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Pastor Glenn McDonald: End Game

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A number of people have made memorable comments about the end of life:

  • Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75. Ben Franklin

  • The idea is to die young as late as possible. Ashley Montagu

  • When you’re dead, you’re dead. That’s it. Marlene Dietrich

  • I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life. Corazon Aquino

  • I intend to live forever, or to die trying. Groucho Marx

  • Dying is easy, it’s living that scares me to death. Annie Lennox

  • When I die, I’m leaving my body to science fiction. Steven Wright

  • If a man has not discovered something he will die for, he is not fit to liveMartin Luther King Jr.

  • Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Susan Ertz

  • I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter. Winston Churchill

Then there’s Silicon Valley entrepreneur and billionaire Bryan Johnson, who recently told Bloomberg, “What I do may sound extreme, but I’m trying to prove that self-harm and decay are not inevitable.”

What exactly is Johnson trying to do?

In the fall of 2021 he announced an all-out assault on aging called Project Blueprint. Johnson (shown above) hopes to cheat death, or at least push back the end of life as long as he possibly can.

The divorced father of three follows a strict dietary and lifestyle regimen. He regularly meets with a team of 30 physicians in his home-based medical facility. His docs routinely administer an extraordinary range of tests. Those include MRIs, measurements of body fat and heart rate variability, and nearly constant examinations of blood, stool, and urine. 

Johnson rises at 5:00 am and takes up to 100 supplements. He exercises for an hour every day and consumes exactly 1,977 calories as part of a 100% vegan diet.  At one point he was receiving a monthly blood transfusion, including one from his teenage son.

Is he making progress?

Johnson, who is 45 years old, is said to have the heart of a 37-year-old, the skin of a 28-year-old, and the lung capacity of an 18-year-old. He has lowered his overall biological age by about five years.

This approach to life, unsurprisingly, comes with a price tag. Johnson expects to invest more than $2 million this year in his quest to turn back the clock.

Chasing eternal youthfulness has become big business. Rich people in particular are willing to spend vast sums on spas, pills, and scientifically engineered diets.

The Global Wellness Institute, a research group for America’s wellness industry (said to be worth nearly $500 billion) reports the proliferation of elite clubs that charge members thousands of dollars each month for access to high-end gyms, individually tailored nutrition plans, sleep coaching, and $200,000 facelifts.

Such lifestyle strategies definitely aren’t within everyone’s budget. 

But are they actually helping people live longer and better lives? 

Bryan Johnson may sport a T-shirt that says, “Don’t Die,” but so far there is no evidence that either he or anyone has stumbled upon the Fountain of Youth. Author Eileen Guder notes that life is inherently risky, and there’s really nothing we can do about it:

“You can live on bland food so as to avoid an ulcer, drink no tea, coffee, or other stimulants in the name of health, stay away from night life, avoid all controversial subjects so as to never give offense, mind your own business, avoid involvement in people’s problems, spend money only on necessities and save all you can. You can still break your neck in the bathtub, and it will serve you right.”

When it comes to memorable quotes about the end of life, there’s still one other source. And it’s hard to top the Bible.

The apostle Paul, at the crescendo of what is arguably his greatest burst of teaching in his greatest letter – what we have come to know as Romans chapter eight – tries to think of a single thing that might possibly come between us and Jesus. Nothing – certainly not death – will ever succeed:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).

God’s incredible assurance is that for those who abandon themselves to Jesus, life isn’t over when it’s over. 

And the best part of all?

You don’t need a dollar in your bank account to receive such grace. 



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