Tag Archives: Senior Citizens

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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Hey, Senior Citizens! The American Church Needs New Leaders, Why Not You? (Part 1)

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Thirty years ago, I attended a small church which would from time to time host traveling ministries for two or three nights of meetings. One time, a prophet held some meetings there. The prophet preached a message and afterward he pointed at certain people in the audience, had them stand up and then he spoke prophetic words to them.

One evening, he asked me to stand up and then spoke a long prophetic message about my calling and future ministry. I was absolutely floored by his words.

Afterward, a seventy-five year old woman walked up to me. “Many years ago, I used to get prophetic words just like yours for my life,” she said.

“Really?” I replied. “What did you do with them?”

“Oh, I wrote them down in a notebook,” she said.

“What else did you do with them?” I asked.

“I’m just waiting on the Lord…just waiting on the Lord,” she replied.

Two or three years later, she died.

I don’t know what happened to her notebook after her death, but I don’t think she ever walked one day in her divine calling. How sad, right?

For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14)

There are many reasons why believers don’t ever fulfill the divine callings the Lord places on their lives. Sometimes, it’s bad teaching. Sometimes, it’s religious bondage. Or fear. Or doubt. Or maybe, the price was too high and the believer didn’t want to pay it. Or countless other reasons.

But whatever the reasons, if the Lord places a calling on a believer’s life, He has a plan on how the believer can fulfill his/her calling. We need to trust Him.

Are callings important to the Lord?

I had a dream many years ago in which I walked into heaven. It was glorious there, full of peace and life. But soon, I was met by a bronze-skinned little boy who looked up at me and said, “I died as a youngster and never made it into my calling because you did not fulfill your calling.”

All of sudden, there was a long, long line of bronze-skinned boys waiting to talk with me. Each one said, “I died as a youngster and never made it into my calling because you did not fulfill you’re calling.”

Finally, I cried out to the Lord. “Jesus, help me! I can’t handle this,” I said.

The dream ended.

That dream put the fear of the Lord in me about doing the best I can to fulfill the calling the Lord has placed on my life. You see, if you and I don’t make it into our callings, we may end up hurting the Lord’s plans for other people. I don’t want any blood on my hands when I stand before Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ. What about you?

So, why have I singled out senior citizens?

First of all, I am seventy-three years old. The largest part of my calling has not been fulfilled as yet. So, I’m still beating on the throne-room’s doors every morning, seeking Him. I refuse to quit and allow my calling to pass me by!

Secondly, I just attended a large church and discerned numerous callings for many of the senior Christians sitting in the pews there. And these seniors are not walking in their callings. This bugged me enough to write these articles.

For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers… (Acts 13:36)

(Continued in Part 2)

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What God Taught Me in My 310 Days at Walmart

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When I felt the Lord speaking to my heart about applying for a job at Walmart, I must admit that I scratched my head a few times. You see, I was nearly 71 years old and had a few physical issues: both knees are bone on bone due to long ago football injuries, back problems from climbing ladders and falling off a few of them, and weak wrists from gripping a paint brush and typing for hours and hours at a time.

I was certainly not a poster-perfect candidate for being a cashier at a high-volume Walmart Super Center, but yet, I knew the Lord was asking me to do just that.

I interviewed for a cashier position at the Temecula Walmart Supercenter on August 12, 2016, and was hired at that time. One of the questions asked was about any physical problems that I might have which might cause me problems in carrying out my duties as a cashier. I answered, “No.”

Did I lie about my physical problems? No, I don’t believe I did because it was my belief that if God called me to be a cashier, He would enable me to fulfill the job. The significance of my answer in writing was that I removed all liability from Walmart for any injuries to my wrists, knees, and back.

My first day was August 25, 2016. For the following two weeks, I worked with veteran cashiers who trained me. Then, I began working on my own in early September.

One of the lessons I have learned over the years is that when God calls you to do something, there is no use in being timid, just jump in with both feet, trusting that God will protect you. I call it reckless faith, much like Paul demonstrated in Acts 16:37. After being beaten, thrown in prison, and fastened in stocks, Paul refused to leave prison until the authorities came and apologized to Silas and him. That takes godly chutzpa!

