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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A New Year

Time is fleeting.  Tick, tick, tick and tick goes the clock.  We can NEVER EVER recover time lost.  But we can live today to the fullest degree.  As we turn the corner on another year I pray that you will choose to live for God with all of your heart.  There really is no middle ground.  You are either in or out.

God has no patience with lukewarm believers.  He'd rather you be cold than lukewarm.  Because lukewarmness is confusing to those who are searching for truth.  Lukewarmness sends mixed messages.  Lukewarmness befuddles people who are contemplating Christianity.  Yes, I know that JESUS saves and that JESUS is the door of salvation.  But, I also know, that God uses ordinary people to lead others to His son.  And that's why it matters for all that we live our lives sold out to Jesus Christ.

As we begin 2014, I will be praying that this is the year of complete devotion for you.  Will you do me a favor?  Pray for me that 2014 will be a year of complete devotion as well.   Blessings to you!  
Pastor Dudley

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Heritage Christian School

Here you go!   Heritage Christian School first Christmas Concert ending with the Hallelujah Chorus.  Sorry it ends a note or too from the end.  But you will enjoy!  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Frank Pastore's greeting on our 25th Anniversary

This is a one minute video that Frank filmed for my 25th anniversary of serving as Pastor for the Shepherd of the Hills Church just a few weeks ago.   It captures his ability to tease in a fun way.  In a few days we will post the sermon that Frank preached here at Shepherd a few months ago where he gives his testimony.  His funeral will be shown live on on December 29th, 2012.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Video with Frank Pastore (My Twin)

Yesterday I received the news that my beloved brother and friend Frank Pastore went on to be the Lord.  After spending most of the day crying over our loss, I woke up this morning having God lift that burden and giving me a greater understanding that Frank is worshipping at the feet of Jesus.  I tweeted that I would one day soon meet him there.  It is comforting to know, without a doubt, that Frank is with the Lord at this moment.  The Bible says “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." John 11:25.  Don't you just LOVE that verse?

I wanted to show a video that we shot with Frank for an event at our church called "Come Double Day."  I received permission from Gina, Frank's wife, to post this.  It encapsulates all that Frank was about.  He loved the church, he loved the gospel, he loved riding, he loved the lost.  He loved joking around.  I hope as you watch this video that you will see he was full of life and joy.  Like me, you will laugh and cry watching this.  

Frank had the largest platform for the Gospel in our city on KKLA 99.5 FM where he hosted the 4 to 7 p.m. time slot.  Having once been an atheist, he spent his remaining days convincing others that Jesus was the LORD and SON of the LIVING GOD. 

If you have never read his life story in a book called "Shattered," I pray that you will read it soon.  It is his personal story of how God saved him and includes all kinds of wonderful pictures of Frank and his family.   

Gina, Frank Jr. and Christina:  We will be faithful to pray for you.  Thank you for sharing your husband and father with us.  We will forever try to carry on his legacy!  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Merry CHRISTmas!

Currently in a new sermon series called "Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Merry Christmas".  Usually it's this time of year that we hear the phrase "ho, ho, ho, ho, merry Christmas" inferring that this holiday is about Santa, toys and lights.    But this Christmas we want to put the WONDER back into the true Christmas story.  

So please listen in at ( to hear all four messages and learn the true meaning of EMMANUEL!

Or come visit us at Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch, West L.A., West Valley, Aqua Dulce or the Antelope Valley. (

Friday, November 23, 2012

Praying for Frank Pastore

This past week, my friend and fellow kingdom worker Frank Pastore was in a terrible motorcycle accident on the 210 freeway.   Today he is in critical care and in need of a miracle.  I went to visit and pray over him and it was obvious that he is in a very dire need for the power of God to wash over him.
I am simply asking for YOU to take time right now to pray for him, his health and family.  One moment he was on the radio and the next he was in an ICU room.

Frank has always been bold in his faith and not afraid to speak from his heart.  He has perhaps the most influential voice on radio for Jesus Christ.  KKLA 99.5 FM is the largest Christian radio station in America.  Would you please join me in seeking God's hand of healing and blessing to be upon his life at this moment.   I will be posting some videos in the near future in his honor.

Guess which President?

Guess which President said these words?

"Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King—indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history—were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in Judeo-Christian tradition."

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.... give up? I'll share the answer with you at the conclusion of this blog.

