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A Lesson From My Son

Published on 06.23.14

I am still getting used to the fact that our two kids are married, that our daughter is now a mother, and that our son is now a father. Don't get me wrong. I am happy for them in every way. I just find it difficult to comprehend that it has been so many years since I was holding them as babies.

Over Father's Day weekend my wife and I took her parents up to see our second granddaughter, the daughter of our son and his wife. Although he doesn't know it, our son taught me something about God as I watched him with his baby. He was carrying her upstairs holding her in front of him with his arms extended saying, "Daddy loves you. Daddy loves you. Do you know that? Daddy loves you."

I couldn't help but think that is how God is towards you and me. He holds us securely and says, "Daddy loves you. Daddy loves you. Do you know that? Daddy loves you.'

As a new grandfather of two beautiful infant granddaughters I am reminded of the brevity of life. My parents are still alive and in a blink I will be like them, aged and wondering where life has gone. Wasn't it just a little while ago when I was the child?

There is and always has been uncertainty in life. There is and always has been good times and bad. One thing is certain no matter what station we are in life, the Father loves us. "Daddy loves you. Daddy loves you. Do you know that? Daddy loves you. Daddy has always loved you!"

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries

Granddaddy's Last Goodbye

Published on 06.11.14

I had some work related business to take care of in my old hometown and thought it would be a good chance to pick up Granddaddy along the way. He had sold the farm and had moved into town after my grandmother died, and I had yet to see his new home. I drove eight hours northwest to pick him up and then another five to six hours north to my parent's house.

Along the way I learned things about him that I never knew. Driving through Louisville, I learned that he once made baseball bats at the Louisville Slugger factory. I expected a theological reason as to why he never smoked or drank. "It cost too much," he said. On the subject of cars, "Five-thousand dollars is a lot of money to have tied up in a car."

As we were walking from my parent’s garage to the house he mentioned his new house. "You've never seen my house have you." I reminded him that I had just picked him up from his house the day before. At the time I didn't think much about his momentary lapse.

We left very late on the return trip and didn't get to his house until 2:00 in the morning. I wanted to keep driving and go on home, but he convinced me to get a little sleep. Having no alarm clock, I asked if he would wake me in two hours. He did as I asked and fixed me breakfast before he would let me leave.

As was his custom he followed me out to my car to say his last goodbye and waved as I drove out the drive. My grandfather lived another twelve years after my visit, but that was his last goodbye to me. I got busy with my young family and my work. When I saw him again less than two years later, Alzheimer's had taken my Granddaddy and had left someone who didn't know me.

We never know when the goodbye will be the last.

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries

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Comment:

Stan, this really hits close to home for me. My Dad, now 86, has shown some signs of dementia over the past few years but still has strong mind and body for his age (I came home from work just today to find him out in my yard cleaning up the debris from the strong winds we had last night).

A few years ago I bought a house just down the street from my parents, the same street on which I grew up. During my 20's and 30's I was living the life of a lost man and I spent as little time around my parents as possible, dishonoring them and God. I missed out on so much, but thanks be to God he drew me back to himself and mended that relationship and I now spend a lot more time with my parents.

I often pick up Dad and take him out for hot dogs and we get some one-on-one time, the same kind you write about where you learn things you didn't know. I will cherish those times for the rest of my life and I hope to have many more. But, I often think to myself how many more? Am I making the most of the time we have together? Probably not, we all fall short... but I am truly grateful for the second chance that has been given to me to get to know my parents all over again!

- Jon R.

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A Message from Joni Eareckson Tada

Published on 06.10.14

Crown of Splendor

Published on 06.04.14

Reposted from Joni and Friends daily devotional:

"Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life."
Proverbs 16:31

When Ken and I were in Russia, we befriended an old woman who cleaned the floors of our hotel lobby every day. Through an interpreter, we complimented her on doing an excellent job. Old and wrinkled, her round and red cheeks were framed with a tightly knotted colorful scarf. Her face sparkled with her blue eyes and golden-toothed smile. She had on layers of skirts and wore leggings and boots. With broom in hand, our elderly friend looked out of place in the hotel lobby; maybe that's why we were drawn to her.

We met many Russian "babushkas" like her. The praying grandmothers, they were called. These were the stalwart saints of whom Stalin had cruelly said, "If we can get rid of these old women, we will have the youth in our grasp."

Stalin failed. And thank God for praying grandmothers who served as a link, spanning a generation lost to atheism and connecting a new generation of young people who are asking open, honest questions about Jesus.

