Hey Senior Citizens! The American Church Needs New Leaders, Why Not You?

Thirty years ago, I attended a small church which would from time to time host traveling ministries for two or three nights of meetings. One time, a prophet held some meetings there. The prophet preached a message and afterward he pointed at certain people in the audience, had them stand up and then he spoke prophetic words to them.

One evening, he asked me to stand up and then spoke a long prophetic message about my calling and future ministry. I was absolutely floored by his words.

Afterward, a seventy-five year old woman walked up to me. “Many years ago, I used to get prophetic words just like yours for my life,” she said.

“Really?” I replied. “What did you do with them?”

“Oh, I wrote them down in a notebook,” she said.

“What else did you do with them?” I asked.

“I’m just waiting on the Lord…just waiting on the Lord,” she replied.

Two or three years later, she died.

I don’t know what happened to her notebook after her death, but I don’t think she ever walked one day in her divine calling. How sad, right?

For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14)

There are many reasons why believers don’t ever fulfill the divine callings the Lord places on their lives. Sometimes, it’s bad teaching. Sometimes, it’s religious bondage. Or fear. Or doubt. Or maybe, the price was too high and the believer didn’t want to pay it. Or countless other reasons.

But whatever the reasons, if the Lord places a calling on a believer’s life, He has a plan on how the believer can fulfill his/her calling. We need to trust Him.

Are callings important to the Lord?

I had a dream many years ago in which I walked into heaven. It was glorious there, full of peace and life. But soon, I was met by a bronze-skinned little boy who looked up at me and said, “I died as a youngster and never made it into my calling because you did not fulfill your calling.”

All of sudden, there was a long, long line of bronze-skinned boys waiting to talk with me. Each one said, “I died as a youngster and never made it into my calling because you did not fulfill you’re calling.”

Finally, I cried out to the Lord. “Jesus, help me! I can’t handle this,” I said.

The dream ended.

That dream put the fear of the Lord in me about doing the best I can to fulfill the calling the Lord has placed on my life. You see, if you and I don’t make it into our callings, we may end up hurting the Lord’s plans for other people. I don’t want any blood on my hands when I stand before Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ. What about you?

So, why have I singled out senior citizens?

First of all, I am seventy-three years old. The largest part of my calling has not been fulfilled as yet. So, I’m still beating on the throne-room’s doors every morning, seeking Him. I refuse to quit and allow my calling to pass me by!

Secondly, I just attended a large church and discerned numerous callings for many of the senior Christians sitting in the pews there. And these seniors are not walking in their callings. This bugged me enough to write these articles.

For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers… (Acts 13:36)

 

Part 2

I signaled for a right turn onto CA-76, heading southwest toward Oceanside and the Pacific Ocean. Although the state worked on the highway every so often, drivers needed to stay alert to avoid potholes. A few were big enough to send vehicles to repair garages for thousand-dollar front-end suspension and alignment overhauls.

“Look at how beautiful the −”

“Shush,” said Jane, holding up her left hand in a stop sign manner. Her Pandora bracelet mirrored the sunlight. “Now it’s my turn.”

I nodded, knowing she wanted details.

“What do you plan on doing?”

“I don’t know.”

“The pastor will call and so will some of your friends, especially Phil and Vinnie.”

“I know, but I don’t have any answers. I walked out during the sermon because I looked at that young pastor and saw the beginning of another preacher’s ministry at Jedidiah Smith Community Church. Yet, I wondered to myself, what about me. What about my ministry? When will I speak the words in my heart?”

“That’s the reason you walked out?”

“Partly.”

“What else caused you to do such a silly thing?”

I sat for a few beats with my eyes glued to the road. A red Corvette convertible with its top down blew past us on our left. Within seconds, the sports car disappeared around the next curve. Our Honda’s speedometer stayed at sixty-five miles per hour, my normal speed on the highway.

Then I blew out a deep breath.

“The other day, I read a statement which summed up the philosophy of the U. S. Navy SEALS. It said, ‘I will never quit. If knocked down, I will get back up every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates. I am never out of the fight.’ Those words brought tears to my eyes.”

“Why should those words affect you so much?”

