MIKE GRAYSON ON FINISHING WELL MINISTRIES
Mobilizing seniors throughout their retirement years is our purpose. Dr Habecker interviews, Mike Grayson. Mike is the former National grassroots Chair for "Mike Huckabee for President". He is currently President/CEO of FTI Global (ftiglobal.com), an award winning pioneer in Cloud Computing, that built its first Cloud Application in 1992 for Mobil Oil. Mike is a Group Leader facilitating classes in person and online of the Seven Essentials for Finishing Well. His viewpoint on the this biblical subject is fascinating. Thanks for watching.
Finishing Well - Interview_V1
Wed, Dec 07, 2022 4:59PM • 36:30
seniors, people, church, life, age, god, important, finishing, culture, impact, society, ministry, greek manuscripts, manuscripts, wrote, terms, older, athenian, scripture, legacy
Dr Hal Habecker, Mike Grayson
Dr Hal Habecker 00:08
Greetings, everyone. I'd love for you to meet a friend of mine, Mike Grayson. You know, God sends friends into our lives, to really help us encourage us. And all we're doing. And Mike, you have been that to me. And this work of finishing well ministries, a God brought you into my life, and you have been a tremendous encourager, you've thought with me, you've prayed with me, you've helped develop our ministry. And I look forward to just interacting with you for a few minutes about finishing well, ministries and what it means to you and what you see about it. So first of all, thanks for your work personally, in my life, and in the work of finished one ministry. And I can't say how indebted I am to you, for how God has used you in my life. So bless you, and thank you. Well, thanks,
Mike Grayson 01:08
how you're very generous, I appreciate you a great deal. I think the work that you're doing for seniors. And it's really God's work is tremendous in terms of the impact that it can have on society. I think that one of the things that that you have been working against is the way that our society views seniors, which is diametrically opposed to what God says in His word about the role of seniors. In one of the classes that we had, with the seven essentials. One of the ladies said that she didn't like the term senior. Whenever I spoke about seniors, it made her uncomfortable, it made her feel old. And that's kind of the reaction our society has and the kind of thinking, but if you think of seniors in terms of a, someone who's completed high school, a senior in high school, they've actually accomplished quite a bit, or as a senior Carpenter, or senior technician, a senior engineer, all those have very positive connotations that indicate people who have who have trained, who have experience, who have an impact on their employment, and on on the world, and on their, their local world. And the, the term senior is actually something that we should embrace. As we age, and as we get older. You know, you and I have talked about the Bible, and how if you took all the pages of the Bible, written by seniors out of the Bible, it'd be a very thin book, Think about that. You had Moses was called, when he was at Joshua, the same thing Joshua was at Think about Peter, when Peter wrote First and Second Peter, almost half the New Testament was written by, by, you know, the the apostle Paul, and think about his age. So God uses seniors in a very special way. And he's prepared them for, you know, during their live lifetime, for service to Him, and service and encouragement to one another.
Dr Hal Habecker 03:46
And I want to add the Gospel of John, John, the apostle in there as well. Yeah, he wrote his story about Jesus in his 80s. Yes. And he wrote first, second, third John and revelation in his 90s. I mean, is that crazy or what
it really is, and, you know, God prepares us for our entire lives. And one of the things about the seven Essentials is that it leads you on a path to understanding what your purpose or what God's purpose for your life what he would have you to do. And and through those seven essentials, you learn that, that you're not supposed to jettison everything that you've you've experienced in your life from the time you were born, until the time you become a senior and then start doing something different, which seems to be the way our society looks at things. They tell you that that when you become 65 You're supposed to retire and going on Medicare, but the the word retire itself, you talk about that in your in your videos, When you retire at night, you go to bed, you go to sleep stop, you stop, you're not growing, you're not contributing, you're not leaving a legacy. And, and those things are very, it's very important to realize that God is, first of all, he's not done with you. Second of all, he has a plan for you. Third, he's not going to jettison everything that you've learned up to this point in time. Think about Moses, and his experience in Egypt, and how how his familiarity with, with Pharaoh with the Egyptian Government with way of life, how all of those things, played into his his ability to speak to Pharaoh, and to be called by God to do what he did from the time he was at on in terms of the Exodus, and leading him through the wilderness. That's, that's pretty significant stuff.
Dr Hal Habecker 05:56
Yeah. Mike, talk to me a little bit about what why is our culture like this, describe our culture as it relates to aging people. And you know, that obviously has had some spurts stirring in my mind and thinking and finishing well. But we live in a world that diminishes older people talk about that?