How grateful we can be to elderly saints who make prayer a life vocation. One day eternity shall reveal how far and wide Christ's gospel was advanced through the faithful prayers of old and faithful Christians.
___________________________________

If you have even one gray hair, you could almost qualify for Proverbs 16:31. But is your life a righteous one, hallmarked by the kind of intercessory prayer so many elderly saints offer to the Lord?

Praise God for that person over the age of sixty-five whom you know, a friend who is still trusting the Lord despite arthritis, wrinkles and poor vision. These who wear a crown of splendor need our prayers, too.

Father of all ages, as gray hairs abound, may righteousness abound. May I never resent the encroaching years but view them as an opportunity to deepen my life of praise and intercession.

Blessings,

Joni and Friends
www.joniandfriends.org

Love Me Still?

Published on 05.22.14

Last evening my wife was curled up on the sofa asleep while I watched a Duck Dynasty episode of Phil and Kay having a surprise re-wedding thrown for them on the day of their 49th wedding anniversary. As teenagers they were married at the courthouse, so their family wanted to give them their first real wedding.

If you know the back-story the couple went through some very rough times in their early years due to their poverty and Phil's drinking. Kay even kicked him out once. He gave his wild ways the boot, asked Kay to take him back. Phil is now known as a man who is not ashamed to admit his love for his senior bride and God.

Most men, if they are honest, don't long to go to weddings, but in this one-hour special, men and women alike were smitten at the sight of a love that has been tested, tried, and proven. The simple vows they spoke promised a never-ending love to each other and were backed by years of living out that promise.

Although they did not show photos of the couple in their early days together, I am sure Phil and Kay have changed a bit. But, neither had to ask, "Do you love me still… now that I am old?" In a culture that will sell its soul to remain young, I find the love Phil and Kay show for each other refreshing, convicting, and wonderful.

The bible talks about Christians being the bride of Christ. That is a concept that many of us find difficult to get our heads around, but if we look at it through the eyes of Phil and Kay it becomes a bit clearer. God loves us, period! Did you get that? HE LOVES US! So, let's cultivate a God-like love for others so that no one will have to ask, "Do you love me still?"

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries

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A Chance Meeting With Some Of Our National Treasures

Published on 04.16.14

Re-posted with permission from the author:

A TRUE HONOR
A Chance Meeting With Some Of Our National Treasures

As I exited the plane in Denver to run to my connecting flight home, what did I see as soon as I got into the terminal? The most impressive sight I have seen in a long time. Thirty-Two WWII / Korean War Veterans. They were on their way to visit the WWII War Memorial in Washington D.C. (through the kindness of The Rocky Mountain Honor Flights Program). I knew I was rushed to get to my gate, as the boarding process for my connecting flight had already begun. But I just couldn’t walk by these Wonderful Men without stopping to recognize them and thank them for their courage, valor and sacrifices for the FREEDOMS we all enjoy. I met as many as I could around the gate and asked several of their chaperones if they would mind me taking their picture. They smiled and said I am sure they would love to. So, they scurried to gather this group together, I loudly thanked them all for their services and sacrifices, blessed them and we all did a thumbs and took the special picture you now see.

I do not know everyone’s name, nor do I need to. I just need to know their story and share their story with you. As I choked back tears running to my next flight (like the Hertz rental car commercial of the 70s), I smiled and told myself; "This is why I do what I do. This is why I sacrifice. This is why I put up with all the craziness. This is why I put up with people who get in the way of my ministry. This is why I work 16-hour days. This is “why I do what I do". I do it because I know we (YOU) are out there helping me take care of wonderful people like these wonderful gentleman. "The Greatest" generation of our time.

"Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can NEVER be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America WILL never forget their SACRIFICES."

- President Harry S. Truman

This greatest generation is dying off oh too fast. 16 million men and women served in WWII. Nearly 500, 000 lost their lives paying the ultimate sacrifice. Today, less than 1.7 million veterans are still alive. Each day, 700 WWII era veterans pass away. I couldn’t…. SIMPLY COULDN’T…. just walk away. I had to let them know that they matter and that they mean so much...

Blessings,

William S. Mayes
Proud United States Army Veteran

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Neighborhood Watch? - Twin Brothers Found Dead

Published on 04.08.14

In our very "social" society we have become somewhat isolated, often not knowing much or anything about our neighbors. My wife and I have neighbors who are very friendly, and we speak when we see each other. There are also some in our neighborhood who are easily overlooked.

I just read an article that told of two brothers, twins, who were recently found dead in their home. The decomposed bodies were found side by side in their recliners. Authorities believe the brothers, in their 60's, have been dead since 2011... well over two years. We shake our heads wondering how this could happen, but after the dust settles an even more important question comes to mind. Could it happen in my neighborhood?