So, I made up my mind to not protect myself in any way and to do every job asked of me as if I had no injuries. This resulted in some interesting situations, like trying to help a woman with a bad back put a heavy piece of furniture (150 pounds) into her vehicle. It so happened that a strong man walking down the parking lot aisle volunteered to help me. That was lucky, right? No, I don’t believe in luck. I believe in a heavenly Father who loves me so much that He will always be there to help in my time of need.

Did my hands, knees, and back hurt? Yes, so much so, that sometimes I had trouble sleeping at night.

In fact, if anyone would have noticed me stepping out of my car in the Walmart parking lot and walking the one hundred yards to the store’s entrance, they would have wondered how a crippled, one hundred-year old man could possibly work at Walmart. Or that’s what it seemed to me.

Yet, when I walked in the door at Walmart, His grace fell upon me and I became Larry, the cashier with a big smile for everyone. The pain was still there, but it was only on the surface. And as long as I trusted in His grace, which I was forced to do at all times, I could walk through each day.

If we want to serve God, especially us senior citizens, we can’t pray away every one of our problems. If we choose to wait, hoping miracles will heal or prosper us, we may miss our opportunities and if that happens, how many more opportunities can we expect to have in the future. But even so, we can always trust in this verse:

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

One experience, out of many, was worth every ounce of pain that I suffered while working as a cashier. It happened on a busy day when I first opened my register. An elderly man wearing a U. S. Marine veterans cap rode an electric cart up to the register and placed his few groceries on the conveyer belt.

I looked at him and said, “How are you today?”

“I don’t know,” he replied.

“What does that mean?”

“Well, to be honest, the old Sarge is not doing well today.”

“Would you like some prayer?”

“Yes.”

I walked around the bagging console, grabbed his hands, and prayed for him. The presence of God fell upon us. We both wept like little children who just opened the best Christmas gift ever.

“Wow, that was awesome!” he proclaimed.

“Yeah,” I said.

I walked back and became a Walmart Cashier at register 6, scanning items. Customers moved to the line and life continued in a normal fashion… or normal for Walmart.

(An excerpt from The Hunt for Larry Who by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2014, Amazon eBook)

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Still in the Fight

 

The drive to meet Pastor Rick took me past the Temecula Valley High School baseball field where our son, Cole, played shortstop for the Golden Bears during his four years there. Cole was a good player, but that wasn’t the reason I always thanked the Lord for His mercy when I drove by the field. It was because of a special miracle the Lord did twenty-two years ago during a state playoff game.

On that particular day, the Golden Bears were playing the Norco High School Cougars. The pitcher for the Cougars was Carson Riley, a right-hander, who threw around ninety-five miles per hour and was a solid major league prospect.

Cole stepped into the right side of the batter’s box to lead off the seventh inning. Riley’s first pitch was a fastball, which tailed inside and hit Cole in the middle of his chest, knocking him to the ground. He laid motionless on the ground.

The coaches for Temecula Valley rushed to him. One of them took out a cell phone and made a call.

Jane and I were sitting in the bleachers above the dugout on the first base side of the field. I grabbed Jane’s hand. “Honey, we need to go out there. Cole’s in danger,” I said.

We stood up and hurried to field.

Jim Dawson, the head coach for the Golden Bears, looked up as we approached home plate. “Dylan, he’s not breathing. I phoned for an ambulance, which should be here in four minutes,” he said.

Jane and I dropped to our knees and began praying. She prayed in tongues while I placed my hand on his chest.

“Father, You gave me a promise when Cole was born that He would preach the gospel and do miracles in Your name. When You made that promise, You looked into the future and saw this day. And yet, You still made that promise to me. I am not leaving until You honor Your promise and Cole stands up, totally healed in Jesus’ name. You did it for Elijah when he prayed for the widow’s son and I’m asking You to do the same thing for Cole, right now,” I prayed.

Coach Dawson grabbed my shoulders. “Dylan, let’s wait for the ambulance,” he whispered.

I slapped his hands away. “Let go of me,” I shouted. “God is doing a miracle here.”

Dawson released his grasp and wandered off. A siren could be heard pulling into the school’s parking lot.

“Father, I didn’t ask You to give me that promise for Cole. You did it on Your own. So, honor Your promise, in Jesus’ name,” I prayed over and over again.

“What’s happening here?” asked a paramedic, rushing toward us with a stretcher.

