Wednesday, September 23, 2009

As this Baby Boomer Turns 60 Today...

…I’m grateful for:

Having been born into a family with a legacy of faith on both sides, leading back generations. My paternal grandfather (who died when my dad was an infant) was a pastor whose deathbed wish was that his children would grow up to be churchgoing believers. And they did.

Having been raised in a small Bible church where Christ was pre-eminent and the Word central. One old saint always thanked God for “this little lighthouse,” which was the way we all saw Oakwood Bible Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Being led to Christ by my mother when I was a child. I used to wish I had a dramatic testimony, but I have learned that people who were gloriously saved out of lives of sin and degradation would give anything to trade for a story like mine. It’s just as much a miracle of God to be raised in a loving, Christian home.

Being counseled through times of doubt by my father and coming to full assurance of my salvation.

Having three brothers who love God and have served him their whole lives.

That alcohol had no place in our family. The sad stories I hear…

Small town values, Little League baseball, and an era where even in public school, we often prayed in class.

Parents who never hurt me but weren’t afraid to spank.

Learning to love the great old hymns.

Summer camp, where I was challenged one year “to live for Christ by God’s grace even if you have to stand alone.”

And the next summer where I felt called to full-time Christian service, assuming I would have to give up my writing dream and become a pastor or missionary – only to find that God often equips you before he calls you.

Attending Moody Bible Institute, which remains my proudest association to this day.

Agreeing to a blind date in 1970 that resulted in a lifetime love affair.

Having three sons bestowed upon Dianna and me, and the unspeakable privilege of leading each to faith in Christ.

Two godly daughters-in-law, five precious grandchildren, and one more due before the end of this year.

Working at Moody for more than 30 years, first as editor of Moody Magazine, and eventually working in publishing management.

Big doors that opened on small hinges – like getting my foot in the door to write several biographies of famous people, including the privilege of a lifetime: assisting Billy Graham with his memoirs.

Mentors and colleagues who taught me, modeled Holy living before me, challenged me, and helped me grow. This includes Sammy Tippit (the subject of my very first book), four presidents of Moody Bible Institute, professors, fellow board members, superiors, staff.

My pastor.

Meeting Dr. Tim LaHaye and the honor of writing for him the Left Behind series that saw thousands turn to Christ.

Being able to buy the Christian Writers Guild from one of my heroes, Norm Rohrer, and expanding it beyond either of our dreams.

The staff of CWG.

My assistants.

More dear friends than I deserve.

Working with my son, who runs our film company in Los Angeles, Jenkins Entertainment.

Being healthier than I’ve ever been, despite my vintage.

Getting to go to the Holy Land and the Cities of Paul and the Churches of Revelation.

Working with the board and staff at Moody to bring in our new President.

The future. Whether Christ returns before tomorrow or in His mercy waits one more day (which in His economy of time is a thousand years), I look forward to what awaits. I know little of what is in store up there, so while I watch and wait as the Scriptures instruct, I also stay focused on the work at hand.

It’s nice to have work.


marcia said...

Happy "60"

S. J. Deal said...

Happy Birthday!

pennhnd said...

Great words from an even greater man.

Happy Birthday, Jerry!

Eva Marie Everson

Roger said...

Amen! Although I haven't figured out the Dianna connection yet! :)

Karen W said...

Poignant and consistent with the person I've had the priviledge to know.

Have cake!

Karen W

Stephanie Johnson said...

I especially love the first memory of your summer camp, but they're all good. You have lived a rich life thus far, and have much to be thankful for. God bless you on your birthday and always! You're a wonderful inspiration to the rest of us, Jerry.

Cheryl Haggard said...

Happy Birthday, Jerry.

Leigh Davis said...

You got to go to the churches spoken of in Revelation?! SWEET!!

Oh, on the '40th' b. day thingie...I always do that, in hopes that someone will be kind enough to lie on my b day card. This year, I'll be 45 but I'd prefer to read cards that say HAPPY 20th. I'm silly that way.

HAPPY 60th!

Audra Krell said...

Ah, your cup runneth over. This is beautiful and brought tears to my eyes.
Loved the part about being saved. I've got a gutter to glory testimony, but am raising our 3 boys in a loving, Christian home and am so happy they'll have a story like yours.

The Real Deal said...

Happy bday, Jerry. Sorry I missed the party. And having a similar testimony, I relate to having wished I had a "better" testimony, but you're right - ours give glory to God for His provision and legacy in our families.

Bill B. said...

Dear Jerry, I knew you would make it at least this far when we survived the lightning strike in the movie parking lot in Gurnee. Barely a tingle!

Warmest birthday wishes from all of our clan! Miss ya'll!

Bill B.

Sophia said...

what blessings! sorry i missed the day.
Happy Birthday!
(a little late)