Recent YES! Blog Posts and Earlier Favorites
One challenge we face with Christian adults on the plus side of fifty … is the fact that Jesus went to the cross at age thirty-three. We don’t have accounts of Him traversing the pre-frail, frail, and dependent years.
We do, though, get to observe what He was doing as He approached death: praying, serving, and making/shaping disciples.
Intergenerational may sometimes sound like a buzz word or a passing fad churches may or may not find appealing or relevant. Because the word itself doesn’t appear in Scripture, some see it as a new, experimental, optional concept.
But, digging deeper, it’s clear God intends for all of us to have healthy, intentional relationships extending beyond our peer group, both up and down the age ladder—and both inside and outside our extended families.
Actively serving God in our robust years often carries over into the pre-frail and frail years—adding special meaning, purpose, relationships, and joy. If we refuse to take risks and choose not to serve when our health is good, starting when our strength dissipates is unlikely.
"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4
It's so easy to get caught up in looking out for our own interests. I know it is meant more broadly, but I like to interpret 'others' to mean those who might otherwise be viewed as competitors. It's becomes a great reminder that we're all in this together. A 2:4 One special!
We know longevity in professional sports is different than life, but there comes a time when the sidelines become a better fit than the playing field. While no one shows up for a game just to watch the sidelines, there is a whole lot of meaningful activity going on just beyond those out-of-bounds markers.
We love how God works up and down the generational chain, using our kids and grandkids to challenge us to live lives worthy of respect. This generation to generation thing isn’t only moving from oldest to youngest. God wants to use younger adults, teens, children, even babies—to continue building His character in us.
We are called to daily pick up our cross and live for Christ. It’s a daily walk, not an annual pilgrimage.
We find that encouraging. Let’s not beat ourselves up over yesterday’s missteps. Let’s do better right now … today. “Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:23 (NLT)
When we share stories in other churches about how these students are so intent on making these connections with older adults, many heads nod, affirming how right this is.
We long to see that same eagerness coming from older adults, asking how they might connect more effectively with younger people. As we see this happening, our heads nod, affirming how right this is.
In both Matthew and Luke we read that the coming of the Son of Man will be like it was in the days of Noah.
People were going about business as usual, and suddenly the day of reckoning was upon them. With no meteorologists, weather satellites, or CNN news reporters to warn them, these people who had scoffed at Noah’s incredible ark project found themselves drowning without recourse.
Let’s not think we’re more sophisticated and that we’ll be able to buy some time, preparing at the last minute to get our lives in order spiritually. Let’s be prepared for Christ’s return.
We may think of lavish, home-cooked meals and nicely decorated tables as synonymous with hospitality. But it’s not a gift reserved for home economics majors, Pinterest enthusiasts, or younger adults with boundless energy.
Hospitality starts in our hearts, as we make room for Jesus and others to enter our lives and make themselves at home. If we wait until our lives or homes are perfect, we miss the point and miss out on lots of opportunities to share the love of Christ.
One June evening a few years ago as I flipped through TV channels, I saw that the San Francisco Giants led the Houston Astros 10-0 after five innings. This game had a foregone conclusion; I was not about to waste my time watching it. I even told Judy that I felt sorry for the fans sitting through the remaining four innings. “There is no way they will come back,” I said with smug authority.
I was right. Houston didn’t mount a comeback. Not surprisingly, the game ended with that same fifth inning score, 10-0.
Our retirement culture has a tight grip on some folks, and it's a mindset that has been allowed to germinate for years, often unchallenged by the Church.
With our focus on serving, we're often tempted to poke fun at the leisure lifestyle. But we're aware that real ministry and life impact can also take place within that context.
Three quick lessons as the madness of March swirls around us:
- Let's value older adult potential within the Church, not just in presidential politics.
- Let's treat the second half like it really matters.
- Let's engage a full court press, with help from all generations.
I confess that I had some doubts as I looked up at those high-hanging persimmons. Had I waited too long? Will the fruit still be good? Will the risk of climbing a tall ladder be worth it, or will I just be pursuing worthless, mushy, overripe fruit?
We know some folks in their later seasons of life seem destined to die fruitless, never discovering their greater purpose in life. Sadly, perhaps we and other leaders aren't expecting anything special to emerge from their lives. Their spiritual fruit-bearing potential hasn't even crossed our minds. But they, like our late-blooming persimmons, deserve our attention, affirmation and investment.
On over-waiting for the right moment, we love the advice of Seth Godin:
You might be waiting for things to settle down. For the kids to be old enough, for work to calm down, for the economy to recover, for the weather to cooperate, for your bad back to let up just a little...
The thing is, people who make a difference never wait for just the right time. They know that it will never arrive. Instead, they make their ruckus when they are short of sleep, out of money, hungry, in the middle of a domestic mess and during a blizzard. Whenever. As long as whenever is now.
We have an unsettled feeling about time and gravity subtracting from our physical height.
We see many Christian adults also settling for less spiritually in their later years.
Some may argue that adults in retirement are entitled to settle for less important aspirations. While our physical stature may lose an inch or two, we believe God calls us to keep growing and moving in our spiritual aspirations. And what could be more invigorating than following His desires for us!
You’ve probably seen the Geico commercial, pointing out that Pinocchio was a bad motivational speaker. His nose grows as he points to a lackluster gentleman in the audience and declares, “You have potential.”
When we talk about the untapped serving potential of older adults, we know some folks probably expect our noses to start growing as we speak.
We recognize the reality that most adults will face significant physical challenges as they grow older, and practically many serving “projects” grow out of reach.
But we also know spiritual strength can gush like a geyser in older hearts conspiring with God.
Truth is, we’re not designed to live for extended periods of time without responsibility. What appears pretty inviting and life giving can end up becoming burdensome and unhealthy when overextended---especially when separated from active listening for the Lord’s continued guidance.
E.B. White described the Mayday!/May Day push and pull this way:
"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."
Why not do both? Go out with joy and improve your world! :)
Part of our mission is making sure the outfield stays in the game. Think about it. How would your favorite team fare if we eliminated the outfield positions?
They may get lucky, survive, or even thrive an inning or two without a ball going beyond the infield. But chances are good they’d soon discover how necessary these players are, both on the field and at the plate.
Is there anything inherently wrong with lopsidedness? As long as people are getting saved and nurtured in their faith, shouldn't generationally lopsided churches be celebrated? So what's the big deal if our canoes tip dramatically to the side of a particular age group? 'Whatever floats your boat', right?
Let's take our punching gloves off for a moment and yank at the plank in our own eyes. Hitting the pause button on our rants, let's pretend that WE in life's second half are our own worst enemy . . . all three of us: Me, myself, and I.
It's hard, I know, but we can do this!
DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE YOU’RE WORSHIPPING GOD ON THE DECK OF THE TITANIC?
While we’re ultimately heaven-bound and on the winning team, what about the ship on which we’re currently sailing? Is it going down? Is it enough to just have faith that our ship won’t capsize---despite some alarming downward trends? Will current victories get swallowed up in a cold sea of systemic failure?