Category Archives: Disciples

Hey, Senior Citizens! The American Church Needs New Leaders, Why Not You? (Part 2)

 

I signaled for a right turn onto CA-76, heading southwest toward Oceanside and the Pacific Ocean. Although the state worked on the highway every so often, drivers needed to stay alert to avoid potholes. A few were big enough to send vehicles to repair garages for thousand-dollar front-end suspension and alignment overhauls.

“Look at how beautiful the −”

“Shush,” said Jane, holding up her left hand in a stop sign manner. Her Pandora bracelet mirrored the sunlight. “Now it’s my turn.”

I nodded, knowing she wanted details.

“What do you plan on doing?”

“I don’t know.”

“The pastor will call and so will some of your friends, especially Phil and Vinnie.”

“I know, but I don’t have any answers. I walked out during the sermon because I looked at that young pastor and saw the beginning of another preacher’s ministry at Jedidiah Smith Community Church. Yet, I wondered to myself, what about me. What about my ministry? When will I speak the words in my heart?”

“That’s the reason you walked out?”

“Partly.”

“What else caused you to do such a silly thing?”

I sat for a few beats with my eyes glued to the road. A red Corvette convertible with its top down blew past us on our left. Within seconds, the sports car disappeared around the next curve. Our Honda’s speedometer stayed at sixty-five miles per hour, my normal speed on the highway.

Then I blew out a deep breath.

“The other day, I read a statement which summed up the philosophy of the U. S. Navy SEALS. It said, ‘I will never quit. If knocked down, I will get back up every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates. I am never out of the fight.’ Those words brought tears to my eyes.”

“Why should those words affect you so much?”

“What price have I paid over the years for the Kingdom of God? Not much. As far as I know, I’ve sat on the sidelines in a comfortable pew, far from any raging battles. Who knows if I would be willing to use every remaining ounce of strength to help my brothers and sisters in a spiritual battle? Only Jesus knows that answer, which I fear He may end up telling me at the Judgment Seat of Christ.”

Jane’s green eyes filled with tears. Drops streamed down her face while her lower lip trembled.

“How can you say that? You have faithfully attended church for over thirty years. You’ve always paid tithes to the church. You’ve prayed and studied the Word. You’ve been a godly husband, father and grandfather. Everyone loves you and thinks you’re a great believer −”

“Honey, that’s the least I should have done. The very least.”

“Is this about turning seventy last month and both of us arriving at the silver-haired years of our lives?” she said, reaching into her purse for a Kleenex.

I nodded.

“As soon as the young pastor opened his mouth for his sermon, a quick memory flooded my mind. It was when we gave our lives to the Lord forty years ago at that little Baptist Church in Murrieta. At the time, I had a deep impression that the Lord wanted me to do something for Him. Preach, teach, I didn’t know for sure what it was, but we had two young children, a new home and I had just started Foxfire Realty. So, I ignored it.”

“I vaguely remember you telling me about that,” she whispered, wiping her eyes with a tissue.

“I’ve had that same impression at various times over the last forty years, but I’ve always ignored it until today. ”

“Are you kidding? You plan on being a seventy year-old preacher, looking for a church to pastor?”

“I have no idea what the Lord wants me to do, but I felt that today was my last chance to obey Him. So, I stood up and turned my back on those things that seemed so important to me for the last forty years. From now on, I plan on getting up in the morning and proclaiming, ‘Here I am, Lord, reporting for duty. I’m still in the fight.'”

(Excerpt from an upcoming novel, Still in the Fight by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2019)

Somebody recently asked, “Why do you write novels?”

“To make a prophetic point,” I replied.

Does that mean I believe every senior citizen should walk out of their present  churches?

Read the rest of this series.

(Continued in Part 3…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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Filed under America, Christianity, Disciples, Geezers, Kingdom of God, Prophecy, Senior Citizens

Prayers for Leaving All and Following Jesus (4/18/2019)

When I got saved on May 20, 1985, I almost immediately made up my mind that I wanted to abandon everything and follow Jesus. My reasoning was simple. You see, I had spent thirty-nine years of my life as an unbeliever, much of that as an agnostic, and I didn’t want to meet Jesus at the Judgement Seat of Christ empty-handed, with only excuses in hand for my lukewarm lifestyle.

I also knew me. I knew if I didn’t go 100% for Him, I’d back off into a barely-get-by mode. So, my choice was really one or the other. I chose to sell out for Him as best I could.

My heroes became William Carey, David Brainerd, C. T. Studd, Hudson Taylor, Praying John Hyde, George Mueller, William Booth, Leonard Ravenhill and others. I read every book that I could find on them because I wanted to be like them.

Do you remember the Burundi and Rwanda civil war during the 1990s? Hundreds of thousands of women and children were slaughtered. I asked the Lord to send me there almost daily for weeks because this is what my heroes would have done. Eventually, a prophetic friend of mine stopped by to let me know the Lord wasn’t sending me there. (Just so you know, I told no one about my prayers of wanting to go to Rwanda. No one!)

Instead, it turned out the Lord had different plans for me, long term ones with deserts to cross and mountains to climb. Then I met a wonderful Christian woman and got married in 1996. Wedded bliss, right?

In twenty-three years of marriage, we have moved thirty-five times to nine different states and more than twenty different cities. We felt all of these moves were instigated by the Holy Spirit to follow Jesus.

Well, this morning I was praying for our four children and six grandchildren and it hit me: “I don’t really know our children and grandchildren.”

Oh, I’ve talked to them on the phone and have visited them a few times over the last twenty-three years, but we’ve hardly ever been there for any Christmases, Easters, birthdays, baseball games, school concerts, to babysit them, change diapers and so forth. They’ve grown up and we’ve grown old without them. These years can’t be replaced. They’re gone!

And what were we always doing? Moving and trying to survive.

You can probably imagine how sad and emotional I felt this morning. As I sat there looking at what we’ve missed the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: “Just know that I have not let one person down who has left all and followed me. Not one!”

I broke down and cried, realizing the Lord has never let us down. I had foolishly looked back at what we had missed, rather than praising Him for what He has done and will do for us.

Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s,30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. (Mark 10:29-30)

My prayer today:

Lord, raise up a generation of believers – young and old – who are willing to turn their backs on everything and follow you, no matter what it costs them.

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for the Body of Christ in America.

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Filed under America, Christianity, Disciples, Fasting, Prayer, Prophecy, spiritual warfare