well, ruling well." Because I mean everybody, of course, in this room is really, really generous in giving tons of money to the church. And you ought to be able to make do. Do you know what the actual answer is? You ready for this? One out of ten of us tithes, one out of ten of us is obedient to God's prescription. Which means we're carrying the other nine in this room. And the truth is guys, if only twenty percent of us, if only two of us out of ten actually tithed we'd be paying cash for the buildings out there.

Linn Winters: 05:25 This is not a spending issue. This is a giving issue. And I'm just telling you, this is the moment, this is the moment for you to step up and do what we all know we should've been doing and stop taking what others have done for granted and taking a free ride. So I'm just going to ask you, would you pray about it? Would you lean into it and say, "What does this mean for me and for my family, and what can I do to change this narrative right now?" Change this story right now and let's just get caught up on our bills. Let's get it where it needs to be. Okay? Everybody just nod and make me feel like we're in Linn. Yeah, okay, all right, good. All right, family, talk over.

Linn Winters: 06:08 We're in the second week of a series called fight for your family. And I just want to welcome right now the San Tan campus, the Scottsdale campus. So glad you're part of this. I really believe this is one of the most powerful, important, critical discussions that we are going to have in this room together. So I just asked everyone, would you lean in, would you lean in for this series. Even if the series bothers you, even at this series stirs up stuff in you, lean in okay? And if you miss last week, last week's one of the ones you want to go watch online. You just, you don't want to miss any part of this series.

Linn Winters: 06:43 All right. We're going to start with a survey. The survey has three possible answers.

Linn Winters: 06:49 Answer number one, possible answer is, hey, my family of origin was remarkable. I'm just telling you. They sent me on a spiritual course. They were so Christ centered in my family, and they prepared me. They prepared me with the tools that I was going to need to be fully functioning. And I'm not saying we we're perfect. I'm just saying my family was pretty darn amazing. Answer number one.

Linn Winters: 07:16 Answer number two. My family has some struggles. The truth is it wasn't all good, it wasn't all bad, but I inherited some things from my family that I had to spend some time working out. I may even still be working out some of the things I inherited from my family, and my family structure. That's how it was.

Linn Winters: 07:38 Third option. Based on my family, I should be in jail right now.

Linn Winters: 07:39 Hey, three options okay? Those are your three options.

Linn Winters: 07:42 How many in the room say, "Hey, my family was just so solid, so biblically based, so Christ centered and they gave me so many tools to prepare. I just had a real blessing from my family and how they raised me."

Linn Winters: 07:42 Okay, how many in the room and say, "Hey my family, you know, there was some stuff. It wasn't a perfect family. There was some things. And the truth is I inherited some broken stuff out of my family that I've had to work on since then, but it also wasn't just horrible." How many of you say that was my family?

Linn Winters: 08:11 Okay how many would say, "I'm lucky not to be in jail." Okay, all right, you guys are laughing. But that's true. I mean, I'm just telling you there's some people alright? And here's what you've got to get, every one of our families creates a generational push. Let me say that again. Every one of our families, the family you were raised in, the family that you are currently in, the family that your children will one day do. Every family creates a generational push.

Linn Winters: 08:42 Some would call it a legacy. It's what we give to the next generation, as they leave our family. Every family does it, and here's the deal. You may not even realize it, but the reality is in Smith family story, in the Johnson family story, there are chapters that
were written in the Johnson family story before you were ever born. But then, as you sat in your family, that chapter was being written as you were there with your parents. And whatever happened in chapter was passed on to you. It was the push that your nuclear family had in your life. And now, are you ready, now you are creating that push.