Well, yeah, I think seniors are devalued by our society. In terms of the media, in terms of entertainment, the way entertainment looks at us, if you see a senior, usually the seniors portrayed as having dementia being not having the cognitive abilities that they had when they were younger. Whereas if you actually look at the facts, if you'd look at the statistics from Health and Human Services, 90% of all seniors do not have dementia, only 10%. So that's nine out of 10. That's a big number. And that tells you in terms of, of the prospects for contributing to society, the prospects are very high. But yet, our society does devalue that we also have systems in place that are meant to be benevolent, like Medicare. And you're actually forced at the age of 65. To go on Medicare, regardless of what your health is. And most companies have a mandatory retirement of 6570, even though that's when you've actually reached your peak, one thing that I think society doesn't really grasp is that our lives tend to be lived in 20 year segments. I mean, you can almost see this in the lives of different people in Scripture, like, like in Moses and Paul, were, Paul, when Paul was when he had his encounter with Christ, did he immediately begin to preach the gospel? What did he do? Went to the desert, he went to the desert. And how long was he there? Three years, he was he was there three years. And then he was in a learning process for many years after that. So so from the from the time were born until the age of 20, we are students were in school or learning. And then from the age of 20, to 40, we tend to focus on our careers where we're learning and becoming knowledgeable. And then at the age of 40, what you'll find is that you've heard the term middle aged Crazy, right? Well, we tend to think that at the age of 40, there's this transition, mainly because you've become very competent in your job, and and what you're doing. So if you're looking for something new, so many of the people that we've taught in class, we discussed this, and many of them say, Hey, I transitioned, you know, I went into, I was working in one job. And then at the age of 40, I decided to become a nurse, my ownself at the age of 40, I decided I wanted to go to Dallas Seminary, so you become competent, and the job tends to become a little bit boring. So then at the age of 40, what you'll find is so many people begin to look at retirement, and they say I'm going to stick stick it out until I retire at the age of 60 or 65. And, and then they have another transition occurs. The thing that's important to remember is that when you're a senior, that is a time where you transition from what you're doing to something new. And that's where I think God's purpose for you. He'll take everything that you've learned, and and and God will grow you from that point. He'll connect you with that There's so open doors. And that's a time of transition. So it shouldn't be thought of as retirement, it should be thought of as transition.
Dr Hal Habecker 10:07
When you think about our culture, my thought is that when most people hit 60, or 65, their most productive years, they think in their heads are behind them they've accomplished, you know, as Arthur Brooks calls this your first curve, and then you go into your second curve, but retirement, generally is well, Now is my time to do whatever you play, to travel to enjoy my grandkids. And our culture does not stir people up to think about what is it that really needs to happen in your life now?
Yeah, and you know, one thing that's, that's very interesting about that in Scripture, there is an I'm going to read this because I don't want to mess it up. In Ecclesiastes seven, two, it says, and you've, you've read this many times yourself, it is better to go to a house of mourning, than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man and the living take it to heart. Now that sounds kind of strange, doesn't it? It's better to go to a house of mourning, than to a house of feasting. How does that make sense? And but it's explained that it says because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart. So when you go to a house of mourning, when somebody passes away, that's the end of every man. So in Ecclesiastes seven, two, what that's telling us is that when when you go to a house of mourning, and it's the end of every man, what do people tend to think about, they tend to think about your life, they tend to think about, particularly the end of your life, and how you spent that that's your legacy there, when they go to your funeral. They are reflecting on your legacy. So if you retire, and you kind of just disconnect from everything, you're not leaving any legacy. So Scripture tells us here, in the very last part of Ecclesiastes seven, two, it says, And the living takes it to heart, those attending your funeral. Look at your life. That's when they really take a hard look at your life. And they take it to heart, they reflect on themselves, they reflect on their own lives. And that has the greatest impact. So the most important part of your life, is when you're a senior, yes, that's when that's what is going to be fresh in people's mind. If you're if you're a recluse, living alone, having no impact not connecting with with anybody. at your funeral, you know what they're going to think about? They're going to think about you as being a real recluse, not connecting with people. However, you lived out your last days, it's how they're going to remember you. So it's fascinating. Yeah. So I think, I think the legacy is really important. And I think God's purpose. If you read through his word, it's just over and over again, where you see that the legacy that we have is, it's really building a momentum, our spiritual life. That's one thing that that you talk about, we see spiritual growth continues to grow, especially in our older, older years, as our physical life begins to decline, our spiritual life grows. And for us not to tap into that is a real waste.
