Appraising the Family Silver

Series: Preacher: Date: March 11, 2018 Scripture Reference: Judges 14:6-12

As you may or may not know, every year I invite people to read through the Chronological Bible with me. As we read—if we feel so led—we swap e-mails in which we share questions or insights about each daily reading.

One of the texts that almost always elicits questions is Leviticus 27. In these verses God tells the Hebrews wandering in the wilderness how to redeem people set aside for His service. In so doing He appraises or values people according to their age and gender. Listen as I read beginning with verse 1 and I think you’ll see WHY it raises questions:

The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: “If anyone makes a special vow to dedicate a person to the Lord by giving the equivalent value,

—set the value of a male between the ages of twenty and sixty—at fifty shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel; for a female, set her value at thirty shekels;”

Is any female doing a Mr. Spok impression? Whenever, we come to this passage readers with raised eye-brows e-mail me questions like, “Why does the Bible say that men are worth more than women? What’s up with that?” All kidding aside, the answer is fairly simple. This text was written to people who lived in an agrarian society. There were no grocery stores—no restaurants. If you wanted to eat you had to be able to raise crops or animals for food. So the thing that made people worth something was their ability to do that.

I know this flies in the face of today’s belief that the genders are absolutely the same—but they are not and I, for one, say, “Viva la difference!” Of course, one of the obvious differences between men and women is body size and strength. Men tend to be stronger than women—which meant in Old Testament times that they could make more food—so they were valued more highly.

Well—if THAT doesn’t upset you, hang on—because this text goes on to appraise the value of OLDER people.  Verse 7 says, “For a person sixty years old or more, set the value of a male at fifteen shekels and that of a female at ten shekels.” Note that as they age women increase in value. Now they are worth two thirds of a man! But both genders are worth LESS as they AGE. Now—the thing I find interesting is the fact that, in all the years that I’ve led groups through the Chronological Bible, no one has ever questioned this verse. I mean, no one has ever said, “Hey—why are old people worth less than young people? Why appraise THEIR value as being one third of that of a younger person?” Of course, the answer would be the same—old people can’t work as hard in the fields as younger people so they had less value back in OT days—but no one ever questions that.The reason they don’t is the sad fact that most people still think that way today.  They would go along with this ancient Hebrew standard of measure.

They tend to think people lose value as they age. If you doubt that consider how we use the word “prime.”  Young are “IN their prime.” Older people are “BEYOND it.” Let me put it this way, many people appraise the “family silver” much lower than they do younger people in the family—people without gray in their hair. When you hit age 65 everyone says it’s time to retire.  It’s time to collect your Social Security and move aside to let younger, more energetic people step in.

I even see this attitude in many churches. The young are suspicious of anything old. When I’m with younger pastors I often sense an attitude that says, “You older guys are behind the times—time to move out of the pulpit—this is no country for old pastors!” I remember hearing the recording of a training seminar made a few years back where Bill Hybels interviewed a panel of pastors. They took turns sharing stories of how when they began their first pastorate the first thing they did was do away with “old ways.”

One pastor—on his first Sunday—walked up behind the organist as she was playing the prelude and whispered, “Thank you for your service—but it will no longer be needed. You’re fired.” Another, bragged that in his first week he hired a contractor to remove the church steeple without the approval of the members. He felt it was too old fashioned. I’m not sure how long these two guy lasted in those churches but the purpose of that training was to point out how foolish that attitude is. Churches should not spurn their older members—if we did that here at Redland—a great deal would not get done! No—we must respect the “family silver.” We must realize that great value can be found in people who are down the road a ways in their walk with Jesus.

But—we older people—notice how I used the word “WE”—we older people should be the kind of growing, maturing believers who DESERVE respect—the kind who SHOW their value. And that brings us to the question of the day. “What can we do to be valuable in the church? What attitudes and behaviors must we embrace in order for the rest of the church to appraise those of us who might be referred to as ‘the family silver’ as having high value?” And if you’re young, don’t tune me out because you won’t be young long.   This life is a vapor—it passes so very quickly. Before you know it, YOU’LL be referred to as the “family silver.” Plus—I think you’ll find that what I have to say applies to all ages.