My heart is so burdened for our country today, and everywhere I turn, I see Christians sitting on the sidelines, afraid to speak up for the issues of "Biblical Marriage" or the "Rights of the Unborn." Count myself on the top of the list for being criticized for speaking up for the "least of these." I have talked to politician after politician and Christian after Christian who seem to be somewhat confused on "when life begins" and "what God defines as marriage." In trying to defend the immoral stance of abortion or same sex marriage, they will accuse me of hate, or that we shouldn't be mixing politics with religion.

While those that attempt to silence me as they've silenced the voice of the unborn may think that their logic will sway me from defending life (Psalm 139:13-16) and marriage (Genesis 2:24 and Ephesians 5:22-33), I will continue to use what voice I have and what strength remains to continue on.

Even in this past political season of selecting our President, there were many issues to debate. But the greatest issue, in my opinion, was the issue of protecting life. While bigger or less government was a worthy issue of discussion; while raising or lowering taxes was a sensitive topic; and while arguing over foreign policies seemed pertinent, the MAIN issue will always be LIFE for me. I mean, how could I ever trust a politician to make a decision that would be in my best interest if that politician will not fight to protect the freedom of a child that was "created in the image of God"?

The Bible says that righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. It is my prayer that Christians will continue to boldly stand to protect and defend the life of the unborn. We must be their voice before their voice is silenced. It is only logical that after snuffing out the voice of the unborn that the world would then move to silence the voice of Christians in general.  We must defend Biblical marriage and stand for Biblical truth.

As for the President, I quoted at the top of this blog post? It is one Barack Obama (Forty-Fourth President of the United States) [Barack Obama, "Call to Renewal Keynote Address," Call to Renewal Conference on Building a Covenant for a New America, June 28, 2006,] 

Hope you'll do a fact check on that!

There has never been a more needed time for Christians to speak up about their faith and the principles found in the word of God. Do not be shy, timid or afraid to let your voice be heard. Read Deut. 8:11-20 to see how God exalts or destroys a nation. I love you, and I love your opinion, and I love to stand for the UNBORN, as should you.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Pac Man!

I had the privilege of meeting boxing world champion, Manny Pacquiao. As you may know, Manny is not only one of the best pound for pound boxers of all time, but he is also a man of God who seems to have an unwavering commitment to the truth of God's word. Manny recently visited our church, and I wanted to share this short video with you in which we talked about what he liked most about praise and worship.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Why I write books - Christian Standard article

I had the privilege of writing an article for the Christian Standard recently. They asked me to share why I write books. Check out the article to discover my answer:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Spanish Translation of "The Accurate Story Behind the Star Spangled Banner"

As we approach the Fourth of July holiday and celebrate our country's independence, I'm so pleased to share with you the Spanish translation of the popular video I shot last year called The Accurate Story Behind the Star Spangled Banner. I want to thank Gabriel Rufus at Creative Routes, Inc. for his hard work in dubbing the Spanish version of this video so that it can be shared with our fellow Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters in this great country. Enjoy and please share this with anyone you think would be blessed by it. (To obtain and share the ENGLISH version of this video, click here:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pastor's Kits are here!

I've had some pastor friends of mine who have written me and asked when the kit will be available for the "God Has an app For That!" sermon and Life Group series, and I'm happy to announce that they're finally here!

I'm so excited about the possibility of other churches around the U.S. being able to dive into this great series. My prayer is that it will show people that there are practical, live-changing answers readily available in the Word of God. I hope that countless people will be drawn to the Bible, understand that it contains ALL the answers to life's greatest struggles, and that they will be compelled to read God's Word every single day.
In case  you were wondering, here is what's included in the kit:

  • 8 DVD sermons by Pastor Dudley Rutherford and guest speakers Daryl Reed of D.C. Regional Christian Church in Washington, DC; Dave Stone of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY; and Chris Seidman of The Branch in Dallas, TX. Each sermon is approximately 35 minutes long and goes deeper into God’s apps with biblical teaching, compelling illustrations, and easy-to-follow points.
  • 8 sermon manuscripts—the typed out transcription of each of Pastor Dudley Rutherford’s and guest speakers' sermons in the God Has an App for That series.
  • 1 Life Group DVD with eight, engaging 15-minute video segments led by Pastor Dudley Rutherford that coincide with each chapter of the God Has an App for That book and Life Group lesson. If you and your Life Group (or small group Bible study) meet once a week, this will be an eight-week study.
  • 8 booklets to accompany the DVD lesson. Each book is about 68 pages and contains eight to 12 thought-provoking questions. After you and the members of your Life Group (or small group Bible study) watch the video lesson for the week, you will have an engaging discussion about what you just watched by diving into the Life Group booklet and answering each question. The questions are designed to strengthen your faith and take you deeper into God’s Word.
Visit for more information or to order today.