Dr Hal Habecker 13:39
So Mike, talk to me about why you were attracted to this message of finishing well, that's our culture. But what is it in this message that God really wants us to see and do? And why have you been attracted to that?
Well, I think the the first thing that attracted me was, was the fellowship that I had with you and with the with the other group, the other men, yeah, the group. And, and as we, as we talked, and we shared about our lives and the experiences that we had, and the Wisdom, what really became apparent is that so much of that is lost, so much of it is wasted. Where there could be an impact on our society. I mean, think about that, you know, we hear complaints about the younger generation, millennials and woke ism and canceled culture. And we we point to the younger generation, or shall I say younger generations as being responsible for that? But who are these younger people? They're our children, and our grandchildren. Why is it like that, it's because we have not made an impact on their lives. And I think it's incumbent, the reason why I'm so involved. Why I feel very strongly about this is because I think we can change this country, I think we can change the world, if we can get the seniors to actually engage. If we can get the seniors to make a difference, you know, the population of seniors in the United States is greater than the population from birth to 18 years old, more seniors. So here we have the greatest influencers, Hey, these are our kids. You know, this, these are, this is our family. But yet, there's some strange thinking going on, where we kind of look at them as being separate from us. But the the opportunity for seniors to make an impact on the younger generations is incredible. And if we do that, based on the Word of God, that's going to have significant impact. I mean, that's really kind of exciting when you think about it.
Dr Hal Habecker 16:13
Well, not only do you excite me about you embracing this message personally, but you've gotten involved in your church. Now I just say there are, I think over 300,000 churches in America. What is it in the potential impact of 300,000 churches, if the seniors and all those 300,000 churches could be mobilized? And you're doing that in your church shows, share a little bit about your experience and having that vision to be a part of your congregation? What's it meant have? How have you and your wife done it? And what's it mean to you? And what do you think it means to your church?
Yeah, the what we've seen is people who have come through the program in the church, they begin to get involved, they begin to see how it's impacting their lives, and how they can, they can engage, how they can grow, how they can connect with others, and how important the legacy that they leave behind is, and preparing for being a senior preparing for, for heaven preparing for the end. I think that, that in our church, we've seen so many people who have really embraced it. It's it's a, it's a tremendous program, husband and wife, teams come widows, we've seen people actually taking it to other churches. So it's been a tremendous impact. What we would like to see is, we would like to see the the the seniors have a meaningful way to impact the lives of the other folks in the church. It what comes to mind is the Spartans, right, the Spartans in ancient Greece, they had a legislative body called the dramas. Now, the Gerardus, you can belong to that legislative body unless you're 60 years old or older, and they made all of the legislative decisions for Sparta. Now, that was so important. Cicero wrote around I think it was around 43 BC, where they had a meeting in Athens, with the representatives of the Athenian province, as well as those from Sparta that were in one room, and an old gentleman comes through on the Athenian side of the room, while all the Athenians are sitting down. And as he came into the room, they just looked at him, they didn't do anything. You know, I just said, Hey, there's an old guy looking for a seat. When he got here and what they do in our culture. It is it is it's kind of what they're here. What are you doing here? Exactly? Well, when he got to the Spartan side, guess what happened? They all stood up at once. Every single one of them offered him their seat. Wow. Yeah, that was that's the difference. So historically, if you look at the different societies, what we're seeing is not anything new, because the Athenians, it got so bad, where the Athenians were not taking care of their elderly parents, that they passed a wall. And they said that if you did not take care of your elderly parents, you would lose your citizenship. Now, losing your citizenship in Athens was pretty serious, because you were then relegated almost to the level of a slave. So The the, that was a that was a serious, but that's what they had to do in order to get the Athenians to take care of their elderly parents. So that so the our culture is probably like the Athenian culture, what we would like to see is become more like the spring culture, in terms of respect for the wisdom, and the knowledge and the the impact that the elderly can have. But from God's point of view, you know, scripture, it all has to be based in Scripture, it all, it all has to come from God, it can't come from me or you or or anybody else, we have to work through the word of God.
Dr Hal Habecker 20:43
And this idea of finishing well of growing, connecting, caring, loving, investing, etc, etc. All right out of God's word. I mean, this is how God wants us to live.
Peters last words, graders last words. Second, Peter 318. But grow grow.
Dr Hal Habecker 21:02
So in our last years, we want to keep growing grow.
Absolutely, yeah. I mean, that that's, you know, when somebody has their last words, right, you know, they're about to be executed. What are your last words? That's the most important thing somebody can say. So the last words that Peter wrote, were to grow, continue to connect, continue to grow in Christ. And he didn't say, you know, go on Medicare, and retire, is that continue to grow? Right?
