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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Old Man and growing older in the Christian faith

I want to end up being a gracious, loving old man - before I die to be with the Lord.

I really do.

I don't want to end up being an grouchy, bitter, angry, "Christian" old person.

Complaining about the sound.

Complaining about the style of music.

Complaining the temperature of the room.

Always talking about the way "things used to be."

Always longing for God to move in the way he did in the past.

Always thinking things were better in the "good ole days."

Always remembering pastor so and so.

Insisting on my own way.

Getting angry when anything new is proposed or change is hinted at.

I really get all of that, please don't get me wrong - it's just that I don't want to be or do or say that when I become an "old man."

I want to realize that I am going to heaven and I am grateful for what God has done in the past, but I am not going to live in the past.  I want to realize (when I am an old man) that culture shifts and that we must present the message in a method that will reach the current culture and world we live in.

I want to release any thoughts that the methods and style of the church are all about me - I know I am making heaven - and I want to reach as many people as I can with the current way of spreading the gospel. 

I want to be more concerned about others than myself.

I want to walk in servanthood as Jesus did.  Jesus said, "For the son of man did not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."  (Mark 10:45)

I want to enjoy watching people younger than me worshipping God in a way that is touching them.

I want to "give up"  my preferences so that others might draw closer to God.

I want to realize that my greatest ministry as I grow older will be to let God move in the way He wants to move.

In short, I want to be like Jesus.
Richard S. Halverson, the former U.S. Senate Chaplain, used to challenge people with the following image:
"You're going to meet an old man [or woman] someday down the road—ten, thirty, fifty years from now—waiting there for you. You'll be catching up with him [or her]. What kind of old man are you going to meet? He may be a seasoned, soft, gracious fellow—a gentleman who has grown old gracefully, surrounded by hosts of friends, friends who call him blessed because of what his life has meant to them. Or he may be a bitter, disillusioned, dried-up old buzzard without a good word for anyone—soured, friendless, and alone.
That old man will be you. He'll be the composite of everything you do, say, and think—today and tomorrow. His mind will he see in a mold you have made by your beliefs. His heart will be turning out what you've been putting into it. Every little thought, every deed goes into this old man.
Every day in every way you are becoming more and more like yourself. Amazing but true. You're beginning to look more like yourself, think more like yourself, and talk more like yourself. You're becoming yourself more and more. Live only in terms of what you're getting out of life and the old man gets smaller drier harder crabbier more self-centered. Open your life to others, think in terms of what you can give, your contribution to life, and the old man grows larger, softer, kindlier, and greater."
Please understand, grouchy, angry, bitter old "Christian" person, that we are here to minister to you and love you - I do love you with all of my heart - it is just that I don't want to be you when I get old.
Just a thought for a Thursday.

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