Linn Winters: 09:29 Whatever you're doing, however many hours you spend at work, how many hours you don't spend a work, how you treat your spouse, how you don't treat your spouse, whatever you're doing, what you don't get, you are creating the next push. The push into the next generation of your family. And here's what you need to hear me say as we have this conversation today, I don't care if you're in this room and you're single. I don't care if you're in this room and you're too young, you don't have a family yet. You are creating your family push, your legacy. Because what you do on prom, or what you don't do on prom is going to be part of your family story. What you do when you go off to college, what parties you attend, what parties you don't, is going to become part of your family story. And even if you're single here, I'm just telling you wherever you were last night is going to become part of your family story. If you're a grandparent in the room, you go, look, I've already done it. I've already seen it. Your chapter's not done until you die, you are still writing your legacy, you're still writing your family story. And if you go to my office right now, on my wall, I've got the pictures of people who have significantly impacted my life. Two of those pictures are grandparents, and I'm just telling you, if you're a grandparent in this room right now and you go, oh, we were talking about family. Yes, we're talking about family and your chapter isn't done till someone sticks you in the ground. What you need to understand is that you are creating a push for the generations behind you. You are creating a legacy and it is up to all of us to decide that we want that legacy to be amazing.

Linn Winters: 11:11 Because here's the deal, you're either going to push your kids into huge brokenness, into huge dysfunction. Remember we had people who raised their hands and said by all rights I belong in jail, and we all laughed. But the truth is, we all know families like that. Survival was a big deal in that family, and the legacy, the push was a very broken push.

Linn Winters: 11:34 We got families that go, "Ah, you know, I'm just going to do something kind of neutral. I'm just going to raise my kids to be good kids, that's what I'm going to do, good people. Hey, if you create a neutral or just kind of in the middle family legacy, and then your children your descendants, go out and they have to deal with the pull of the current of culture. They've got to watch the entertainment that's out there today, they've got to listen to the music that's out there today. They've got to be around a whole group of people that say, "Hey, come on, everybody else's doing it." Where do you think your legacy is going to go If you create a neutral, be a good person, family culture?

Linn Winters: 12:16 Or the decision to say, "No, no, no. I'm going to create an amazing God fearing, Christ centered family. I'm going to push that next generation. My legacy is that I put all of my effort into moving those who came behind me into pursuing Jesus with all their heart." And guys I'm just telling you, this is a big deal. And you are writing this chapter whether you're conscious of it or not, so write it well.

Linn Winters: 12:47 We're going jump into the story today of a guy, think about this, who loves God. A guy who's done incredible, incredible things for God, but he misses his family. He fumbles this part of his life and it causes all sorts of hurt and brokenness and heartache, you ready, for generations that follow him because he fumbled the push. He fumbled creating a great family legacy, and here's the thing, you and I are going to have a chance to peek into his life and go whoa, whoa, whoa, let's learn the lessons. Let's identify the failures, and let's get this thing back and let's purposefully create a better family legacy than he did.

Linn Winters: 13:32 Grab your bibles. We're going to hop into his story. It's Second Samuel chapter 13, and if you're not familiar, just go to the front of your Bible, work to the right, you're going to find this book of Second Samuel, Second Samuel chapter 13. It's a long story. So I'm going to unpack the story. There's a verse in there that turns the story, we're gonna get to it. So here's the story, it's the story of a guy named David. Some of us might be a little bit familiar, but this is probably the part of the story we don't spend a lot of time on. So here we go. So David, one day is at his palace, he goes out on a balcony and he sees a woman bathing on her rooftop. It's interesting because scripture at the time takes the caution, or the trouble, to say to us David is there in his palace at the time that kings go off to war. Matter of fact, all of his armies are off fighting a battle. David decided to stay back. It's an interesting note. He stands there on the palace balcony. I'm just going to tell you the palace was higher than every one of the other houses, women commonly based on top of rooftops. It was actually the most modest thing you could do. They had parapets around them, you couldn't see them bathing from the street. But if you're in the palace, you're higher than all those roofs. David knew exactly what he was to see that night, and he sees a woman by the name of Bathsheba, and she's beautiful. And he calls her into the palace and he sleeps with her. He thinks "Hey, you know one and done, that's what it was. Sends her back home. The problem is Bathsheba ends up pregnant. See the thing he thought he was going to slip through, and get away with now all of a sudden is going to be exposed. So he comes up with a plan in which he says to the armies of Israel. Remember, they were out battling. He says, "Hey, take Bathsheba's husband Uriah. Run right up to the walls of the city, and then at the last possible moment let all the soldiers retreat, leave Uriah standing there so he'll be killed." And it works.