A Dog who Prays !!!

We had a contest at our church for the most creative picture from all of our small groups that were studying through the book "God Has An App For That".    I had decided that I was going to visit the life/small group of the winning photo.   The winning photo was that of a dog leading the group in the Bible study.   So last night, true to my word, I visited the life group and met the dog of the infamous picture.   Not only could this dog lead a life group on "God Has An App For That", he also was a dog of prayer.   I saw it with my own eyes.   Here is a photo of a very Godly dog who prays at any given time.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 04, 2012

Nikko Lowe singing in Israel

Just a few weeks ago we took over 100 people to Israel for a 10 day tour.  Nikko joined us and sang from time to time.  This was in a theatre that used to seat over 8000 people.  With no sound system it was still very clear thanks to the engineering of the theatre.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Israel 2012

We just returned from Israel and one of the highlights was having Nikko Lowe and Larry Kern on the trip and having them sing from time to time.  Here is a video of Larry singing on a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee.  He sang this after I retold the story of Jesus telling Peter to follow him and he would turn Peter into a fisher of men!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fishing and Temptation

In our series at church called "God Has An App For That" we just finished week number three, talking about "overcoming temptation". In this blog I will post a five minute video clip from that message. This video discusses NOT blaming God for our temptations. And of course if you want to know the number one tool, to help overcome temptation, it's simply reading and studying the word of God.

A great study is to read Psalm 119 and then list on a sheet a paper the number of blessings that result from reading and knowing God's word. If you do a diligent study and list all the blessings of Psalm 119, you would then understand the value and victory that comes from spending time in the greatest book ever written.

So, either start today and immerse yourself in the word or get ready to fail to the temptations that Satan throws your way.

I'll be praying you make the wise choice!

Go to to see the rest of the lessons.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Loving those who serve!

Week after week, at Shepherd of the Hills Church, we hand out over 5 to 6000 bulletins. Someone has to stuff them with the inserts and sermon outlines every week. Most people come to church and grab a bulletin not knowing of the tremendous amount of work needed to provide such bulletins.

Today I was upstairs studying for the sermon this weekend. We are actually starting a new series called "God Has An App For That" based on my new book. So after studying I walked down the hallway to look at the 33 beautiful people that had volunteered their time without fanfare. I had to take their picture and show it to you.

They were a well organized machine working without interruption until I showed up, of course.
Please take a moment and the thank the Lord for all those who serve and volunteer their time in churches across America. And then ask the Lord where he would have you to serve.

If they kept track of the number of bulletins stuffed each week in churches around the world, I'm sure it would outnumber the billions of hamburgers served around the world at McDonald's. Do you agree?

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Happy 16th Birthday!!!!!

Justin Bieber who? Today is all about Kerri!

Saw that today was Justin Bieber's birthday and truthfully I really am not concerned.
What I am concerned about is that today is my daughter, Kerri's 16th Birthday.

Sixteen years ago I remember every detail of that special day and with it brings so many mixed emotions.
Primarily, it reminds me that your children grow up way too quickly, as she is the youngest of our three.
But there is something different with this one because with Kerri I know it won't be long before
she, too, like my other children, will be grown and headed off toward full independence. I know that's supposed to happen, but oh does that hurt. Like most parents, I look back over my children's adolescent years with nothing but fond memories and realizing that one can never turn back the hands of time.

Never one day have I ever seen Kerri with a bad attitude.
Never one day have I ever seen Kerri treat someone unfairly.
Never one day have I ever been disappointed in her actions.
Never one day have I ever not seen her honor God.
Never one day have I ever not seen her honor her mother and me.
Never one day have I ever thought she's on the wrong path.
Never one day have I ever seen her not be concerned about helping others.
Never one day have I ever heard her use bad language.
Never one day have I ever not seen her jubilant smile.
Never one day have I ever not been blessed with her life and spirit.
Never one day have I ever seen her not love Jesus.
Never one day have I ever felt worried about how she would turn out. Well, except for one thing!

She told me once when she turned 16 she wanted to start dating boys and I only have ONE THING to say.....

Well, at least I got that out of my system.

