April 18, 2012
Life After 60
It’s not just the destination. It’s the journey that matters. I’ve been thinking about that line a lot the last few days because this week is one of those milestones. When you reach the big “60” you consider the years that you have left.
If you were given the opportunity to reverse your age would you do it? Or are you content, or even happy with your current age? I think the answer says a lot and it says a lot about life and what we think about life. Turning 30 there’s so much ahead, so much to conquer. At 40 there still much to accomplish, much life to live. At 50, like a friend of mine on Monday, you can’t help but at least see the plateau looming and now for me today, the big 60. And while totally comfortable with reaching this milestone, I’ve been comparing notes with others and we’ve all started to think, “Lord, how many years do we have left?” But even if you’re 20 years old you need to think too, “Lord, how many years to I have left and what am I going to do with those years?”
Welcome To Haven Today. I’m Charles Morris sharing the great story that’s all about Jesus and no matter how old you are, this is a program called “Life after 60”. Now as we begin, let me pause for a moment. Last Friday I said it was the last day we would offer the 50th Anniversary re-mastered movie, coming out of the book “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ” but this best movie of the year in which Charlton Heston won best actor has gripped a lot of our listeners and you’ve just kept calling us and you won’t let us forget it. So if you’ve thought about it but you haven’t made your gift to the ministry we’ve left the door open for another day. Would you call us after the program at 1-800-654-2836? That’s 1-800-65-HAVEN. Make your gift to this listener supported, Christ-centered ministry on my 60th birthday but be sure and ask for “Ben-Hur”. We have the 2 DVD set and we’ll say thank you in the name of Jesus for that. We also have the deluxe boxed version of this 50th anniversary “Ben-Hur” and you can learn more about that when you call us or when you go to our internet site, haventoday.org, that’s haventoday.org. “Life after 60” and if you’re 20 or 30 and you’re listening would you cut me some slack please? I think what we’re going to share together in the next few minutes from God’s Word will mean just as much for you and your future as it does for the years the Lord still has numbered for me. Haven Today opens with a song that I love, a song by Graham Kendrick.
Song: Knowing You Jesus
Performed by: Graham Kendrick
This is Haven Today and the program we’re calling “Life After 60” and that’s Graham Kendrick who’s not too far behind me and his song called “Knowing You Jesus”. I hope it ministered to you like it did to me. Well, yesterday I was sitting with an Old Testament scholar in Michigan. He’s younger than me. He’s a Bible translator and he told me about something out of a book called “The Church of the Irresistible Influence”. It was put out a little over 10 years ago, Robert Lewis, Rob Wilkins. Here’s essentially what these 2 guys say. What the world waits to see is whether what we have, meaning the church and we Christians in the church, is better than what they have. So, what the world waits to see is whether what we have is better than what they have. Now just before my birthday that struck me. I have a life to live and I have a life to live for Christ. Even after 60. It’s the journey and not the destination, and who we make that journey with – Jesus – that counts. Now, at 50 years old you kind of begin to think of hitting the plateau. I’m thinking of a member of our Canadian board of directors who turned 50 on Monday. After emailing him some greetings he emailed me back and said he was thinking of that last stanza, added later to “Amazing Grace” by John Newton, “When we’ve been there 10,000 years bright shining as the sun.” Thanks Glen, we all need to be reminded of that no matter how old we are. Our future is with Christ. Jeff Ward who does mornings at “The Compass” in Maryland and Pennsylvania, WCRH sent me a list of what happened in the year I was born, 1952. Queen Elizabeth started reigning. Thank you for that reminder Jeff. I really wasn’t born, I really did miss World War II although I like to read about it. And then yesterday I got home from a long road trip, Colorado, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Illinois, Michigan, eight days out and too many airports to try and remember and I got to say, “Happy 85th” to Al Sanders. You may not know Al but I know you’ve heard his voice if you’ve listened to any Christian radio at all and if not for Al and the Ambassador Agency you would have never heard of obscure names like Jim Dobson, Chuck Swindoll, John MacArthur and several others. Thanks Al, the Lord is still using you at the age of 85 as an Ambassador for Christ in many lives including my life. But now this week it’s the big 60 for me. I went on the internet and checked the life expectancy is now 81. It’s 82 in Iceland but I do prefer to live in my country of origin so I’ll stick to American actuary tables. Reaching a milestone of 6 decades helps me to better see my life in the small world of erroneous thoughts, living as I do surrounded by the culture of post-Christian age. Now yes, I was raised in a Christian home. I went to Vacation Bible School as a young child. I learned to sing songs like this with hand gestures as well.
