What follows in this well‐known Bible story found in II Kings 2 are truths for us to consider as we think of what it means to live and leave a legacy of powerful faith.
Elijah basically does his life‐review with Elisha, a next‐generation leader who is shadowing him. In one day’s time, Elijah leads Elisha on a tour that reads like a faith‐in‐action travel itinerary: Gilgal, where the Israelites camped out before entering the Promised Land; Bethel to pray; Jericho to see what was left of the walls; the Jordan River to face life’s end. Elisha, an earnest mentoree, tended to Elijah’s needs while considering a stra‐ tegic transition plan. Finally, Elijah asks, “What do you want from me?” And Elisha, in typical next‐generation fashion, answers, “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit.” Yep ‐ I’ve watched you, Elijah, and God’s done some amazing stuff through you ‐‐ but I want more. I want to know God more, see him work more. I want at least twice as much of the Spirit of God in my life and ministry.
How like the next generations of today: Seeking authenticity, revising everything from church structure to hymn‐tunes, and daring to invade a fractured world with messages of grace, hope and justice. How like the next generation to want more!
If we hadn’t already read the ending, we might expect Elijah to launch a 10 session discipleship/mentoring program during which he would impart the kind of knowledge Elisha would need to carry forth the old man’s agenda. But that’s not what happens. Elijah takes off on a celestial motocross and leaves behind a cloak. His robe. A symbol of authority, position and everything associated with that: like ridicule, suffering and tremendous Spirit power.
Elisha has to be overwhelmed by the pyrotechnics of the moment. He has asked for double or nothing, and now there it is in front of him: Elijah’s cloak. He willingly bends over and picks it up! He eagerly puts on that cloak because it has seen it shining with holy fire. He wants what had powered the generation before him. Had it been a lifeless cloak, it is doubtful that Elisha would have cared to pick it up. But Elijah left a heritage of fiery faith, spiritual fervor, holy imagination! Elisha picks up the cloak, touches the Jordan River and watches as the waters part. He crosses on holy ground into a new world of ministry!
How are our cloaks doing? Is our life of faith burning so brightly with the fire of the Spirit that the next generation wants to pick it up? Charles Swindoll once remarked, “You can’t light another’s candle of hope if your own torch isn’t burning.”
May it be said that those of us in the second half of life are wearing great cloaks of fire! Spirit‐filled fire that inspires our children and grandchildren to follow hard after a holy and outrageous God. And when it comes time to lay it down, picking it up will be a holy and magnificent experience.
by Leona Bergstrom, Co-Director, 2nd 1/2 for Him
The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek, enthousiasmos - to be possessed -- en theos, “in God.” What are you enthusiastic or “in God” about?
Renewing our calling, and so, reigniting our passions, enables us to spark our own enthusiasm and, just as importantly, the enthusiasm of young people. The actual stories we tell may be forgotten, but our living passion is an inspiring power.
Passion is inextricably linked to vital aging. New elders with a real zest for the second half of life draw upon their passions to keep them going while contemporaries are slumbering. They are passionately growing whole, not old.
--Quoted from Claiming Your Place at the Fire by Richard Leider and David Shapiro (pg. 101)
2nd 1/2 for Him Peer Network Gathering
April 7-9, 2011 Orlando, Florida
You are invited to join ministry peers from Converge Worldwide churches for a time of fellowship, sharing program ideas and best practices, thinking through the challenges and opportunities of ministry, and prayer!
2nd 1/2 for Him is teaming up with the Converge Worldwide Network Gathering Staff to offer this first-ever event. The format is both informal and productive. You’ll leave with new ideas, new friends and a new passion for ministry. The format of a Network Gathering is fresh, innovative and designed to meet your specific and unique ministry needs.
The gathering will begin with dinner on Thursday night, April 7, and end at noon on Saturday, April 9. Sessions will focus on what participants set as priority agenda items for discussion. We’ll hear from Converge Worldwide national leaders. We’ll fellowship around great meals. And, an extra highlight: A tour of The Holy Land Experience in Orlando! www.holylandexperience.com
Cost is $30 per person or $50 per couple. This includes all sessions and two meals. Accommodations, breakfasts (included in hotel price) and some sessions will be held at the Spring Hill Suites in Orlando, near the airport. A special discounted rate of $99 per room is available to Network Gathering participants. Tickets to The Holy Land Experience are an additional $26 per person.
This Network Gathering will be encouraging and inspiring for all pastors, directors and lay leaders who minister with midlife and older adults.
Serve in Thailand with 2nd 1/2 for Him!
Converge Worldwide missionary Steve Cable has invited 2nd 1/2 for Him to minister at the Santisuk English School in Bangkok, Thailand. You can be a part of a group of fifteen 2nd 1/2 for Him participants from across the nation as we go to teach English to Thai students. The experience will be four weeks long, arriving March 12 and returning April 8, 2011. During our time in Thailand we will be trained and equipped to be good English teachers. We will then teach two classes per day, Monday ‐ Thursday, two hours per class, 10‐ 11 students per class. During free time we will have the opportunity to develop relationships with students, go sightseeing, or spend time studying, swimming or shopping.
Costs are approximately $850, and cover housing, food, in‐country transportation and other fees. Airfare to Bangkok will be determined by your starting point, but typically is around $1,200‐ $1,400. If you are in country 30 days or less, a tourist visa is free upon arrival in Bangkok.
Here is what others have to say about their experience at Santisuk:
As a retired guidance counselor, and my wife a retired permanent substitute teacher, we had talked for years about doing short term missions work at retirement. We did two terms in Bangkok to teach at Santisuk English School under Steve Cable. Our greatest memories occurred when we asked our second year students what they thought of Jesus Christ. What a thrill to hear their honest interest. One of our students during our second trip accepted the Lord and sent us a picture showing Pastor Cable baptizing her in water. We remain in communication with three former students. SES remains one of the best memories in our retirement.
--John and Bette Stocks Mansfield, Ohio
One of the greatest experiences of our lives was teaching at Santisuk English School. Of all the mission trips we have taken, this is the one in which we felt we made the greatest impact. Spending a month with the same students builds a strong bridge of relationships. We saw some of our students come to the church service and cell group. One has since become a Christian, one came back to the Lord and her boyfriend is now a believer. We are returning in 2011 for a second tour, and we can hardly wait to get there!
‐‐Tom & Wendy Siefert, Mona Shores Baptist Church, Muskegon, Mich.
If you are interested in learning more about joining this National 2nd 1/2 for Him team, please email Leona Bergstrom at Leona.Bergstrom@convergeww.org or call 206‐362‐2621.
To learn more about opportunities at Santisuk School, please visit www.santisuk.org/serve