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Those Who Serve

Those Who Serve

by Rick Shrader

All believers would agree that serving is a biblical characteristic of a Christian. “Not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph 6:6). There are about a half dozen Greek words for servant, the most common being the bond-servant (as here) harking back to the Old Testament bond-slave. Other words can mean a house-servant, a child-servant, a minister, a deacon, or even an under-rower in a sailing vessel. All of them picture one who is surrendered to a master but ultimately to the Lord Jesus Christ.

We often speak of serving one another as believers and church members, or even serving our fellow man. All of these are good but they are all done as part of our service to the Lord. “You are bought with a price; do not become the slaves of men” (1 Cor 7:23). Since serving is a common subject and properly pictured as a part of humility and self-sacrifice, we must be careful that our service does not become a mere show. Paul warned of a “false humility” of those who worship angels, being “vainly puffed up” in that act of serving (Col 2:18). Christians can fall into the same trap.

There are those who only want to be served. They look for a church that meets all of their needs and lavishes them with praise. They enjoy the ministries and facilities that others have provided but seldom if ever consider what they themselves can do to serve or minister to others. This may be a new believer who doesn’t know what he should be doing as a Christian, and this is often the picture of an unbeliever who only thinks the church is there as a service agency.

There are those who only want to be seen as serving. Jesus said, “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them” (Matt 6:1). Jesus also used these same words about those who pray and those who fast merely to be seen by others. Sometimes we make a list of things that can be done to serve others and we check off those things that make us appear as humble servants. Perhaps it is necessary at first to be motivated by our selfishness to serve others but that false humility should quickly be put aside as we learn that serving is not for the purpose of being seen.

There are those who only want to be sitting after having served a long time themselves. Some good people feel it is time for them to sit and be served because they have earned it. This is where we older saints have to be careful. We truly have served the Lord and others for years and we are tired or perhaps we are physically unable to do what we once could. Yes, there are some great servants whose body is so worn out from a life of service that the simple tasks of life are difficult. Praise God for them! And yet, wouldn’t you love to have that servant praying for you? There is always a service to be done.

There are those, and we should all aspire to be, who just want to be stewards of God and faithful servants. There is a price to be paid for it. True servanthood does not seek to be seen or praised and seldom is; it gives itself to requests from others when it has as many needs for itself; it accepts constant correction and reproof from those who need correction themselves; it makes itself available to everyone except itself; its light is always on and its door open 24/7 and its phone is never on silent; its life is not its own. Paul summarized it as, “love never fails” (1 Cor 13:8).

I think there are three stages in life that match this description. The first is the toddler stage. A toddler is the one at home with the least say-so. He must sleep, eat, play, bathe, dress, and all the rest at someone else’s command. The second is the mother stage. Though she is the toddler’s boss, she is also his servant. She has given up hours of sleep; has fulfilled years of being the house servant; has been the cook, the launderer, the educator, the referee; and has sacrificed her youthful self for a household of others.

The third is the senior saint stage. Paul (“the aged”) said, “I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved” (2 Cor 12:15). The senior stage is not pretty. It has few of those desirable earthly qualities and so is often ignored. Ah, then this is the time for true service! This is the time to spend and be spent, to love and not be loved, to pray, to work, to worship, to give, with no time for reward. Why? Because true service never fails, not in this life nor in the life to come.

 

Respecting Ourselves as Elders

Respecting Ourselves as Elders

by Rick Shrader

The writer of Proverbs said, “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness” (Prov. 16:31). Also, “The glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is their gray head” (Prov. 20:29). The Bible is clear about respecting our elders, i.e., the older men and women among us. “Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise” (Eph. 6:2); “You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD” (Lev. 19:32).

We have heard all our lives, and correctly so, that we should treat our older people with respect. The Bible is plain. We also have preached to and scolded the young people when they fail to do this. Obviously, every generation has to work at respecting its elders, or else why would we have these admonitions from thousands of years ago? Paul lists disobedience to parents” among the worst sins (2 Tim. 3:2; Rom. 1:30). We have also read dozens or hundreds of examples of disrespect in our own generation and there is no doubt we live in an unprecedented time of disdain for authority.

