Ohana means family

“Ohana means family.” I love the word….” Ohana” On a visit to the Island of Oahu, I came to understand what this word means as I interacted with the wonderful people of New Hope Christian Fellowship. “Ohana” is the Hawaiian term for family. Its phrasing signifies inclusion, relationship, and commitment. The phrase was popularized in the 2002 Disney animated film Lilo & Stich. In the movie, a small Hawaiian girl named Lilo boldly reminds her sister, “Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind.”

As a person committed to seeing the Next Generation embrace God’s Ways, I realize more and more the family’s critical role in God’s plan. The family is the first institution/organization/system that God created. He created it with a purpose; at the very beginning of time here on earth, God formed man & woman and told them to be fruitful and multiply. Through Abraham’s transient family, He began to reveal His promises for humanity. Through Israel’s imperfect family, He would start to unfold His plan. It was through David’s dysfunctional family that He would redeem humanity. The family is the vehicle that God has made Himself known for centuries.

Now I am not going to explore the sociological implications of the family. Nor will I attempt to define the family (tho the Bible does acknowledge a definition). Many more brilliant people can spend their time exploring those aspects of family. Instead, I want to share what I feel is a revelation of God’s heart for the Next Generation – ‘Ohana. His heart is that no generation get’s left behind. (1 Timothy 2:4)

I feel the leading cause of pre-teen & teen violence, drug abuse, alcoholism, depression, suicide, sexual confusion, etc., is the ongoing disintegration of the Biblical family. We can trace most of these symptoms to the root problem of fractured families. Because of this brokenness, a generation is wandering with no moral compass. The emerging generation feels hopeless, not because of our depressed economy or divided society. Many families have forsaken their responsibility to “pass on God’s Ways to the next generation” (Deuteronomy Ch. 6). And thus, a generation is “left behind.”

For this reason, “Ohana,” I do what I do. I have made it my life’s mission to “help this generation discover and become exactly who God has created them to be.” I am committed to helping families pass on God’s Ways to the next generation. My friend Gregg Johnson says it this way; “we must reach a generation before we have to rescue them!” To reach the next generation, we need to strengthen our marriages and equip our families with the tools we desperately need to “train up a child in the way they should go.” (Proverbs 22:6)

The church and the family can partner together to reach this emerging generation. We must both do what we are created to do. The church’s role is to equip families for the work of the gospel. The family’s role is to pass on God’s Ways. Together we can ensure that “no one get’s left behind…Ohana”


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