Summary: Let us dare to conquer challenges.

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One of the things I have to come to terms with when I turned 40 last month was midlife crisis. On this month’s issue, Reader’s Digest came up with a timely article on midlife. It says in its “Lust, Libido and Midlife Crisis” article that “Studies of mental health over people’s lifetime have found that mental distress peaks in middle age for men… Men experience a sudden shock of fear, which is around, ‘Oh God, I’m halfway through my life and I haven’t done all the things I wanted to do… They think, ‘Life has passed me by. Will I have time now? It’s now or never. There is a lot of fear.’”[1]

In short, as we grow old and hopefully grow up, we will feel this intensifying search for significance. I said “intensifying” because we start feeling it when we become teenagers. Back then, we experienced what we called “identity crisis”. So, to our young people, please don’t sneer at what we mature people feel. It is because you might have already felt the onset of the search for significance. For example, have you ever felt confused with your direction in life? That’s one of the signs of the identity crisis.

Then we faced it again when we were just starting out in our careers. That’s what we call “quarter-life crisis.” Let me ask our young professionals here. Have you ever asked yourself whether you want to do what you are doing right now for the rest of your life? Have you ever felt insecure about your short-term and long-term plans for your future? That’s one of the signs of the quarter-life crisis.

And now we hear about “midlife crisis.” Others have labeled it “halftime.” According to Halftime organization, “More than 12,000 people turn 50 each day in America, and a Harvard-Met Life study shows that more than half of these individuals want more meaning and significance in the second half. But this is still a very new phenomenon.”[2]

So, whatever your age or stage in life, all of us go through this intensifying search for significance. People have called it “crisis.” I wrote in one of my “Straight From the Pastor” articles before that, “Usually when we hear the word ‘crisis’ we think of a time of intense dread or danger. But the Greek word for ‘crisis’ denotes ‘decision.’ … Thus a crisis is also the turning point when a critical decision must be made for an important change to occur. So, when there’s a crisis, either we face it or we flee it. We flee it and we miss out. We face it and we make the most of the opportunity. It’s up to us to decide.”[3]

Our life is actually the sum total of our decisions, good and bad. The key to this search for significance is to make more and more good decisions. And the best decisions we make must be according to what God wants for our lives. That’s why in our series I dare you to pray a daring a prayer. Let’s read 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, ‘I gave birth to him in pain.’ Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.”[4] Last time I dared you to channel God’s blessings. Jabez first prayed, “Oh, that you would bless me”. Then, he prayed, “enlarge my territory”. Thus, this morning, I now dare you to CONQUER challenges. Let us pray first…

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