Now—throughout our “Living Close” series we’ve looked to the example of people in the Bible to help us learn how to improve our connections as a church family—and this morning I want us to look at the life of an amazing older person—CALEB. He was an individual who would be “appraised” as having VERY high value.

But, before we get to the text that tells us WHY, let me give you the setting.  Joshua and the Hebrew people have crossed the Jordan and have fought for several years now in their conquest of the Promised Land.  Our text takes place in a time when the land of Canaan is finally pretty much under the control of the people of Israel. There are still enemies to deal with but most of them are held at bay.

Well, with the fighting almost at an end it was time to distribute the Promised Land between the tribes, and this brings us to our text for this morning.  Take your Bibles and turn with me to Joshua 14 and follow along as we read verses 6-12.

6 – Now the people of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 

7 – I was forty years old when Moses, the servant of the Lord, sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 

8 – but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. 

9 – So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’

10 – “Now then, just as the Lord promised, He has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time He said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 

11 – I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 

12 – Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified,  but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as He said.”

Okay—note as they begin to divide the land, that Caleb the “family silver hero” of our story, asks for and is given the portion of land that had been promised him over four decades earlier.

Caleb was one of the original 12 spies that Moses had sent into Canaan. Apparently, each of these 12 spies was assigned a separate area of Canaan to examine up close and the area that Caleb had explored was a hilly, mountainous region called Hebron. The name may be familiar to you because Hebron was, and still is, a place of great historical importance to the Hebrew people.

  • You see, Hebron was where Abraham had lived when he first came to the Promised Land from Haran generations earlier.
  • It was there that he built an altar of sacrifice.
  • It was there that God promised Abraham the Promised Land.
  • It was where He said that Abraham would be the father of a great nation from which the Messiah would one day come.
  • Hebron is also where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah are buried—

—so it was a very important piece of real estate in the Hebrew mind set. Another thing I want you to note is that Caleb was not a Jew. I say this because in the listing of the 12 spies Caleb is referred to as son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite—and Kennizzites were not part of the Hebrew nation. So, Caleb was a foreigner.

We don’t know HOW Caleb came to be in Egypt enslaved along with the Jewish people but we do have a clue in HIS NAME. You see “Caleb” means “dog.”  Now, would you call your son or daughter “dog?”  No, of course not! And Hebrew parents would be even LESS likely to do. To call someone “dog” in Old Testament times was a great insult. I mean canines were of no value in that culture, so this name hints at the fact that Caleb was of no value to his parents. It tells us he might have been abandoned, an unwanted child.  Perhaps his cruel parents sold him into slavery and that’s how he came to Egypt but, in spite of this, by the providence of God, Caleb was folded into the family of God. And not only that, he was placed in the tribe of Judah, which means he became a member of the Jewish aristocracy—because from Judah came the kings the great spiritual, political, and military leaders of the nation. In my mind, Caleb’s life is a testimony of Deuteronomy 10:18 where it says that God, “defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.”

Well, Caleb responded to God’s gracious provision. I mean, even though he was a foreigner, he still regarded himself as a faithful follower of the one TRUE God. In fact, he trusted God more than many of his Jewish peers. Remember? When the 12 spies came back, only two believed that God would enable them to conquer it were Joshua and Caleb. The other ten, all pure-blooded Jews, did not have his caliber of faith in God’s power. In fact, because of their lack of faith the Hebrew nation was forced to turn away from the promised land and wander in the desert for 40 years until all the faith-less people had died out. God rewarded Joshua and Caleb’s faith by extending their lives so when the day finally dawned they could claim the land God had promised them four and a half decades earlier.

Okay, back to the main thrust of this message: what can this old warrior named Caleb teach us about how to be thought of as valuable in a church family—even when aging comes.

(1) First, like Caleb we must realize that aging is a matter of ATTITUDE not ARTERIES.

We need to embrace the fact that aging is not just a physical thing. Yes, it’s inevitable that we will all grow old physically—but we don’t have to ever grow old mentally. It’s our choice.  And unfortunately, many of us make the wrong choice in that, as our bodies age we choose old attitudes. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about turn to Ecclesiastes 12.

a, Look at verse 5, where it says that in old age, “The grasshopper becomes a burden.”