I am asking in this article, however, if elders today don’t display their own level of disrespect toward old age, and if we aren’t as guilty of those biblical admonitions as anyone else. I don’t mean that we can’t laugh at ourselves. In fact, I enjoy those “oldies” jokes as much as the next person. I believe that older people are much better off with a sense of humor about their age rather than taking offense, because it isn’t going to change and you can’t fight it. So it is not that seniors laugh at themselves or truly struggle with the pains of older age, but that we sometimes fight against God Himself over the experience of old age. We just don’t like it and wish it were different. Here are a few thoughts.

Old age is a time appointed, we shouldn’t fight it. Death is appointed to all people because of sin (Heb. 9:27). Moses wrote that God returns us to dust after 70 or 80 years because of our sin and it is only afterwards that we can “fly way” (Psa. 90:10). The marks of age are the pointers in that direction and it is God’s will that we go that way. If we think correctly, we should honor it.

Old age brings burdens and these are our stewardship. Again Moses said, “Their boast is labor and sorrow” (Psa. 90:10); Solomon said, “I have no pleasure in them” (Ecc. 12:1). David said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me” (Psa. 23:4). I know this is a tough assignment but this is the greatest time of testimony in your life. It witnesses to your faith in Christ’s resurrection and your confidence in eternal life.

Old age is ridiculed by youth but this is the time of teaching and discipleship. We live with those aging maladies: we can’t see as clearly anymore, we can’t always hear what some are saying, we can’t recall details as sharply as we once did. This is the whole subject of Ecclesiastes 12. Sure, we feel the sympathetic response of some as if they are sorry for us. Shouldn’t we rather say with Solomon, remember your own Creator while you are young because these days are coming on you as well? (Ecc. 12:1). The conclusion of that chapter is that the whole duty of man is to fear God and keep His commandments (vs. 13). Let’s show that our older age has increased our ability to do that!

Old age brings good and bad and we should accentuate the good. Besides all of those negative things that come with aging, there are many more positive things that we didn’t pay attention to before. This is hard, but don’t wallow in the difficulties as if “nobody knows the trouble I see.” Everyone knows them, or will. Be the exception to that rule. You are wiser and godly; you have strength to overcome these hardships; you have perspective on life that the younger ones can’t have; you even have time to devote to God that a busy life didn’t afford you. Say with Moses, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psa. 90:12).

I noticed that when Moses and Aaron were leading the nation out of Egypt that they constantly consulted the elders (Exod. 3:16, 18; 4:29; 12:21; et al). Rehoboam failed to do this (1 Kings 12) and Jeremiah lamented that destruction had come to Jerusalem because the “elders were not respected,” nor “shown favor” (Lam. 4:16; 5:12). Generations before may be guilty of this but let’s not encourage it ourselves.

 

When I Am Weak

When I Am Weak

by Rick Shrader

The apostle Paul said, “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10). Paul had just described his translation to heaven, what he had seen, and the “inexpressible” words which he heard. But even the great apostle needed a thorn in his flesh to keep him humble in light of such a great experience. He asked the Lord three times to remove the thorn because he thought such a handicap was a great hinderance to an effective ministry. No! Just the opposite, the Lord explained, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (vs. 9).

By all human standards Paul was one of the strongest Christians who ever lived. He  was not only naturally intelligent but as an apostle he displayed “signs and wonders and mighty deeds” (vs. 12). His writing was inspired and “bold” (10:2). His preaching was in “power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much confidence” (1 Thes. 1:5). So why did Paul want to change things? Paul thought that his infirmity in the flesh was a purely human or natural affliction and that without it he would have a more appealing appearance. But God doesn’t deal in divine eugenics. He has made us for His own purpose and if we have infirmities in our flesh, it is something God has chosen to use for His own glory. In fact, we are stronger for having to rely on God.

Some good men believe that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was his numerous persecutions and afflictions (especially described in 11:23-33). Others believe Paul had a physical malady, probably poor eyesight and an unappealing physical appearance (see 10:1 and Gal. 4:15). Either way, and I hold to the latter, Paul prayed that the thorn would be removed so he could be a better minister. As an older man myself, I can identify with both discouragements. Age takes its toll on me and I wish my body could operate as it did when I was younger. My mental capacity is still there (well, mostly) but my bodily presence is weaker. I also feel the impatience and tiring of our culture with older age. So I could pray that the Lord would make my life more appealing to those around me. Rather, I hear Him say, “These are the things that make you strong. What you think is weakness makes my strength perfect.”

