Twenty-one years ago my wife and I packed up all our belongings and moved to a modest little gatekeeper’s cottage in the magnificent tree-covered mountains of North Carolina. At age 57 I gave up the rat race to accept a position as resident manager of Ridge Haven, a Presbyterian (PCA) Camp and Conference Center. As my wife and I convoyed northbound from our home in Gulf Coast Florida, she in the family car and I in my pickup truck, both loaded to the gunwales with our belongings, I had an extended conversation with God. My life to that point had been a frantic race for success as the world measures it. I prayed to God that he would enable me to focus my mind and energy on his kingdom from that point on. He had been my co-pilot (in my mind) far too long and I asked him to please take over the controls, I had made a hash of it for long enough. Answered prayer. The Lord’s Mountain Vineyard at Ridge Haven could not have been a better place to start. Within a few years listening to a multitude of great preachers in a heaven on earth environment, I was inspired to write a little book entitled “No One…,” whose message has become the consuming theme of my codgerhood–the gospel story of the Sovereign Creator God of the Universe, the only hope for every human who ever walked this earth, as he gave me the light to see it. The inspiration was all his, the errors are all mine. Some excellent editors at Christian Focus Publications kept me on track, as did a number a number of pastors and theologians listed in the book, for which I am profoundly grateful. Tomorrow I will lead a concluding discussion of the book in my Sunday school class, probably for the last time. I discovered last Sunday that my recall no longer responds well in front of a group. Former slave ship captain turned Anglican priest/hymnwriter John Newton spoke for me in his old age: “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior.” That is the bottom line of my little book, my life, and the message of my Savior Jesus Christ. To God be the glory!

In the manner of John Newton’s hymn, Amazing Grace:

A gospel hymn
by JD Wetterling

No one perceives Eternal Truths,
The dead don’t comprehend.
Unless by Grace rebirth ensues,
When a hard heart He’ll mend. (John 3:3)

No one comes to Immanuel
Nor does he even try,
Unless there’s wrought a miracle
By Him who dwells on high. (John 6:4)

No one by guile gains Abba’s side,
Of ways there’s only one.
Works righteousness will not abide,
Trust in His Son alone. (John 14:6)

No one cut short Christ’s ministry.
He died by God’s own plan.
He shed His blood upon a tree
To save this sinful man. (John 10:18)

No one for whom the Savior died
Can ever lose His love.
In Christ’s own palm I will abide
Till home in heav’n above. (John 10:28)

No one can steal my great delight,
It’s for eternity.
Tho devil try with all his might,
Christ is my surety. (John 16:22)


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