Cole’s green eyes fluttered and opened. He looked into my eyes. “Dad,” he whispered, “I met Jesus. He said I had to come back to life because of your prayers.”

My son was totally healed and wanted to stay in the ballgame, but of course, the two paramedics insisted on him riding in the ambulance to Temecula Valley Hospital. Jane and I followed them in our Chevy Tahoe.

All of the tests on Cole proved to be negative. The Lord healed him.

Cole graduated from high school two weeks later and now lives in San Diego with his wife Allyson and their two daughters, Mia and Madison.

If I drove by the baseball field a hundred times in any one day, I always thanked the Lord for that miracle every time. I never want the Lord to forget how much it meant to me.

(Excerpt from Still in the Fight, a remodeled update of the short novel Unhinged Geezer, and a work still in progress by Larry Nevenhoven)

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Downsizing Without a Roadmap (Part 1)

 

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One morning in late July 2017, Carol threw her hands in the air. “What are we going to do?”

“About what?” I said.

“About paying the rent!” she proclaimed. “We don’t have enough money to pay our rent by August 5th.”

“Maybe God will send us a miracle.”

“Or maybe not. We need to give our moving out notice to Gary.”

“Okay, let’s do this,” I said. “If we don’t have a miracle by the 31st, then we’ll give our thirty days notice to Gary.”

She nodded in agreement.

 

How did we ever end up in such a tight spot?

Carol had passed her real estate exam over a year earlier, but continued working as a furniture sales person in San Marcos, California. Then, in March 2017, she felt the Lord wanted her to quit her furniture sales job and become a full time real estate agent. She eventually chose to work at Realty ONE Group Southwest in Temecula.

I worked as a cashier at Walmart Supercenter in Temecula, beginning in August 2016. I also passed my real estate exam in May 2017, but continued working at Walmart. I would have stayed there except for some answered prayers.

For three years, I prayed to see our two sons and their families. My prayers were answered when our son Mike and his wife Shannon flew us out to Pittsburgh for Ginger’s (our eighteen year old granddaughter) high school graduation party in late June 2017. Then, our son Scott and his wife Liza and our two grandchildren flew out to visit us in the first week of July 2017.

I applied for two weeks vacation from Walmart, but management only gave me one week off. So I felt I had no choice but to quit, which I did on June 30, 2017.

Maybe your thoughts are: “Hey man, you quit a good job that helped support Carol and you just to spend time with your family! What kind of stupid are you?”

He made known His ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. (Psalm 103:7)

To understand the ways of God, one has to spend time with Him. It is in His presence where we can learn about the Father’s heart and how He loves our families.

I felt both trips were answers to my prayers and that I needed to trust the Lord to provide the finances for us.

Now, in the midst of all of this, Carol was holding open houses and working real estate as hard as she could with no results.

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What God Taught Me In My 310 Days At Walmart (Part 2)

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I interviewed for a cashier position at the the Temecula Walmart Supercenter on August 12, 2016, and was hired at that time. One of the questions asked was about any physical problems that I might have which might cause me problems in carrying out my duties as a cashier. I answered, “No.”

Did I lie about my physical problems? No, I don’t believe I did because it was my belief that if God called me to be a cashier, He would enable me to fulfill the job. The significance of my answer in writing was that I removed all liability from Walmart for any injuries to my wrists, knees, and back.

The Temecula Walmart Supercenter is ranked between number 5 and number 10 in dollar volume out of all the nearly 12,000 Walmart stores in the world. The store does around 165 million dollars in sales per year. A little over four hundred people work at the 24 hour store, with nearly eighty cashiers manning the registers at various times.

My first day was August 25, 2016. For the following two weeks, I worked with veteran cashiers who trained me. Then, I began working on my own in early September.

One of the lessons I have learned over the years is that when God calls you to do something, there is no use in being timid, just jump in with both feet, trusting that God will protect you. I call it reckless faith, much like Paul demonstrated in Acts 16:37. After being beaten, thrown in prison, and fastened in stocks, Paul refused to leave prison until the authorities came and apologized to Silas and him. That takes godly chutzpa!