“What price have I paid over the years for the Kingdom of God? Not much. As far as I know, I’ve sat on the sidelines in a comfortable pew, far from any raging battles. Who knows if I would be willing to use every remaining ounce of strength to help my brothers and sisters in a spiritual battle? Only Jesus knows that answer, which I fear He may end up telling me at the Judgment Seat of Christ.”

Jane’s green eyes filled with tears. Drops streamed down her face while her lower lip trembled.

“How can you say that? You have faithfully attended church for over thirty years. You’ve always paid tithes to the church. You’ve prayed and studied the Word. You’ve been a godly husband, father and grandfather. Everyone loves you and thinks you’re a great believer −”

“Honey, that’s the least I should have done. The very least.”

“Is this about turning seventy last month and both of us arriving at the silver-haired years of our lives?” she said, reaching into her purse for a Kleenex.

I nodded.

“As soon as the young pastor opened his mouth for his sermon, a quick memory flooded my mind. It was when we gave our lives to the Lord forty years ago at that little Baptist Church in Murrieta. At the time, I had a deep impression that the Lord wanted me to do something for Him. Preach, teach, I didn’t know for sure what it was, but we had two young children, a new home and I had just started Foxfire Realty. So, I ignored it.”

“I vaguely remember you telling me about that,” she whispered, wiping her eyes with a tissue.

“I’ve had that same impression at various times over the last forty years, but I’ve always ignored it until today. ”

“Are you kidding? You plan on being a seventy year-old preacher, looking for a church to pastor?”

“I have no idea what the Lord wants me to do, but I felt that today was my last chance to obey Him. So, I stood up and turned my back on those things that seemed so important to me for the last forty years. From now on, I plan on getting up in the morning and proclaiming, ‘Here I am, Lord, reporting for duty. I’m still in the fight.’”

(Excerpt from an upcoming novel, Still in the Fight by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2019)

Somebody recently asked, “Why do you write novels?”

“To make a prophetic point,” I replied.

Does that mean I believe every senior citizen should walk out of their present  churches?

Read the rest of this series.

 

Part 3

When I turned fifty years of age, I wrote down as many of the dreams and prophecies for my life as I could remember. Then, I wrote down how many of them had been fulfilled to that date. This part only took seconds because none of them had been fulfilled.

At seventy-three years of age, I could do the same thing today. The only difference is that I would be able to check off one from my list: marriage to a godly woman. That’s it! All of the rest have not been fulfilled as yet.

I now work as a delivery driver for Panera Bread in Tempe, Arizona, which is about as far from my dreams and prophetic words for my life as possible. So, why would I invest my time in a job like this?

On April 6, I met a prophetic friend for breakfast in Chandler, Arizona. We enjoyed fellowshipping with each other for a couple of hours. During this time, he said to me, “I see you delivering products mainly to businesses. Seek the Lord about this.”

I sought the Lord and ended up delivering Panera menu items mainly to workers at businesses and schools.

Am I any closer to fulfilling the callings on my life?

Of course, I am.

You see, I can’t fulfill any of the promises for my life apart from the Lord’s help. It’s futile to even attempt to do so. Thus, if the Lord wants me to deliver Panera products, I’m all-in!

Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. (James 5:11)

If you’re a senior citizen and you’re seeking the Lord on unfulfilled prophetic promises for your life, don’t give up. He who called you is faithful. You can trust Him to do what He said He would do in your life. Be all-in!

 

Part 4

A few days ago, another believer asked, “Larry, why are you so passionate? Why not just slow down and enjoy the last days of your life?”

“Because I will soon appear before Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ and I fear that day,” I replied.

“What? Nobody thinks like that!”

“Well, I do and they should feel the same way,” I said.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others… (2 Corinthians 5:10-11)

Not long ago, I started a longterm vacation from Facebook and other social media outlets. Plus, I cut back following sports, watching TV, reading mystery novels and most other hobbies.

Why?

For some reason or another, I recently checked the Social Security Actuarial Life Tables and looked up what the life expectancy was for a man who is 73 years old. It turns out that on the average, I can expect to live 12.43 more years. Now, what this really means is that fifty percent of the men my age will be dead in 12.43 years.

Yes, I could live a lot longer, but the opposite is also true, I could live a lot less.

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming novel:

A terrifying vision awakened me out of my spiritual slumber.

