The Wisdom of Age

The Wisdom of Age

As we grow older we have more experiences, we learn from our mistakes and our successes, and we can look back and see things in a different perspective. That is wisdom. That is more than just knowing facts. That is knowing life. All things being equal, we grow wiser as we grow older, especially as believers, who have the Holy Spirit to help us in this quest for wisdom.

Ultimately, this wisdom comes from God. James 1:5 says “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” All wisdom comes from God, including the wisdom that comes with age.

Many of us on the senior side of life look at children running and playing so hard and we say, “I wish I had his energy.” I can relate to that statement. It’s true that we do want more energy and more vitality for our bodies and minds, but there’s a flip side to that. What we lack in energy and strength, we make up for in wisdom. We can look back and see what was really important – loving God and His word, loving others, and seeking to know Him on a deeper level.

That is true wisdom, dear reader.

King Solomon was known for having wisdom and for writing about it. There is a lot of wisdom seen in his writings in Ecclesiastes. Song of Solomon, and the book of Proverbs. He experienced everything, wrote about many things, had everything that anyone could imagine, yet in the end, he said it was all “vanity, and a chasing after the wind.” (Eccl. 2:26). His ultimate conclusion was to “fear God and keep His commandments. (Eccl. 12:13). As he grew older he too realized that the ultimate wisdom was found in honoring God and having a relationship with Him.

May we seek God – His wisdom, His face, His depth of love for us -and grow closer to Him. May that be our prayer and our goal as we grow older – and wiser!

God be with you as you read these words. Take care, and God bless.

Pastor John

“I’m Here”

My wife and I took her mother to her doctor’s appointment today. My mother-in-law is a trip. She likes to have fun, which she did after her visit with the doctor. She left from the exam room to go to the lab and get some tests done. The sign on the lab area of the office says “Let someone know you are here.” So, with full confidence and in a clear voice, she said “I’m here!”

The lab tech had her back turned and was staring at her computer. She jumped like she’d been shot! My mother-in-law just laughed and laughed. It’s not often you get to enjoy a laugh at the doctor’s office, but she enjoyed this one!

Sometimes you just need to let someone know “I’m here!”

Pastor John

What Seniors Need – Seniors Need to be Real

It’s time to get real about getting real – really! What does that mean? It means we need to be realistic about the things we struggle with. It also means we need to express it and not leave it locked in our hearts. That means that when they do express their pain or their frustration, the rest of us need to be willing to listen.

For some seniors, it is easy to be real – “I’m 80 years old and I’m gonna do what I want to. You don’t like it? You don’t have to do. That’s the way it is.” Others can express what is on thier mind without being so abrasive. So the question remains -Why is it hard for some of us to be real with what we feel, what we think, and the struggles we are going through?

Right now, I can think of three reasons why we struggle to be real with those around us. I’m going to talk about each one of them. The three reasons that come to mind are pride, fear, a feeling of hopelessness.

Sometimes pride keeps me from letting people know I am struggling in body, mind, or spirit. “What would people think?” comes to mind for a lot of us, including me. “If people knew I am feeling tired or dizzy at workout, won’t that make me look bad? I want people to think that I have it all together. What they don’t realize is that everytime I “have it all together”, I forget where I put it! I am not one to freely show or talk about my struggles. Part of that is pride.

Fear keeps me from doing new things, testing out new ideas, pursuing God-sized projects, specifically the fear of failure, of not measuring up to the task. Its not just that I am afraid of failure or afraid of what other people think. Its also a fear that I am not up to the task, that I don’t have what it takes, that I’m not enough. May I say this loud and clear? That’s a lie from Hell, and you and I need to stop letting those lies filter down into our brain and into our heart. The Bible says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or pride, but in humility serve one another. ” (Phil. 2:3). Fear and pride hold us back from being real, from being vulnerable.

Finally, a sense of hopelessness cripples courage and faith and prevents forward progress in life. It prevents us from being real. An “I give up. It will never get any better. God can’t change me. I can’t let people see these feelings. People will think that not only I am weak, but that God is weak too, that He can’t do anything to help. Another lie from the pits of Hell.

I want to encourage all of us to dig deep into Jesus, be vulnerable, allow ourselves to be real, focus on Him, and leave the rest in His hands.

Until next time,

Pastor John

What Seniors Need – Seniors Need Each Other

(This piece is about seniors needing each other in peronal, practical, and spiritual ways. Personal reflections are at the end, or clearly marked in the piece.)

When people come together to accomplish a task, they get a lot more done. I have seen this recently in Man of LaMancha practice. Each of the four practices for musicians only has been intense, confusing at times, and productive. In the end we met our objectives for that rehearsal. Sometimes it was like swimming through mud, but we got through it together. Each of us contributed our skill and our input, and we got the job done. None of us could have done this on our own. Although most were not seniors, the principle still applies, we all need each other. For seniors, that is especially true. Yes, we need each other for practical assistance.