Dr Hal Habecker 21:33
I love it. So, Mike, describe to me what you're doing at your church. Exactly. How are you working to mobilize seniors in your congregation? To catch this vision? How did you set it up? How you structure it? What what are you doing?
Okay, well, we found, we found out a couple of things. We come from a fairly good sized church. So it could be different for different churches as to how they implement this program. But what we found is that most seniors who are going to church have engaged in their their Sunday school for quite a long time. So they enjoy going to the Sunday school. So having it Sunday morning, is kind of a conflict with with that, unless you integrate the program for seven or eight weeks, whatever it takes into the Sunday school program. But if you want to have that as a separate program, which is what we did, we decided to have it on a Thursday afternoon at two now why Thursday afternoon it do? Well, first of all, you know, if if if there's an elderly person who may have physical issues, it gives them time to have lunch, and, and get get the mote get the engine running, so to speak, so that they can show up in the afternoon. At two o'clock seems to be a good time for for them to come. So that that was from a timeframe. That's that's why we chose that so that it didn't interfere with any other activities that might be going on. We also found that it was important to have written material to hand out now you've you've got a workbook, we tried a number of different things. We tried to workbook, we tried questions where you'd hand out a, you know several sheets that kind of summarized each lesson. And then it had references to key verses and questions. Some people like that. I think most people like to have a more complete handout. So the workbook I think is is important, so that they can follow along. We use a PowerPoint presentation, where every single lesson, we walk them through God's word, what God says about it, and we have a discussion. So it's very important. You know, if you carve out an hour for discussion, it's very important that you make sure that you have enough time for people to interact with one another. They watch your video. And you walk them through what the principles are for each. Each different segment of what their what what finishing well Ministries is attempting to teach. And then when we come together, we try to supplement that we don't try to to regurgitate exactly what was done on the video. We try to supplement that with the PowerPoints and we try to get people to interact. So Asking questions, making sure that people are and know one another. During our first meeting, we have everybody introduce themselves. What's your name? Where do you live? At maybe how many grandkids Do you have? How many kids do you have? Some people don't have any grandkids and kids. So you have to be sensitive to that. But we want them to get to know one another, we want to get them to connect. So again, it depends if you have a small church, they might already know one another. If it's a large church, they might not. We also found that we had people coming in from other churches, who weren't part of our group. So making them feel comfortable walking, welcoming them, and making sure that they have the ability and opportunity to participate is very important.
Dr Hal Habecker 25:53
And you've reached people outside of your church and even other places around the country through your ministry. How does that happen?
Well, basically, through the church website, we we announce it on the church website. And people run across that and are interested in in, they want to finish well, I asked that question. I said, what what is it that brought you here? And so many times, they'll respond? And they'll say, Wow, we want to finish? Well, we want to know what that looks like. And how do you do it? You know, how do you do it? And God has equipped us to do it, we just need to be cognizant of, of what, what God has in store for us individually. And it can manifest itself in different ways.
Dr Hal Habecker 26:46
Now, in your work in these groups, you take small groups to anytime 15 to 30, or whatever, something like that they work and you've done how many groups? I mean, how many people have gone through this process?
I've lost count? Well, over 300, I guess that's awesome. Yeah. So we've gone through, we try to limit the group size, because we would like it to be at least a dozen. And no more than maybe 2025. Because if it's any bigger than that, you'll have people who won't be able to participate, or you won't have enough time. And if it's any smaller than that, then you really don't get the dynamic that you need. So we try to have about that size.
Dr Hal Habecker 27:36
Now you do this your wife, and many have, I mean, maybe half more than half of the group is typically women. Yes, that's true about the way you and Pam work together. And the impact of having your wife and finishing well speak to women and all those kinds of things.
Well, you know, our wives are much wiser. It goes without saying, but they it's, I think it's important, I do because Pam is my wife, Pam will have insights that that I don't think about, and she'll be able to lend that she'll have, she can understand where the ladies are coming from a whole lot better than I can. And that's, that's very valuable. And, and she has a heart for the Lord. So if you can, team with your wife, in this ministry, I think that that's a real advantage that you can be able to do that.
Dr Hal Habecker 28:44
If you had a platform, to challenge every senior pastor or every church leadership team, about why they should have a ministry with the seniors, because in my experience as a pastor, many pastors do not have this vision for their seniors in their church. You know, seniors are kind of marginalized, even in the church, they go and saying, but they're not. The church leaders aren't leaning on them to start dreaming dreams of the church. Like Peter exhorted us and acts to 17 year old men will dream dreams. So if you had a chance to say to senior leadership, or the L, the elders of any church, why they should focus energy on seniors in their church and mobilize them for ministry. What would you say to them?