Song: Deep and Wide
What a song! Not exactly a hit but for a 3 year old and a 5 year old and probably I was still singing it at 8 years old, I can still do those hand gestures with vigor. “Deep and Wide”, whether it was in a Sunday School class or whether it was in Vacation Bible School and I can thank my parents for taking me to hear about Jesus and I could sing about that love of Christ. And then in the 60s and in the 70s of course people were singing about love and that was kind of nice. Remember? Music that people got into then, like Deon Warwick.
Song: What the World Needs Now
And even though the Vietnam War was going on peace, love, hey! We didn’t really distinguish and parse very much what was in the lyrics of music but of course we had this idea of love and friendship going on.
Song: You’ve Got a Friend
So I’m still thankful that I can remember back and my wife likes to listen with me and we’ll hear Sweet Baby James and “You’ve Got a Friend” but who is my friend? What is this love that we really need? And I’ve had a few decades to think about that. And I had my 20s when I was Jonah and I was running from the Lord but thankfully the Lord brought me back. I know people were praying for me, people I don’t even know. The Lord found me and brought me back and I had to go through my “belly of a whale”. I’m on this journey and you’re on this journey but who are we on this journey with? And as I’m thinking about living whatever years I’m having left I’m asking the Lord to give me more grace. Less talking, more listening, more listening to others, more listening to Jesus and living more energetically for Christ than ever before, before he says, “Times up! Come home! That’s it.” For me to live is Christ and to die is more Christ. Yes, on this day I’ll get not a cake. I’ll have a cherry pie. I’ll share it with a few close friends. Only Janet’s homemade pie filling with the flaky crust and the lattice top will do! I love my wife.
But of course then, as someone turns a milestone like 60 there’s a serious side too. And I decided that rather than compiling a bucket list I should start with a few scripture texts that have had and will have an impact on me. The Spirit moving in my heart, getting me moving with some classic texts that I need to hear again like, Psalm 24:1,
The earth is the Lord’s and everything and all who live in it.
So all that God created belongs to him and that means me and you, the righteous and the unrighteous. And then there’s Matthew 6:33,
Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.
If we’re going to do kingdom work in however many years we have left, do it well the rest of our lives and not waste our lives doing it, we need to look for the kingdom in all we do and seek it. We look for his righteousness. On this track of living amazing mountains can be moved. Then, as I was pondering scripture Ephesians 4 came to mind and it came to mind not in the context of just me. God created us to have fellowship with us, for us to live in community with him and in his kingdom with others and that means in the church of Jesus Christ in the now as well as in years to come in the new heavens and new earth. Listen to the opening of Ephesians 4 and how this speaks to how we live and the strength the Lord gives us. Paul was a prisoner for the Lord but he said,
I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
What a birthday present! Whether you’re 20 or 60, God’s word speaking to us. And I decided then not to make a bucket list. Sure it was a great temptation. They’re fun to do. But I thought, a bucket list is all about me, not about him. And so, sitting on one of many airplanes over the past week I started writing a list of what about the next 10 years? Whether one is 20 or whether one is 60 here it is: number 1 – less me, more Christ. So easily can I be full of myself. My surrounding culture encourages it. And you don’t have to live in Southern California like I do to feel it. Ego always gets in the way of more Christ so first is less me, more Christ. Second is forgive me, help me forgive. I started with the word forgive and this is a troubling concept. I know I’m saved. I know my sins are forgiven and yet Jesus in teaching the Lord’s Prayer told me to pray for forgiveness of sins every day after I’m a follower of his. We are called by our Savior to forgive others. This isn’t just a teaching of the church and a prayer that’s been prayed by believers for, well, ever since the first century. This is Jesus responding to a question in the Sermon on the Mount, “Lord, teach us to pray.” And he did. So we should. “Forgive me Lord and out of that I can forgive others.” It doesn’t matter if they forgive you. You do it anyway. You start forgiving others. I know this is hard for some of us. The last thing we want to do is show our flaws or admit our mistakes but here it is. I’ve had to learn the hard way that I need to admit my mistakes to others, my treatment of others. I’m doing the wrong thing but once I come clean there is so much freedom. May I do more of that in the next 10 years if that’s what I have? Forgiveness seems to flow both ways if I am the first one to say, “I am wrong. Please forgive.” If we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. I know that’s not easy to do at age 60, but it’s not easy at 20. It’s the Jesus way.