We also need each other for personal reasons. We need companionship. We need company. We need somebody from the church or community to check on us and minister to us. Are we sick? Injured? Backslidden? Depressed? A widow or widower? Even for those who are active in church and community, they may feel isolated and may be cut off from the help they so desperately need. Recently, I needed several people to help me get through some confusion over scheduling for Man of LaMancha. It took a whole team to straighten my out! Not only did I need them practically, but I also needed them personally. I needed that encouragement and the affirmation I received on a fairly deep level. My chief encourager in this life is my wife, Karen. Can you relate? Do you understand? My website, tries to provide those two types of help – practical and personal.

But the biggest and most important reason we need each other is spiritually. We need people to ask us questions about the Bible, to talk things through about Bible characters or passages, to pray for us, to pray with us, to remind us that God is with us, that He loves us, and He is there for us. We need people to sharpen our iron. Prov. 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (NLT)

Aside from spiritual activity listed above, aside from needing each other in practical, personal, and spiritual ways, there is one Savior who ties it all together, who “works everything together for good for those that love Him, who are called according to His purposes.” (Rom. 8:28) At the center of all our needs and all our hearts, we need Jesus in every way. He’s the connector to our souls, to all who believe in Him. To those that don’t … Well, I hope you know Jesus.

(Personal reflections: I need people and Jesus in all these ways. I bet you do too!)

What do Seniors Need – part 2

(This continues the series of posts about what seniors need. Last week was on physical and practical needs and encouragement. This week we will focus on the ultimate need of seniors – and of all of us – the need for Jesus in our everyday lives and beyond. Personal reflections will be at the end, to keep us focused on Jesus.”)

The greatest need that seniors, and all of us have is Jesus. We need Him in every area of our lives, and in every possible way. I would like to focus on three ways that seniors in particular need Jesus.

For one thing, it is hard getting older. As our body ages, things work differently than they used to – bodies, minds, and emotions are slower. For me, processing thoughts and feelings is harder. That is why I, and many of my fellow seniors, need not only physical and practical help, as mentioned last week. We also need encouragement directly from the Lord. We need Jesus for encouragement. Others can encourage us with their words, which is good, but only Jesus can encourage and comfort us at the core of our being. He is fully capable of doing that, and we definitely need that from Him.

The second way we need Jesus is in our failures. We need Jesus when we fail because we need Him to comfort us, and to lead our hearts to the truth – Did we mess up? Is there something You are trying to teach me in this? Is my attitude sour or my focus on myself instead of others?” We need Jesus to work in our hearts to reveal these things. Maybe it wasn’t our fault after all. He can reveal that to us as well. Whatever the case, we need His advice, comfort, insight, assurance, and peace. All are available because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.

That brings us to the third way we need Jesus. We need Jesus not only now but literally forever. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” I asked Jesus to save me when I was a teenager. Have you experienced that too? Have you given your life, your soul, your will, to Jesus? I asked Jesus to forgive me and come in to my heart. When I asked him to come in, He did, and that was for eternity. God doesn’t do anything half way, including saving our souls. As a pastor, I will ask this question directly – Have you given your life to Jesus Christ.? If you have, and if you are growing in Him, then you will understand. If you haven’t, then you need to do that right now. In your own words, ask Him to save you and take over.


Pastor John

(Personal reflections: When I call on Jesus and let Him work in my life, He does. He is my helper and savior. I for one am glad that He is.

What do Seniors Need? – part 1

(This will be the first of a series of writings about the needs of senior citizens – needs of body, mind, soul, and so much more. It comes at the front edge of the launch of Pastor John’s Senior Moments, a site I created for senior citizens.)

It would seem a simple question – “what do seniors need”. Like everyone else, they need food, water and shelter. They need family to support and surround them as they get older. They need friends, and sometimes their friends move away or move on to glory. This week, I want to emphasize the need for strength and encouragement.

The inspiration for this writing comes from the “gentle joints” class at the senior citizen center that my wife and I went to this morning. I came in to the class being tired due to a short night’s sleep. That’s not a good way to start the class. One of the things that happen when I get that tired is that my back gets tight. Keisha, our leader, keeps finding new muscles in me and in all of us. She found quite a few this morning. Ouch!

I was determined that even though I didn’t feel like stretching my muscles, I would move them anyway. I needed strength, and it wasn’t going to come if I didn’t get things moving. In any situation, you and I may not be able to do much, but we can always do something. We can always keep moving, even if it is slow, awkward, or uncomfortable. One example of that in this “gentle joints” class is Miss Hetti.

