1. My wife Jani. Intrepid, faithful, kind-hearted, Bible-cherishing, wise in understanding, radiant with godly loveliness. Her life is a story of total devotion to the will of God.
2. My children. Eric, the tender. Krista, the lovely. Dane, the thoughtful. Gavin, the sincere. They far surpass all my dreams and expectations, as do their wonderful spouses Erin, John, Stacey and Esther.
3. My dad and mom. Dad: cheerful, rugged, strong, tender, biblical, not taken in by fads, steady, mainstream, loving, truth-revering, prayerful, devout. He lived filled with the Spirit, he died filled with the Spirit. Mom: loyal, determined, hard-working, talented, witty, charming, brave.
4. My Sunday school teachers when I was an ungrateful, naughty little boy. I can't even remember their names. But the truths they patiently taught me week by week, now deeply impressed into my being, can bring me to tears in a moment.
5. The men of my ordination council at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in 1975. They laid their hands on me, prayed for me and sent me off with the sacred trust of the gospel. Thank you, brothers!
6. My seminary profs. At almost no pay, they cheerfully imparted to me the understandings and skills I cherish and use to this day. I was immeasurably enriched for a lifetime.
7. The humble, saintly people, many of whose faces pass before me even now, who have received my preaching through the years -- at Peninsula Bible Church, Banchory-Ternan West Parish Church of Scotland, Cascade Presbyterian Church, First Pres, Christ Pres, and now the lovely and dear Immanuel Church of Nashville, and elsewhere. I have always admired most the people who admired themselves least, and more so now than ever. The simple people who lived and worked and served and prayed and suffered, and all they wanted out of it was Jesus. Heroic!
8. My friends on faculty at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School -- brilliant, articulate, scholarly, dedicated, prayerful, sincere, delightful. Don, John, David, Dennis, Clem, Gleason, Warren, Willem, Wayne, Bruce, Tom, Doug, and others. Precious, inspiring men. I didn't deserve to serve at their side, but I drew strength from them more than they know.
9. Faithful, steady, brave pastors (and other leaders) I know, who give themselves wholeheartedly to the church. They don't sneer at the church. They don't invent alternatives to the church. They love and honor and serve the church, for Jesus' sake. Mark, John, Paul, Harry, Buster, Bryan, Kent, George, Ligon, Phil, Reddit, C.J., Greg, Tim, Andy, Julian, Sam, William, Eric, David, Steve, so many others. I could weep just thinking of what their lives mean, the temptations they have refused, the sacrifices they have embraced, the miracles they are.
10. Last but by no means least, my own people. Bravehearts, eager for a bold new initiative for Christ. Easy to love and lead. Ready in prayer. Open Bibles, open hearts. Wholehearted. Generous. United. Hard-working. Reasonable. Gentle. Thoughtful. Attractive. Fun to be with. Above all, Christ-focused.
I am a rich man, with much to live up to.