Neighbors say the brothers kept to themselves and most thought they had moved and the house was vacant. Had neighbors engaged the brothers on a regular basis, you would not be reading this blog. CAUTION! Before we point fingers, and that is not my intention, I am afraid many of us are not much different. The brothers had no one for over two years to phone, drop by or make any real effort to see how they were doing.

Could it happen in my/your neighborhood? Sadly, yes! So I propose a new kind of neighborhood watch - one that actually looks out for the neighbors, especially the vulnerable ones. We can knock on their door, and do simple things like pull the garbage can up for them. We can treat them, as we would want our parents treated. We can treat them, as we would want to be treated… because one day we will be them, aged and vulnerable!

Elder Source Senior Ministries has a new resource coming entitled, "Who Is My Neighbor?" The booklet and DVD will list five simple steps for church-based, neighborhood-based senior outreach. When completed the resource will be on our website. Let's do our part to make sure the story of the brothers never happens in our neighborhood.

Stan Means, President
Elder Source Senior Ministries

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Fort Hood Shooting - An Ageism Question to Ponder

Published on 04.03.14

I am writing this blog the day after the second Fort Hood Shooting – 4/3/14. As expected all news outlets are reporting on the tragic event. Any loss of life is tragic. Therefore, we mourn the death of those killed and pray for those who were injured.

Mass shootings are not new to society, but they do seem to be much more frequent and much more deadly. Sandy Hook and the Aurora Colorado movie theatre are two of the most recent. The bombing at last year's Boston Marathon can also be included even though it was not a shooting.

There have been many other mass shootings in recent years. Some, I don't remember seeing in the news as much as others. One in particular received little notice. In fact, I have yet to mention the shooting to anyone who remembers the 2009 shooting in a nursing home in Carthage, NC. A lone gunman killed eight elderly residents and a nurse.

If my research is correct there has never been a shooting in a nursing home so deadly. According to figures available as of this writing, four were killed in Fort Hood yesterday. If, as I believe, any loss of life is tragic... then why did the killings of one nurse and eight infirm seniors receive such little attention? Please don't rollover that question too quickly. Why did the killings of one nurse and eight infirm seniors receive such little attention?

May God's grace and peace rest on all those affected by yesterday's shooting and the many others in recent years. May we learn to treat life as a precious gift, regardless of age.

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries

Stuck in the Mud

Published on 04.01.14

With the Midwest having had one of the worst winters on record, my daughter's yard was soaked from melting snow and rain. While moving her car the front wheels left the driveway, getting stuck in the mud. The more she and her husband worked to free the car the worse the situation became.

I am sure at one time or another most of us have become stuck in the mud either literally or figuratively. Perhaps, you feel stuck right now in a job, a relationship, a health concern, a financial matter… and things are getting pretty muddy—maybe even hopeless. If you are “stuck in the mud” may I suggest a couple of things?

First, find your soul spot…the place you can go to be alone to think and to pray. Mine is a vacant wooded lot on a deserted portion of a nearby lake. Nothing magical happens there. God doesn’t shine his glory on me or speak audibly through a burning bush, but it is cleansing for me. Another soul spot for me is getting behind the wheel by myself on a road trip. My brain seems to unclog, and I can think more clearly. Find your soul spot before life gets so muddy you can’t see or think straight.

Second, find an avenue to help someone. Seniors are a wonderful people group to help. They are so thankful for a visit, card, note, chore, and time given. You will receive more than you give, and your soul will be filled over and over again.

My daughter and her husband were able to get their car out of the mud. The scars in the lawn remain for now, but repairs have been made and new grass will soon appear. Hope is both fragile and powerful. When we give, hope abounds and a muddy landscape becomes green again.

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries

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What is He Thinking?

Published on 03.14.14

Elder Source is new to the social marketing scene. The delay is my own fault, but I am glad to have finally begun with the help and encouragement of two volunteers. I logged on a few minutes ago and was looking at the main picture on our Facebook page. An elderly man, standing with the help of a walker, is looking out a window.

Is he watching children playing? Is he lost in thought? If he is in a care community or homebound I have a pretty good guess what may be on his mind. He could be concerned about his declining health. He could be lonely. He may have outlived many of his friends and maybe even his wife. His kids are probably busy. His church may have forgotten him. His “hope tank” could be running low.

Most seniors want the same basic things we do—to be loved, appreciated, and respected! How can we do that? At the very least we can call, visit, and even write to them the old fashioned way—via a letter or a card. Some may need more hands-on help with an errand or chore they can no longer do.

If all of us do something, no senior will be left hopelessly, longingly, staring out a window. We can do this! We really can do this! I would love to hear your senior story.

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries

PS - Maybe the guy in the window is looking for you or me, hoping today will the day we will stop by for a hug and a visit.

