This past week we’ve been celebrating the birthdays of two of our former Senior Pastors here at The Moody Church.
On Sunday, October 1st, Pastor George Sweeting celebrated his 99th birthday! I had the joy of speaking with him and his precious Hilda on the phone. We reminisced about his days as Pastor here in Chicago from 1966 to 1971. Those were tough days for The Moody Church as the city was going through turmoil and families were fleeing to the suburbs. Attendance at the church was down to just a few hundred people, and some of the Elders were personally paying the church’s bills to keep the church afloat. God used Dr. Sweeting’s evangelistic heart and determined hope to reestablish our church. Without his leadership and the grace of God, who knows what would have happened? Eventually, Dr. Sweeting was called to be the President of Moody Bible Institute, where he served from 1971 to 1987. To celebrate his birthday, we sent the Sweetings a floral arrangement that touched their hearts deeply. George and Hilda asked me to extend their love and greetings to you: “Please tell the folks at Moody Church that we love them, miss them, and have wonderful memories of our time at Moody Church. And thank them for the wonderful flowers! We’ve never seen such a bouquet… with sunflowers even! They look so lovely in our dining room. Please tell everyone ‘thank you’ and that we’re going on with the Lord together.”
On Tuesday, October 3rd, Pastor Erwin Lutzer celebrated his 82nd birthday! I had the joy of celebrating with him and our Media Ministry team over lunch on Tuesday. Pastor Lutzer served as Senior Pastor from 1980 to 2016, which is the longest tenure in our history. He continues to serve as our Pastor Emeritus and is actively involved in our Media Ministry through Running to Win and Songs in the Night, and is a prolific author and speaker. Over lunch he reminded us of God’s faithfulness and how we can never know what God might do with our lives when we give ourselves wholly to Him. As a young man on the family farm in Canada, he admired the evangelist Billy Graham and dreamed of one day preaching like him. And in the providence of God, Pastor Lutzer shared his joy of getting to meet Billy Graham right here at The Moody Church, and to later spend time with him as his health declined. Pastor Lutzer shared that getting to meet his hero was one of the precious joys and unexpected graces of God in his life. He summed up his legacy with these words, “It is all of God!”
Would you join me in wishing our beloved Pastors Sweeting and Lutzer the very happiest of birthdays?
Because they are loved, more than they know!