This coming week thousands of people (somewhere around 5,000) will converge on the small West Tennessee burg of Henderson. In fact the visitors will outnumber the residents. The reason for all of these people coming together will be the annual Freed Hardeman University Bible Lectureships. This year will be number seventy-five. There will be more than one hundred twenty presenters on this year’s program.
There is a running joke that the FHU Lectures insures that snow will come to the area. The fact is that there have been many years that it does snow during the week (after all it is February)! I recall one particular year that a snow storm hit West Tennessee and North Alabama the week of the Lectures. I left Henderson to head home and a trip that routinely would take about three and one-half hours took me nine hours!
If my memory serves me correctly this year will be my thirty-sixth year in a row to attend the lectures. Along with the Lewisville Preacher’s Training Camp this is one of my favorite weeks of the year.
I LOVE THE LECTURES BECAUSE OF THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY. I get to spend the week with my brother, Dale who is the greatest brother that any man could ever have. This year I will be able to spend some time with my son and my son-in-law (my two favorite men in the world)! I will be able to spend some time with my sister, Missie, the best sister any man could have.
In addition to these relatives I will see several nephews, my uncle, and a few cousins! Traditionally this has been a week to spend some time with my Dad. This will be the first time to attend the lectures and not see Dad in the thirty-six years I have been attending (more about that in a moment).
I LOVE THE LECTURES BECAUSE OF THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE SOME WONDERFUL FRIENDS. This week allows me to see a group of preachers from Oklahoma who are some of my dearest friends (most of them began attending the lectures when we moved to Oklahoma in 1994). I will see school friends that I only get to see once a year. I will see my college roommate as well as a number of other close friends from our days as students at FHU.
I will have the opportunity to be around a number of older preachers who mentored us and helped us in our early days of preaching. These are Godly men who made huge impressions on a young preacher. There will also be a number of young preachers who we have had the opportunity to assist during their college days and their early days of preaching. Each year also provides opportunity to make new friends.
I LOVE THE LECTURES BECAUSE OF THE FELLOWSHIP. We will eat and talk, talk and eat, laugh and eat, exchange stories about our work and eat. Did I mention there will be a lot of eating? Remember, I said there will be a lot of preachers present!!
I LOVE THE LECTURES BECAUSE OF THE LESSONS. The theme for this year is, “Proclamation & Promise: Major Themes in the Minor Prophets.” It will be a rich study in twelve books of the Old Testament that will inspire, encourage, and challenge us to live better lives before our God. Some of my favorite preachers will be speaking on this wonderful theme.
The lectureship committee has been very gracious to ask me to speak again this year. Again, if my memory serves me correctly this will be eighth time to speak in the last nine years. Perhaps they ask me regularly because I serve on the Board of Trustees. Whatever the reason, it is always a pleasure to speak at my alma mater. In addition to speaking on the Lectures this year, it will be an honor for me to speak on Wednesday night for the Estes congregation. For many years brother Tom Holland presented the Wednesday night lesson at Estes. He is not able to speak at Estes this year and it will be an honor for me to step in this year.
This year my Dad was scheduled to speak on the program. When Dad passed away Dr. David Lipe (the lectureship director) called me and we made a decision to ask Dale to speak in Dad’s place. While I will miss hearing Dad, I know that Dale will do is usual outstanding job. He will fill the space admirably and Dad would be proud to know that Dale is speaking in his place.
I LOVE THE LECTURES BECAUSE OF THE WORSHIP! To sing praises to God with thousands of other Christians is a wonderful experience. The singing is absolutely beautiful each day in chapel with the blending of voices young and old. The prayers that are prayed, the reading of God's Word and the study is a moving experience.
I LOVE THE LECTURES BECAUSE OF MY LOVE FOR FREED HARDEMAN. I am an unashamed supporter of Freed Hardeman University. There is something about walking on the campus that thrills my soul. I love our students, I love our Bible faculty, as well as the rest of our faculty, I love our administration, and I love the campus. There is an atmosphere of joy and love for the Lord as well as His Church. Maybe some of our readers who are lectureship attendees will share a favorite story from the lectures or share why you love the lectureship.
Dear Father, thank You for the blessing of being with family and friends. Thank you for the opportunity to study Your Word and be strengthened in the most Holy Faith. Thank You dear God for the people You bring into our life that encourage us through the years. Help us to remember that every wonderful spiritual blessing we have comes from You. In the Name of our Savior we pray, Amen.