Paul’s reaction to the Lord’s reminder was, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my  infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (vs. 9). The word for “most gladly” (edeōs) appears five times in the NT and in this chapter again in vs. 15, “I will very gladly spend and be spent for you.” When he realized that his physical infirmities were actually an asset, Paul said he would most gladly “boast” about them rather than ask for their removal.

What does this mean to us as senior saints? Aren’t we supposed to grow older in life? Doesn’t the Bible say that older age is to be honored? Shouldn’t we become more mature and have a closer walk with Christ in our later years? It is not only that we are closer to heaven because we are older, and for that I rejoice, I will “most gladly” accept my older age because it forces me to accept God’s power in my weakness; it enhances godliness in my life as a treasured thing; it highlights my priorities because I am over my wasted years; and it makes walking with God what I really want and not just what I need. My prayers are more fervent; my church life is more enjoyable; my witness is more bold; my thoughts are more of God. When I am older, though it seems I am weaker, I find in many ways that I am stronger.

God forced Paul to admit these priorities 14 years before he wrote 2 Corinthians (vs. 2), that is, before he went on his first missionary journey! But with this new found strength Paul became that great servant of God. Hudson Taylor once said, “When God wants to do His  great works He trains somebody to be quiet enough and little enough, then He uses that person.” Oh, that we could come to this understanding when we are young, and not have to wait until our older age forces it upon us! But thank God it does. It makes the time of our sojourning here be in fear, and it lets goodness and mercy follow us for the rest of our lives.

 

Stay the Course

Stay the Course

by Rick Shrader

As seniors and elders, we have seen a lot in our life-time. We remember the earlier days of prophetic preaching when we were encouraged to keep looking up because the days were so evil. Now we look at what’s happening in this generation and we wonder what the preachers of that day would have thought if they could see what we see. Just this week a church member who works on a public school bus route told of a little boy, a long-time rider, who all of a sudden got on the bus dressed as a girl because he is being taught that’s his decision. She also told of entering a new elementary school building that has been completed without boys and girls restrooms, only common restrooms. It certainly is a new day.

It is no wonder that the Pew Research Center reports that 13% of teens today suffer from some form of depression, a 59% increase in the last ten years, and the percentage is higher among girls (“American Teens Facing Depression” accessed 5/23/21).  It is hard for us to imagine what pressure these terrible policies bring upon young people. But when human beings are denying that their Creator created them correctly, the soul cannot be at rest.

What is an older generation supposed to do? Some say become their friends; some say keep communication open; some say quit bragging about your old age. I think there is some truth in these kinds of concerns. But I also think that seniors have a more vital role to play before children and grandchildren—that is to be seniors! We need to stay the course as we have understood from God’s Word. “That the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise” (Titus 2:2-3). Just because we are now older, “we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor 4:16). Seniors look at their children and say, “I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved” (2 Cor 12:15). Also, the older generation “shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the LORD is upright” (Psa 92:14-15).

We realize that some things have to change and some things that shouldn’t change will change anyway. But change isn’t the cure-all for a culture gone off the rails. The fast moving, younger generation likes to say that a rolling stone gathers no moss. But, like G.K. Chesterton observed, “The rolling stone rolls echoing from rock to rock; but the rolling stone is dead.  The moss is silent because the moss is alive” (G.K. Chesterton, Heretics, p. 23). It is our quiet but strong conviction that speaks loudly.

I am saying that the younger generation needs us, but they need us to be seniors, elders as the Bible describes them. There are a number of reasons why elders are good for the younger generation. John said that the fathers are the ones who have known God Who is from the beginning (1 John 2:13). To us, substance should still be better than symbolism. The woke culture is all about redefinition. We should know that quality is better than quantity. We have seen too much come in the front door only to go out the back door. If they had been of us they would have stayed with us. We are seeing all around us that conservatism is better than compromise. The slippery slope always goes down, not up. And may I add, if you will bear with me, legalism is better than license. I don’t mean true legalism, the kind that replaces grace with works, but what is called legalism by those who only want license for their own selfish gains. The separated life will never be attractive to the world but it is pleasing to God.