If so, are you guys asleep at the wheel? What's wrong with you guys? Have you read the Bible lately? Have you seen how God has used seniors? And yet there's this huge resource in your church that you haven't tapped into? That you haven't shown the leadership? I'd say, hey, you know what your leadership is lacking? Because if these people are thinking about retirement, or they're thinking about growing old in a way that God is not thinking about it, then you really haven't done your job. I mean, that's the bottom line, because and it's true. It's true. So if they can, if they can tap into the seniors, if they can energize the seniors, they could transform their churches, they could transform their communities, they could transform the United States. So they just need to wake up out there. They're asleep. You know, I think that's, you know, Satan's plan. is, he's a deceiver. All right. So I think he's kind of walled us into sleep, oh, you've got Medicare, you're taking care of seniors or all they need to their tasks you've done. Sit back and relax, go to the beach, wiggle your toes in the sand. But, but, and that's the message that's being sent. And I think the the message needs to be God's message, it needs to be what God has in store. And if they're paying attention, they'll look at Peter, they'll look at Moses, they'll look at Joshua, they'll look at these lives. And they'll say, how can we model these guys? What these guys should be the model for what we become. And I think that's very important.
Dr Hal Habecker 31:33
You know, even secular studies have shown the most productive a decade of productivity in our culture is the 60s. Yes, it is. The second is the 70s. Yeah, amazing, isn't it? Yeah. I mean, you look around who are the people, they get things done, there are the older people, but yet, in general, our society marginalizes the older people.
And if you look at the physicians that the researchers who, who develop vaccines, if you look at the Nobel Prize winners, they aren't 20 and 30 year old, they're all older, like I say, 6070 years old. They if it weren't for contributions at that age, then a lot of the things that had been beneficial to society wouldn't exist.
Dr Hal Habecker 32:24
Anything else running through your mind as we sit here and talk about the impact of this ministry, and our culture and our church, etc?
Yeah, I think the one thing that runs through my mind often is just how we just have such a tremendous resource in the Word of God. You know, we have when the King James Version of the Bible was written in 1600s, they actually had, I think it was six Greek manuscripts. A manuscript has a handwritten copy, it's not a printed copy. So these are our Greek manuscripts that they used for translation into English from the Greek for the King James Bible in the 1600s. Today, we have over 5000, manuscripts 5000, if you were to stack for, you know, if you go to university, you can major in classic Greek literature. Well, if you if you were to stack all of the pages of classic Greek literature, together, of the handwritten manuscripts, the stack would be four feet high. But yet we have universities all over the country, dedicated to teaching classic Greek literature. If you were to stack all of the manuscripts for just the Greek New Testament, just the Greek, you know how high that stack would be for the high over a mile high, one a mile Hamas over a mile high, 1.25 miles high. And it's, and it's all being digitized today. So that they're doing comparisons between this manuscript and that manuscript, and in order to determine the accuracy, so it's more accurate today. Our translations today are more accurate than ever. King James did a wonderful I mean, what they did was amazing, with with the manuscripts that they had absolutely incredible. But today, we have just this wealth of knowledge. So over 5000 Greek manuscripts, in the in Latin in the Septuagint, we got over 10,000 over 10,000. And so we have this wealth of of I'm almost at a loss for words to explain it, but it's an overwhelming wealth of knowledge from the Word of God today that we can apply to our own lives. And I think that that when we look at the material and finishing well and the in the seventh ascent shows that the word God is really at the heart of all time. It
Dr Hal Habecker 35:03
really is. And that's our mission. And you know, I think of Psalm 71 Oh God, you've taught me from a youth and I still as an aging person, declare your wonder ustedes, even when I'm old and gray, don't forsake me on till I declare your strength as recorded in the scripture to this generation and your power to all who aren't accom that's pretty convicting. Well, let me tell you, if we get on leash or Rouse, a sleeping giant of aging Christians all across this country, there's there's no telling what the impact could be.
That's absolutely right. And that's what that's what fires me up.
Dr Hal Habecker 35:43
Well, thanks for sharing this message with me. Let's work together to keep mobilizing people like you out there listening to this. And my prayer is that God will use us as an ageing generation, to rekindle a flame for God in our culture that desperately needs his work and his spirit to do something in our world today. So thanks, Mike. And may God bless you and let's keep encouraging each other to finish well and use these years for the glory of Christ.