My church is doing a series on Family discipleship right now, and over the past few weeks I couldn’t but help hear the distinctive echoes of VLA’s mission and goals within the messages. Matt Chandler breaks the theme down to three concepts out of Deuteronomy 6: Time, Moments, and Milestones. So many times I get the questions, “What separates VLA from other programs, and what does it really aim to achieve?” Well, I think these three simple themes begin to unpack all that we desire to achieve in working with the ‘Seekers’ of Veritas Life Adventures.
I can guess one thought you might be having…Deuteronomy…you mean that old, dusty, boring rule book of the old testament that surely can’t apply to us in today’s progressive society. Well you might be surprised just how applicable and relational some principles of that time are in comparison to today. It is almost like God set up systems to work for our best benefit, our fullest joy, no matter what time or culture they take place. Almost like they are ‘timeless principles’, man I knew that saying meant something.
Ok, in all seriousness, I want you to consider just two quick paraphrases, see how they correlate and hopefully I can sum up these concepts and their importance within VLA.
This is so that you’ll live in deep reverence before God lifelong, observing all his rules and regulations that I’m commanding you, you and your children and your grandchildren, living good long lives. Listen obediently, Israel. Do what you’re told so that you’ll have a good life, a life of abundance and bounty, just as God promised, in a land abounding in milk and honey. Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got! Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates. (Duet. 6:2,3,5,6-9 The Message)
Consider this: In 1960, the vast majority of young adults had, by the time they reached 30, accomplished the five standard milestones used to measure adult status. These milestones include completing school, leaving home, getting married, having a child, and establishing financial independence. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than one-half of all young women reached these milestones by age 30 in 2000. Even more concerning — less than one third of all young men did. -Albert Mohler, 2010
Even if you don’t see these milestones as marking adulthood, I challenge you, replace them with other goals and ask yourself if our ‘emerging adults’ match up any better. Even if you are not a Christian, or simply don’t believe in God, surely you can agree that truly loving others is imparting with the wisdom, principles, and lessons you have learned yourself; and doing so day by day, moment by moment, throughout an entire life time.
What, therefore, is the connection to this abundant life promised so long ago and the trend today: and, what does it have to do with questions about VLA?
Well, simply put, we at Veritas Life Adventures realize the truth of:
Time- There is no substantial substitute for time spent in a relationship. Building, conveying, and modeling those characteristics which lead to joyful lives take time, and lots of it. This is why our program is a year in length, with results compounding the longer one practices the program.
Moments- Unlike our backwards oriented society that puts milestones before moments, the truth is, it is in the moments where the real work is done, progress is made, and success is achieved. Like Deuteronomy states, it is when we walk together, share a meal, rest, when we wake or before sleep, that we find moments to delve into the deeper meaning behind living out joy. This is why those in the VLA program are in constant contact, doing life together, and probing each others lives to seek out how one another can flourish.
Milestones- These are those pivotal commencement events or goals that we can fall back on, remember, and relive to carry us through those tough moments and keep us moving forward. They should not be the only thing we strive for, but are markers of the hard work the everyday moments move us toward. This is why VLA uses progressive trip markers (Awakening, Forging, and Conquering) to serve as goals and achievements the ‘Seekers’ accomplish throughout the year.
This takes Tender Loving Care to a whole new level, and if practiced well, can lead to a life that is full and fulfilled. Especially if along the road we can find our way to seeing and accepting Him who designed it that way from the very beginning.
If you would like to hear the more in depth (and better conveyed) sermons from Matt Chandler, you can find them here.
And if you want a more extensive look into VLA’s overall goals, check out our blog The one vs. the many.