I have performed dozens and dozens of funerals for godly older saints. Grandpa and Grandma, I can tell you that when you die, the eulogies that your children and grandchildren will write and say about you will be about how you practiced these traditional Christian virtues in front of them all of your life. Their eyes will fill with tears and their hearts will burn with regret when they remember you. This is why the senior years of our lives may be the most important of all, because many other lives hang in the balance. So stay the course, press toward the mark. This generation needs us to be exactly what we are.

 

Stay the Course

Stay the Course

by Rick Shrader

As seniors and elders, we have seen a lot in our life-time. We remember the earlier days of prophetic preaching when we were encouraged to keep looking up because the days were so evil. Now we look at what’s happening in this generation and we wonder what the preachers of that day would have thought if they could see what we see. Just this week a church member who works on a public school bus route told of a little boy, a long-time rider, who all of a sudden got on the bus dressed as a girl because he is being taught that’s his decision. She also told of entering a new elementary school building that has been completed without boys and girls restrooms, only common restrooms. It certainly is a new day.

It is no wonder that the Pew Research Center reports that 13% of teens today suffer from some form of depression, a 59% increase in the last ten years, and the percentage is higher among girls (“American Teens Facing Depression” accessed 5/23/21).  It is hard for us to imagine what pressure these terrible policies bring upon young people. But when human beings are denying that their Creator created them correctly, the soul cannot be at rest.

What is an older generation supposed to do? Some say become their friends; some say keep communication open; some say quit bragging about your old age. I think there is some truth in these kinds of concerns. But I also think that seniors have a more vital role to play before children and grandchildren—that is to be seniors! We need to stay the course as we have understood from God’s Word. “That the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise” (Titus 2:2-3). Just because we are now older, “we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor 4:16). Seniors look at their children and say, “I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved” (2 Cor 12:15). Also, the older generation “shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the LORD is upright” (Psa 92:14-15).

We realize that some things have to change and some things that shouldn’t change will change anyway. But change isn’t the cure-all for a culture gone off the rails. The fast moving, younger generation likes to say that a rolling stone gathers no moss. But, like G.K. Chesterton observed, “The rolling stone rolls echoing from rock to rock; but the rolling stone is dead.  The moss is silent because the moss is alive” (G.K. Chesterton, Heretics, p. 23). It is our quiet but strong conviction that speaks loudly.

I am saying that the younger generation needs us, but they need us to be seniors, elders as the Bible describes them. There are a number of reasons why elders are good for the younger generation. John said that the fathers are the ones who have known God Who is from the beginning (1 John 2:13). To us, substance should still be better than symbolism. The woke culture is all about redefinition. We should know that quality is better than quantity. We have seen too much come in the front door only to go out the back door. If they had been of us they would have stayed with us. We are seeing all around us that conservatism is better than compromise. The slippery slope always goes down, not up. And may I add, if you will bear with me, legalism is better than license. I don’t mean true legalism, the kind that replaces grace with works, but what is called legalism by those who only want license for their own selfish gains. The separated life will never be attractive to the world but it is pleasing to God.

I have performed dozens and dozens of funerals for godly older saints. Grandpa and Grandma, I can tell you that when you die, the eulogies that your children and grandchildren will write and say about you will be about how you practiced these traditional Christian virtues in front of them all of your life. Their eyes will fill with tears and their hearts will burn with regret when they remember you. This is why the senior years of our lives may be the most important of all, because many other lives hang in the balance. So stay the course, press toward the mark. This generation needs us to be exactly what we are.

 

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Lay Hold on Eternal Life

Lay Hold on Eternal Life

by Rick Shrader

It may seem unusual to most people to talk frankly about death. But as seniors, this should be the first thing we have settled in our minds. why should we not want to go to heaven? Augustine put it this way, “For sooner or later every man must die, and we groan, and pray, and travail in pain, and cry to God, that we may die a little later.  How much more ought we to cry to him that we may come to that place where we shall never die!”1 The most important testimony for a Christian is that there is an eternal life after this one, and for the believer, that eternal life is in heaven. Death just happens to be the gateway from this place to that place.