This is a reference to the fact that for some elderly people, little things are seen as burdens to bear. I mean, one psychological characteristic of old age is that unless, we choose otherwise, little things bother us such that we have an increased sensitivity to the trivial things of life.

MENTALLY old people are always fussing and complaining, cranky and irritable, upset about insignificant things. And this is not some side-effect of the physical process of growing old because I know a lot of younger adults who are this way. Even they are easily burdened by little things. You know what I’m talking about. These “mentally old people” get angry and when we ask why, they say things like, “I can’t find the remote control!” Or, “My picture on Facebook only got 10 likes!” Or, “This car in the passing lane is going the speed limit. What is he thinking?” I’ve found that mentally old people use the word “never” a lot: “It’s NEVER going to stop raining!” “I’m never going to figure this out!” Some of you have obviously heard “old” young people say things like this. Perhaps you’ve even heard your own voice say things like this—so you know what I’m talking about.

Unfortunately, we have abundant proof that one characteristic of mental aging is that little things, small inconveniences, the “grasshoppers of life” are a burden.

b, Verse 5 says another psychological characteristic of age is “a fear of heights.”

Solomon is saying that mental aging is characterized by a fear of risks in life—a fear of challenges and new things. And he’s right! We choose to be “old” when we want to keep things the same and play it safe. We’re “old” when we are afraid to take chances—afraid of the future.

This attitudinal choice is the opposite of a more youthful attitude—one that is characterized by an eager expectancy of life and an abiding confidence in the future.  Do you “older” people remember how it felt to be young and believe that life was going to give you a great and wonderful experience tomorrow and the next day and the day after that?!  Young people fall in love and don’t ask, “How will we buy a house? How will we ever rear our children in this society that is going to pieces?”  No—people who are young seldom think of things like this.

I remember a guy I knew in seminary who was offered a job at a church. The church said they couldn’t pay them enough and the guy said, “No problem! My wife and I will just live in the church attic! We’ll throw some sleeping bags up there. No worries!” I know that sounds silly but do you older guys and gals remember that “can do” attitude? Sure you do! Youth looks toward tomorrow with anticipation and expectation. But old age tends to look at tomorrow through the eyes of dread and fear.

A few years back, I ran across this poem which expresses this philosophy:

“My grandpa notes the world’s worn cogs and says, we’re going to the dogs.

His grandpa, in a hut of logs, swore things were going to the dogs.

His grandpa dressed in caveman’s togs, moaned, things were going to the dogs!

Now this is all I have to state; the dogs have had an awful wait!”

This unknown poet is right. The world has been going to the dogs in the eyes of people who are MENTALLY old ever since Adam was 51. But it hasn’t yet. The dogs are still waiting. Tomorrow is ahead. It CAN be better than today, and people who are “mentally young” believe this!

c. And this leads to one last characteristic of mental old age: glorifying in the PAST at the expense of the PRESENT and FUTURE.

These are the people who think the best times are all behind us—they think the greatest days of a church were 40 years ago back in the “good old days.”  But, people who are mentally “young” believe the best IS happening and CAN happen in the future.  They don’t let the victories of the past limit the victories of today or tomorrow.

Well, let me ask you—according to these three psychological characteristics of old age:

  • Little things are a burden. You are easily upset by the “grasshoppers” of life.
  • Challenges and risks are something to avoid.
  • The future is something to fear and so you live in the glories of the past.

According to these characteristics, How “old” are you?  My point is this—ultimately age—and our potential “value” to help in a church family—is not a matter of the physical but the mental, not arteries but attitude.  If the Lord tarries, we will all grow old in body but we do not have to grow old in spirit. I have known people in their 30’s who have all the mental characteristics of old age. They are crabby, bitter, and hostile.  But there are others I have known who are frail in body from the passing of years but their attitudes are young. They are excited, optimistic, friendly—they are not old!