Miss Hetti is 95 years old, and doing amazingly well. She walks wtihout a cane at a faster than expected pace. She has a clear mind, and it is fun to have a conversation wtih. She’s a little bit hard of hearing, but my goodness, at age 95 she’s entitled to have something wrong wtih her! She uses the strength she has to move the best way she is able. If its kicking the feet or moving the knees quickly, she will wiggle her feet. If its raising her arms, she will do that, just not as high or for as long a time as others. The point is that she keeps moving. She provides encouragement to all of us. I look at her and think “If she can do this, I can too.”

I am doing this series of writings to encourage senior citizens and to let others know that we have unique needs as senior citizens. One of those needs that I noticed is strength for the body. We also need strength for our soul in the form of endurance, determination, and faith. When the body is hurting, it affects the mind and the emotions. This is where we need the encouragement from those around us, and from the scripture. The logo for the website has this scripture, which I need to live out every day: “They will still grow fruit in old age. They will stay fresh and green.” – Ps. 92:14

God bless you in your journey, and in your walk with the Lord today. –
Pastor John

A Week’s Worth of Workout”

(This week’s writing is inspired by a change of fitness routine which gives the true meaning of “workout”. Personal reflections will be scattered throughout. The piece ends with Rom. 8:28)

This past week, my wife and I started a new fitness routine. We had been going to the senior citizen center for “gentle joints”, a combination of aerobics and stretching, then cool down at the end. This exercise class was fun because we both got to get a little dancing mixed into the steps. We were known as the “dancing couple.” That was great, but it was only on Mondays and Wednesdays, and our bodies weren’t getting the exercise needed to lose weight, tone up, or stay fit. We needed something on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Enter the real workout. Enter the place with “no judgment zone” and “no lunk alarm”.

And enter the land of real workout, and the inspiration for this writing. The machines at this facility are very effective, and definitely stretch, strengthen, and tone the muscles. They do what they are designed to do – painfully so! This was a workout! And we needed it. It stretched us physically, mentally, and spiritually. We need to be stretched in all three areas, painful though it may be – especially spiritually.

I am a creature of habit, and I thrive on that habit, that routine, remaining the same. That gives me a sense of stability. This past week, all that has been thrown out the window with the change in workout. My wife and I experienced two different kinds of exercise, a substitute leader at “gentle joints”, new muscles being stretched (and found!), and a whole world of emotions thrown in for good measure. But it ALL worked out for good. Life does not have to go the way we planned, and it seldom does. Things may not go the way we expect, and that’s okay. And do you know why? Because God is in control. He is sovereign.

God is literally taking every area of our lives, every experience, every heartache and trial, every test, and bringing something good out of it. As I’ve heard it said, “God doesn’t waste a single tear.” In our humanity we will question that. We will wonder why we are going through such a hard time or why things happen the way they do. Truthfully, we are not big enough or wise enough to understand. We are not God, and we were never intended to be! Remember that the devil tempted Eve to eat of the tree in the middle of the garden – “you shall be like God.” (Gen. 3:5)
Sometimes life really is hard. Our struggles cause pain in body, mind, and soul. Yes, life really
is hard, but God really is good! It will all “work out” in the end!

Rom. 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”

Lessons From the Mailbox

Lessons From the Mailbox

(This writing is inspired by the true-life experience of trying to install a new cedar mailbox post, and a new mailbox. The process and the frustrations of putting the mailbox kit together led to a few hard life lessons, which are shared in this post. Personal reflectioins are at the end.)

Recently, I put in a new mailbox and post for my mother-in-law. At the time of this writing, it is in the ground, the mailbox opens and closes, and the mail lady is happy with its height. All is well, except for two things – the post wobbles and the mail box is shaky. It is all a little loose. It works, but it is on shaky ground!

This project turned out to be harder than my wife and I ever expected. My level of frustration was growing with each unintelligible instruction. Nice pictures and nice simple idea, but putting it all together was another story all together. Can you relate? But I was also part of the problem, and that is what I want to focus on for the rest of this writing.

My first lesson is to actually read the instructions. I thought I had a clear picture in my mind, so I just started getting the parts out, getting advice on how to put it together, all from looking at the parts and pictures. It should be simple, right? Reading the instructions helped some, but there was more to learn.

The second lesson – and it is a big one – is to work together with others to get things done. Listen to what they are saying and their perspective. People of all ages have something to contribute, a point of view to be heard. Let them use their talents, knowledge, and perspective to accomplish the task at hand. It will be worth it, if the task is worth doing. This one was worth the effort.

