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Getting Better – Dr George Lazenby Turns 90
On Tuesday, Baptist pastor Dr George Lazenby turned 90. This Sunday he’ll be preaching from Ezekiel.
I don’t know if Dr Lazenby – a member of my own church – is the oldest active preacher in Australia. But there can’t be too many others – anywhere – who have been preaching regularly for the past 65 years.
Born in Britain, he says one of the main influences on him was the famous G. Campbell Morgan, twice pastor of London’s Westminster Chapel. “I went to a Keswick Convention where he was giving the Bible teaching,” he recalls. “He spoke for a week on one verse.”
Another influence was Methodist pastor W.E. Sangster.
“I went on holiday one year to the West Coast of Scotland. I was staying at a guest house, and Dr Sangster happened to be staying there too. On the Sunday we all went to the local church for worship, and there we heard the pastor preach one of Dr Sangster’s sermons, word for word. Later, in one of his books, Dr Sangster gave a warning to preachers about the dangers of plagiarism.”
Dr Lazenby says it was such men that brought the Bible to life for him. “You don’t hear these kinds of preachers nowadays. They really made the Bible relevant. It meshed with experience.”
He got his start preaching at fairgrounds and race courses. Later he came with his family to take up a teaching position in Australia. Among many other accomplishments, he has authored three best-selling children’s novels. He is now looking to start his own website.
This Sunday he preaches from Ezekiel 36:11 – “I will do for you better than at your beginnings.”
“It’s a little gem of a verse,” he says. “Ezekiel has the assurance from God that things will be better than at the beginning. Not everyone lives long enough to see, but things do get better.”
On his 90th birthday he is getting letters from former parishioners, full of memories, such as from a couple he married 50 years ago, or a lady he prayed with many decades earlier, about whether she should enter the mission field. Invariably they are telling him how things have gotten better.
And he jokes: “If you live to be 89 you never find these things out. You have to live to be 90. I think you have to live long enough to see things work out.”
April 25th, 2003