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Profiles of Today in the Word | From the Editors

  • February 2009 Issue
From the Editors

Dear friends,

For the next two months, in the "Profiles of Today in the Word" series, we'd like to introduce our Q&A writers—Donald Cole (will be featured in March), Winfred Neely, and Mike Kellogg. Every month, they bring their extensive experience of serving at Moody Bible Institute to the Q&A column on pages 14 and 15 of Today in the Word. For decades, both Donald Cole and Mike Kellogg have been a strong presence at Moody Radio, and Dr. Winfred Neely has been teaching at the Moody Undergraduate School for almost nine years. The questions our readers send us range from deeply theological to humorous to puzzling. And we are glad you ask, because Moody's trusted trio tackles your questions with biblical knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and compassion. It's a joy and a privilege to serve alongside with them on the staff of this publication. And it's been a delight for the editors to talk with these three men of God in preparation of this article. Here are the men behind the answers in the Q&A column.

Mike Kellogg—Moody Radio Host

Mike Kellogg has had a lot of jobs. He's been a camp counselor, an ice cream man, a slaughterhouse worker, a newspaper reporter, a radio host and producer, and an ordained minister—all of which qualified him for a brief stint at an employment agency. But all those jobs have been footnotes in a career devoted to Christian radio at Moody. He has spent more than half his life working at Moody Radio—37 years as of this February!

Diverse as his background is, Mike has been the model of consistency at Moody. Moody launched its national network via satellite in the early '80s, and in doing so they created a programming hole that needed to be filled. They selected Mike to fill the time slot with Music Thru the Night, a program that has become his trademark and a favorite of listeners around the world.

As the title suggests, Music Thru the Night features soothing, encouraging songs for that person who is awake in the dark hours. Many things keep listeners awake between midnight and 5 AM—it could be a job, physical pain or illness, a crying baby, or a deep spiritual burden. And in between the songs, Mike intersperses reflections on life, literary excerpts, and, most importantly, passages from the Word of God. It's in these thoughtful moments of inspiration that Mike really connects with the hearts of people who are hurting.

"I record these programs in a studio with just me, the microphone, and the Word of God," Mike said. "But then I'll get a letter from a listener who heard the program weeks later in another part of the country. And they write, 'You spoke that verse at just the perfect moment. It was exactly what I needed to hear.' Well, that's not me . . . that's God!"

The Word of God has been central in Mike's ministry through the years, especially in the radio version of Today in the Word, which Mike has hosted since it began in broadcast form. So when he got the opportunity to join Pastor Cole and Dr. Winfred Neely as a Q&A contributor, he was cautiously excited.

"I love Today in the Word," he said. "It's not just a devotional, it's a Bible study. And Pastor Cole has always added to the credibility. He always seems to have the right answers to everything. For years, the first thing our readers would do when they picked up a new issue was open right to Pastor Cole . . . then they could keep reading."

Mike balances his firm commitment to the truth of God with insightful compassion for the trials people face. He has a knack for seeing the person behind the question and connecting them with just the right biblical application—the Today in the Word staff and our readers have been grateful for what God has done through him.

Dr. Winfred Neely—Professor of Pastoral Studies at Moody Bible Institute

Dr. Neely loves the Word of God, and he loves to teach—a perfect combination for a Moody professor. Since he became a Christian at age 19—an experience he describes as "being overwhelmed by the light"—knowing Christ and obeying Him has been the joy of his life. Studying Scripture practically every day for the last 35 years has been his sustaining force and strength. "I was shaped and kept by the Lord," he says, "and Scripture was His means of keeping me through the years."

A lifelong learner, Winfred Neely received early on a calling from God to communicate his passion for learning to others: he feels he was born to teach. He also credits Stephne, his wife of 32 years, whom he calls "a woman of my dreams," in encouraging him to grow spiritually and intellectually. He is thrilled to help his students with their intellectual pursuits, to discover the riches of the Scripture and grow in their Christian walk. This calling led him first to Senegal, West Africa, when he heard of the desperate need for Bible teachers there. He and his wife served as missionaries in the area of church planting and leadership development in Senegal from 1986 to 1995. At that time Winfred also started the Evangelical Institute of Dakar, a training school for pastors and ministry leaders.

After coming back to the United States, he completed his Doctor of Ministry degree at Trinity International University and again followed his calling for teaching—at first at Moody Evening School and then as a full-time professor of the Undergraduate School, a professor deeply respected and admired by his students. But Dr. Neely's ministry of teaching the Word extends beyond the classroom. He's the pastor of Living Hope Community Church in South Holland, Illinois—a church he started in 2003 with a "congregation" of just six Moody students, which now welcomes about 70 people every Sunday morning. And Dr. Neely is also an actor! He pursued the study of acting at Act 1 Studio, acting school in Chicago, attending classes such as "Voice and Speech," "Acting Intro," and "Scene Study." In addition to enhancing his confidence in the classroom, this training helps him to engage his students' imagination in their study of the Bible.

He views writing for Today in the Word as an extension of his calling as a teacher and pastor: "I'm honored to contribute to Today in the Word. I never dreamed that the Lord would give me this privilege of pastoring in writing—to offer help far beyond the local church." We'd like to thank Dr. Neely for his pastoral writing ministry at Today in the Word—his well-researched, thoughtful answers to our readers' questions, answers that reflect his love for the Lord and a lifetime of faithfully studying His Word.

BY Elena Mafter

Elena Mafter has been working at Moody Bible Institute's Strategic Marketing and Communications department since 1999 and has been part of the Today in the Word team in a variety of roles: editor, proofreader, project coordinator, and contributing columnist. A transplant to the United States, she loves traveling, getting to know other cultures, and learning foreign languages (she's fluent in several!)

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