How God blessed me through OPC pastor Neil Lodge (1944-2020)

This is long overdue, but I want to tell you about a pastor in my hometown by the name of Neil Lodge and I want you to know how God used him to be an incredible blessing to me.  Let me begin with some back story. 

The Lord by his sovereign grace saved me when I was a teenager.  Very soon afterward I felt a call to the Christian ministry, coinciding with a tremendous thirst to study the Bible.  Although I knew that a knowledge of the original languages in which the Bible was written wasn't necessary for ministry (take John Bunyan as a counterexample to such a claim), I also knew that it would be really beneficial to have such a knowledge.  In fact, in what I believe was an impression from the Lord, I felt a burden to study Greek, a burden so strong that not to do it would have seemed like disobedience to God. (You do have to be careful about impressions, but the idea God can't impress you seems really incredible to me.)

The problem was that we were not exactly loaded with the financial resources to give me that education.  There were three religious schools in the town in which I grew up (Abilene, TX), all of which offered courses in the original languages, but I couldn't afford even a single class.  

So I decided I would have to do it on my own.  This was back in the "old days," pre-internet, which meant going to a local Christian bookstore (remember those?) and looking for a Greek grammar.  I had remembered seeing Ray Summer's grammar in this particular bookstore and went to see if I could obtain a copy.  To be honest, I wasn't sure I could do it, but I knew that I had to try.

I remember standing there in front of one of the bookshelves looking over the options when a stranger walked up to me.  It turned out he wasn't one of the store employees, just a local man who happened to be there on that day.  "Happened," you know, is another word for the Providence of God.  This man was not just any man.  His name was Neil Lodge and he was the local Orthodox Presbyterian pastor.  And what is more, he offered right on the spot to teach me the original languages for free!  All I had to do was buy the books and put in the time.

So God not only provided me a teacher, but a minister who was a godly man, and who shared the fundamental convictions I had about the sovereignty of God over all things, including his gracious work in the lives of his people.  For the next few years, I would spend a couple of hours each week with Pastor Lodge, who so very graciously gave up his time to teach me, mentor me, and be patient with a very immature teenager.  

I am so thankful for Pastor Lodge and for the blessing he was to my life.  His talents and skills and time were God's gracious provision for me.  In many ways, he did more than teach me the original languages - he modeled godliness for me and a servant's heart.  He didn't have to do what he did, but he did it.  I wasn't a member of his church and I'm sure he had a lot of other things he could have been working on instead of investing in me.  But he did it.

Neil Lodge moved away from Abilene a few years later and went to minister in New Jersey, and we lost contact.  However, I was able to find him and give him a call a few years ago and to reconnect with him.  This too was a blessing from the Lord for it turned out that he was dying of cancer and would go to be with the Lord shortly after our phone conversation.  I had hoped to be able to see him (he was in College Station at the time), but that didn't work out.  I will see him in glory.

We should all want to be like Neil Lodge, shouldn't we?  Find the nobodies out there (for that is certainly what I was) who are willing to be invested in and give them your time and talents.  When I think of Pastor Lodge, I think of the Lord's words, "Freely you have received; freely give."  Pastor Lodge certainly gave freely to me.  And that makes me want to give freely to others.


  1. Wonderful story ! You are so blessed .


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