Kerri, Happy Birthday Girl! You are the bright and merry star!
I love you more than all the stars in the sky!
I love you more than all the french fries at McDonald's!
I love you more than all the cars on the freeway!
I love you more than all the birds that chirp!
I love you more than all the sand along the shores.

Love Dad

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Follow up on the TOP TEN list

I had a lot of comments on my top ten list. Just to state again this post was about the 500,000 pastors that show up every week that are not on T.V or Radio or known for their large church. Slot number one actually has 500,000 pastors in in. So.... T.D Jakes is number 500,001. Jeff Walling is 500,002 Andy Stanley is 500,003 and so on! I think you are starting to understand the point now.

Preachers are men who have been called by God to preach. We are NOT all the same. We ourselves have different gifts and different callings. Some lean toward evangelism while others lean toward discipleship. Some read their sermons word for word, some do NOT use notes. Some run around on the stage while others remain motionless. But the one thing we all have in common is the word of God. Trying to use our unique skillset to lift up the name of Jesus.

So often their are a few names that garner a lot of press and attention. The purpose of my list was not to compare or to judge who's good and who's not. The purpose of my list was to draw attention and to thank the 500,000 men and women who preach without any fanfare. I just want to let them know that they are appreciated beyond words!

Blessings to each of you!

Stay tuned this week at Shepherd of the Hills Church as we begin our small group study on the book "God Has An App For That" DVD's and Small Group materials are now ready! see

Monday, February 27, 2012

Top 10 Preachers in America!

I will never forget the time Billy Graham was on T.V and I commented to my son (who was about 9 years of age at the time) that Billy Graham was the greatest preacher ever. And my son started to cry and said "Dad, I thought you were the greatest preacher of all time". Even though I, too, would be partial in feeling that about my own father and even though I was thankful for my son's innocent expression of appreciation towards me, I want to share with you MY LIST of the top ten preachers in America. You'll notice several names like Billy Graham, Francis Chan and others NOT on my list. Because here is the criteria for making my list.

a) You have to be pastoring a local congregation. Writing sermons weekly.
b) You have to be more of a preacher than a teacher. For me... preachers have a tad bit more of emotion and passion with their delivery.
c) You have to have a heart that leans towards evangelism and reaching the lost.
d) These are men that I enjoy hearing. They move me to want to follow Christ and to reach the lost.

Here's the list!

#10) Wayne Cordeiro is the founding pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu, Hawaii with over 14,500 in weekend attendance. New Hope is also listed as one of the top ten most innovative churches in America with Outreach Magazine listing them as one of the "top five churches to learn from." New Hope is known for redeeming the arts and technology. Over 3,000 attending services each week via the Internet. New Hope has seen over 73,000 first time decisions in Hawaii since its inception 27 years ago.

Wayne is a church planter at heart with over 108 churches planted in the Pacific Rim countries of the Philippines, Japan, Australia and Myanmar. Nationally, he has planted churches in Hawaii, California, Montana, Washington, and Nevada. I know he is doing more more with his college than his church, but I love to hear this man preach!

#9) Pastor Ken Whitten of the Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa Florida. Pastor Whitten delivers the word of God in a way that touches the heart. He will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. He will set God's word as the ONLY standard to live by and will walk you through the scriptures verse by verse communicating in such a manner that draws the listener in. He has a true pastoral heart, caring for the many members of his church as a shepherd carefully guards his flock. A friend and mentor of mine and if I lived in the Tampa area I would gladly sit and hear him preach week after week.

#8) Dr David Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church near San Diego, California. Dr. Jeremiah’s commitment is to teaching the whole Word of God. His passion for people and his desire to reach the lost are evident in the way he communicates Bible truths and his ability to get right to the important issues. I count his church as one of the most blessed churches in the land in having him be their teaching pastor. He makes me want to be a better student of the word of God.

#7) No list of top preachers can be completed without the name of Dr. John MacArthur. Sr. Pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. John's church is only 20 minutes away but his voice is carried around the world through "Grace to you" ministries. Known as an expository preacher he still delivers God's truth with unmatched passion and energy. Listening to John will leave you wishing for MORE! He is the standard for preaching with conviction.

#6) Greg Laurie of the Harvest Church in Riverside, California and the Harvest Crusades. He was once labeled the "next Billy Graham" and having heard Greg many times on the largest Christian Radio station in the world KKLA 99.5 FM Los Angeles it is easy to see why he makes my list. Greg has a rare gift in taking the word of God and making it relevant to today's modern listener. His heart for the lost and compassion to reach the unsaved is his calling card.

