Summary: This message focuses on finding fulfillment as you approach mid-life. It could be re-worked and be used to encourage Christ-centered "goal-setting."

Approaching Half Time

Dr. Marty Baker / July 29, 2001

One of the marks of success in a football team is the ability to change their game plan as needed at half time. In the locker room, the coaches look at what went wrong, what went right, and then adjust their game plan so to put them in the best possible position to play a winning second half.

In life, most of us start out with a pretty basic game plan:

*Land a good position in a company

*Learn and grow

*Be further ahead each year.

The minutes of the second quarter wind down and you realize that you cannot play this way for the entire game. Something has to change. So, you go into half time with the desire to change your game plan because you know that games are won or lost in the second half. Over the next several weeks, we are going to be concentrating on a new series called Winning Strategies for Your Life. This series will provide practical principles to help you finish the game strong.

In the Bible, there is a man named Paul. We call him the Apostle Paul because he carried the message of Christ into his world. During a time of reflection, he penned these words:

2 Timothy 4:7-8

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

It is my desire to tap into the spiritual strength that Paul is talking about in this passage. This strength will enable us to finish strong.

As previously mentioned, today is my fortieth birthday. As you approach the fourth decade of your life, you begin to think a lot about who you are and where you are going. It is inevitable, and I believe, universal.

Some people approach this period in life pathologically and call it a crisis ... a mid-life crisis. These people buy a Harley; unbutton their shirts; wear gold chains; and get a tattoo. They refuse to accept the seasonal change that has come their way.

Let’s face it. All of us are growing older. Today I am 40 and my wife is 39. In ten years, I will be 50 and she will be 39. I’ll retire at 65 and she will still be 39. I guess the good thing is that she is 39, but still looks 29 to me.

The good news about mid-life is that the glass is still half-full... of course, the bad news is that it won’t be long before your teeth are floating in it.

Mid-life is when your 1980s Body-by-Jake now includes Legs-by-Rand McNally.

Mid-life is when your memory really starts to go. The only thing you still retain is water.

One thing for sure is that you become more reflective in mid-life.

You start pondering the "big" questions like:

"What is life? Why am I here? How much Healthy Choice ice cream can I eat before it’s no longer a healthy choice?"

Rick Majerus, the men’s basketball coach at the University of Utah, commented about his mid-life experience, "Everyone’s worried about the economy this year. Hey, my hairline is in recession, my waistline is in inflation, and altogether, I’m in depression."

The day will come when you, like Coach Majerus, will look in the mirror, see a receding hairline, or wrinkle, or gray hair, and think, "Hey, I’m not just getting older. I’m getting old. I thought that only happened to everyone else. But it’s happening to me, too. I’m never going to be young again."

The realization that you are never going to be young again sends some people into tailspin. It doesn’t have to. I believe that in every season you can find fulfillment.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2; 11a

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

When its all said and done ...

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Most of us live the first half of our lives as if we had walked into a movie theater twenty minutes after the film started rolling: we are not 100 percent sure what the story is all about, but it seems pretty interesting. By the time we figure out what’s going on, it’s over.1

Too many people live their lives that way. By the time they figure out what life is all about, it’s over. This does not have to be your story. I believe that you can

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