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Making An Impact, No Matter Your Age

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Below is an excerpt from an article by Dr. Amy Hanson, which originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of Reach Out, Columbia magazine and is used with permission (

Dr. Hanson will be the keynote speaker at the Boomers and Beyond Conference for Adults 50+, September 26 & 27 at Shandon Baptist Church.


Something incredible is happening across the country. 

Never before in history have so many people lived into the later years of life with so much health and vitality.  In fact, by the year 2030, nearly a quarter of our population will be 65+ in age.  This is a huge group of people with the ability to make a powerful impact for Christ. 

Discovering Your Place

So, what are some practical things we can do to uncover where we can best use our time and abilities to make a difference for Christ and His Kingdom? 

Connect to God. 

A few years ago I met a man named Hal who was in his late 70s and had been ministering in the Houston prison system for nearly 20 years.  He told me about sitting in church on a Sunday morning, listening as the minister taught from Matthew 25.  And he heard in a fresh way the words of Jesus, “I was in prison and you came to visit me.” 

He said the words of the minister resonated with his own feelings and this spurred him to begin visiting, praying and working weekly with male inmates.  Over the years, he has befriended many of these men, helping them with attorney costs and assisting them in finding jobs when they were released. 

Hal has found a significant ministry that he will continue doing as long as he is physically able…and it started because he was listening to God’s voice. 

Serve in an area of interest. 

I know of a woman who had always wanted to go on a short-term mission trip but the opportunity did not present itself until she was 80 years old.  Missions had been close to her heart for some time.  Fortunately, she did not let her age deter her from participating in a trip with her church to Nicaragua where she was a tremendous blessing to the people who lived there.  

Tap into your passion. 

I like the definition that Bruce Bugbee uses for passion when he says it is the God-given desire that compels us to make a difference in a particular area of ministry.  Dr. James Dobson’s passion for the family resulted in the birth of Focus on the Family.  Dr. Everett Swanson’s passion for orphaned children became the beginning of Compassion International.

I served in ministry with an energetic 70-year old man named Joe.  He was recently divorced and quickly gravitated to leading a small group with other older single adults.  I thought all was well until he confided in me that his heart’s passion was with kids.  One evening a number of years after I had moved out of state I was back at this church and happened to walk down the hallway and catch a glimpse of Joe.  There he was, high-fiving young boys, hugging them and expending tons of energy.  When I got to him he flashed me the biggest smile and said, “I love this!  This is what I was meant to do!” 

That’s passion.  And people will thrive when they serve in their area of passion. 

So Much to Offer

Whether you are 55 or 75 or 95, God wants to do a significant work in and through you.

Don’t let the lies of this world keep you from living out your God-given purpose. You have time, experience and resources that are too valuable to waste. Your family needs you. Your church needs you. Your neighborhood needs you. This world needs you. So, make a commitment today to approach the later years of life as Paul did in Philippians 3:13-14,

…Straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

The full article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of Reach Out, Columbia magazine and is used with permission (

Posted by Shandon Baptist Church with

Jesus Wants Me To What?

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“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." - Matthew 5:43–48 (NASB)


This past Sunday Frank told a story from his high school English teacher days about a student who was being bullied.  He recommended a new way to fight.  He advised the bullied student to take loving action on behalf of the "enemy".  The result was two-fold.  The student (who was a believer) took action in faith that was characteristic of God, and the bully responded by no longer making fun of the student.  They weren't best friends, but they weren't enemies anymore.  

Jesus' fighting style met the world's...and Jesus won.

In Jesus' famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), in a section of teaching that scholars often label “The Antitheses,” Jesus introduces six teachings that each begin with the words, "You have heard it said…but I say to you." (Matthew 5:21-48)

In each of the six statements Jesus introduces an ancient or current teaching held in high regard by the culture and asks his audience to dismiss these views in favor of a higher level of obedience that should be characteristic of His people.  This section ends with Jesus flipping on its head perhaps the most natural teaching of every culture: hatred of our enemies.  

You have heard it said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love you enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

Culture says deal with others as they deal with us and punish those who hurt us.  But Christ has a different expectation of those who are His: "My children don't deal with conflict as the world does.  It is said of my children that they love and pray for all regardless of others' actions toward them."

But why does this matter?  Aren't enemies people who deserve justice or punishment for the way they've treated us? 

Jesus says that His children whom He has redeemed are to act like Him.  If you are His and  don’t act differently, how are others to know that there is an alternative?  Your action in connection with Christ pictures the new life described in the Sermon on the Mount and in the Gospel.

He has shown us love by acting on our behalf for our salvation when we were once His enemies.  He has “fought” for us sacrificially.  That is the way God fights for his people.  That is the way Jesus fought for us.  Therefore, we fight like he fights. We are to be perfect as our heavenly father is perfect (5:48).

Christ is our example.  And unlike the world’s fighting style that keeps having to change to combat their unending enemies, Jesus' style is to stop the fighting--not with sentimental feeling but with action on our behalf.  The world can't overcome Jesus' fighting style.

It has always been too strong.


Prayerfully and through the power of the Holy Spirit, begin to replace your attitude and response to that which Christ taught and modeled: 

  • Change your mind. Stop thinking retaliatory thoughts about your enemy.
  • Change your heart. Start desiring good things for your enemy.
  • Change your speech.  Pray for your enemy.
  • Change your actions. Welcome your enemy.

Watch the sermon from September 14:

Posted by Robert Nicholes with