As we draw nearer to the end of this life our physical appearance takes on the trappings of that journey but that is just the necessary changing of clothes. “Not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor 5:4). Death is the last statement we have to make while wearing our older clothes. Here are five facts about death for the Christian.

  1. Death is inevitable. It is “appointed” to us by God because of sin (Heb 9:27). “As in Adam all die” (1 Cor 15:22). Since we know it is coming, shouldn’t we be prepared for the event? Not just in salvation of the soul, but in the making of the journey. “The time of my departure is at hand” (2 Tim 4:6) and so we should be packed and ready.
  2. Death is instantaneous. Jesus said “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (Jn 11:25). It is the dying process that takes time. The valley of the shadow of death may take years for some or it may come quickly for others but death itself is but a moment. As soon as we are absent from the body we are present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8).
  3. Death is enviable. “To die is gain,” “to depart and be with Christ is far better” (Phil 1:21,23). Spurgeon said, “O worker for God, death cannot touch thy sacred mission! Be thou content to die if the truth shall live the better because thou diest.”2 Doug McLachlan recently wrote, “Death for the believer in Christ is no longer the grim ogre it once was” and likened it to a bee without a sting, a “stingless scorpion” (1 Cor 15:55).3 If death transfers us to heaven with such confidence of what awaits, why should we dread the crossing? I don’t minimize the painful process some must experience but in such cases death is the relief designed by God.
  4. Death is a memorial. Peter said, “Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease” (2 Pet 1:15). Jesus prayed to the Father, “But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves” (Jn 17:13). At your funeral no eyes will be wider and more attentive than your children and grandchildren. The confidence you display at the time of death will stay with them the rest of their lives.
  5. Death is a stewardship. When you walk through the valley of the shadow of death without fear, it is a testimony that the Lord is your Shepherd and you want or need nothing else. Someone said, “The last days are the best witnesses for a man. Blessed shall he be that so lived that he was desired, and so died that he was missed.”4 Paul said, “Nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

Let’s show this world that what we believed and preached is true and will sustain us in our last moments on earth. As we have daily died with Christ, let us finally die with Him. Let’s die because we are going to heaven not merely because we are leaving this world.

Notes:

  1. St. Augustine, “Discourse on the Lord’s Prayer,” Hazeltine, Mayo W. Ed. Orations from Homer to McKinley ( New York:  P.F. Collier & Son, 1902) 1189.
  2. C.H. Spurgeon, C.H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Vol. I (Pasadena: Pilgrim Publications, 1992) 4.
  3. Douglas McLachlan, Thirsting for Authenticity (St. Michael, MN: Reference Point Pub., 2017) 357.
  4. Robert Harris in Paxton Hood’s, Isaac Watts His Life and Hymns (Belfast: Ambassador, 2001) 257.

 

Lay Hold on Eternal Life

Lay Hold on Eternal Life

by Rick Shrader

It may seem unusual to most people to talk frankly about death. But as seniors, this should be the first thing we have settled in our minds. why should we not want to go to heaven? Augustine put it this way, “For sooner or later every man must die, and we groan, and pray, and travail in pain, and cry to God, that we may die a little later.  How much more ought we to cry to him that we may come to that place where we shall never die!”1 The most important testimony for a Christian is that there is an eternal life after this one, and for the believer, that eternal life is in heaven. Death just happens to be the gateway from this place to that place.

As we draw nearer to the end of this life our physical appearance takes on the trappings of that journey but that is just the necessary changing of clothes. “Not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor 5:4). Death is the last statement we have to make while wearing our older clothes. Here are five facts about death for the Christian.

