A full house of “seasoned citizens” gathered at Glynwood Baptist Church in Prattville May 2 for the Revive Senior Adult Evangelism Conference.
David Dykes, who served 30 years as senior pastor of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas, now pastor emeritus, and Jay Wolf, who for 31 years was senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Montgomery, were featured speakers.
Dykes began by polling the audience.
“If you are old enough to remember this, hold up your hand: How many of you can remember when soft drinks only came in bottles and you could get a deposit back?”
With a lot of raised hands and laughter, Dykes said, “Young kids know nothing about that.
“How many can remember when gasoline was 26 cents a gallon, ethyl was 30 and somebody pumped it for you?” More laughter. “How many can remember when nobody owned a pure-bred dog?
“Somebody said that old age was when you’ve got it all together — you just can’t remember where you put it,” Dykes quipped. “Well, we’re going to talk about a guy today who was 85 years old, had it all together and knew exactly where to put it.”
That man was Caleb, and Dykes preached from Joshua 14:6–13, reminding the seniors that Caleb wandered the wilderness with the children of Israel until a generation had died out, still not claiming the promise Moses gave him when he was 40.
Dykes noted three lessons on claiming the promises of God.
- Persistence. “When God gives you a promise, you should never release it,” he declared. “[The Bible] is full of promises. Herb Locklear said that in the Bible there are 7,457 promises there for us to claim. A promise of God is useless unless you claim that promise in faith.”
- Endurance. “When you follow God with all of your heart, you’ll never retire from serving him,” Dykes asserted. “If you are a child of God, you have a calling on your life. Never retire — that is endurance.”
- Courage. “When you fight in God’s strength, you’ll never retreat from the enemy,” Dykes said. “Courage is the ability to keep going even when you’re afraid; courage is not having no fear, it’s not fearlessness — it’s going on in the face of fear.”
Jay Wolf came to the pulpit with a fishing rod and shared an anecdote about a man who came across a talking frog while fishing. He put the frog in his pocket and the frog spoke up and said, “Don’t you understand? If you just kiss me, I’ll become your loving bride,” to which the man responded, “Honey, at my age I’d just rather have a talking frog.”
Things got serious when Wolf told the audience he was “going to talk to you about the most important thing — that is what Jesus wants us to do. That is, go fishing with Him.”
Wolf read from Matthew 4:18 about Jesus meeting Simon Peter and Andrew and issuing “a unique invitation, but it’s a timeless invitation,” Wolf said. “I believe it’s the invitation He’s issuing to me and to you.”
Wolf then shared the acrostic “FIRE” as a memory tool for sharing the gospel, saying it works in every context. Ask the person questions about Family, Interests and Religion, then begin to Explore beliefs and Explain a personal testimony of salvation.
Sharing your story
Wolf noted he had conducted many funerals throughout his life and was surprised by how many family members don’t know the faith story of the one who died.
“A shocking number of grandkids and children cannot repeat their parents’ or grandparents’ salvation story,” Wolf lamented. “Hey — I’m not going to be in that category. I’ve got four kids; I’ve got six grandkids. You better be sure that they know my salvation story.
“Does that apply to you?”