Linn Winters: 15:36 David waits a short interval, he cannot wait too long because he wants people to believe the baby is his now. So he brings Bathsheba in, and he marries her. Now she becomes one of his many wives. And here's the interesting thing in the story. It is super clear in scripture that David repents. That David gets in front of God and says, "God, this is an ill lived moment in my life, I should have never done it. Please, please, please forgive me."

Linn Winters: 16:06 But guess where he never deals with it? In his family. See he gets it right with God, but he doesn't deal with it in his family and with the people who've seen it and who are affected by it. So forever in the home of David, there's a closet. There's a little door that as you walked through the story of David, and figuratively speaking right, that you walk by and it just smells. See everybody in the family kind of knows about the sin of David. We just don't talk about the sin of David. And so every once in a while you just kind of rushed by and thought something, something is rotting in the closet. Now you keep going in the story and it's interesting. You're going to want to go back and read this. I'm just telling you, because in the scripture, chapter 13, chapter 14, chapter 15, have no chapter breaks. When the story of David is told, this is told as one continuous story. Here's what David did, and then here's what happened to the sons of David. Because you ready for this? He passed on generational sin. The sin that he committed became the sins of his sons.

Linn Winters: 17:20 So fast forward just a little bit, David has a son by the name of Amnon. Amnon is his first born. Amnon is slated to be the king of Israel. This is interesting because we, some of us, know that Solomon becomes the next king of Israel. Guess why? Because Amnon dies in the story. So Amnon is the firstborn son of David. And he falls in love with his half-sister, Tamar.

Linn Winters: 17:50 One day he was walking through the palace and he's all forlorn, his friend comes in and says, "Dude, why? You know, what's the deal? You're all out of it."

Linn Winters: 17:56 And he goes, "I am just love sick for my half-sister Tamar."

Linn Winters: 18:00 His friend says, "Oh, I've got some great advice for you. Do this. Pretend that you're sick. Ask to have Tamar come in and attend to you while you're sick, and then have your way with her."

Linn Winters: 18:13 So sure enough, Amnon pretends to be sick. He requests specifically that Tamar come and attend to him. He then sends everybody out of the room and he rapes his half-sister. When he's done, the Bible says that as deeply as he had loved her, he now hated her even more. I don't know if it was the guilt of the moment. I don't know what it was, but as much as he loved her, he now despised her and he sends her away.

Linn Winters: 18:46 To which Tamar says, "Wait, wait, wait, wait, don't do that, because this sin of sending me away is going to be even greater than the sin that you've already committed in my life." She'll never be able to get married, she'll never be considered as a wife in the culture of the day.

Linn Winters: 19:00 It's interesting. Because scripture says that David hears about the sin of Amnon, and when he does, he's angry. Matter of fact, now we're going to look. Here we go, Second Samuel, Chapter Thirteen, verse 21. This is David's reaction to hearing about the sin of his son. Here's what it says. When King David heard all this, heard the story, he was furious. Furious that his son could commit such a horrible sin. Guess what he does next? Nothing. Nothing. You go wait, wait, wait. This is the guy who slays giants. This is the guy who when people lied to him, he lopped their heads off. It surely can't be for fear or timidity. Why in this moment, when the sin is so dark, why? How is it possible that David does nothing? And guys we don't know the answer for sure, but here's my best guess. You're ready? I think David starts down the hallway, I think David is going full force to go get Amnon, and go, what in the hay? How in the world could you do this? How could you bring this into our family? And then he passes the closet, he gets to that moment of unresolved yuck in his own life. And he says to himself, so I'm going to go tell Amnon that he ought to be sexually pure, he ought to treat women the right way, and do the right thing. And he's just going to bring up my un-dealt with, broken mess. He turns, he goes back and sits on the throne.