So, I made up my mind to not protect myself in any way and to do every job asked of me as if I had no in juries. This resulted in some interesting situations, like trying to help a woman with a bad back put a heavy piece of furniture (150 pounds) into her vehicle. It so happened that a strong man walking down the parking lot aisle volunteered to help me. That was lucky, right? No, I don’t believe in luck. I believe in a heavenly Father who loves me so much that He will always be there to help in my time of need.

Did my hands, knees, and back hurt? Yes, so much so, that I could hardly sleep at night.

In fact, if anyone would have noticed me stepping out of my car in the Walmart parking lot and walking the one hundred yards to the store’s entrance, they would have wondered how a crippled, one hundred-year old man could possibly work at Walmart. Or that’s what it seemed to me.

Yet, when I walked in the door at Walmart, His grace fell upon me and I became Larry, the cashier with a big smile for everyone. The pain was still there, but it was only on the surface. And as long as I trusted in His grace, which I was forced to do at all times, I could walk through each day.

Just so you know: I averaged nearly 930 scans per hour – which is above average – and I even had quite a few customers who chose to go through my line when I was on duty. Why? They liked my smile and attitude and speed.

What major lesson did God teach me at Walmart:

If we want to serve God, especially us senior citizens, we can’t pray away every one of our problems. If we choose to wait, hoping miracles will heal or prosper us, we may miss our opportunities and if that happens, how many more can we expect to have in the future. But even so, we can always trust in this verse:

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

One experience, out of many, was worth every ounce of pain that I suffered working as a cashier. It happened on a busy day when I first opened my register. A elderly man wearing a U. S. Marine veterans cap, rode an electric cart up to the register and placed his few groceries on the conveyer belt.

I looked at him and said, “How are you today?”

“I don’t know,” he replied.

“What does that mean?”

“Well, to be honest, the old Sarge is not doing well today.”

“Would you like some prayer?”

“Yes.”

I walked around the bagging console, grabbed his hands, and prayed for him. The presence of God fell upon us. We both wept like little children who just opened the best Christmas gift ever.

“Wow, that was awesome!” he proclaimed.

“Yeah,” I said.

I walked back and became a Walmart Cashier at register 6, scanning items. Customers moved to the line and life continued in a normal fashion or normal for Walmart.

(Conclusion)

 

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What God Taught Me In My 310 Days At Walmart (Part 1)

 

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When I felt the Lord speaking to my heart about applying for a job at Walmart, I must admit that I scratched my head a few times. You see, I was nearly 71 years old and had a few physical issues: both knees are bone on bone due to long ago football injuries, back problems from climbing ladders and falling off a few of them, and carpal tunnels in both wrists from gripping a paint brush and typing for hours and hours at a time.

I was certainly not a poster-perfect candidate for being a cashier at a high volume Walmart Super Center, but yet, I knew the Lord was asking me to do just that.

To better understand what the Lord was asking of me, I need to relate an experience I had almost thirty years beforehand.

At the time, I was employed by a Best Western Motel in maintenance and delivering “meals on wheels” to senior citizen centers. It was a bottom-rung, minimum wage job.

I had just read Fox’s Book of Martyrs, which relates the lives, sufferings, and deaths of the early Christians and Protestant martyrs. As I finished the book, I spoke aloud, “Lord, if this is my destiny, then let me die with a bullet to the head or by guillotine, but not by being burnt to death at a stake. That would be too much for me!”

A few days later, I was hurrying around the kitchen of the motel, readying the meals for the senior centers. I pulled a large tray of roast beef out of a top oven. As I pulled it out, the tray slipped, pouring out its 165° of scalding water and juices over my left hand. I somehow set the tray down without spilling the roast beef.

Then, I stood there looking at my hand. The chefs and kitchen workers were screaming at me to put my hand under the cold water faucet, but I ignored their pleas.

My hand fascinated me because there was no pain inside it – in the muscles, fatty tissues, or nerve endings. The pain was just located on the surface of my skin where it was a bright red in color, but it was really bearable. Not a problem for me to endure it at all.

The chef grabbed my hand and stuck it under the faucet. “Now, you have to go to the doctor and have it checked,” she screamed at me.

I laughed. “No, I’m okay and will deliver the meals to the senior centers.”

“Nevenhoven, you’re a nut.”

“Yeah, that’s probably true, but it’s only because of Jesus and His love for me.”

From that day onward, I have never feared what people could do to me because I knew His grace would help me through it.

(Part 2)

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