In it, I stood before the Judgment Seat of Christ. I wasn’t alone because hundreds of other believers stood there in numerous rows, waiting for the Judge − Jesus − to appear in front of us. I watched Him off to my left walking down my row with a torch in His right hand. He stopped in front of each believer, looked down and lit piles of what looked like grass and sticks at the feet of each person with His torch. The piles burst into flames. The piles quickly burnt out to reveal gold, silver, precious stones or nothing but scorch marks on the ground. Those who had precious metals and stones bowed down and worshipped the Lord. Those who had scorch marks wailed and screamed like they were in hell, even though they were in heaven.

I looked down at my feet and saw a puny pile. I knew this small heap represented all of my works done on earth for the Lord. Not much for a whole lifetime, I thought. A holy fear enveloped me.

I turned and looked at the person next to me and realized he was a successful Christian businessman, whom I greatly admired. He was an elder at Jedidiah Smith Community Church, Sunday school teacher, weekend street evangelist and well-known benefactor. The newspapers were always reporting on his philanthropy and many works.

I watched Judge Jesus bend over and light the businessman’s pile with His torch. The pile quickly burnt out to reveal nothing but scorch marks on the ground. The businessman fell to the ground and wailed at the top of his lungs. His screams echoed through my mind.

Oh no, I thought. If this businessman’s life did not please the Lord, how will mine be any better?

The Lord stood in front of me.

I looked into His eyes and knew His love was not on trial, but mine was at that moment. He bent over, ready to touch my puny pile with His torch.

“Lord, give me a second chance,” I pleaded.

He looked at me without straightening up. His torch remained close to my pile. “And what would you do differently?”

“I will serve you night and day without complaining. If need be, I will crawl on my knees across San Francisco on streets covered with broken glass to be Your ambassador. I will gladly carry cups of cold water to people, minister to them as Your servant and if you need a martyr for Your kingdom purposes, I volunteer myself for that assignment.”

He straightened up and looked me squarely in the eyes. His love melted every hindrance in my heart. “Remember to do your works to please Me, not to please other people like this businessman did during his life. He received his reward on earth. Go and be My servant.” (From upcoming novel, “Still in the Fight”)

 

Part 5

I am seventy-three years old.

You can call it pride or whatever, but I have always wanted to see the Lord return in my lifetime. That is until recently when I felt the Lord speak to my heart, “I am not returning in your lifetime. Help prepare your children and grandchildren for the End-Times.”

Whatever disappointment I might have felt at the time was erased by the urgency of His words.

Many preachers talk about the “great falling away” as if it will be just a slight bump in the road for the American church. After all, America has the greatest concentration of Christians within its borders of any nation in the world. 80 to 90 million Evangelical or born again Christians by many estimates.

Let no one in any way deceive or entrap you, for that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first [that is, the great rebellion, the abandonment of the faith by professed Christians], and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction [the Antichrist, the one who is destined to be destroyed] (2 Thessalonians 2:3 AMP)

Do you actually believe the Apostle Paul was talking about a slight bump in the road when he wrote about the “great falling away?”

I don’t.

It’s my belief that if we don’t take drastic steps that 50 to 75% or more of America’s Christians will abandon their faith during the soon coming End-Times period. That’s forty to seventy million believers!

Why such a large number?

Corrie Ten Boom’s 1974 letter about the Rapture explains most of my reasoning:

There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days.

In China, the Christians were told, “Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution.  Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly, “We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution, rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when tribulation comes — to stand and not faint.”

Somehow, most American believers have swallowed the same poisonous Pre-Trib Rapture doctrine and believe we won’t suffer even though Jesus said –

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. See, I have told you beforehand. (Matthew 24:21-22, 25)

We believers are the elect and He is warning us to prepare ourselves ahead of time.

(Excerpt from my series, Will We End Up Being a Part of the Great Falling Away. You can read the whole series here.)

If you’re like me, your first thoughts after reading the above is to check your own walk with the Lord. This is a normal reaction, but I believe we’re missing the main point of this article. You see, we should be more concerned about our children and grandchildren than ourselves.

How would you feel about learning at some future date in eternity that your children and grandchildren were a part of the Great Falling Away? I’d be devastated. How about you?

So, if I’m accurate about the Great Falling Away, with as many as seventy million believers falling away from the faith, what must we do now?

(Continued)

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