I turn fifty today. Assuming you are reading the print edition of this. If you are reading the blog version, I’ll be fifty on Groundhog’s Day or I turned fifty the day the 49ers and the Chiefs played the Super Bowl.
In 1970, gas cost 36 cents per gallon. An 8-Track stereo for a car was $38.99. A stamp cost 6 cents. The average price for a new house was $23,400. No worries about the average income of $9,400—it went a long way.
1970 was a busy year. Jack Swigert said the famous words, “Houston, we have a problem.” Apollo 13 safely landed a few days later. The Boeing 747 took off on its first commercial flight. The United States invaded Cambodia. The Environmental Protection Agency was started. President Nixon banned television cigarette ads. Brazil won the World Cup with Pele as their captain. The Ford Pinto was introduced. So was New York City Marathon. One of them is still running. The Beatles disbanded. Their last song—Let It Be—was the second most popular song that year. Simon and Garfunkel’s last song together—Bridge Over Troubled Water—was the song of the year. And the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl.
Anyway, I’m grateful to be born when and where I was—in Pocahontas, Iowa—during a blizzard in 1970. I remember black and white television. Listening to the radio to learn if school was cancelled because of the snow. Riding a bike to get from Point A to Point B. Walking beans. Playing wiffle ball and kick the can and the original Atari.
I have more of my life behind me than in front of me. As I look back I have nothing but gratitude. I’ve run marathons all over the country. Written a book and prayer and a dissertation on humor and preaching. Travelled to places like Russia and Indonesia and Norway. Between 2000 and 2005—Amber, Benjamin, and I lived in Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Texas, and Nebraska. We raised two boys. I guess we are still raising them—you never stop being a parent. I’ve done over 700 baptisms, 300 weddings, and 200 funerals. I’ve only owned five cars: three Volvos and two Infinitis. I drive one of the Volvos and Benjamin drives one of the Infinitis. And I planted a church. Besides Benjamin a David—I’m guessing The Water’s Edge will be my legacy. I couldn’t have done it alone and didn’t do it alone. I had the best help and still do. As far as being a pastor—my gig is as good as it gets.
I’m hoping my best days are in front of me. I’d like to finish writing a few books I have started. Explore the world some more. Not work quite as much. Be more intentional about spending time with friends and family. Be outside more. Live more simply. Laugh more and louder. See The Water’s Edge develop and mature as a church and even reproduce new churches.
Most of all—I hope to be a closer follower of Jesus. He says when I seek Him first that He will give me what I need. He hasn’t let me down yet.