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A Senior Discount! Really?

Published on 03.07.14

I spent the middle part of this week in a conference for activity directors who work in senior care facilities. I was entering trip expenses into QuickBooks when I noticed something on a breakfast receipt that read, “1 SENIOR BUFFET BKFST.”

Stop the presses! Stop everything! They gave me a senior discount? I didn't show an ID. I wasn’t asked my age. I didn't ask for a discount, and I certainly didn't ask for a senior discount. To be honest with you I didn't like being placed in the senior category.

Americans spend cazillions of dollars each year to deny and cover up the fact that they are aging, and the church is not immune to “seniorphobia.” I see pastors in their 50's trying to look and act much younger. I know of churches that are replacing middle-aged pastors with much younger staff members. I heard one pastor in his early 40's say his staff (all near his age) is getting old, and they need younger staff members.

Even though I often disagree with how society and the church view seniors, I hadn't accepted the fact that I have bought into some of the same thinking—the thinking that devalues the intrinsic value and honor of growing older. One of the tag lines for Elder Source is, “Making a difference one senior at a time.” Until this morning I didn't understand it has to begin with me. So, here it goes. My name is Stan Means, and I am over 50. Therefore I qualify for some (very few really) senior discounts, and that’s okay!

Well, I put it in print! Now I have to convince myself that it is true.

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries

Be the Match... Let the Wild Fire Begin

Published on 03.02.14

Following World War II our nation was prospering after nearly three decades of war and extreme financial turmoil. For the next eighteen years (1946-1964) our country was blessed with the births of some eighty million children… the Baby Boomers. Our culture reacted and so did the church. Programs for children and teens spread like a wild fire. Bus ministries became the norm. Youth pastors were hired in record numbers. Numerous youth organizations, such as Campus Crusade and Youth for Christ, were either birthed or flourished during this time.

Nearly seventy years have past since the end of WWII, and we are in the midst of another age wave. This time it is an aging Tsunami. The Baby Boomers are entering their senior years at the rate of 10,000 per day. At the same time the generation preceding the Boomers are living longer than previous generations.

In the next twenty years the senior population will double and will out number youth for the first time in history. The church, which was at the forefront of the youth movement, is largely silent to a group that is far more numerous. The field is whitening! Let us not stay silent! Be the one to effect change in a senior near you. Listen and learn from them. Help them. Pray with them and for them. Be the match… let the wild fire begin again!

Stan Means
President
Elder Source Senior Ministries

Donor Newsletter - Spring 2014

Published on 02.25.14

Here's the digital version of our spring donor newsletter.

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If not us then who?

Published on 02.20.14

During the coldest days of one of the worst winters on record, an 86 year-old man asked his daughter to take him to the nursing home so he could visit some of the residents. The daughter was reluctant, but agreed. She feared her father would fall on the icy sidewalks and parking lot.

The man stayed for 90 minutes visiting with numerous old friends. His effort was at great personal sacrifice and wearied him for the rest of the day, but the daughter could tell how much it meant to her father. He later told her that many times he didn’t physically feel like going to church, but he went to encourage others.

Statistics say that over 60% of seniors in nursing homes are not visited. The quote in the title of this blog is from Ronald Regan. The full quote says, “If not us then who? If not now then when?”


If an 86 year-old man can make the regular sacrifice to visit and encourage seniors, can we not do the same and even more? If not you and me then who? If not now then when? Will you stand with this 86 year-old man and make a difference in the lives of seniors in your community, your church, your neighborhood, and in your family?

Let me hear from you. Together we can make a difference one senior at a time.

Stan Means
President
Elder Source Senior Ministries

Inspiring seniors to live with purpose by honoring God in their latter years

Published on 01.26.12

Elder Source exists to facilitate senior ministry by distributing senior-friendly Christian resources to seniors in care centers, creating opportunities that encourage and edify seniors to be productive and spiritually fertile, and building partnerships with like-minded organizations, churches, and individuals that will value and honor seniors.

In the United States, approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 50 every day. This means the population of Americans aged 65 and over will jump from 35 million to 71.5 million between the years 2010 and 2030. The number of men and women 85 and older will increase by over 70%!

This trend has enormous implications for every segment of our society, including the church. That’s why we must begin now to prepare for what many Christian leaders are calling one of the fastest growing mission fields in history.

Welcome to Our New Website

Published on 05.25.11

Welcome to our new website and our first blog post! We hope you'll find this site a valuable resource and tool. This new site, provided by www.bellstrike.com, gives us an updated look and feel and is also easy for us to update. This means that we'll be able to add fresh news and information on a regular basis.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know on our contact page. If you would like to make a donation, please visit our donate page.

Keep checking back often!