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Dear John … A Letter I’d Write to My Younger Self

Dear John

G’day from your future.

Yes, that’s right I am writing to you from your future. Actually, it’s your 64-old future which I must say is brighter than what you think it will be.

I thought I’d jump back in time and offer you some timely advice will help you have even a better life.

Your Family

John, as I sit here in your future it’s important that I tell you that your family will mean much more to you than you currently realise.

You will discover that many people will come and go from your life but your family will remain.

Protect your family relationships.

Love your family like there’s no tomorrow.

Consider adultery worse than the black plague. Resolve to not destroy your family with this immoral curse.

You will see way too many wise, smart and gifted people destroy their futures with unrestrained sexual appetites. Decide now that you will not be amongst that number.

Your Marriage

And while I am at it let me remind you that your marriage is the most important human relationship you will ever have on this planet. Nothing else will come close.

Believe it or not, your friends will change over the course of time. Likewise, church members won’t be around forever. But your Dianne will be by your side for all your days.

It’s a wise man who protects his marriage and continues to sacrifice for the love of his life.

Spend key time with Dianne. Let her feel secure in your love and care. Show her you love her. Tell her often of your love for her and never let her feel insecure in your love.

Protect her with your words and your presence. Your presence in her world will give her security, a sense that everything is going to be ok.

You Will Face Overwhelming Health Challenges

John, I know you won’t want to hear this but you will have some serious health problems. Health challenges that you are not expecting and will have you despairing at times.

You will experience excruciating physical pain that will bring you to tears.

However, the Lord will use this pain to soften your heart and develop empathy within your often-driven heart.

Amid your pain remember this, it will pass.

While warning you of the pain that will inevitably come I must encourage, no challenge you, to take care of your health.

Be a man who moves. Push yourself to exercise. Refuse to be a couch potato. Regular exercise will bring ongoing benefits as you get older.

You Will Face Disappointments

I am not trying to overwhelm you with bad news but rather arm you beforehand when I tell you to prepare yourself for disappointments.

Skilfully handling setbacks will build resilience into your life, making you capable of bouncing back from heartfelt disappointments.

Things will not always go the way you planned. Some of your dreams will fall to the ground and never bear fruit.

But then there are Christ’s plans that you have no idea about at your tender age. Plans that would astound you if you knew them. So, make plans but hold them lightly and leave room for the Lord to surprise you.

You Will Become A Geek!

You are more of a geek than you realise. This will enable you to move comfortably into the remarkable age of technology that will break out upon your world.

You won’t believe this yet but it will completely revolutionise the way you lead and do ministry.

Therefore, always keep an open mind, a youthful mind when faced with innovative ways of doing old things. Do not get stuck in old ways and habits that are no longer fruitful.

Travel Opportunities

You will visit cities and countries that you never thought you would visit. You will see a vast array of churches and cultures.

Explore each culture as a student would explore a new topic. Keep your L plates on.

Seek to understand the context you are in before you proffer advise or solutions.

Always remind yourself that travel is a privilege extended to a few. Never take it for granted. Accept it as a gift from your Father.

Whenever you travel for ministry and a church is paying remember it is someone’s tithe and sacrificial giving that is affording you the opportunity. Never forget this truth nor take it for granted.

The Bible

The Bible will become more important to you as you progress through the years of ministry.

Give yourself to it.

Dig deeper.

Read widely and be careful to not just stay with minds that confirm what you think.

Move out of your Pentecostal culture and discover how other believers think and act.

Read deeply and widely as this will empower your walk with Christ and your preaching.

Your Friends

Friendship will surprise you.

Friendship is different to family.

Unlike family, friends will come and go over the years. But don’t let that cause you to run scared like a frantic chicken.

Press into your friendships because they will be your saving grace at times.

Make friends with other pastors. They will understand your joys and heartache like no others. Nurture them like you would a green sapling.

When dark times come you’ll be glad you made friendship a priority. When party times come you’ll also be glad that you have friends to share your joy.

You Are a Leader

This will surprise you but you will become a leader of note both in Australia and overseas. People will recognise the gift of leadership in you and follow you.

Learn the art of leadership that empowers other people. Don’t be ambitious for yourself but be ambitious for others.

Watch skilful leaders and learn from their ways. Observe those who fail at leadership and see their end.

Remain humble as you see the Lord elevate your leadership voice in the lives of others. Keep giving Christ the credit He deserves for opening a door of leadership for you.

Your Writing

You may also find this hard to believe but your writing will influence hundreds of thousands of people. Yes, thousands of people will read your words. Therefore, grow in this skill of communication.

Learn how to write because I have called you not only to preach, lead and coach I have called you to shift people through your writings.

John, as a young man in his twenties, I know that you’ve got dreams and plans but as I stand in your future I can tell you it’s far more expansive than what you have ever imagined.

Enjoy the ride!

The 64-year-old John

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