Linn Winters: 20:58 It doesn't end there. David has another son, his name is Absalom. Absalom is Tamar's brother who says, "Are you kidding me? This guy gets to rape my sister and David, my dad, does nothing about it." So Absalom comes up with his own plan. He throws a party for all the sons and daughters of David. At the party, he goes to his own men and he says, "When I say now. Every one of you is to thrust your sword into Amnon." And sure enough, he gets everybody just a little liquored up, and then he goes, "Now." and all of his men converge on Amnon and kill him in an instant. Now Absalom ends up living as a fugitive. Truth is he rebels and rebels, and ultimately he's killed. So now two of the sons of David are dead, as a direct result of the sins of the father. of David's push in the wrong direction in his family.

Linn Winters: 21:56 And guys here's what we're going to discover today. That you're going to push your family in a direction. And you need to consciously decide, am I going to push my kids toward brokenness and struggle and unresolved stuff because I've got that in my life. Or am I going to push my kids toward following Christ and getting prepared for this life? Where is push? Where is my legacy going to be? And how, you ready, how do I avoid passing on my brokenness, passing on my stuff to my children? How do I keep from passing on the sins of the father to the next generation?

Linn Winters: 22:44 Grab your bibles. There is another passage us to look at an Exodus chapter 34. It's real easy. The first book of the Bible is Genesis. Second Book of the Bible is Exodus, Exodus chapter 34. It's a great moment, Moses has gone up on the mountain. God gave him the Ten Commandments. He comes down off the mountain. He finds the children of Israel what? Worshiping a false calf. Remember Charlton Heston throws down the tablets, remember that moment. Now Moses is back up for the second time, getting the tablets again, getting the 10 commandments. And God has conversation and says you need to go down and tell the people that what they do has the ability to affect their children. That what they do creates a push, a legacy. And sometimes the sins of the father, and oh by the way sins of the mother, because God is an equal opportunity employer are passed down to the children and to the children's children.

Linn Winters: 23:49 Here we go. Exodus chapter 34, verse 6, "The Lord passed before him, before Moses, and proclaimed the Lord, the Lord, a God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who by no means clear the guilty. Visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children to the third and fourth generation."

Linn Winters: 24:20 Generational sin. So let's talk about it for a second. What is that? And how does it work? Generational sin works because sometimes it's the consequences of my behavior that gets passed onto my kids. Think about this for a minute. If you're one of the children of Israel, your grandparents sinned, your grandparents were stood against God. Did not do what they were supposed to do, and God says, "Okay, we're going to put Israel into captivity." If you're one of the grandchildren of one of those people who sinned. You go, I get it, I get my grandma and grandpa messed up. I get why he sent. But I didn't do anything, and yet I'm living in captivity. And what you need to know is, is that sometimes what gets passed on generationally is simply the consequences of really, really broken behavior.

Linn Winters: 25:10 Maybe a more down to earth example. You're a man who absolutely decides that you're smarter than every one of your employers. You are filled with pride and nobody can tell you, because you're always smarter than everybody else in the room, and you lose job, after job, after job. So here's my guess, your family, your kids probably grow up moving from state to state, and city to city, because you've got to find new employment constantly. My guess is that financially, there's times of being okay, but there's times a real sparsity within your family. And your family lives with the consequences of your behavior. It's how we pass down our sins to the next generation. But maybe more importantly, and maybe more critical, is the behavior they learn and the way they learn to think. This may be the most critical way in which we pass down generational sin to our children. Because most of life is not taught, it's caught.

Linn Winters: 26:15 Think about this for a minute. Amnon picks up the sin of his father. He says, " Hey, apparently what you do is that if you're filled with desire, you pursue it to whatever end. It's what my dad did. So if you have sexual desire, you just go after it."

