Who really Cares if I can’t Fit into Skinny Jeans Anyway?

dv1560020The incoming tide in church growth seminars and articles circulating seem to be insinuating that the older generation needs to throw in the towel and move aside for the younger. The words not relevant, out of date, and even old fashion seem to be push buttons in the realm of the “Church Growth World”.

Many older individuals feel their being moved out as if it’s over for them. Possibly, like the 77-year-old Mississippi man who supposedly was dead, but comes back to life in a claustrophobic body bag! That’s scary to say the least. And I can’t even begin to think what the funeral home worker must have thought when the body in the bag began to thrash around as he was moving it to the embalming room. Doctors, County Coroner and family were thinking they were going to bury this man, but God evidently wasn’t finished with him yet.

Don’t pack my office and spend your inheritance quite yet. I am still here!  (tweet)

I myself might be getting slower and at times maybe even get in a rut, but the reality is that I’m just now figuring things out. I have gone from being a cool and almost crazy youth pastor who thought I knew everything, to becoming a little older with less hair and a little more weight, but definitely a lot more knowledge and wisdom.

Most of my close colleagues seem to be saying the same thing. We spend much of our years doing what someone else has told us to do, such as, professors, board members and disgruntle church people, who have never actually done it themselves. Then, on top of that we stumble through our own mistakes to finally reach our prime in life only for those same people to say, “it’s time to get out of the way for the younger generation”!

I know there are some outstanding young ministers around that have some amazing churches and ministries. I’m totally for them and possibly their biggest cheerleader. Yes they are probably more relevant and cooler then I am, but please don’t put me out to pasture. I might be old but I’ am not dead!

Sinking to the depths of misery I cried out in prayer… “God, are you done with me?” Then out of that dark pit of despair came from heaven a loving reminder of so many “giants of faith” in the scripture! Moses who just started to accomplish God’s calling at eighty years and lets not leave out Caleb who still had a fight in him at that same age. How about John on the island of Patmos and Daniel when they received their visitations and encounters from God? Can you say really old? Even Paul lived a long and incredibly productive life impacting generations down through history.

I totally understand mentoring and raising up the next generation, but “whoa Nellie”! I am not dead! Don’t pack my office and spend your inheritance quite yet.

Please don’t put me out to pasture. I might be old but I’ am not dead   (tweet)

I actually believe I might have finally gotten to a place in my life where I can be more effective. I am more relaxed, more confident and not so influenced by every bandwagon that comes down the pike. I think I will stay around for a bit longer and not let my society go down the drain just because there are some trying to be more like the world inside the church. I have decided a little gray in my hair looks good and who really cares if I can’t fit into skinny jeans anyway?

Raised in Prayer

praying with sonThe April sun broke through our kitchen window. I had sleep in my eyes. My siblings and I sluggishly forced ourselves to eat our morning oatmeal. There was nothing uncommon about this morning in 1967. It began like any other typical day. Until, the telephone pierced the silence and brought all of us to attention. My mother answered in her normal cheery voice, but immediately her tone changed. Her cheerfulness went to a devastating, “Oh my God” and from that moment my life changed forever.

Our daily priorities were obliterated by the news that my dad had just suffered a heart attack (that would later become fatal). As my mother hung up she insistently cried, “Everyone go and pray in the front room for your dad.” The sluggish sleepiness that just moments earlier was so prevalent vanished as we all began to cry out to the Lord. In the midst of disaster, we prayed!

Praying became a natural response in times of crises and need in our household, because it was instilled in us as a daily way of life. I can remember how my mother loved to take walks on our ranch in the beautiful Rocky Mountains to pray. On several occasions we would run up the trail to catch her only to find her deep in prayer. It was memories like this that had a profound impact on my life.

I believe some things must be caught not just taught. Joshua had evidently caught something as he followed Moses. The young Joshua saw the results of Moses’ communion with God. He talked to God and then walked in His power every day. Joshua caught the spirit of prayer and abiding in God’s presence. I love Exodus 33:11 where it says, “So the Lord spoke to Moses face-to-face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.” Picture this scene: Moses returned to camp and to his responsibilities but Joshua stayed in the Lord’s presence. Evidently Joshua caught something; he understood that a life of intimate prayer and communion with God will result in a walk of power.

A lifestyle of prayer was birthed in my own life through being raised in the shadow of many great men and women of prayer. Even once I had left for college and then continuing down the road to marriage and raising a family; it seemed that God would always place me in the midst of men and women of prayer. Through colleges and seminaries rooted in prayer such as Christ for the Nations Institute and others. Speakers that taught and motivated us to minister out of the place of prayer, as well as, great Pastors such as Dr. Larry Lea, who were used to call a generation to pray. God was definitely orchestrating in me a lifestyle of prayer.

Over the years I have reflected on many of those days and memories and have been encouraged that I had caught an attitude of prayer to sustain me in and through my life. It has kept me through many trying times and has become a lifelong message of mine as well as a book I have published, “Igniting the Power of Prayer”. It is my desire to see God’s people live a life empowered through a life of prayer.