Mature adults learn to 'grow up in the last half of life' - Word&Way

Mature adults learn to ‘grow up in the last half of life’

ROACH — Mature adults from across the state enjoyed great music, inspired preaching, good fellowship and lots of laughs at this year's 55+ Fall Celebration at Windermere Baptist Conference Center Sept. 26-29.

Swing St. Louis performs Sept. 29 for the 55+ Fall Celebration at Windermere Baptist Conference Center. The duo, sisters Lacy and Emily Miller, keep the melodies of the World War II and Big Band eras alive through performances and teaching. (Photo by Vicki Brown)

Using the theme, "Growing Up in the Last Half of Life," the retreat focused on ways in which adults can enhance the quality of life as they get older. The retreat offered several activities and enrichment sessions, including ministry opportunities as a grandparent and with homebound individuals, estate planning, sketching and humor, among several others.

Celebration Preacher Joe McKeever emphasized that although change comes, God still uses his followers. The Lord doesn't stop giving his people ministries to do just because they grow older.

Drawing from Matthew 13, Luke 17, 1 Samuel 14:6 and 1 Corinthians 1:26, McKeever, retired director of missions for New Orleans Baptist Association, pointed out, "God loves to use ordinary people…. God loves to use the nobodies, that way he gets all the glory."

Those considered giants of the faith became so because of mentors in their lives, McKeever said. He shared that early in his ministry, Billy Graham was to lead a revival and visited McKeever at his office.

After the evangelist left, God asked McKeever, "Do you pray for Billy Graham?"

Joe McKeever, retired director of missions of New Orleans Baptist Association and a cartoonist, speaks as celebration pastor for the 55+ retreat. (Photo by Vicki Brown)

McKeever responded, "But people all over the world pray for him, and I'm only one person."

The retired DOM then heard God tell him, "Do you know of anyone who is two people? Now pray." From that day, McKeever has prayed for the evangelist.

He pointed out that a farmer's influence led Graham to Christ. At 16, Graham worked on a farm and especially liked driving the farm truck. The farmer promised the young man he could drive the truck the next day if he would attend a crusade that night. Graham went and was saved that night.

McKeever also told about Frank Pollard, another well-known Baptist preacher who grew up in a small Texas town. One night he was given an opportunity to preach at church, but apparently did not do well. Only one person, Beverly King, encouraged him.

Pollard went to Texas A&M University, where he cleaned the Baptist Student Union building and practiced preaching as he worked. King sent him a postcard every week to encourage Pollard while he was a student. "You can probably write a handwritten note to somebody," McKeever said.

McKeever, also a well-known cartoonist, encouraged his listeners to continue to minister "as long as you hear he [God] has something for you to do."

He reminded them that servants in Jesus' day were to take care of their masters' needs first and then their own. "We are not to expect honor for ourselves," he said. "When we learn that, it solves lots of problems for us."