John Chapman is as bold as brass when it comes to telling the truth. He knows that when you’re 82 it’s not too smart to keep putting things off. Especially the things that really matter. Life’s too short. There’s no point in pretending. And certainly not with the people you deeply care about. So he just tells it like it is, and he gets away with it. Addressing a bunch of oldies in his retirement home he says…
I can see there are a lot of snow-capped mountains and barren peaks here today. Now put your hand up if you think you’ll be alive in 10 years … what about 5 years? … if you’re not right with God, and you’ve only got 3 years to go, wouldn’t you make that a high priority? I would, if I were you!
Chappo has been a follower of Jesus since his teens and he’s learned a great deal over the years. In a recent interview, at an AFES student workers conference, he shared at length about his experiences as a Christian. It’s a long interview (86 minutes) but it’s full of priceless gems of encouragement amidst his trademark story telling and humour. The topics cover such areas as being a Christian at school, connecting with people in country towns, his experiences with the 1959 Billy Graham crusade, how to become a better preacher, communicating about Jesus Christ on university campuses, getting organised with prayer, the struggles of growing old, why heaven will be so much better, and more.
A particular highlight for me was hearing about Chappo’s commitment to praying for other people. (It occurs between 54 and 60 minutes into the video.) He explained how 6 weeks of hospitalisation over Christmas gave him more opportunities to pray. He described his strategies for prayer that include his photographic prayer diary, his daily lists, his 9 day cycle, and his special prayers for people in need. He mentioned that he prays for his ‘oncology patient’ friends, including myself, each time he gets up to go to the toilet at night. I feel very privileged to be on this exclusive prayer list! Furthermore, Fiona and I were so encouraged to hear Chappo share how he also prays for our youngest son, and how they’ve been writing to each other and found this mutually encouraging. God bless you brother!
Do yourself a favour. Skip that meaningless forensic pathology television show, or that B grade multi-repeat movie, or that footy game you were planning to watch… and listen to Chappo get fired up about what’s really important. Click here to watch.