Birthday Reflections

April 16, 2021

Sunday I celebrated my 60th birthday with much gratitude. I really didn’t think I would make it to 60. After having cancer and five heart bypasses, I thought that I would be fortunate to make it to 50 not to mention 60. But what a wonderful adventure it has been.

Moses’ prayer in Psalm 90:12 has long been a favorite: “Teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” The Passion Translation says it this way: “Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept your correction.

I have long been seeking wisdom, and I just want to share a few things God has taught me over these 60 years. They are a bit random, but maybe one or two will help you.

  • God is faithful – He can be trusted with everything. I mean everything.
  • Don’t answer all of your critics – Jesus didn’t. He didn’t even answer all the questions that were thrown at Him. He refused to be baited into arguments that had no profit.
  • You can’t outgive God. There is nothing that has grown my faith more than learning to give generously and freely to God and His purposes.
  • God wants to do something through you, and it is beyond your wildest dreams if you will align with His purposes.
  • God takes full responsibility for the person who is fully surrendered to Him.
  • It is good to forgive others quickly as well as to ask for it quickly. This is the key to sustainable relationships. If you have resentment, you can’t fully love the people in your life.
  • Recognize that you are responsible to people, not for people. This frees you up to not be controlling, which then allows you to love unconditionally.
  • It is best to overlook an insult or an offense.
  • Listen more, talk less. Every time you open your mouth you are either gaining influence or losing it. Your words are never neutral.
  • The greatest investment that one can make in life apart from their family is the local church. It is the hope of the world living and teaching the truth of Jesus Christ.
  • The difference between a good idea and a God idea is that with a good idea you have it all figured out. A God idea is something that you believe needs to happen, but you don’t know how. Never allow the how to do get in the way of the what. If it is in God’s plan, He will provide the how.
  • It is always best to choose to be humble. This makes sure that you are on God’s side, and it allows your critics to become your coaches.
  • You will never be able to handle the truth about yourself, others, and life in general unless you fully understand grace and embrace it 100%.
  • Gratitude keeps your heart soft and tender and generous.
  • You are never as good as your greatest fan thinks, or as bad as your greatest critic says.
  • The simplest way to live life is to live for an audience of One, Jesus Christ. It is the key to peace, joy, and confidence.
  • Character gives you the ability to face reality.
  • True courage is the virtue that is lacking in most people.
  • Most of what people argue about and leave relationships over is basically selfishness.
  • What your family knows and thinks about you is very important.
  • The most important thing in life is your view of God.
  • You cannot live life to the fullest apart from knowing and experiencing who you are in Jesus Christ. You are significant, accepted, and secure.
  • Most people live a life that is way too boring.
  • No one can ruin your life. No one. People may frustrate you, hurt you… but if you are following Jesus with all of your heart, no one can ruin your life or steal your future.
  • Learn to ask for help.
  • You can’t go to the next level of ministry/leadership unless you go to the next level in your relationship with Jesus. This is why most people do not go where they want to go.
  • It is not what you know about me that bothers me. It is what I know and what God knows that really bothers me.
  • The hardest person I have to lead and deal with is ME!
  • All healthy relationships have a foundation of trust; it is the base of all great relationships.
  • Our aim in life should not be to please God but to trust God. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). When you trust Him, you ultimately please Him. Your relationship of trusting in God is the key to pleasing Him, not your performance.
  • “You have not because you ask not.” If you want something, you must learn to ask for it.
  • You must have a purpose greater than your problem; otherwise you will live a defeated life.
  • If you want God to do something He is has never done in your life, He will ask you to do something you have never done.
  • Mental Health 101: Focus on what you can control.
  • The most important decision in life apart from deciding to follow Jesus is who you will marry. The next one is the church you choose to attend.
  • The two most basic ways to develop a deep trust in God is by giving generously and by practicing a sabbath. The two most important things in life for most people are money and time. When you learn to trust God with these, you will experience peace. Worry and anxiety will flee.
  • Parents have the greatest potential to influence and impact their children’s lives.
  • Spiritual leadership is about taking responsibility for the health and development of your relationships.
  • Be the first to say you were wrong and that you are sorry.
  • The way to go deep with God is not through more knowledge – but through obedience.
  • Maturity is doing what is right even if you don’t feel like it.
  • When you know who you are in Christ, people will not be able to control you. You will know the truth and it will set you free.
  • The love of money is the root of all evil.
  • When you are living out God’s calling and purpose in your life, you will not envy anyone, which will allow you to rejoice with everyone.
  • Your relationships will determine the direction and quality of your life.
  • Choose three to five people who love God and whom you admire. Then learn everything you can from them – about marriage, parenting, leadership, managing money, etc. This can happen through personal relationships as well as books, podcasts, teaching, etc.
  • Managing the tension between an idea and reality is the key to making progress.
  • “The person who fears the LORD avoids all extremes.” Ecclesiastes 7:18
  • What are the two to three things you picked up from your parents that are not working well for you in life? Deal with them.
  • Find a friend or two with whom you can confess your sins, pressures, problems, etc. It is the key to emotional and spiritual health. I have no secrets.
  • As a parent, you will have the greatest influence on your children’s view of God, so you better take it seriously. It is more important what happens in your home than what happens at church.
  • The key to walking in faith and wisdom is humility.
  • You have more influence than you realize. You’d better leverage it intentionally.

May your wisdom and contribution increase with your years