#5) Andy Stanley from North Point Church in Alpharetta, Georgia. Probably more preachers listening to Andy weekly than any other pastor. His messages are current, biblical, insightful and engaging. Chances are your pastor has preached a series or two from North Point Church. He and his father Charles might be the best father/son combo of all time. If you get a chance, go to his website and listen to one of his podcast and you'll know why he is on my top 5 list.

#4) Adrian Rodgers! smile! I hope you don't mind me putting Adrian on the list because I know he has graduated into heaven. Known for his evangelistic zeal and uncompromising commitment to the Word of God, Adrian Rogers was one of the greatest preachers, respected Bible teachers, and Christian leaders of our time. For over fifty years, he consistently presented the Good News of Jesus Christ with strong conviction, compassion, and integrity. Under his pastoral leadership, Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, grew from 9,000 members in 1972 to more than 29,000 at his retirement in 2005. Go to to hear a voice and a sermon like no other!

#3) Jeff Walling! I have a host of men that I really could have put in this spot. My own father H. Dean Rutherford, Rick Atchley, David Stone, Don Wilson, Kyle Idleman, my brother David Rutherford, Kerry Shook, John Ortberg, Bill Hybels, Matt Proctor, Jud Wilhite, Jonathan Falwell, Jack Graham, Ronnie Floyd, Miles McPherson, Craig Groeschel, Robert Morris, Rick Warren, Gene Appel, Jentzen Franklin, Philip Wagner, James MacDonald, John Hagee, Chris Siedman, Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, Mark Scott, Jack Hayford, Tim Spivey, Charles Swindoll, Jim Reeve, and John Piper. But my number 3 slot is the one and only Jeff Walling! Sr Pastor of the Providence Road Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Go to and you'll see why he is number 3.

#2) Can only be brother T.D. Jakes of the Potter's House. Time cited Jakes's delivery and his skillful handling of Scripture: "He purrs like Isaac Hayes and screams like Jay Hawkins … And however leisurely Jakes's presentation may seem, each sermon eventually reveals itself as perfectly calibrated and balanced, cohering into an often exquisite extended metaphor." When I hear him preach I wonder why I would ever attempt to even try.

Finally we come to #1 on my list of great preachers!

#1) Are the other 500,000 preachers whose names you'll never know that show up week after week in the pulpits across America and who "rightly divide the word of God". The one's that I most love, that I most appreciate are the local pastors of local churches who are never on the radio. They are never on T.V. They have never written a book. But every week, they study and prepare and then stand in their pulpits and preach their hearts out trying to reach the lost and edify the saved. They are the true hero's. The true soldiers of the cross. I salute every preacher who stands weekly in his pulpit preaching as a dieing man to a dieing crowd. May we forever lift up the Name and Word of Jesus! By his blood we are saved and redeemed! If you are a preacher.... simply write your name here _____________. YOU ARE NUMBER ONE ON MY LIST OF GREAT PREACHERS!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Preach It! Eagles! Preach It!

Spent the month of January coaching the Hillcrest Middle School Boys basketball team. Most of them had never played basketball before and we had a rough start. Our first game we lost by 50 points! Yes, I said 50! Our second game we felt really good because we only lost by 30. Funny how your perspective changes when your expectations are tempered by reality. Our third game we only lost by 4! hahahahaha We're 0-3 and are excited.

After losing several other games by just a few points we then went on a winning streak and "lo and behold" we made the playoffs. Seven teams in our league and we finished third. So yesterday we played the second place team and found ourselves down by 10 points early. But the Hillcrest boys rallied and ended up winning the game by 8 points which means today at 3:00 p.m. we play for the league championship! Who would have thought that was even possible?

What's exciting for me though, far beyond the chance to be league champs is that for the past 6 weeks we have had a chance to mentor these young men spiritually. My assistant coach Mike Johnson, who coached on a D-1 level for 17 years, and I have made sure that at every opportunity we have talked about them becoming Men of God!

About half way through the season I talked to the 12 of them (yes, there are 12) about how Jesus had 12 disciples and that those disciples changed the entire world with the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They then started referring to themselves at "The 12 Disciples" and when we break the huddle after timeouts they like to holler in unison "PREACH IT!"

Yes, I hope we win the game today for a truly amazing basketball season for a bunch of boys who've never played before, but MORE IMPORTANTLY I hope that these 12 boys grow up to be 12 preachers who will help point the world to Jesus!


