The Fourth Quarter of Life

SES Real Stories #2

In the fall of 2012, Gordon was sitting in his office, staring at his bookcase. He was about to turn 60, and as a devoted football fan, he began thinking about how he was entering the fourth quarter of his life.

“In football, that’s when you win the game,” he said.

Gordon was content where he was. He had a private medical practice, and for more than a decade he and his wife also have had a successful business, renting out a wedding venue.

Still, Gordon felt a stirring. He asked God what He wanted from his last quarter of life and got a clear tug toward apologetics. With a master’s in religious studies already under his belt, he took some additional courses here and there, but still wanted more. He turned to Google and found SES.

“What I found so refreshing and unique about SES is that every class is practical. … Even every assignment, I can apply in my life,” he said.

Gordon turned 65 last week, and in the past five years, has used his education at SES more times than he can count.

“The Lord took a guy who was very much an introvert and gave me a real passion to share the Gospel.”

In 2013, after declining to run for office two previous times, Gordon was elected coroner of the county where he lives.” It was in that position that he had many opportunities not just to comfort families in their time of grief but to share how God has been faithful in his own grief. Issues of suffering and evil constantly came up—both with family members and law enforcement officers. Gordon remembers one detective in tears after investigating a particularly tragic case.

It’s not just the end of someone’s life that stirs up those questions either. The wedding business has provided ample ministry moments as well.

While Gordon and his wife disagree with same-sex marriage, after considerable prayer, they decided to allow same-sex couples to rent their venue. It was a young lesbian woman at a juvenile detention center, where Gordon serves as medical director, that sparked a conversation that led to this decision. The young woman told Gordon that she thought she was going to hell because God hates lesbians. How could Gordon and his wife exhibit the Lord’s love and keep the doors open to impactful dialogue without endorsing a homosexual and lesbian lifestyle?

Gordon and his wife clearly say on their venue website that they believe marriage should be between one man and one woman, and they have Bible verses posted throughout their facility. But allowing any couple to get married there, Gordon said, is one way for them to reach the gay and lesbian community. There’s a lot of interaction with renters leading up to a wedding, he added.

In fact, after one lesbian couple became hostile, they invited the couple to dinner—twice. Gordon laughs thinking about how he—a self-described old white Republican guy—and his wife pulled into the parking lot in his pickup truck to meet with two atheist lesbian women.

Gordon put his apologetics to work during those dinners and said that by the end they were hugging each other goodbye.

“Now I see the value of having this training [in apologetics],” he said. “Some [people] have in-depth, intellectual questions. I wouldn’t have been equipped to answer them before.” Now, however, “I welcome those questions.”

You can help.

SES’s commitment to evangelism that uses apologetics is what attracts students like Gordon to study here. There are hundreds of others who would benefit from an education at SES. Will you consider a gift to help SES impact more people like him? Any gift of any amount helps us attract and equip people like Gordon to follow God’s call on their lives.

On behalf of the students we serve and the many souls whose lives will be eternally changed, thank you!

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