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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

James Bond, James Dyet

James Bond 007 and I have some things in common. He is James; I am James. He is from the UK; I am from the UK (I was born in Scotland). He is in her Majesty’s secret service; I am in His Majesty’s sacred service. He has a license to kill; I have a license to preach. He is handsome; I am . . . well, the comparison had to end somewhere!
Let’s get back to the license to preach. The Associated Gospel Churches of Canada issued it to me November 6, 1958, but I preached my first sermon in November 1954 at a rescue mission on N. Clark Street in Chicago, Illinois, when I was a freshman student at Moody Bible Institute. I was ordained to the gospel ministry in October 1960, at Williamson, New York.
The license to preach rests in the top drawer of my desk. I see it whenever I open the drawer to retrieve a pen, a paper clip, a stamp, or a Post-it® note. Although nearly fifty years and thousands of sermons have passed since I received that license, I have never lost the wonder that God called me to teach His Word.
Back in 1962, while pastoring a church in Williamson, New York, I started dabbling in writing. Pulpit, a magazine for ministers published ten of my sermon outlines. It later accepted articles. Soon, the experience of writing for publication became a regular occurrence, as I authored curriculum courses and interactive Bible studies for Baptist Publications, later renamed Accent Publications. I joined the editorial staff of Baptist Publications in Denver, Colorado, in 1971; and then, until 2000 I was involved full time in the development of Christian education literature for Accent, Regular Baptist Press, and Scripture Press. I retired in 2000 from Cook Communications Ministries, the parent company of Accent and Scripture Press. Now, I do freelance writing, and I mentor about 135 students for the Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. Some of my students live in foreign countries: Canada, Chile, England, Scotland, France, South Africa, India, Australia, and China, to name a few.
Since becoming a pastor in 1958, I have always been involved in pastoral ministry. Even my three decades of full-time editorial work included pastoral ministry: sometimes part-time, sometimes interim, and occasionally pulpit supply. Now, closing in on age 72, I still preach almost every Sunday wherever I am invited. I feel privileged to be allowed to declare the good news that God gives eternal life to all who believe on Jesus as Savior, and I also feel privileged to be able to help believers grow in their relationship with Jesus.
Like me, my license to preach is showing signs of aging, but God’s call to preach is as fresh now as it was 50 years ago. And I wouldn’t trade that high calling for all James Bond’s fancy cars, super-high-tech gadgets, and good looks.

“Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16b).

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