Summary: This is the third in a series of sermons based on Paul’s letter to Timothy as a guide to how the church should behave. This message explores the generation gap in churches.

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Tomorrow is the birthday of my lovely wife of 16 years. A difficult time in the Monck household as Debbie rapidly approaches the big 4-0.

Reminds me of the story where Johnny asked his grandmother how old she was, and she said, "I’m 39 and holding." Johnny thought about that for a minute, then asked, "How old will you be if you let go?"

She will be a young 38, and of course, I’m not far behind. On top of that, Jamie is starting middle school. We are the parents of a middle schooler. That is a bit mind boggling.

We are both reaching that point in our lives where we have lived outside of our parent’s home longer than we lived in our parent’s home. And we are reaching that mid-life point where instead of being the young ones in the crowd, there are usually about as many people younger than us as there are older than us.

The other day I came across these, “You Know You’ve Been out of College Too Long When . . .” statements. All of you post-collegians ready for this?

Your potted plants stay alive.

6:00 a.m. is when you get up, not when you go to sleep.

You hear your favorite song on the elevator at work.

You carry an umbrella.

You watch the Weather Channel.

You go from 130 days of vacation time to 5.

You’re the one calling the police because those kids next door don’t know how to turn down the stereo.

Sleeping on the couch is a no-no.

MTV News is no longer your primary source of information.

You actually eat breakfast foods at breakfast time.

Grocery lists have more on them than macaroni & cheese, Diet Coke, and Ho-Ho’s.

Let’s take a survey this morning. If you are over 40, stand up (pause). Okay, you may be seated. How about if you are under 40, stand up. We still get to stand Deb, for another year or two. But we are pretty much nearing the middle of the pack.

As an early birthday gift for Debbie, let me provide some insights on aging that might help you as you celebrate your birthday, and might help others of us as we gracefully grow older.

Some insights on aging from some veterans of aging –

"I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor’s permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour. But, by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over."

Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman asked, "What do you think is the best thing about being 104?" She replied, "No peer pressure."

Another senior provided this encouraging insight. "The nice thing about being senile is you can hide your own Easter eggs."

One provided this insight. "My memory’s not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory’s not as sharp as it used to be."

And we have all run into a few of these. "I’ve sure gotten old! I’ve had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, and new knees. Fought prostate cancer and diabetes. I’m half blind, can’t hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take 40 different medications that make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts. Have bouts with dementia. Have poor circulation; hardly feel my hands and feet anymore. Can’t remember if I’m 85 or 92. Have lost all my friends. But, thank the Lord; I still have my driver’s license."

Well, if you have a hard time laughing at those, this message may be for you. Or if you laugh at those with a little too much entertainment and vengeance, this message also might be for you.

You see, the more you read the Bible, the more you realize that often the struggles and challenges we face today, have existed as long as there has been a record of human life. One such struggle and challenge is that every generation throughout human history has struggled with its own version of the generation gap between the young and the old.

It seems like every generation thinks that the next generation is worse than its own. Older people can tend to look at younger people with suspicion and concern. Younger people look differently, they dress differently, they embrace new technologies, and they’re filled with dreams and new ideas.

And younger people pick up on this; they feel as if older people don’t take them seriously. Younger people fear older people will always look at them as kids, even after they reach adulthood. I can’t begin to list the number of things that I have had said to me as a pastor, that I know would never have been said to a pastor that was 50, or 60 years old. Or at least one that looked older than Opie.

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