24 Sep Turning 60
I’m turning 60. How did that happen? One moment I’m enjoying my childhood, riding my chopper bike, building go-karts, playing footie and building dens on the disused railway line near our home in Leicestershire and the next – I’m a grandad with five children and eight grandchildren? I can remember thinking how far away retirement was and what a long life I had ahead of me and yet retirement is now just a short stride away.
I know I’m turning 60 because…
When I get up after sitting down for too long my ankles are sometimes stiff, there appear to be additional hairs growing in my ears and nose and there is a battle going on in the area of my midriff. I’ve started to wear reading glasses and sometimes use sub-titles on the TV. My hair is fighting a rearguard action against becoming completely grey but at least I still have a full head of hair! My memory isn’t as sharp as it was and a Sunday afternoon nap is also becoming the order of the day! The joys of aging!
I know I’m turning 60 because society has changed so much
As a child growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I have seen so much change in my life time. We used to be happy with Action Man, Lego or Spirograph for Christmas and a caravan in North Wales for a summer holiday – now the latest PlayStation, Xbox or iPhone is the order of the day, plus of course a summer holiday in some foreign clime.
The computer and internet age has changed our world in so many wonderful ways but also in so many detrimental ways. It’s been great for connection, information, research and purchasing anything from holidays to your daily newspaper. (I used to deliver morning newspapers and now I can read mine on my iPad!) Yet the internet has also become a place of lies, conspiracies, abuse, deception and fraud. Anyone can pretty much access anything for good or for bad, at the touch of a fingertip.
Everyone appears to have their own truth. In fact there appears to be no absolute truth which is a grave danger to any society, creates a blurring of lines and also the freedom to live exactly as you please. We are already seeing the impact of this within our western societies.
Respect for those in authority has all but disappeared. Lawlessness is rife. Basic morality is disappearing. Society is confused and appears to have lost all sense of right and wrong. You are more likely to be arrested for praying in public than helping yourself in your local store or somebody’s home. Road rage has become all too common. Abuse and sexual crimes are increasing. Many appear to do what feels good to them to the detriment of others. Selfishness reigns. We talk a lot about ‘being kind’ but I see little evidence of it.
When I was growing up ‘a man’s word was his bond’. We actually trusted what people said and that people would keep their promises and act with integrity. We now live in a society where it appears very few keep their word. Our country is not known as ‘rip off Britain’ without reason. Unless you are careful, you are likely to be ripped off at the supermarket, car dealer, airline, estate agent – to be honest anywhere! Honesty doesn’t appear to be a value that is important in the western world.
The media used to be pretty much impartial and yet today there is little attempt to hide the bias. Interviews and commentary are often unbalanced and contain misleading information. To be honest – I have almost entirely stopped watching the news because I cannot tolerate the bias.
Free speech has almost disappeared unless you’re willing to be slaughtered on social media or completely cancelled because you have an opinion that is different to others. We live in a world where it is far too easy to be offended and subsequently either arrested or tried by social media. Being a Bible-believing Christian is quite a challenge in today’s world.
The sexual revolution which started in the 60’s may have looked like freedom for many from Victorian standards, but has sadly led to great heartbreak, confusion and disappointment. In addition our children and grandchildren are now being taught (at a way too vulnerable age) trans ideology as fact and are encouraged to explore their gender identity leading to confusion and anxiety. The influence of a small minority is over-riding the common sense of the majority. But that is our world today.
Is society a better place than 60 years ago?
I don’t believe it is. Even looking through my rose-tinted spectacles I would say that life certainly wasn’t perfect back then. Back in the 60’s ‘people were people’ and I guess we all share in the responsibility for the society we now find ourselves in (and please – I have certainly not been a saint!). I do however believe that the absence of Christian morals and biblical standards has played a massive part in the destruction of our society. Are we really better off for ignoring them? Seriously?
And yet there is hope in the midst of all this. The psalmist prayed;
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” Interlude We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.” (Psalms 39:4-7)
Turning 60 and there is hope
In the midst of a world seemingly in self-destruct mode and one in which the politicians, sociologists and philosophers appear to have no solutions – there is hope. Hope in God. Perhaps you’re turning 60 like me or older. You may just be starting out on the big adventure of life. The Bible itself doesn’t promise us all long lives but even in the midst of social change and challenges – it does promise the hope of an abundant life.
