Dead at 27

Mark Twain once said “Most men die at age 27. We just bury them at 72.”

That little quote that appeared on my twitter feed got lodged into my brain against my will. I’m 25. I’ll be 26 in a month. Time relentlessly keeps moving forward, like a seasoned mountaineer up the trail. There’s no stopping him. He doesn’t pull aside for snacks and water. He is stone-faced and determined.

It’s easy to see what Twain is getting at. Late teens and early twenties are fertile grounds for great ideas and big plans. Once one gets some real-world experience, however, swimming upstream isn’t so romantic as it used to be. A marriage forces him to get a job; kids force him to settle down. Bills force him to look at life differently. In most men, by 27, something very important has died, Twain says.

What has died? A vigor and passion for life. An enthusiasm to accomplish great things. A youthful, impetuous zeal. This doesn’t happen to everyone– but it does happen, as Twain says, to “most men.”

In Braveheart, William Wallace says, “Every man dies, not every man really lives.”

Jesus came to give men “life and life abundantly.” This is speaking not only of the eternal hereafter, but the here-and-now of knowing, by faith, the living, resurrected Son of God. By abiding in him through faith, we plug ourselves into the source of all energy, passion, fervor, joy, and love. Though we were once dead in our sins, we have been made alive with Christ. To be a Christian means to be spiritually alive, awake, and aware of all that God is doing in the universe. It means to be attached to Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. That is true life. It is the life that God offers through belief in his Son.

Spiritual sleepiness, complacency, or apathy are cross-opposing enemies of God– and the regenerate are not exempt from succumbing to these pitfalls. They are sinful lures that faithful disciples must wage war against. Christians are to be totally awake!

How Christians should fight against this kind of deadly sleepiness! The daily temptation to get on the sideline and become a spectator demobilizes thousands of could-be gospel bearers. It is much easier to waste your life than to spend it on something that will outlast you. You must fight to stay awake. You must struggle to stay alive. You must not turn 27, shift into maintenance mode, or auto-pilot, or cruise control– or whatever metaphor you want– and drift toward Judgment Day. Would you be great in this world? Our Lord taught us that the greatest of all is the servant of all. And the servant of all is the one who fights most persistently and violently against his sinful pride.

John Piper, author of the book Don’t Waste Your Life, once said, “Don’t waste your life is not a catchphrase for me; it’s a cliff I walk beside every day with trembling.”

Fight against every impulse within you that wants make peace with everything the way it is. Never settle. Keep growing. Do hard things. Don’t die at 27.

“I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same. . . . If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next”

C.S. Lewis

 

 

Letter of resignation

I am going to blog more about this later, but for all you who haven’t heard, I will be resigning as associate pastor of Fallbrook First Baptist Church. Instead of rewriting something else, here’s the letter I read to the congregation last Sunday:

The strange and awesome providence of God guided me to Fallbrook First Baptist 879 days ago.  God used this church to grow me in ways I could have never imagined; to reveals things about myself that I never expected; to shape me in a way that will define the rest of my life. Ashley and I have received more grace than we deserve. We’ve been given much wisdom. We’ve been invested in by countless individuals. God has been merciful to this wretched sinner by allowing me to serve here these last two years. I praise God for what he’s given me here.

For the past year I’ve desired to further my ministerial training by going to seminary. I was not sure how I would be able to make it happen, so Ashley and I began to pray. In time, I decided that The Master’s Seminary in Sun Valley was the best choice for me. But we still weren’t sure how we’d do it.

I was thinking about starting full time at the seminary this fall, but considering the long distance, our new baby Emma, and the responsibilities I still had here, it wouldn’t have worked. So instead I decided to start part time in the fall, and for the last month, I’ve been taking 5.5 units. I’ve loved it.

In fact, since last March, I’ve had a deep and growing desire to go to seminary full-time, and finish before Emma and our future kids are old enough to remember all the hours I spend doing homework. I wasn’t sure how it was all going to work out until I got a call from a CB church in Canoga Park, a First Baptist church fifteen minutes away from the seminary.

They have offered me the position of associate pastor to oversee youth and worship ministries, and I have accepted their offer. November 1st I will be starting up there and Lord willing, next semester I’ll be able to start full-time at the seminary.

I trust that Fallbrook First Baptist will continue to flourish without me. I see this as my life’s indispensable training ground. I am forever indebted this church family as the launching pad for my life in ministry. And now, we are trusting God as we take what we believe is the next step.

So, I will be resigning associate pastor of Fallbrook First Baptist Church, effective October 31st, 2010.

Again, thank you for everything. We covet your prayers.

More to come on this subject; I feel like I have much to write about. Feel free to ask any questions!