  1. Death is inevitable. It is “appointed” to us by God because of sin (Heb 9:27). “As in Adam all die” (1 Cor 15:22). Since we know it is coming, shouldn’t we be prepared for the event? Not just in salvation of the soul, but in the making of the journey. “The time of my departure is at hand” (2 Tim 4:6) and so we should be packed and ready.
  2. Death is instantaneous. Jesus said “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (Jn 11:25). It is the dying process that takes time. The valley of the shadow of death may take years for some or it may come quickly for others but death itself is but a moment. As soon as we are absent from the body we are present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8).
  3. Death is enviable. “To die is gain,” “to depart and be with Christ is far better” (Phil 1:21,23). Spurgeon said, “O worker for God, death cannot touch thy sacred mission! Be thou content to die if the truth shall live the better because thou diest.”2 Doug McLachlan recently wrote, “Death for the believer in Christ is no longer the grim ogre it once was” and likened it to a bee without a sting, a “stingless scorpion” (1 Cor 15:55).3 If death transfers us to heaven with such confidence of what awaits, why should we dread the crossing? I don’t minimize the painful process some must experience but in such cases death is the relief designed by God.
  4. Death is a memorial. Peter said, “Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease” (2 Pet 1:15). Jesus prayed to the Father, “But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves” (Jn 17:13). At your funeral no eyes will be wider and more attentive than your children and grandchildren. The confidence you display at the time of death will stay with them the rest of their lives.
  5. Death is a stewardship. When you walk through the valley of the shadow of death without fear, it is a testimony that the Lord is your Shepherd and you want or need nothing else. Someone said, “The last days are the best witnesses for a man. Blessed shall he be that so lived that he was desired, and so died that he was missed.”4 Paul said, “Nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

Let’s show this world that what we believed and preached is true and will sustain us in our last moments on earth. As we have daily died with Christ, let us finally die with Him. Let’s die because we are going to heaven not merely because we are leaving this world.

Notes:

  1. St. Augustine, “Discourse on the Lord’s Prayer,” Hazeltine, Mayo W. Ed. Orations from Homer to McKinley ( New York:  P.F. Collier & Son, 1902) 1189.
  2. C.H. Spurgeon, C.H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Vol. I (Pasadena: Pilgrim Publications, 1992) 4.
  3. Douglas McLachlan, Thirsting for Authenticity (St. Michael, MN: Reference Point Pub., 2017) 357.
  4. Robert Harris in Paxton Hood’s, Isaac Watts His Life and Hymns (Belfast: Ambassador, 2001) 257.

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21st Century Seniors

21st Century Seniors

by Rick Shrader

Baby Boomers (those born 1946-1964) became “seniors” in the year 2011. According to the Pew Research Center, Baby Boomers at this time in their lives are still 29% of the work force compared to 21% of the Silent Generation at the same time, and only 19% of the Great Generation. Though we are also retiring at a fast pace (28.6 million in 2020-high due to covid), we have stayed active longer than any generation born in the 20th century. Also, because 76% of Boomers identify themselves as Christian, we have stayed in church longer than any current generations.

I was born in 1950. I’ve always been glad for that even year because it has made it easy to figure how old I am! I will be 71 this year and am still pastoring full-time. I will attend my 50th Bible college class reunion and will see many of my classmates still either working in ministry or very involved. Health situations or other circumstances may have altered activity for some, but we Boomers are a hard lot to keep down.  However, of the generation before us, the “Silent” generation (born 1928-1945), 84% still consider themselves Christian and, by my observation, are still some of the most faithful attenders to the church services.

Now, I’ll be realistic, our hair has turned white or fallen out, and we wear a lot hardware just to keep up daily functions, and our doctors seem to look a lot like our grandkids.  I had a hard time accepting Medicare at 65 and then being forced to take Social Security at 70, I thought, this is for old people. My wife and I updated our living trust because the people who were supposed to take our kids if something happened to us, died years ago, and now no one wants to take responsibility for four middle-aged adults and their families. When I turned 65, I changed my life’s verse from Eph. 6:10, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might,” to Mark 8:18, “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?”

Since we are the seniors of the 21st century, do we take our God-given responsibility seriously? Psalm 71 is titled in my study Bible, “A Prayer for the Aged.” Verse 18 reads, “Now also, when I am old and gray headed, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.”  I have to ask if we are ready and able to meet that challenge? Psalm 78:4 reads, “We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done . . . That the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children” (vs. 6).

As the family declines in our time, so does the influence that should be passed on from generation to generation. Our children have faced unprecedented obstacles in their lives and are now trying to raise children in even more dire circumstances. Our government, our schools, and even many churches, have become adversaries rather than adjuncts to the family. So it falls to our generation, to the grandfathers and grandmothers to be strong and pass on the faith which was once delivered to the saints. We can do this by being faithful to what we know, what we value, and what we worship. We’re not popular anymore nor do we need to be. We need to be godly and people of prayer and good counsel. If this is your desire, I hope you will continue to read this monthly column and join me in praying for one another and the generation to come.

