Tuesday, June 28, 2011


It's a good number. 61. It's my birthday today. I'm thankful for so many having already expressed birthday greetings. Six decades of life.

There are times when I have stood in front of a group of people preaching, or walked the streets of Jerusalem or the village paths in the bush of Africa, or sat in a room with a whole lot of folks who look different from myself and wonder how a little kid from northern Wisconsin ever got to this place in life. Why have I been so blessed?

For sure there have been rocky moments. The divorce was no fun. The heart attack was scary. Dealing with my own particular inner demons has been challenging. I've failed to follow through on a few things and disappointed more than a few people. There are those I've hurt and wounded. Not good.

There have been more than a few dashed dreams and false starts. I never became the second baseman for the Milwaukee Braves, nor charted that career in politics. All early ambitions.

I did get to father great children, start some ministries that have helped people, found Anita ( the love of my life), have known and know truly interesting people, have a platform to express thoughts and ideas and relatively speaking have traveled pretty widely. I've written three books and a few articles and still have wide ranging friendships with people of all ages. I have lived in Wisconsin, Minnesota,
California, Nevada and Illinois. I've been blessed.

Because I consider myself to be middle aged I wonder what the next half of my life will bring. :) At 122 I wonder what blessings I'll be counting. Here's what I pray:

That the Lord will continue to allow me to be involved in significant ministry.
That I can use the advantage of age and experience to build into the lives of those younger.
That the book or four bubbling inside of me will get written.
That I will resist the sense of 'entitlement' that is so pervasive with my generation,
That I might see Israel again (with a side trip to Rome)
That I might visit South Africa.
That I can relish living in a culture that provides so many opportunities to roll up my sleeves.
That I never get stuck in thinking the 'old ways' are the only ways.
That God can use me to help my grandchildren fall in love with Jesus and find places to be people of significant impact.
That Anita and I can figure out that speaking ministry we can do together.
That my 'Johnnies' can win another national championship or two.
That I might live a life of deep joy and significance.
That I live long enough to see East Garfield Park transformed.
That God will continue to use me to link city to the burbs.
That I might grow deep in my relationship with Jesus.

There's more for sure. But more than anything else, I desire to wake up each day with great expectation that God has something of significance for me to live into.

So far it's been an interesting life. But it's not over. Can't wait for what's next. Thanks for all of you who have been part of the ride so far. You have been good to me. Can't wait to see who God brings into my life in the years ahead and the adventures I'll be allowed to be part of. God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good


Ruthanne said...

Happy Birthday! I'm one of those people who you've had an impact on; and my boys...so that's three of us--so far. ;) I thought of you on Sunday morning. I looked down at the kids singing in the Discovery Center and saw all the beautiful diversity in that group and was amazed to think that I almost left our church because I was afraid my child would be the only one with brown skin. You kept me there. Thank you SO much for that. Not a Sunday goes by that I am not grateful for you taking the time to talk to me and lead me to a fantastic group of adoptive parents.
I hope you get to see all the things on your list and many, many more.

Mike said...

Made my day Ruthanne.