June 17th was Bill’s birthday and we planned no party, but we had two visitors at separate times. These two friends represent various areas of Bill’s life and ministry.
In the morning Rev. Gary Scroggins came from Brazil, IN, and brought several birthday cards from friends in the Emmaus community. Bill served on the board and on more than 50 Emmaus Walk teams while we lived in Terre Haute, IN. The Frodermans from World Gospel Church sponsored our Walks, and after that Bill recommended others to go on walks. As a clergy member of a walk team, Bill’s favorite talk was “Obstacles to Grace,” and he was known to ask for more time than allotted on the schedule. Some of those who served with him and the pilgrims on the walk have taken this opportunity of Bill’s birthday to send their thanks for the lessons they learned and applied to their lives. I read Facebook greetings to Bill and there were over 130.
Since Gary is a pastor (Presbyterian), that connects with Bill’s church ministry. Many of the greetings wrote of Bill’s sermons and how his commitment to biblical truth influenced them. We heard from one young man who was a teen when we were at WGC. He went on for further study in philosophy and theology. He attributes that interest to sitting under Bill’s preaching.
Another ministry: Gary and Bill traveled to Alabama several times during a two-year period to participate in a Spiritual Formation program. This was a stretch for Bill to get out of his comfortable element, but it led Gary and Bill to lead the same program in central Indiana for pastors of small churches.
Our afternoon visitor, Linda Ford, is a graduate of Asbury University in Wilmore, KY. This was her second time to come see us this year. She’s a psychiatric nurse in Maryland. Linda had Dr. Coker as a professor and also heard him many times as the chapel speaker. Linda is a vibrant witness to her faith, and she firmly believes that Asbury grounded her in Scriptural truth. Having Linda here reminded us of others who had Bill as a professor. We’ve heard from former students who are now pastors or teachers (some retired). One wrote that Dr. Coker “modeled insistence on careful scholarship,” and yet his chapel messages were “solid and applicable to real life.” Reading that note humbled Bill.
All these tributes about Bill confirm my thrust to get his messages published. We begin with a book, Words of Endearment: The Ten Commandments as a Revelation of God’s Love, to be available later this year. Then I have other topics in various stages of progress: The Church; Pastoral Prayers; Holiness. None of these have publishers yet. We enlist your prayers, and we’re grateful for all your expressions of appreciation.