Linn Winters: 26:39 Absalom is affected, but Absalom decides to do the opposite. He says, "Man, dad messed up here. I'm going to do the opposite." And here's what you need to know. Doing the opposite of what the generation in front of you did is very seldom the right thing to do. You're simply leaving one ditch and moving to the ditch on the other side of the road. And Absalom in this moment says, "Well hey, my dad is soft, my dad doesn't deal with things, so I'm going to deal with it. And I'm going to do the right thing even if I do it the wrong way and murder my own brother. At least I did something."

Linn Winters: 27:20 Guys, this is how this works. Some of us grew up in homes and dad was a tyrant. I mean dad was strict like crazy, And you and I in reaction to that said, "I'm going to be the opposite." And so now you find yourself being absolutely permissive. So I'm not going to be my dad, and now your kids lack direction in their life, because you're responding to the sin of your father. Some of us grew up in a home, and mom cheated on the family and now all of a sudden you have suspicions. You have fears that you project on your spouse, even though your spouse has never done anything. Sins of the mother.

Linn Winters: 28:09 Some of us grew up in homes where how you dealt with conflict is you just yelled. You just yell and whoever yells the loudest wins the argument. And you find yourself now with highly dysfunctional ways of dealing with conflict within your home. Where did you get the that? I learned it growing up. Sins of the father. Learned behaviors and learned ways of thinking. Here's the interesting thing, my guess, if you went back to your dad and said, "Dad, why the heck why were you so strict?"

Linn Winters: 28:39 That there's a really, really good chance he'd say, "Well, here's the deal. Your grandfather, my father was so passive. So passive in the family that he never gave me direction and I did so many stupid things. I did so many things I regret and I just made a decision I was going to go completely different. To the other side of the ditch, and I was going to make sure that I kept my kids for making any of the decisions I made. So I rode you."

Linn Winters: 29:05 That's how sins of the father goes from second and third and fourth generations. And I'm just going to tell you, that some of us in this room right now, if you would just stop and pause. You'd go you know what? I am carrying on a broken legacy in my life. I'm living out what was broken about my family of origin and now I'm creating that as my family.

Linn Winters: 29:29 So here's the question. How do you stop generational sin? How do you put an end to this? How do you turn this ship? And here's the easy answer... you open the closet. I get it. I get that, that is terrifying. I get that what's in there is ugly. Some of you're going to go, Ah, that was good. Skeletons in the closet. That guy knows how to do a sermon, man. But look, here's the deal, you had a little too much to drink.

Linn Winters: 30:23 Isn't it true that the most powerful thing that David could have done would have been to set his family down and just bring that skeleton, that thing, out into the light of day. If he just sort of said, "Look, this is my worst lived moment. I'm just going to call it what it was, it was sin. And I'm going to ask you guys to forgive me for this. And I'm just telling you, I've learned, I'm never, never, never, never, never. Wouldn't that have been the most powerful thing, the most healing thing, that David could have possibly done for his kids.

Linn Winters: 31:00 Here's something interesting, you need to catch this. Some of us in the room you think you're Amnon and Absalom, you say, "Well, no, no, no, I got this from my parents. You know what the interesting thing is? Your kids don't know that. They think you're David. They think you're the instigator. You're the one this starts with. And the most powerful thing you could do is just go, "Hey guys, I know my anger is out of control. I know. And I'm just going to call it what it is. It's a part of me that's broken and I'm just going to tell you, it's a part of me that I'm surrendering to Christ. I'm trying to get healthier with. I'm trying to be on the other side of this. Because I don't want to pass my anger onto you.

