A close friend and his family are spending their summer in Lake Tahoe on the Campus Crusade (Cru) summer project. He sent me a picture from the 1988 summer project which contains yours truly and wife. We had a terrific time there, but I can’t believe it was twenty six years ago!
A few weeks back I preached a sermon on Ecc. 1 and 2 in three consecutive services. The average age was about 65. Departing from my notes, I closed the third service by reminding all of us of the truth in Ecc. 9:4 that it is better to be a “live dog rather than a dead lion.”
You can hear my sermon here:
One of my favorite books is The Life of St. Antony by Athanasius. It is not a long read, but chock-full of fascinating stories. It is hard to know whether all the stories are true, but one thing is clear: there is much wisdom in it.
We modern-day Christians tend to think heretics pose the primary danger to a church’s integrity, but St. Antony added another category: schismatics. These are folks who may be orthodox in doctrine, but divisive and so not committed to “preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:3)
Here is some of St. Antony’s last counsel to fellow monks. By the way, St. Antony was nearly 105 years old!
“Don’t grow idle in your labors. Live as though dying daily. Stay away from heretics like the Arians and stay away from schismatics.”
(The Life of St. Antony by Athanasius)
InterVarsity Press is one publisher who is sensitive to this important, and little talked about ministry. Billy Graham recently said the church prepared him to die, but did not prepare him well for aging.
Three new books by IVP can help us wisely address the unique challenges of aging. I have carefully read the first two, but only perused the third.
Whether you are getting older (whatever number you think that is!) or minister to “older folk,” these books provide sage advice:
The imagery mentioned in Ps. 119:83 is quite interesting.
“Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget God’s teachings.”
I dug around a bit as I was baffled by the picture the Psalmist paints. It turns out that ancient people hung a wineskin inside a tent to absorb the smoke from the fire. As you can imagine, this kind of use led to the wineskin becoming dry, brittle, and of little use. This is the raw emotion of an honest believer who clings to God even when it seems insane.
If you presently feel this way, know that you are in very good company.