Today I turn sixty years of age. Like anyone who reaches this age I wonder: "Where did the years all go?" And, "I can't be this old yet." It just doesn't seem possible at all. But the truth is what it is. I am 60!
I think I am dealing with all this in a way that is emotionally and spiritually healthy but then I have my days when I do wonder.

Do I have any regrets? Of course I do. But I refuse to be led into the future by such regrets. These will not make me more like Christ.

Most of my regrets are about things I doubt I could change much if I tried. Many are even rooted in a kind of guilt that does not produce godliness. I would say the biggest regret I have is that I spent too much time pursuing causes and debates that do not matter that much at all. I was so sure, at the time of these debates and causes, that I knew what was right and thus plowed right on without a great deal of wisdom. I felt I was being courageous in the work of the Lord but often I was just being unkind and opinionated. I regret those battles and in many cases have asked people to forgive me wherever I know I can and should. What I regret even more is that I spent so much energy in pursuing things that did not matter when I could have done much more to spread the love of Christ and to pursue the unity of Christ's church in the bonds of truth.

But I am filled with hope now more than ever. God is merciful, even to pastors who make mistakes. He is gracious, especially to Christians who think they know a lot and then learn, as they inevitably age, how very little they really knew in the first place. My confidence is not in anything that I have done or will yet do. It is not in my being right or wrong. It is in Christ alone. He is my rock. He is my hope, now and forever. And when I draw my last breath, at some future point in time, he will be there leading me safely home. I trust him, him alone. If that is not enough then I have no hope. My confidence is not in device nor creed, as the hymn writer put it, but in Christ the ever living one who pleads his wounds for me. "It is enough that Jesus died and that he died for me."

For all you who read this blog, and have helped me along the way through my life, thank you so much. You have shared in this pilgrim's progress. May God in Christ alone be praised.

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  1. Bill Kinnon March 1, 2009 at 7:50 am

    I’m only 6.5 years behind you, bro. Have a great birthday.

  2. Rick Schnetz March 1, 2009 at 9:40 am

    1 Corinthians 3:7 (NIV)
    “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”
    I give thanks to my heavenly Father today for “making you grow”. You haved shared that growth with humility and have touched my life deeply. May you continue to grow in Him and continue to ‘water’ myself and others.
    Happy Birthday to you John !
    _Rick in Livermore, CA

  3. Jim March 1, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Happy birthday John,and a wish for many more with good health!I will turn 61 in 4 weeks and while I agree with you in wondering where the time has gone,I find I would rather keep having birthdays than not:).My Dad kept a little plaque hanging on the wall that said “To soon old and to late smart”In my younger years I thought that was a little foolish,and now I’m beginning to recognize the wisdom behind that
    Blessing in Christ to you.

  4. Helen March 1, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Happy Birthday John! I hope you have a wonderful day. I’m looking forward to seeing you at the Act 3 lunch on Wednesday.

  5. Sarah March 1, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Happy Birthday and great post!

  6. Michael W. Kruse March 1, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Happy Birthday, John. This is also Melissa’s birthday.
    I’ll be doing the big 50 at the end of the month. I’ve been reflecting on many of these same issues.
    Hope its a great day for you.

  7. Joey Carter March 1, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Happy birthday, John! May the Lord bless you!

  8. Tim Terhune March 1, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Happy Birthday John. Have a wonderful day as you enjoy God’s gift of life and grace. Thank you for your posts that always stimulate thought.

  9. Paul March 1, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Happy Birthday John. I always appreciate your blogging and I wish you many more fruitful years ahead!

  10. shaggy March 1, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Yes! 60years and 9 months in the proofer.
    Great picture, but what is that in schnitzel’s mouth?

  11. John Armstrong March 1, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    The doxie has nothing in her mouth, though it might look that way. That is her right front paw!

  12. J. R. Miller March 2, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Hey brother, we share a birthday. I turned 39 today (march 1st). Happy Birthday!

  13. Nick Morgan March 2, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Happy Birthday John!! Just goes to show that we’re never to old to learn something new. My own life experience continues to teach me that the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know. I’ll turn 41 this month. I’m a little behind you but I share the “where did the years go” feeling. May God bless you and keep up the good work my brother!

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