So, again I ask “How old are you—not by calendar years but in heart and spirit? How old are you? How old do you want to be?”  As someone once put it, “You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”  To continue to be a helpful part of the church even as our bodies age you and I must know that aging is not just a physical thing. It’s an attitudinal thing. It’s a choice!

And if you need an example to help you grasp this fact you need look no further than Caleb. I mean, even at 85 he had the attitude of a very “young” man. One reason I say this is because of the land he chose for his own, Hebron, was one of the few places remaining in Canaan that was not yet conquered. There was still fighting to be done there. And I’m not talking about your normal, every-day fighting—because Hebron was inhabited by the Anakites—a race of giants who arrived in Canaan hundreds of years before the Israelites got there. In fact, throughout the first five books of the Bible, the Anakites are referred to as enemies that were impossible to conquer. Here’s something else. This portion of the land was mountainous and filled with fortified cities like Jericho.  Yet this magnificent “old” man specifically asked for that portion of real estate.  He didn’t request some acreage in the “Leisure World” section of Canaan—something already conquered—something on the Mediterranean coast—the “Florida” of the Promised Land. No, when it came to choosing a place to spend his retirement years, CALEB asked for the most challenging portion of Israel. He didn’t avoid risks. He welcomed them. He didn’t live in the glories of the past. And, I would remind you that there were lots of past glories to dwell on, everything from the parting of the Red Sea to the fall of Jericho to that day Caleb saw the sun stand still.  But Caleb didn’t sit around reveling in these victories of yesteryear.  No! He believed in the victories God could and would give in the FUTURE.

Plus, to Caleb there was no such thing as a burden. What most people called a BURDEN he thought of as a challenging OPPORTUNITY. And, this leads to a second principle we can glean from this text:

(2) To have a high appraisal value we must embrace the fact that for the follower of God there is no such thing as RETIREMENT.

No matter how old we are physically we should never say, “Well, I’ve done my part for the Lord. I’m just going to sit back and let the young folks further His eternal kingdom.” No! We never retire from Christian service! And Caleb was like that. At an age when other men would have entered a retirement home, Caleb peered into the future with eyes that sparkled with enthusiasm, optimism, hope, and faith.  He didn’t say, “Leave me alone. I’m tired.” or “I deserve a comfortable, shady spot.” or “You owe me some benefits for all those years I’ve worked and fought.” —or “I’ve done my part, now it’s their turn!”

No—instead this magnificent “OLD” guy said, “See that range of mountains—give me THAT to conquer! Bring on those ugly giants! Lemme at those fortified cities! Here, Joshua, you take the bedroom slippers. I’m putting on waffle stompers!”

Take your Bibles and turn to Joshua 15:14-17 and follow along as I read to you the account of HOW Caleb spent his “retirement” years. “From Hebron Caleb drove out the three Anakites—Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai—descendants of Anak. From there he marched against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher). And Caleb said, ‘I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.’ Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother, took it—and Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to him in marriage.”

So, Caleb spent his retirement years conquering that area of the Promised Land that younger men had said was unconquerable!  And he nabbed a great son-in-law in the process! By the way his son-in-law, Othniel was the first JUDGE of Israel. In my mind, he learned from his young father-in-law the importance of following God whole-heartedly—and God used him to teach all of Israel that lesson years later in a day and age—when they had forgotten that they were to love the Lord their God with all their heart and with all their mind and with all their strength!

You know, we will retire from our careers. Well, what will you do when it’s time to put turn in that metro card or step out of the car pool? Before you answer, remember—you may retire from the military or the government.  You may retire from accounting or plumbing but Christians NEVER retire from the Lord’s work—and the more we realize this, the younger we will be.