Linn Winters: 31:42 Someone of us go, "Hey, you know what? My Lust, my lust, it's my struggle. And I'm just telling you it is what it is, but I'm also telling you that I'm surrendering that to God." Because I don't want that to be your lust. The most powerful thing David could have done was bring it into light. Here's the interesting thing, when you bring it into the light, it loses its power. And the other thing that's interesting is that very often it becomes the place in which you actually get to minister to other people's lives. You get to say, "Hey, here was my struggle. Here was the thing I did. Let me tell you how God navigated me through this. This was my brokenness. Let me describe God's healing." And when this isn't in the closet, it loses its power and actually becomes your testimony.

Linn Winters: 32:32 The Sons of David, don't you guys just want to just say to them, "Hey guys, look. You're right. You're right. Your dad is flawed. He's actually a wonderful man, but he is flawed, and if you keep focusing on his flaws, you're going to inherit his flaws. Forgive him. He hasn't asked. He hasn't even acknowledge this, right? Forgive him. So the only way that you're going to be free from it is for you to forgive him. And forgiving them doesn't say it was okay. Forgiving him doesn't mean he's your best friend. Forgiving him just simply says, I'm not going to carry this bitterness and anger and focus on you anymore." And then second piece, and you need to define what's healthy because probably what's healthy is not doing the opposite of your dad. What does it mean to deal in life, and be in control of your anger. What does it mean to live your life and not be a victim of your life? What does that mean? Hey, that's just a little bit too friendly, we haven't dated that long.

Linn Winters: 33:42 Okay, so isn't it true that some of us sitting in this room right now and we go, "Hey, you know what? I'm just the result of my parents. I'm just the result of my broken home." And we play the victim card, we play the broken card, and I get it I'm not minimizing that. Believe me, my story has plenty of brokenness in it. But if you and I stay there, if you and I stay victims, then you and I will make our children victims. Because we will pass down the generational sin that has affected us. And the only answer is for you and I to say what it is, to forgive what it is, and to go after healthiness in Christ so that we don't pass it to the next generation.

Linn Winters: 34:30 Final thing, how do you create a healthy...Guys get this, get this. If you don't get anything else in this whole message, you get this moment. The very same power to create a broken family legacy. In other words, remember to push the future generations in the wrong direction. That very same power simply has the ability to push our kids in an amazing direction. There's two sides of the coin. There's the sins of the father, but then there's generational blessing, there's setting our families up for moving the right direction. You and I just simply have to decide today which side of the coin are we working on? Which direction is our legacy?

Linn Winters: 35:13 So how do you set up a great family legacy? And the best way I can do this, is describe to you, what happened in mine. Because my family has a story of brokenness that switches and turns. So some of you heard a little bit of this. My great grandmother McCreaty married, divorced, married, divorced, married. Now what you got to get in there says she does this in the 1910's. So think about culture back then, and think about a woman who was burning through husbands. And I'm just telling you, Grandma McCreaty was a wild woman. And if you've ever been around Grandma McCreaty, she made truck drivers cry. I mean she was rough as a cob. Her daughter, my grandmother, married, divorced, married, divorced, married. Generational sin, see it coming down. Her sister, my great aunt, married, divorced 13 times. There's two other men mixed in there. We just can't find marriage licenses to prove it. Generational sin.

Linn Winters: 36:30 My parents, married and divorced, third and fourth generation. My mom, my mom in that moment said it turns here. And she made a very honest self-assessment. She sat there and she said, "Hey, I'm getting up a little bit more in years. What are the chances that there is a single, godly, Christian man, unattached and available? To come into my family, and wants to marry into four children, the youngest of which is severely autistic? What are the chances I find that man?" You've got to remember this is in the 60's too. And she says, probably not likely. So my mom said, "I'm pretty much resolved and pretty much get, I'm probably going to do this by myself." Which guys, I'm just going to say to you, if you are here and you are a single parent, parent. This ought to encourage you, because my mom put a stake in the ground and said, "Here's where the story turns. I'm going to rewrite the chapter." And my mom raised us four kids in godliness, and in honor, without money. I mean, the stories go on and on. But I'm just telling you, she became the benchmark for our family to measure what is holiness, what is loving Jesus, what is being honest when it's inconvenient to be honest, and literally our family's story began to turn because of the resolve of a single mom raising four children, the youngest of which was severely autistic.