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21st Century Seniors

21st Century Seniors

by Rick Shrader

              Baby Boomers (those born 1946-1964) became “seniors” in the year 2011. According to the Pew Research Center, Baby Boomers at this time in their lives are still 29% of the work force compared to 21% of the Silent Generation at the same time, and only 19% of the Great Generation. Though we are also retiring at a fast pace (28.6 million in 2020-high due to covid), we have stayed active longer than any generation born in the 20th century. Also, because 76% of Boomers identify themselves as Christian, we have stayed in church longer than any current generations.

I was born in 1950. I’ve always been glad for that even year because it has made it easy to figure how old I am! I will be 71 this year and am still pastoring full-time. I will attend my 50th Bible college class reunion and will see many of my classmates still either working in ministry or very involved. Health situations or other circumstances may have altered activity for some, but we Boomers are a hard lot to keep down.  However, of the generation before us, the “Silent” generation (born 1928-1945), 84% still consider themselves Christian and, by my observation, are still some of the most faithful attenders to the church services.

Now, I’ll be realistic, our hair has turned white or fallen out, and we wear a lot hardware just to keep up daily functions, and our doctors seem to look a lot like our grandkids.  I had a hard time accepting Medicare at 65 and then being forced to take Social Security at 70, I thought, this is for old people. My wife and I updated our living trust because the people who were supposed to take our kids if something happened to us, died years ago, and now no one wants to take responsibility for four middle-aged adults and their families. When I turned 65, I changed my life’s verse from Eph. 6:10, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might,” to Mark 8:18, “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?”

Since we are the seniors of the 21st century, do we take our God-given responsibility seriously? Psalm 71 is titled in my study Bible, “A Prayer for the Aged.” Verse 18 reads, “Now also, when I am old and gray headed, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.”  I have to ask if we are ready and able to meet that challenge? Psalm 78:4 reads, “We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done . . . That the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children” (vs. 6).

As the family declines in our time, so does the influence that should be passed on from generation to generation. Our children have faced unprecedented obstacles in their lives and are now trying to raise children in even more dire circumstances. Our government, our schools, and even many churches, have become adversaries rather than adjuncts to the family. So it falls to our generation, to the grandfathers and grandmothers to be strong and pass on the faith which was once delivered to the saints. We can do this by being faithful to what we know, what we value, and what we worship. We’re not popular anymore nor do we need to be. We need to be godly and people of prayer and good counsel. If this is your desire, I hope you will continue to read this monthly column and join me in praying for one another and the generation to come.

 

Seven Daily Prayers for Our Country

Seven Daily Prayers for Our Country

by Admin

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7 Daily Prayers for our Country

             We know and believe that God is sovereign and providential in all of His creation. We do not fear the future because we know He is working out His plan for His glory. We also believe our prayers matter and that the omniscient God hears and answers according to His will.

1. For BelieversActs 12:5  Peter was therefore kept in prison but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.  Pray for Christians who are in places of danger, authority; in school, and in the service.

2. For Leaders1 Tim. 2:2 For kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  Pray for leaders in government, in law enforcement, on judicial benches.

3. For Gospel MinistryCol 4:3  Meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ.  Pray for open doors, evangelism and missions, and for church services.

4. For Judgment2 Thes. 1:6  Seeing it is a righteous thing for God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you.  Pray for God to deal decisively with immorality, unbelief, persecutors, and violent people.

5. For God’s WillJames 4:15  Instead you ought to say, if the Lord wills we shall live and do this or that.  Pray for God’s providence to lead His people, His churches, His gospel ministries, and for blessing in the coming days.

6. For LibertyActs 24:23  He commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty.  Pray that God would allow His people to worship, to speak the gospel, to assemble peaceably, and to live out their faith by their conscience.

7. For AmericaPsa. 33.12  Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.  Pray that God would keep America a godly and righteous nation; that America would uphold its Constitution, would extend religious freedom, would support Israel, and would remain the greatest force for good in the world.

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