Church/Ministry: Ridge Chapel
Denomination: Christian/Church of Christ
Ridge Chapel is located within Flint Ridge Resort, a gated community in the NE corner of OK near Siloam Springs, AR. The congregation in an undenominational fellowship serving not only the residents of the resort, but also many in the surrounding area. The congregation is particularly active in supporting a variety of mission outreach efforts.
After student ministries during College & Seminary years, served 15 years as Minister of the newly established First Christian, St. Ann, MO (during which time our congregation swarmed 4 more new congregations & helped start 10 more in the St. Louis area); 2 years as Associate Director of North American Christian Convention, Cincinnati, OH; 8 years as President of Dallas Christian College, Dallas, TX; and, after serving 25 years with Central Christian, Brownsville, TX., I retired and moved to Kansas, OK where I recently was asked to serve as Minister to the Ridge Chapel in the Flint Ridge Resort, a gated community near Kansas, OK.
Undergraduate degree, Dallas Christian College, Dallas, TX; Graduate work, Lincoln Christian Seminary, Lincoln, IL; Post-graduate work at Washington University and the University of Missouri, St. Louis, MO. Honorary doctorate, Mid-South Christian College, Memphis, TN.
Iíve been married for 53 years to the former Ethel Wilmoth of Dallas, TX. We have 3 children: a daughter, Patty Duke, & her husband Walter, formerly houseparents at Cookson Hills Christian Ministries in OK; a son, Gary (wife-Ruth), who ministers to Northeast Christian Church in San Antonio, TX,; and a daughter, Shari Borders (husband-Russ), who is Childrenís Minister at Gateway Christian, St. Louis, MO. We have 9 grandchildren, & 2 great-grandchildren. Our oldest grandchild, Jason Duke, is the pastoral minister of Compass in Frisco, TX. His brother, Taylor, serves as the Childrenís Minister at the Cornerstone Church, Dallas, TX.
Best advice given to me about preaching
Many years ago my father, who was a missionary (China, Tibet, Philippines), a College President, and a church planter (36 that I know about) said, "Preach so that a 12-year-old child can understand, and somehow the adults will catch on." In more recent years, the preaching of Dennis Slaughter, now Minister Emeritus of Valley View Christian, Dallas, TX has had a profound effect on my preaching content and style - particularly in helping me develop a more conversational presentation.
One of my favorite illustrations
True story: It was a very important meeting in Atuntze on the border of China & Tibet. Chinese officials, a number of local authorities, & representatives of a Tibetan warlord, (some of whom had never seen a white man before) were meeting with my father, a medical missionary, to find out why we were there. Sitting in the back of the room next to an old Tibetan man, I listened as my father told the old, old story to a group of men, most of whom had never even heard the name of Jesus before. As he talked, the old man next to me began to mutter over & over again, "Itís not true. Itís just not true." At first my father didnít hear him. But then the old man got louder, & my father heard him, & he said, "But it is true, sir. Jesus came to earth & lived among us. He performed many miracles & taught marvelous things about Godís love for all people. And even though they killed Him, God raised Him from the dead, & He is alive today. It is true, & there are many proofs of what Iím saying. So why do you think that it is not true?" Iíll never forget the answer of that old Tibetan man, "If it were true, we would have heard of it a long time ago!" What an indictment! And what a challenge we still face today!
What my spouse (really) thinks of my sermons
The first draft of my sermon is usually 10-12 typewritten pages long. After revising & rewriting it 3 or 4 times it is about 7 pages long. Then I give it to my wife & request that she help me eliminate about 2 more pages. And she does! Now if I could just get her to write my sermons in the first place... Seriously, her insight has enhanced the quality of my sermons. And since she is already familiar with it, she goes to the church prayer room to pray for me as I preach. And that makes a real difference!
Comment to those looking at my sermons
Iím a much better editor & rewriter than I am a creative writer, therefore much of what I preach is a distillation & reworking of what I have read or heard from others. I am convinced that we are part of a divine chain-reaction that will never cease. If what I write, or how I say it, is of any help to you as you prepare your sermons, then I praise God for it. And may He receive all the glory!