Sons of God's Generals: Unlocking the Power of Godly Inheritance (2 page)

A different son or daughter of a modern-day general has written a chapter in this book answering each of these questions and sharing their journey of finding God through their individual relationships. My desire for this book is for you, the reader, to learn from our experiences of growing up in these households so that you can take what we have learned and use it in the transformation of the lives of your family. Good and/or bad experiences, the stories are entertaining to say the least and useful to say the most. I hope that this book will encourage you, cause you to smile, and help you to relax as you go about the will of your Father as you, too, experience life with your family.

Many blessings, Joshua Frost

Eric Johnson

John Adams once said, “I must study politics and war, that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, natural history and naval architecture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, tapestry, and porcelain.”

As an adult reflecting on my upbringing and now having my own children, I have numerous thoughts that come to mind about what it was like for me, my brother, and my sister to be raised by our dad and mom. Often people ask me what it was like being raised by Bill and Beni. My usual reply is, “It was pretty normal.”

Usually when someone asks that question, they are contrasting it to their own experience or what they have heard. I think it’s important to note the normalcy of it all because I think we can tend to idolize or picture some surreal scenario that we want to experience. I want to take the time to emphasize the normal because it really was and is. My parents are incredible people; they are not just my parents, they are my heroes and really good friends. They are very down-to-earth and very passionate about the things of God.

I think often we look at generals in the body of Christ, and we don’t grasp the reality that we all have similar common denominators. We eat, sleep, play, work, breathe, and share life with others. I think sometimes we can create this idea that it’s impossible to be like someone we admire or respect. The truth is, once you’ve seen it or heard it modeled, then you can have it, too.

The Realization

I am surrounded by a very strong Christian heritage. On my dad’s side of the family, I am a sixth-generation pastor, and on my mom’s side, I am a fourth-generation Christian. A joke I often tell people is I had five options growing up, and it was either to be an apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher, or evangelist. My home was filled with crazy love, freedom, and respect. There was no tension or arguing. I have no recollection of my parents ever fighting or arguing. They just didn’t do it. For me, this is my normal; I know nothing else.

It wasn’t until halfway through high school that I realized that not all of my friends were raised in healthy homes. For some reason, it didn’t occur to me that my own upbringing wasn’t typical. For most of my life up until that point, I thought that what we had was normal for everyone. An interesting moment for me was when it became apparent that it was not, and I began to realize that the many things I took lightly were the exception. Around this time I understood that I was in a unique situation and I needed to embrace my own upbringing and heritage more seriously.

We have been very blessed to have a family lineage that is saturated in Christian heritage. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful. I do fully understand this is not the case for many. For me, it is a place that I get to stand with my life, decisions, and gifts so that I can give it to my children and their children. (If you want more insight on this topic of spiritual inheritance, please see my book,
Momentum: What God Starts Never Ends

Be Authentic

Another revelation that hit me at some point in my teens was the so-called stigma of being a “pastor’s kid.” That was never something that I lived with or faced in any way in my life. I would hear stories of other pastors’ kids who would get extremely rebellious toward their parents, who were in church ministry, and would resent the church and the role of the pastor.

My parents were the same people off stage as they were on the stage; they were the same in front of people and the same when they weren’t in front of people. We didn’t experience a different mom or dad when they were at home. I personally never questioned what was more important, the church or their kids. It was undoubtedly us. At the time I was not aware of all the things they did to demonstrate this. Sometimes it was the simplest things like driving us to school every day or eating breakfast and dinner together. When we were really young, Dad would read us two stories from a book that talked about animals and the spiritual truth about them. My mom would cut my hair or make me clothes. So when they were taking care of the people as pastors, we got to see them love people the way they loved us. We got the best of them, and that enabled them practically and spiritually to be incredible leaders and pastors. The life they lived was demonstrated to the church, and it was authentic.

The importance of being authentic is often not emphasized enough. Authenticity creates trust. You know what you are going to get when you come into contact with an authentic person. There is no guessing or wondering who they are and how they are doing. Our home was filled with genuine authenticity, which created a high level of trust and respect for each other.

When you create a value system for authenticity on a personal level, then you get excited when people around you are authentic as well. Freedom and respect are results of an environment that allows you to be you.

Free to Be Ourselves

One of the fruits of a home that was built on freedom and respect was there was no need to control or dictate the course of life. Whenever you walk in the freedom of who you are, you have little need to control others and would rather serve what is on the hearts of those around you. I often share with people that I can’t recall many conversations in which I was told what to do with my life, whether it was about my career, who I would marry, where I would live, etc. There is one instance when Dad and I went to a meeting where Mario Murillo was preaching, and during the meeting my dad simply mentioned to me, “Make sure you watch Mario, because you may be in his shoes someday.”

We had lots of intentional conversations that showed me it was important that I pursue my passions, whether they were smuggling Bibles in China at age 13 or pursuing baseball. It was really clear that it was important to them that I stayed in tune with my heart and what was going on in my life and went after it with a passion. I had an incredible amount of freedom when it came to my actions as long as my attitude was healthy. Perhaps the reason I’m a huge advocate for being empowered and trusted to make great decisions in life results from this freedom and trust.

I have a very strong conviction that God trusts you more than you trust yourself. One of the happiest moments as a parent is when I see my kids making great decisions without our input. It is a great sign that we are raising them well. It was very obvious to me when we kids would make great decisions because Dad and Mom would celebrate it and cheer us on. Our home carried a deep level of trust for each other, and freedom was the place we lived from.