Lesson number three comes from my frustrations with the process of this installation. I wanted to get the job done, and I wanted it done quickly. But the process, by nature, was slow. It took time. It needed to take time to get it right. When we are in a hurry, we mess things up. Confusion in the process aside, we are still responsible to our best for the Lord. Taking time is part of that.

Finally, consider the brokenness. The old mailbox post was broken off underground. It rotted from probably 30 years of use. Sometimes we feel useless and rotten,but God does not see us that way. He sees people through the cross – healed, forgiven, clean, whole, gifted in various ways, and with something to contribute to His Kingdom. If we are in Christ, we are sealed, safe, and whole in Him. This is all possible by his death on the cross. Our identify is found in Him, not our success or in other earthly things.

One final thought – never, and I do mean never, attempt this project if you have a loose screw!

(Personal reflections – Sometimes I need to slow down, be patient, and trust God with the results. So do we all!)

No Air. No Power.

No Air – No Power

Recently, my wife and I stayed at a hotel in Alabama for our 24th anniversary. Our goal was to go to a wildlife refuge, which was amazing. In front of the hotel was a golf cart which was plugged in so it could be charged. That made sense. It needs to be charged up to be ready to do what it was designed to do. Then I saw a contradiction. That plugged in cart had a flat tire. It had no air and no power. It was rendered useless and ineffective. It had power, but it was still ineffective.

When I saw this, I thought of Christians, myself included. We read our Bible, we pray, we seek God’s face, we beg for help, we cry out to God in pain, we tell God what is on our heart. These are all great things, but we are rendered ineffective if we don’t complete the process, if we don’t ask God to fill us with His spirit, so we can walk in His strength, not our own. When we try to do things in our own strength, in our own power, using our own ideas instead of God’s leading, iit just doesn’t work.

Often times, we as Christians will get all excited about what God is telling us, what He is revealing to our hearts – a fresh insight, a cool idea, or a a calling we suddenly realize. In our excitement, if we’re not careful, we will just take God’s ideas and run with them on our own. That is not helpful, not effective. It is not the way God has designed for us to operate. We are to do things with Him, using His strength, letting Him lead, and submitting to that leading.

Another way we walk in our own strength is our determination, our own self will. We are bound and determined that we are going to fix this problem, do this task, accomplish this goal. Our self will tries to take the place of being filled with God’s spirit, of walking in dependence on Him. This makes it all about us, and not about God and His power, and His glory. Guys, have we not seen this in our own liives, trying to fix things for our family?? That’s what guys tend to do, at least I do. When I’m walking in my own strength, I am not walking in His.

Finally, we try to walk in our own strength when we try to work our way to Heaven and earn God’s approval. Our works, our good deeds, cannot replace what Jesus has done on the cross for us, dying for our sins. It is His goodness, and His strength we need. That strength, that power, that filling is fully available when we submit ourselves and our needs to Him.

Phil. 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

“We Interrupt This Moment to Bring You ….”
(This piece is about interruptions, the frustrations they cause, and how sometimes interruptions can be good. Personal reflections will be at the end of the piece, so as not to distract from the main point.)
The phone rings as you had just sat down to a meal. You answer it, only to find out its a solicitor with their usual scripted beginning: “Hello Mrs. … Smith. How are you doing today? Good. How would you like …” That’s an interruption, and it is frustrating, to say the least. Even if the caller is an old friend, the timing is still really off, and you are still being interrupted from eating your meal.
Sometimes we get interrupted when we are trying to do a quiet time, to have our time with the Lord, trying to get connected with Him before we start our day, or sitting down at night to talk about the day. Those interruptions can come from anywhere … a knock at the door, a phone call, random thoughts, someone talking to you. These interruptions are disruptive, and not at all helpful.
On the other hand, sometimes we need to be interrupted. If we are about to do something that will harm us, or say something mean that will harm others, we really need to be interrupted. When a child is about to run into the street, he or she really needs to be stopped in their tracks!
The interruption we need the most is when God himself interrupts our thoughts, words, plans, or actions to keep us from doing something harmful. That may come in many forms – a sudden loss of income or health, an unexpected turn of events, even strange things going on in the body, mind, or emotions. While God may not send these disruptive events, they can be used to reevaluate our life, our expectations, and our priorities. Is God interrupting you?
Whatever the cause or effect of the interruptions in our lives, we can all come to God, share our heart, our hurt and our confusion with Him. He will listen. All of life’s circumstances can create an opportunity for us to pour our heart out to God and to let Him pour His love into us. Whatever your life circumstances, God will be there with you and will see you through it. Its okay to tell Him what’s going on.
Until next time,
Pastor John
(Personal reflections: God has disrupted my life in ways I desperately needed in the areas of career and delays of circumstances. One of the results of this interruption is this writing. I hope you enjoy it, and that it brings you closer to Jesus.)