Linn Winters: 37:50 When it came my turn, I said, you know what? The story of divorce in the Winters family stops with my generation. And I literally just said, I am going to invest in my marriage, I'm going to chase my wife until she's tired of being chased. [Audience applause} There you go. We're going to turn this story. in the Winter's family story. And then when my son Joshua came along, I sat him down before he left house and I said, "Here's what you need to know. Here's the Winter's family story. Let me tell you about grandma McCreaty. Okay? And let me tell you about the cost that your grandmother paid to begin to turn the family story. Let me tell you the cost that I paid to say I am to invest with all my heart into my marriage, into my marriage with your mother. And Josh were handing the story to you. It's going to be your turn to write the chapter and here's what I'm asking. Write a better chapter than I did."

Linn Winters: 38:49 And you want to hear one of the greatest joys in my life? I think my son is a better husband than I was. He's more attentive, he's more kind. I'm a mean booger. He's kind. I think he may be a better father than me, especially at his age. He is so watchful for that son and so invested in Caleb. I was always invested in the church. And guys look, I'm not telling you I was a bad dad. I'm just telling you think my son might actually be a better dad, and a better husband than me, and how fun is that family legacy? You're writing a story, you're creating a push, which direction is it going to be?

Linn Winters: 39:41 Let me give you a couple of things just real, real quick that you can do to create a great family story. Number one, decide the generational sin stops with you. Whatever brokenness came into your life, came through your life, I don't care. It stops with me. Because I'm going to forgive it and then I'm going to get healthy. I'm going to get to the other side of my anger, in Christ. I'm going to get to the other side of lust in my life. I'm going to get to the other side of insecurity in my life, in Christ. The generational sin stops with me. I'm not going to pass that on to my kids. Number two, Determine to give your kids a great push. Guys, none of us wants to give our kids a bad push, none of us wants to do that. But you know what I think happens? We settled for an okay push. We settled for, "Hey, my kids are going to be good people, and they're going to have reasonable life skills." And we do something that's kind of somewhere in the middle. Hey, if you give your kids a push that somewhere in the middle, by the time they have to deal with culture as dark as culture is today, by the time they have to watch the movies that are out today, by the time they listen to the music that is out today, by the time they hang with their friends who are saying come on everybody else's doing it, guess where you're neutral push is going to end up for them. And guys, I'm just a determined man. I'm going to push my kids straight onto Jesus as I possibly can. Because this is going to be a God-fearing, God honoring home, and I'm going to look at my kids and say, "This is where I got us to, you get us further." Give them the best push you can possibly give. And then finally, prepare your kids for the hand-off. Know there's going to be a day in which you're going to say, "Okay I'm probably done being the primary author of this chapter. Here you go, and my desperate, desperate prayer is that you do this better than I did it. I paid a big price, to set you up, and now instead of generational sin, I want you to fulfill generational blessing."

Linn Winters: 41:50 All of us have a chance. We all have the same opportunity. Your family story is still being written, and guys, if you're single and never been married, you're still writing. You’re writing the first pages of your chapter. If you're a grandparent, I'm just telling you right now, your family story isn't done until they put you in a box and put you six feet down you're still writing. My grandparents, grandma Feldman, remember she didn't come to Jesus until in her late forties. And she wrote great chapters in my life after that. You're not done writing until they put you in a box. Make this your family's best chapter. Let your kids leave with an amazing family push.

Linn Winters: 42:37 Let's pray. Dear Lord Jesus, we simply come to you in the moment. And if we're honest, sometimes we didn't even recognize that we were writing a chapter. And yet here's the opportunity, here's the moment in our lives to write the very best chapter in our family's story. God, may the people of Cornerstone write amazing chapters. In this we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
Read More
Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286