To Whom It May Concern,
I am pleased to offer my recommendation for Les Ferguson, Jr.
Les Ferguson, Jr. is a dear friend. Our lives merged through tragedy. My father, a former minister where I now preach, sexually abused 23 small children over the course of his life and shattered their lives. Dad’s actions rocked our small community and nearly devastated the church. Pain is an unwelcome presence in our lives. Through Les’ struggles, questions, and wrestling matches with God, he has shown me how to hold on to God.
I had the chance to sit at the feet of Les while he preached on doubt and weakness. I wept. God spoke directly to my heart through Les. Les ministers to those who are in pain because he understands pain. When we are honest with ourselves, we find that the majority of people come to Christ because of some form of brokenness. The irony is that many churches don’t want ministers who are open about their own struggles, doubts, and weaknesses. As I travel and speak, I listen to the voices of people who have left the church for good because they were told by church leaders to “be strong,” “have more faith,” or “just get over it”—words spoken by Christians who mean well but who clearly don’t understand pain and weakness.
In God’s world, this is not how the broken should be treated. We’ve somehow reversed Jesus’ words in practice: “Those who are sick have no need of a physician, but those who are well.” Les understands that Jesus was right after all—it is those who are sick who actually need the Physician. A church that would accept Les as their minister is a church that would grow. And here’s the catch—it would be full of the broken people Jesus seeks to restore!
I offer my highest recommendation and blessing for Les.
Jimmy Hinton, Minister
July 22, 2013
#1 Pro Shop Road Cherokee Village, AR 72529
To Whom It May Concern:
Les Ferguson recently came to our church for a three day lectureship. The theme for the lectureship was “A Tested Faith.”
Les was awesome! He delivered three different messages at three different times and the message was passionate, effective, Bible-based, organized and sometimes humorous. His audience was attentive, involved and totally engrossed in his message. Some responses from our congregation were: “Inspiring!” Another said, “I could relate to some of the things Les said.” Another said, “I could have listened to Les all day.”
This was the first time I had met Les Ferguson and I was impressed. He was very pleasant and engaging to me and all of the people he met. He had time to talk to every person he met. His wife, Becky, was equally impressive and complemented Les very well.
I would highly recommend Les for any motivational or spiritual gathering, church, civic organization or business.
From Bishop Sam Seamans
In a day where the shallow and the superficial reign supreme in the World and in a great part of the Church, people hunger and crave for honesty, transparency, integrity, and most of all, authentiticy in matters of faith. In this arena steps Les Ferguson Jr., a man who has lost much and struggles to make sense of where he finds himself in his life and in his faith.
Though his story is a bit different from that of Job, his honesty is exactly the same of that great Old Testament hero. Instead of struggling in secret with the questions that have pressed in on him, Les has decided to live in a glass house so that other crippled souls can struggle along with him. Just as Jesus showed his wounds to a questioning Thomas, so Les bares his scars for others to inspect, and in so doing, allows others to experience the balm of God’s presence in their own troubled lives.
To do what Les has done with his blog, “Desperately Wanting To Believe Again”, takes great courage and comes with risks, for some have taken his doubts for unbelief, but they are in error. Like Jacob who went away blessed but limping, so Les has discovered the reality of his faith in the midst of loss, for he cannot let go of the God he loves, and the God he knows loves him. By showing others how to limp, I believe God will use Les to help others walk straight.
Men like Les are the Saints of our day, and like most Saints, they are usually the last to know it, if they ever realize it at all. I am proud and blessed to call him my friend, and I pray that he continues the difficult journey of walking a path that only has enough light for the next step, and I believe that God will use Les to light the way for others who have lost and yet still believe.
The Rt. Rev. Sam Seamans
Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of Mid-America in the Reformed Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Church in North America.
From Drew Marshall
“Les Ferguson Jr. has been to Hell and is trying to crawl his way back to the Light. His story is easily one of the most incredulous I’ve heard in a decade of interviews.”
Drew Marshall – TV & Radio Host
From Patrick Mead
“Look at the empty places in the pews on Sunday. Add up the seating capacity of every church in your community and compare it with the total population in the area. It is plain that no church is reaching the vast majority of those who say they believe in God. Why aren’t these people involved in worship and service at a local church? For more of them than you can imagine, it is because Christianity didn’t work for them. The local church failed them. They were overwhelmed, beaten, and dragged by life and they have received no answer except trite calls to be faithful, be happy, name it and claim it, and act as if they were triumphant when their hearts and all the evidence says they are broken.
We get little help from contemporary Christian writers. Their books speak of triumph and “how to have more faith” but leave out those for whom faith failed. And if we were putting the scripture together today, few would put Job, Jeremiah, Lamentations or much of Isaiah in the Bible. We don’t want to hear the voice of pain, the voices of confusion, and the voices calling out “Why God, why?” But God put those voices in the Bible and His people still cry out as did Jeremiah. Publishers and pulpits often silence them and so our pews remain empty and our faith ineffectual.
Les Ferguson was a local minister, a church elder, and a friend of mine. He faithfully raised a family, including a son who had profound disabilities and whose care took vast reserves of patience and prayer. And then a church member insinuated himself into the Ferguson’s life and church. He sexually abused Les’ helpless son. When he knew he had been discovered, he attacked the family, killing Les’ wife and son in a horrific act of murder that rocked the entire community and the greater community of faith who knew and loved the Ferguson’s.
Les suffered from the well meaning but idiotic platitudes Christians often offer each other; trite sayings about God’s will and how he will get over it one day. He wrestled with God and his faith – and he wrestles still. Yet, he has the courage to wrestle out loud, in public, in front of us. And we are all richer because of it. Here is a man who did everything right – he got his education, married, stayed faithful to his wife, children, and church. He served God, cared for the poor, reached out to others and then evil exploded in his face. Handed only platitudes and well meaning, but trite and hurtful, clichés about the will of God and God’s plan, he went on a mission to find his faith again. He speaks openly and honestly, as Jeremiah did by the pit or Ezekiel by the drainage pit called Chebar. We need to hear this voice.
God did not silence Jeremiah or Ezekiel. He did not stop the writers of the psalms from venting their anger against Him or life or injustice. In fact, at least half of the psalms contain such language and they were the songs Jesus sang at synagogue. He invites the confused and shattered to draw close and “come, let us reason together.” Les’ work in writing and speaking is doing just that. In so doing, he is opening up an important world to the rest of us.
If we hear him, perhaps our pews won’t be so empty and people won’t feel so alone anymore.”
From Joe Beam
Les Ferguson, Jr. has not only been through the fire of horror and heartache, he is also actively fighting his way out of the aftermath. Sometimes it takes a long while for the flames to completely die down. When it comes to questions of faith, those flames are harder than most to stamp out for good.
Joe Beam, Chairman, MarriageHelper.com
From Greg England
I do not know Les personally, but I have followed his blog passionately, to the degree one can follow a blog passionately. Every morning I look for his latest offering as his insights have helped me in numerous ways.
From Carl Bridges
Les Ferguson is one of the most genuine people I know. If you want to know what he thinks, just ask him and he will tell you straight. Since the tragedy that overtook his family, Les has found his voice as an advocate of an authentic relationship with God, the kind of faith that does not shy away from the darkness of a fallen world, the kind of faith that offers no glib reassurances. He speaks to those who have suffered and to those who may suffer in the future—and that will probably include all of us. Les is a man worth listening to.
Carl Bridges Johnson University Professor, New Testament Dean, School of Bible & Theology
From Robyn Lee