Friday, October 2, 2009

After 56 years

Yesterday I turned 56 years of age. I don't feel that old. But my hair is no longer dark brown and my beard is almost completely gray. I know I'm not a teenager but I still feel I have good energy and a desire to serve the Lord with all that I am. After 56 years I wish I knew a little more, was more holy, communicated better, and trusted the Lord more in the routines of life. But I am not once I once was and I hope to keep growing.
This past year I preached over 30 times (my home church and 7 others), taught 10 courses at DTS (280 lectures), spoke at 2 weekend retreats and at a family camp (Northern Pines), led and taught on 2 Israel Tours, traveled to Jordan to teach at JETS and speak at churches, did an "academic" river tour down the Grand Canyon, had a great vacation with my wife in British Columbia as we visited Sarah and John, saw my daughter Charity (and husband Justin) face melanoma cancer, rejoiced with Joshua as he got engaged to Haleight (wedding this coming May), saw Jeff Denton come to be our lead pastor at Waterbrook, took on a new position as Department Chair of Bible Exposition, postponed my sabbatical from next year to the following year, and enjoyed life.
I'm still in love with my wife Sharon after 34 years, I am enjoyed my adult children and their spouses (still waiting for grandkids, hint), glad my mother and father, brothers and sisters are still healthy and following the Lord and I still enjoy ministry at DTS and when I get a chance to travel I love to preach (last week Joshua and I did a sermon-duet at Bayside (
Sometimes I think I get a little too busy but I do want to make my life count while I'm here on earth these few short years. This November I will celebrate 20 years of my kidney transplant (thanks Eleanor for the gift) and so I am perhaps conscious more than most that our days are numbered and we are responsible to the Lord to use each day for his glory. I take time to watch TV, read, eat, meet with people, etc. My wife helps keep my feet on the ground and and my life practical.
This coming year, besides my regular duties at DTS and Waterbrook, I am planning to help lead the IFL Swindoll tour to Israel (, to teach at Word of Life in Hungary (and possibly also in Romania), to teach in Hong Kong, preach at Crier Creek Family Camp, to teach at Montana Wilderness School of the Bible, perform the wedding of Joshua and Haleigh, go to Ontario to celebrate my parents 60th, and lose some weight. I'll report, Lord willing, next year on how my 56th year went!


  1. I rejoiced to read this blog. I don't know about you, but when I signed on for a life of ministry I was ready to give it all up, and face a misery and hardship. 20 years later, I can't believe how fantastic my life has been. There is "joy in serving Jesus" it turns out:)

    Rob Hildebrand

  2. Stephen, Thanks for the reflective note.

    I am studying in Deuteronomy right now and finding delight in some of the practical instructions to Israel and their usefulness for us today.

    Deut. 4:9 "Only be careful and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."

    Please give our regards to your Dad and Mom as they approach their 60th Anniv.

    I am in yr 31 of pastoral service in Southern MB. The Lord is great. The work in our setting is a privilege. And it is fun to utilize skills we have spent all these years developing while we were occupied with the task of caring for others.

    Happy birthday from Randy (and Cindy) Smart

  3. Happy birthday Dad, it is so cool to read about all the things you've done - just this last year! You know I'll say don't work too hard, but as long as you know the balance you need (and listen to Mom!) I know you'll have another great year. It was good to see you and Mom in July, we're looking forward to coming down for Josh and Haleigh's wedding.

    Make sure you spend at least some of your day of rest on the couch in front of the Cowboys game!

  4. Belated Happy Birthday, Stephen! Enjoyed reading your blog early this AM. Fond memories of you folks. God's continued blessings. Hello and hugs to Sharon. Love to all, Barbara (Loeppky) Cornish