Friday, February 10, 2012

It's a bit crazy!

What I've learned so far about having a book published is that the marketing is primarily left up to you as an author. In that process, we need to promote and get the word out ourselves because book publishers are hurting, primarily due to technology. They have told me that there use to be 4000 book stores and now there are around 1500. So, please forgive me for post and pictures of our new book "God Has An App For That".

And just so you know.... No one is getting rich on this book. That is almost impossible. In fact the proceeds from the books I'm selling on our campus is going towards the new building. I love that, but I love more the fact that this book was written to help people discover the wisdom in the word of God. That no matter what you are going through that God has an APPLICATION from his WORD that will help you.

Because THAT Is the goal we will continue to promote and market this book. Hope you come on board with that goal and join us. The above picture was sent to me from a friend who saw it at a Barnes and Noble. If you see it or can take a picture of yourself with the book we will post it as well.

We would love for you to go to the facebook page "God Has An App For That" and LIKE it!

We would love for you to send us funny or unique pictures with you and the book.

We would love for you to post a positive review on or

We would love for you to blog about the book.

We would love for you to go into different bookstores and ask if they have the book.

We would love for you to help promote the book and the website

Blessings to you...
Keep praying that the book falls into the hands that need to find the Lord and his answers.

You can join the team in promoting this book and leading others to wanting to read the Bible.

Dudley Rutherford

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

A letter my dad wrote to my mother for their 59th Anniversary

Patsy Lou,

Happy 59th wedding anniversary! That old granddaddy clock has written on its face, “tempus fugit,” which means “time flies.” I knew it was quick, but now it seems like we're having Christmas three times a year. I am not absolutely sure that we will make it to our sixtieth, so I'd better put some words on paper. Looking back, I now wonder why we had any reluctance at all to be married. The deep love I have struggled to define has now defined itself in time. We’ve lived together way too long to not know that we were made to live together. Living out the years with you keeps getting better. Once we figured out that we could not change each other, we became free to celebrate ourselves as we are. So my dear Trish-the-fish, we are gloriously together and it has never been dull company. It's kind of weird that we have been together for eight decades and yet still think of ourselves as young. There are plenty of moments when I find you to be that blushing and shy girl who took my cheap ring and name and then agreed to explore the world with me.

We began to dream and work and love and worship. Sure, we only started with forty dollars and a fistful of promises, but we were wealthy. I can still remember that Georgia wedding 59 years ago today and oh my, how young we both were. We experienced the sweet warmth and love of youth. We felt that God had decorated the night sky with stars just for us. We drove every false and threatening thing out of our lives with simple truth and honesty. We have met 240 changing seasons and met each challenge. I still smile when I think, how wealthy we thought we were when we were really so very poor. And talk about money, those five children came along. I've almost forgotten how they got here or what it took to get them here. You can remind me later. But I've always known that they came from God and belonged to Him. And I remember my promise before they were ever born, that they would never take ‘first place’ in my heart, the ‘first place’ that you have always held. I love those once-upon-a- time “tax deductions,” but I could never love them as much as I have loved you.

The other morning I was leaving the house and I found you in the kitchen, looking out the window while talking to Debbie on the phone. The morning sun fell across your hair and hands. I reached down and touched your hand, a hand made noble by its years of service and duty. I left that morning feeling like a king because you were mine.

I don't mean to sound morose, but I simply bring it to your attention that we will probably both not leave on the same day. The crispness of the fall air reminds us that we cannot have summer forever. Someday, all too soon one of us will be forced to test the shattering emptiness that we have seen transpire in the lives of couples who have gone on before us. One of us will go first but the other will celebrate our treasure, our union and love with a transcending joy. We will not sorrow not as those who have no hope. I walk so much slower now, and a little stooped. It's not because I'm tired or weary, but no one can walk fast, who is weighted down with great dreams and precious memories. My biggest apology is that I was never able to rebuke and turn back the wild, hurried pace of the years. There have been times when I actually dreamed that I might be the one person who could defeat old-age and remain in full health just for you. It was not to be. As I have repeated so many times: “Old “Father Time” is still undefeated.” Darn him!

Come walk with me my love. Just not too fast, we will not hurry, because there are still places to go, people to bless and vistas to see. We will continue to pace ourselves. And can I say it one more time with deep meaning and emphasis? “I love you.” Happy 59th!!!