Today I turn 55. It’s a little hard for me to imagine because most days I still feel like I’m 30. I can still play football at the men’s retreat. I still take stairs 2 at a time. And I’m looking forward to participating in the Run Raiser next Saturday. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m another year older. There is something about birthdays that causes us to pause and reflect. While 55 is not a round number, it does feel like somewhat of a mile marker. For some people, 55 marks the beginning of a countdown to retirement. But for me, the thought that I might be in my last decade (give or take a few years) of full time pastoral ministry brings about a very different reaction.
The truth is, I am more excited and passionate about ministry than I have ever been. And with the realization of another passing year, I feel a greater urgency than ever to the work of leading our church. As I spent time in prayer this morning, I could not help but reflect on that urgency. As I thought and prayed, three things struck me:
1) I am more convinced than ever that we must reach those who do not know Jesus. When we say “Everyone needs Jesus,” that is not platitude. It is a Biblical truth. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through him. We must do everything we can, with the time we have, to share the hope of Christ with those who do not yet know Him.
2) I am more invested than ever in raising up the next generation in Christ. In whatever remaining years God chooses to have me serve as your pastor, I will be unapologetic about investing in our young people. This is not to imply that I do not love and care about people from every generation. I do. But if our church is going to continue the vital and life changing work of Christ for decades to come, we must always be investing time, energy and resources in helping to raise up the next generation in Christ.
3) I want to be more intentional than ever in giving my all, my best effort, to the work that Christ has called me to. One day, every one of us will stand before Jesus. I want to live my life with such passion and determination that I can stand before Jesus and say that I gave my all. I want to know that I used the gifts, resources and years that He gave me to the best of my ability to advance His kingdom.
As followers of Jesus, you and I are a part of the most important enterprise in the world. We are the bearers of the gospel. We are the hands and feet of God to do good in this world. We are the Church. I don’t mean that in an institutional way. I mean that we are the gathering of God’s people to do His work in this world. There is no more important work in this world. There is no higher calling than to serve the King of Kings.
Before I sign off, I want to remind you that tomorrow (Saturday Oct 14) we will set up the field of flags. If you would like to help, please join us at our Plaistow campus. We are going to jump right in at 9:00 a.m. and I don’t expect it to take us much more than an hour.
Next Saturday, Oct. 21, is the Rock Run raiser. If you would like to participate, you can still sign up at www.rockrunraiser.com. We can also still use some helpers in a variety of areas. One area in particular we can still use help is with parking attendants. If you would like to help, please email Heidi Mongeau.
I look forward to seeing you all this Sunday as we share the final, and perhaps most important message of all in our series “Real Hope.” You will not want to miss it.