Passion Is Contagious

It was always important in our home to do what you love to do and to do it with a passion. We had no long conversations to make sure I understood this. Rather, it was lived out. Whether the normal daily things in life or a journey into the heart of God, it was done with a lot of passion and pursuit. One of the things that is common knowledge about my parents is their passion for worship. On Sunday morning when it was time to worship, it was normal to see my parents with their eyes closed and hands raised in passionate worship to God. More than just singing a few songs, worship was the focal point of their life, and it meant abandoning themselves to the King.

A stirring moment for me was when I was around junior high age, and my dad was recording an album in a studio a few hours away from our home. We made a family trip up to this studio for a few days. One moment, all of us were in the control room along with the studio engineer, and on the other side of the wall was my dad sitting at a piano. He was playing, singing, and weeping all at the same time. Listening to him had a deep impact on me. I realized that this thing called
was more than just an action; it was the way we do life. I was forever marked.

Mountain Chapel was our church for two decades, the place we all grew up and learned about community and the Kingdom. In our little mountain town, we were known as the crazy church, and others referred to us as a cult. That one always made us smile. For us, worship was a way of life, the highest priority to God. The culture of worship for us was created there, week after week, day after day. Being a part of a culture of worship continues to shape us more than we realized. My brother and my sister have major roles of leading people all over the world in worship. That was birthed in Weaverville at a little church called Mountain Chapel.

We often talk about what helps to grow leaders in the body of Christ, and there are many things that help to accomplish that. We don’t realize how much worship plays into it. I don’t worship so I can become a great leader. However, it’s clear that giving my life to worshiping the King has helped me to grow and be able to lead the body of Christ. It is here where my heart is shaped and formed to the one that is the source of all life. This is the one place where I can come as I am, whether I bring a sacrifice or a dance to the King. Worship shapes how we see God, which, in turn, shapes how we live life.

Passion is contagious. It is transferrable by seeing it and living life with each other. When you see someone who carries passion for something, be it worship or fly-fishing in the Trinity Alps wilderness, it gives you permission and freedom to pursue things that are in your heart. My wife often reminds me that when I get into a hobby, I
get into it! This kind of passion was instilled in all three of us kids so much that it ended up playing an integral part in how we pursued God on our own and how we live out our lives.

Discipline with Love

“I’m disciplining you because I love you,” were words that I heard quite a few times in my childhood—usually before any of us kids was going to be spanked or grounded for some length of time. In that moment, those words never made sense to us. My young mind was not able to fully understand the depth of those words. However, as the disciplining got less and less and farther and farther apart, it became really clear what those words meant.

We weren’t disciplined for behavior as much as we were for our attitude. Our actions were the result of our heart. When our heart and attitude got out of hand, then our behavior demonstrated that. Any time I would do something out of anger, rebellion, frustration, or any other similar emotion, it was essentially because I didn’t watch or guard my heart. There was always a little sermon before we got disciplined. This little sermon would usually go with the words, “I’m disciplining you because I love you.” How true are those words today. This simple action instilled in us a deep desire to guard our hearts, which helps us be who we are today. Now in raising our own children we find ourselves repeating those words: “I’m disciplining you because I love you.”

Love for Diversity

From 1995 to 1997, I attended a Bible college for two years. Every morning all the students were required to go to chapel for a service, which was always an interesting experience for me. Every day in chapel we would have a different speaker. So it became normal that one day a speaker would say something like, “If you aren’t going to the nations and leading people to the Lord, then you aren’t doing anything.” Then the very next day a different person would say, “If you are going to the nations and leading people to the Lord, but you aren’t even reaching your own neighborhood, then how can you live with yourself?” It was quite challenging and very comical.

The funny part for me was when we went to class right after chapel. All of my classes were Bible or ministry focused. My fellow classmates were in some form heading toward church ministry. Whenever we would have a speaker in chapel, the professor would usually take a few minutes to allow us to discuss our thoughts about the message that was given in chapel. The following discussions would make it really clear that there wasn’t much value for diversity. The most opinionated students would always speak first and make their point really strong. I began to realize that “being able to eat the meat and throw out the bones” was challenging for a lot of my classmates. If the message didn’t fit a certain way of thinking, they would reject the speaker and the message entirely.

This was another area that my parents set a strong example—to always find gold in people, no matter what. I’ve heard my parents say, “If we have a hard time with 95 percent of what someone said, then we will only focus on the 5 percent.” They had a tremendous value for diversity in people. I believe this is one of the keys to favor with people all over the planet that they have—they genuinely love people and the diversity in them. When you walk in the freedom of who you are, it’s really hard to be threatened by diversity. Rather, you find joy in seeing the diversity, and you are always able to find meat to eat.

Leading by Example

I want to end with this thought—lead by example. Brian, Leah, and I are very blessed to have a set of parents who led by example. All of the things that are mentioned in this chapter, plus many stories and situations not mentioned, were things that our parents lived out. Their need to control our outcome was minimal, but in a unique way, they did shape the outcome of who we are because they lived and demonstrated a life that is authentic, inspiring, and tangible.

Everything you just read in this chapter was intended to share with you our lives that we are living. It is how we have been shaped into what we are today. My desire is that when you read this, you will find keys and truth that will help you in the way you live life because once you have seen it modeled, then you can have it as well. I bless you from our house to your house, and may the Lord bless you and keep you.

Other books

The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks
Always the Vampire by Nancy Haddock
OMG Baby! by Garcia, Emma
Runway Ready by Sheryl Berk
A Winter of Ghosts (The Waking Series) by Christopher Golden, Thomas Randall
A Cornish Christmas by Lily Graham
Circles of Time by Phillip Rock
The Hamilton Heir by Valerie Hansen