Dr. Paul Brand, a well-known doctor and author, was raised in India. His parents were missionaries there. He wrote a book entitled, In His Image, and in it he tells about his mother and says that when she was 75 years young she was still walking miles every day—visiting the villages in the southern part of India—teaching the people about Jesus.  One day, at age 75, she was traveling alone and fell and broke her hip. After two days of just lying there in pain, some workers found her and put her on a makeshift cot and loaded her into their jeep and drove 150 miles over deep rutted roads—to find a doctor who could set the broken bones. Unfortunately, the journey on that very bumpy ride damaged her bones so badly that her hip never completely healed.  Dr. Brand said, “I visited my mother in her mud-covered hut several weeks after all this happened. I watched as she took two bamboo crutches that she had made herself—and moved from one place to another with her feet just dragging behind because she had lost all feeling in them.” He said, “At age 75 with a broken hip, unable to stand on her own two legs, I thought I made a pretty intelligent suggestion. I said she should retire.” He said, “She turned around and looked at me and said, ‘What value is that? If we try to preserve this body just a few more years and it is not being used for God, what value is that?’”  So, Mrs. Brand kept on working. She kept on riding her donkey to villages until she was 93 years young and she continued to tell people about Jesus Christ until she died at the age of 95.

Are you getting older? Yes, of course! We all are. In fact, we’re all about 25 minutes older than we were when this sermon began. Well one way to avoid this—-one way to stay young—one way to enjoy life is to commit to never retire from the Christian life—to always look for ways to share the love of God. Let me tell you—people with that mindset are INCREDIBLY valuable in a church!

(3) Another thing Caleb’s life can teach us is that we stay “young” when we face struggles in any stage of life by trusting in God’s POWER and PROVISION.

I mean, the secret of Caleb’s attitude was not the discovery of some fountain of youth. No, it was fueled by his absolute confidence in God. He believed that if God said it, that made it a fact. If you read through verses 7-12 of the 14th chapter of Joshua you will “hear” Caleb say over and over again to his fellow former spy, “The Lord said.”  In those six verses he repeats this “faith-phrase” five times. In other words, Caleb says, “For 45 years now I have been in the wilderness with all of you. We have been in battles and hardships and crises and sufferings. We have seen our friends die. We have known heartbreak and sorrow. And I have endured all this by trusting God. I have literally lived on the promise of God that I would live to see and claim this Promised Land.” Caleb trusted God. In verse 7 he said he couched his report in his conviction that God would enable them to take the land—just as He had promised. I mean, like Abraham, Caleb, “staggered not at the promises of God.” He was a man of incredible worth in the kingdom—because in faith he looked at God rather than the circumstances.

Think of it—who is worth most—a person who only does what he, a mere human can do, or a person who does what almighty God EMPOWERS him to do!? The latter describes Caleb. He saw that when compared to God the giants in Hebron were grasshoppers.  Do you remember his words to the Hebrew people 45 years earlier after he had returned from his spy mission?  In Numbers 14:9 he said, “Do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

I wish more of us could be like this old guy because the secret to enduring life in this discouraging nightmare of a fallen world is to build your life on the promises of God! You know, whenever I yield to temptation and get negative and critical and start thinking that things aren’t going to work out (which I do almost weekly)—when I do this I am displaying a lack of faith in God. I’m yielding to the temptation to try and live this life on my own feeble strength. I mean, the fact is a negative spirit is the mark of the flesh. It is carnality at work.

As 2nd Timothy 1:7 says, “We weren’t given the spirit of fear” but of hope, confidence and optimism.  So, when we worry and fret we are displaying not the Spirit of God, but the spirit of the flesh. People who are mentally young are precious people because they have absolute confidence, not in themselves, but in God’s power and provision! Have you ever heard these lyrics to “Jesus Loves Me?” I love them because they remind us that no matter how long we live we still live by trusting God. Let’s act young and sing it together:

Jesus loves me, this I know, Though my hair be white as snow.
When my sight is growing dim, Still He’ll bid me trust in Him.

 Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.

 When my steps are oh, so slow, With my hand in His I’ll go
On through life, let come what may, He’ll be there to lead the way.

Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.

When I am no longer young, I’ll have much which He’s begun.
I will serve Christ with a smile, Go with others the extra mile.

Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.

Jesus does love us! And He shows that love by empowering us to do His will. When we are like Caleb—trusting in God’s power—we are “young” and can do amazing things!

