Year End Thoughts • November 30, 2015
Dear Family & Friends:
2015 has been a year of transition for Vicki and me. In February we stepped out in faith to launch an entirely new ministry, Finishing Well Ministries. While this year has been challenging in many ways, it has been rewarding. We have experienced God’s faithfulness through friends like you who have encouraged us with your prayer and financial support.
Part of what God is teaching Vicki and me is to trust Him in the newness of this year. Just like the aging process, life is all about making transitions to new seasons of life with grace, gratitude, joy, and authenticity. It is very challenging as the routine in our lives has changed dramatically.
Launching a new ministry is about following God and learning a new world. As we have followed Him in this venture, I have these 5 strong core convictions.
First, this year is of God. He is the one who has placed the idea of FWM in our hearts. He is the one who has orchestrated our circumstances and stirred our hearts to follow Him in faith. He is the one who has worked through friendships the past 4 decades to bring us to this point.
Second, it must be of God and for His glory. If it’s not from Him, then it comes from self-centered, self-exalting ambitions. As Francis Schaeffer often said, “God’s work done in man’s way is not God’s work; only God’s work done in God’s way is God’s work.”
Third, if it’s not about Him, for Him, and through His power, I don’t want any part of it. I have thought much this year of the words of Moses as he said, “If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here” (Exodus 33.15). God is with us.
Fourth, as we have embarked on this strategic mission, we are His servants doing His work, working in His vineyard for His harvest. We are called to live as Jesus taught us; "So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done'" (Luke 17.10).
Fifth, after nearly 10 months of following His leading in this new ministry, talking to dozens of church leaders and hundreds of people, and reading several books and articles, we are convinced that the mission of FWM, focusing on a retiring and a retired generation, is critically essential in the work of God because of the potential impact of older people for God’s kingdom.
Consider these truths from God’s Word:
O God, You have taught me from my youth,
And I still declare Your wondrous deeds.
And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to all who are to come (Psalm 71.17-18).
Consider these comments from evangelical leaders:
“Not since the days of Noah has God done for a generation of people what He is doing for this generation of senior adults. Celebrate your extended life, health and resources as His gift for His purposes.”
(Chuck Kelly, President, New Orleans Baptist Seminary)
“Sadly, while the church grapples with what to do with its ever-increasing aged population, the church seems unaware how long its own people are now living. Yet the church, more than any other institution, needs to be prepared to answer the demands and challenges of prolonged life for its seniors. This overriding theme of the church assuming a primary role in supporting its aging members is affirmed in the Scriptures and by its history” (James Houston & Michael Parker, A Vision for the Aging Church, p.22).
This is the story of Finishing Well Ministries as we complete the first year of FWM. We are extremely grateful for the encouragement God has given and for the doors of serving others He has opened to us.
Consider these highlights of what He has done.
Since we launched out in this ministry March 1, 2015, we are thrilled with the Lord’s faithfulness in these first 9 months of ministry.
He gave FWM a board that has a heart for God and a heart for this ministry.
He provided our 501c(3) status through the skills of a wonderful attorney/friend.
He has provided for our financial needs.
He has provided a place for our office here on the Dallas North Tollway – 17480 Dallas Parkway, Suite 211, Dallas, TX 75287.
He has provided a wonderful circle of friends to encourage us.
He keeps opening new doors of potential ministry.
As we finish 2015 and move into 2016, we believe he will keep giving us His wisdom and leadership as He unfolds His will for FWM.
We have met personally with 18 churches and their leadership exploring their needs in ministry “to and by seniors,” offering encouragement, support, and resources.
First Baptist, Dallas
Redeemer Bible (preaching February 7, 2016 and 6 Wednesday nights thereafter)
Northwest Bible Church
Park Cities Presbyterian
Dallas Bible Church
Prestonwood Baptist Church
Grace Community Church, Healdsburg, CA
Plano Bible Chapel
Grace Bible Church
Trinity Bible Church
Park Cities Baptist
Highland Park Methodist Church
Christ Church (Plano)
Fellowship Bible Church Dallas
Park Springs Bible Church
Christ Church (Ft. Worth)
Three churches have already invited FWM to invest actively into their own ministries, and we invested in them.
We have developed an in-depth curriculum through which we are encouraging and challenging seniors to dream again (Acts 2.17) of the work God has for them in these critically important years of their lives.
We have just finished teaching this curriculum at First Baptist Church, Dallas, in a 10-week series.
We will teach it again in an 8-week series at First Baptist Church beginning January 10, 2016. We continue to refine the message.
We will do another series at Redeemer Bible Church beginning Sunday morning, February 7, and then follow up with a 6-week Wednesday evening series.
Through our website and ministry activities, we’re laying a foundation that will broaden the presence of Finishing Well Ministries across Dallas and beyond.
We have networked with many para-church ministries, comparing notes and listening for their input (e.g. Focus on the Family, Dallas Seminary, Navigators, Halftime, Abba Elder Care, Next Step).
We have spoken at one senior living center (Highland Springs) and have made ourselves known to others in the area.
We have also made ongoing presentations at several ongoing Bible studies in various locations across the city.
This list could go further. In addition to the above, we have had dozens of conversations with people interested in what God has done. We simply want to give testimony that God is at work through FWM. Above all, He at work in us, and the life and authenticity of His Spirit in us flows through us to others. I am humbled and amazed. Thanks for your prayers.
Year End Invitation to Support FWM Financially
Will you help us to continue growing the impact of Finishing Well Ministries with a year-end contribution?
Consider the following two options.
We began this year seeking friends who would be sponsors for the first three years of our ministry. We praise God for the 27 friends who pledged an annual amount for these first three years. Would you pray about joining our team, making your own 3 year pledge?
Will you make a year-end gift to Finishing Well Ministries?
In conclusion, on January 3, Vicki and I will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We will also celebrate the four ministries God has entrusted to us in the past 40 years (First Baptist Church, Christian Medical Dental Association, Dallas Bible Church, and now Finishing Well). They have been rich and blessed years, but with Robert Browning, the poet, I must say, “the best is yet to be.
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!'
We pray you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may your Christmas season be rich in every way.
Blessings on you and all those you love,