Jesus himself declared;
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Solomon wrote these words of wisdom a thousand years earlier:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.” (Proverbs 9:10-12).
The secret of a satisfying and fulfilling life, and navigating the ageing process, is to build a close relationship with God and live according to His principles. Whatever your personal situation can I encourage you to explore a relationship with the creator of this wonderful universe. I can promise you, after having spent the best part of my life knowing Him, that He will not disappoint. Those who know me will tell you that I’m not at all religious. I haven’t ‘got religion’ but rather a deep and close relationship with God. It has been the foundation of my life’s journey and what an amazing adventure it has been. That very same relationship is available to each one of us through Jesus Christ.
Have you settled where you’re spending eternity?
Getting older and turning 60 has made me even more aware of my own mortality and how incredibly fragile life is. Recently my old high school’s Facebook page contained a list of former pupils who had died. I knew several of them. I’ve also lost several relatives and close friends in the past couple of years. Life is fragile and can be snuffed out in a moment.
Nobody likes talking about death. But are you ready for what is next? Have you considered where you are going to spend eternity? Perhaps you believe in reincarnation or that actually we just expire and there is nothing beyond our final breath.
But how can you be sure? Are you sure?
The Bible talks about heaven and hell. I know which one I would chose every day of the week. The apostle Paul wrote these incredible words;
“Yes, God raised Jesus to life! And since God’s Spirit of Resurrection lives in you, He will also raise your dying body to life by the same Spirit that breathes life into you!” (Romans 8:11)
This is what is promised for all who have already placed their faith in God when they take their last breath. In fact, the Bible promises us that the moment we die we are given a new immortal body, and enter heaven which is described a beautiful eternal paradise. In the book of Revelation it is described like this;
“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:1-5)
It sounds amazing! Being 60 certainly focuses the mind. Perhaps the thought of aging makes you anxious or fearful. Perhaps you’re beginning to wonder what is next.
Time to explore the Christian faith?
Can I encourage you not to wait any longer and to explore the Christian faith and to settle where you’re spending eternity. Don’t be put off by the noise and negativity around Christianity. It’s greatly exaggerated.
Where do I start?
Join a local Alpha course to explore the Christian faith or alternatively check out the Christianity Explored website which also has a very helpful page dealing with tough questions that people ask of the Christian faith.
Turning 60 is not too bad
As I look back – I’m thankful. My life, like anyone else’s, with all its ups and downs, successes and failures, joys and heartache, has been a great adventure.
I have a wonderful wife and precious family around me whom I love with all my heart. We’ve made so many great friends, been honoured to lead several fantastic churches, visited some amazing countries, led camps, been a football chaplain, authored some books and of course – supported the incredible Leicester City! I am so blessed and of course there is still more to come – dreams to be fulfilled, adventures to experience and a life to be lived. I am so glad that I put my trust in God.
It fact it gets even better. Turning 60 is another step towards eternity with the God who has loved me, accepted me and helped me navigate through this life on earth. It also will involve a wonderful re-union with those whom I’ve known and loved throughout my life.
My question is this – will you be there too?
Looking for something to read?
“Imagine” is all about trusting God as you journey through life and how to really discover and experience the abundant life that God planned for you before you were born. Imagine is regularly used in churches as a Sunday teaching series and in small groups and is available on Amazon here.
“Courage for the discouraged” was published in November 2020 and has already touched and changed lives. It is described as “a book of help and a book of hope” and “encouragement on steroids!” It can also be read as a 30 day devotional as each chapter contain readings and suggested prayers. It’s available at all good online bookstores and on Amazon here.
My wife’s book “End of the beginning” is a truly powerful book charting her journey from widowhood to finding Christ. It’s full of honesty and transparency. Julia’s book is not just a story of hope in the midst of loss – it’s a story of finding freedom from anger, hurt, failure and discovering purpose and fulfilment in Christ Jesus. It’s available on Amazon here and all good bookshops.