This week I read about Doug Layton, a businessman from Nashville, Tennessee who had an experience several years ago that is a great example of this principle. You may remember that right after the Gulf War, the United Nations and the U.S. set up a no-fly zone above the thirty-sixth parallel in northern Iraq—so that the Kurdish people would have a place of safety and protection from Saddam Hussein.  The United States also worked to repatriate a number of Kurdish nationals, and six thousand of them came to Nashville.  Doug and his wife got connected with seventeen of them through their church. He said he adopted one guy and ended up with seventeen because of mothers-in-laws, brothers, grandkids, etc.  God put a burden on his heart for the salvation of these Muslims who were in our country, and so he worked with Campus Crusade to get The Jesus Film translated into the Kurdish language. He even had some Muslim Kurds from Nashville speak the parts in the Jesus film. This was all completed in 1991.

Then Doug said God gave him a burden to get The Jesus Movie into Kurdistan, in northern Iraq. But he didn’t know how to do it—-it was a huge obstacle. He tried to get other people to take it to Iraq, but nobody would.

Now you need to know that 30 years earlier, before he met Jesus, Doug himself had been a drug smuggler in Turkey and he had a criminal record there. So, he said, “Lord, there’s no way I’m going to get from Turkey to Iraq.” But God kept telling him to go. So, in obedience Doug flew to Turkey and took The Jesus Movie to Kurdistan. Like Caleb, he trusted in God’s power instead of his own and there are several amazing stories of how God used Doug’s faithful obedience but let me tell you one. A Kurdish Christian friend of Doug’s took the film to a commercial theater in a large city in the north. He met with the manager and said, “I have an American film release, but it’s in the Kurdish language.”

By the way, back then there were no films in the Kurdish language; everything they showed had subtitles, or they’d just watch a movie and listen to it in English—trying to figure out what they were saying by what they were watching. Well, the manager said, “I’d love to show it but tonight I’ve advertised the premiere of the newest Rambo film.” Now, you also need to understand that the Kurdish freedom fighters are warriors and they love the high adventure of the American “Rambo like” films.  Knowing this, the manager said there was no way he was going to show a film about Jesus instead of the Rambo film—but Doug’s friend was persistent and said, “Look, I think they’ll like it. Tell them it’s a double feature and put it on first. If they don’t like the Jesus film, we’ll just shut it off and go right to Rambo.” And the manager agreed. The night of the showing the theater was packed with big Kurdish men with their rifles and swords. They were smoking up a storm.  Can you picture that crowd in your mind— guns and cigars everywhere?

Well, the manager was understandably afraid to tell them what he was doing so he just started The Jesus film with no introduction. It got very quiet and it stayed quiet. You could have heard a pin drop through the entire showing.  At the conclusion the manager scurried down to the front and said, “Thank you so much for your patience. Now since this is a double feature we will show the newest Rambo film!” A tall man in the front stood up and said, “No, to watch a film about Rambo would be blasphemous after what we have seen about Jesus. We should not see that film.” And they all got up and left.

Now, isn’t that a great story?! Doesn’t it make you feel “young?!” Doug’s hope was realized! God’s power and provision made it possible for Muslims in Kurdistan to be exposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And that kind of adventure will keep anyone young!  You see, just as He did with Caleb, God still empowers people no matter what their age to do His will no matter how challenging it may be!  Do you remember the words of the prophet Isaiah in 40:30-31“Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall–but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Well, we have all aged about an hour since this service began, further proof that growing older is indeed inevitable — walkers and wheel chairs will be available at the door!  But I want you to know that it is possible for us remain YOUNG and make an incredible difference in this church and in this world.

Now, there are many ways for us all—young and old alike—to respond to God today.  God may be calling some of you to out of spiritual retirement to join this church and get back to work in His kingdom.  You may be here today and you just want to confess to God that your attitudes have been kind of ancient and that you want to ask Him to help you “act and think” young!  Or you may be here today and you are not a Christian—and I would remind you that the decision to commit to give your life to Jesus is the most rejuvenating decision of all. You see, the Bible teaches that the cause of our physical aging is sin. As Romans 8:21 says, because of our sin we are all subject to a “bondage of decay.”  But it also says that when we confess our sin and ask for God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ we do find the only true fountain of youth as God gives us eternal life.  I would love to tell you how you can drink from this fountain yourself. Won’t you come now as God leads?

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