Three, love the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind and then I can love my neighbor. A while ago we went back, Dion Warwick, James Taylor, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love,” “You’ve got a friend.” But the love we need is the love from Jesus to us and then back to him. You know what I mean. And when he loves you and you love him back then that’s when you can begin to show not just your love but his love for others. It flows, it cascades that way. Listen to a little bit out of 1 John 4,
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
Four, live in community. Live in the church. Live in the kingdom. I’m part of the body of Christ and I don’t always live in the body. What about you? Do you live on your own more than you do with others, leading a pretty do it yourself kind of life? I understand that, one airplane after another. What do we need? Christ called us to live in him but also in his body and we’re part of that body. We’re not an island unto ourselves. And living in community means something else to me and I think it should for you as well. For me, I’m married. It’s my wife and I love Janet! I love my children! I love my grandchildren getting on the phone and belting out “Happy Birthday” to me, somewhat off key, but it’s the thought that counts. It’s the love that’s there living in community. Facebook and Twitter may start revolutions but they aren’t community like Jesus had in mind for us.
And fifth, there’s share my Jesus with others. And that’s what I want to do more for the rest of my life at age 60 and I wish that I would have prayed this prayer at age 20 when I was Jonah running from the Lord but it doesn’t matter. He still loves me and he will still send me opportunities. The Titanic anniversary was just a few days ago. 100 years ago the “unsinkable” ship did sink. Did you hear the story of John Harper, the pastor and preacher who, with his 6 year old daughter boarded the Titanic? And he was heading off to become the pastor of one of the greatest, and at that time was called a mega church, the famous Moody Memorial Church founded by Dwight L. Moody. And as it went down he put his 6 year old into one of the life boats. He probably could have gotten on one himself, he was a widower, but no, he stayed and went down. There are all these accounts that remain that even as he lost his life he gave his life in sharing Christ for many who prayed to receive Christ even as the most famous ship, the Titanic, went down. That’s the kind of life I want to live. It’s all about Jesus.
Well, on the day I turned 60 we’ve opened the door up again and I would advise you to get a copy of the 50th Anniversary – I did see it when it first came out. I remember it, will never forget it, Charlton Heston best actor of the year, “Ben Hur” best movie of the year. And yes I was very young then, of course. I would like you to have a copy of it as a thank you for your gift to Haven Today. Why don’t you call us now at 1-800-654-2836? That’s 1-800-65-HAVEN. And if you’re really a big “Ben Hur” fan and you haven’t seen it in a few decades, we’ve got that deluxe boxed set that you can ask about when you give us a call or when you go online at haventoday.org, that’s haventoday.org. But I want to invite you to give, not just to get “Ben Hur”, I’d like you to have that, but I’d like you to give because you’re praying too that your life would be all about Jesus no matter how many years you have left.
I’m Charles Morris, thanks for sticking with me even if you’re 20 years old. Would you come back again tomorrow when again we’ll be sharing together the great story, all about Jesus, here on Haven Today?
Ben-Hur: 50th Anniversary 2-Disc DVD Set
For a gift of any amount
Fifty-three years ago the movie Ben-Hur hit the big screen creating a worldwide sensation, much as Lord of the Rings did recently. In the short list of truly epic movies, Ben-Hur is distinctive for pointing to Jesus while portraying a powerful story of love,...
[Get It Now]
Ben-Hur: 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition (Box Set)
For a gift of $65.00 or more
50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition (Box Set) Ben-Hur: Digitally Restored and Remastered Full-length documentary on Charlton Heston and the filming of Ben-Hur Bonus disc containing special features Exact reproduction of Charlton Heston's journal during the year of filming Ben-Hur Full...
[Get It Now]