Oh, My!

Happy surprised manJust spent a week in the Bible-belt. The weather was great! The food was fantastic. The folks are so friendly and hospitable. Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia are beautiful states. In fact, beyond beautiful!  Oh, and did I mention the churches?

Oh, My!

In the same way it is difficult to describe the physical and spiritual poverty found in the 10/40 Window to someone who has never been there, it would be hard to describe just how many churches, especially Baptist churches, are in this part of America.

Oh, My!

churchesThere’s a church on just about every corner. In fact, there’s often a couple of churches on the same corner. And, in some cases, there’s two churches, on what appears to be the same piece of property. You can hardly go more than a block or two without seeing a church, and more often than not, a Baptist church. And, in far too many cases, more than one Baptist church.

Oh, My!

You can hardly go anywhere without meeting Baptist people. You go to a restaurant you hear folks introducing themselves, and next out of their mouth, you’ll hear the words, “I attend such and such Baptist church. Along with the churches, you see the billboards and bumper stickers!

Now, don’t get me wrong! I am thankful for the many churches in the Bible-belt. Thank God for Shubal Stearns and the Sandy Creek Revival I am thankful for the name of Jesus being lifted up by the tens of thousand churches in the Bible-belt. I am thankful that many of these churches are proclaiming the gospel and people are being saved, and lives are being changed. I am grateful that both adults and children can have a church they can call home. I am grateful for the “Christian” influence.  But I still just have to say …

Oh, My!

Everywhere I go–including the Bible Belt, where churches, especially Baptist churches abound–I hear this same statement, “We need more ‘good churches’ here.” Of course, there’s always some truth to that statement, but there are parts of the world where there are NO CHURCHES. Not one. Absolutely none! Not good churches. Not bad churches. NO CHURCHES! 😏 And again, to that, i just have to say …

Oh, My! Why such a disparity in the placement of churches?

Harvest filedsMatthew 9:37-38,   Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38  Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Retiring Well!

Retirement2 Timothy 4:5-8,  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 6  For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

If you are “in the know” when it comes to the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946-1964), you know that we are getting up there in years, and many are  either already retired or are near that retirement age. Of the Baby Boomers, it has been said:

Baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values. Many commentators, however, have disputed the extent of that rejection, noting the widespread continuity of values with older and younger generations. In Europe and North America, boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of widespread government subsidies in post-war housing and education, and increasing affluence.

As a group, baby boomers were the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation up to the era in which they arrived, and were amongst the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time. They were also the generation that received peak levels of income; they could therefore reap the benefits of abundant levels of food, apparel, retirement programs, and sometimes even “midlife crisis” products. 

I have been back in the States for six months now. In just a few weeks, Lord willing, my wife and I will return to Asia. As I travel from church to church, it is very clear, we are getting older. So here’s the question, “What will we do in the latter years of our lives?” “What will we do during the retirement years?”  As one author noted:

Then there is the reality of the game itself: The clock is running. What once looked like an eternity ahead of you is now within reach. And while you do not fear the end of the game, you do want to make sure that you finish well, that you leave something behind that no one can take away from you. If the first half was a quest for success, the second half is a journey to significance.

In another place, the same author wrote:

When our fathers approached the midpoints of their lives, their big questions revolved around retirement: Can I hold on another twenty years? Will I have enough money to retire? With another thirty to forty years of increased potential ahead of us, our big question has become, “What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”

Sharing Gospel TomWhat are we going to do with the rest of our lives? Are we going to simply retire and relocate to  Arizona or Florida? Will we send the latter years of our lives traveling? Playing shuffleboard?

How about giving your last days on the mission field?

That’s what Tom and Sue Sutrick did. After spending the vast majority of their lives living in America, living a comfortable life, and then retiring, they chose to go to the mission field. They are have now been serving God, among the Hmong people in northern Thailand for the past 5 years or so. And, God is using them greatly.

IMG_1861This past week they conducted two Vacation Bible Schools in two different villages in the mountains of Thailand. They had over 150 children/teens attend and 20 make professions of faith. Now, I think you would agree with me, that’s a whole lot better than shuffleboard!

What are you going to do in the latter years of your life? What are you going to give yourself to? Who are you going to give yourself for?

There might just be some children, teens, and young adults on the other side of the ocean who could desperately use an older couple to love them to Jesus!

IMG_1865“The real test of a man is not when he plays the role that he wants for himself, but when he plays the role destiny has for him.” —Vaclav Havel