Heritage Christian University began their new blog this week. They asked me to write a post for it - visit/follow it at:
Heritage Christian University has been a blessing in my life for a long time. I remember going to the Soul Winning Workshop when it seemed 4-5000 people were inspired to lead others to Christ. I remember going in 1985 and hearing a young Jeff Walling challenge us “15 Years Till the Year 2,000” and preaching that sermon the next morning to a tired group of less than 100 people convinced that we could change the world, drunk on the energy of Wallings masterful presentation. I remember hearing John Kerr pray fervently for “our little school” and his passion for this place with a mission. I remember being asked to speak in chapel, once, twice, three and four times - and every time leaving inspired by the stories of students there. I remember the honor of being asked to serve on her board of trustees and the relationships with some exceptionally generous group. I remember being asked to speak on “the Alumni Days” to a small group whose simple devotion to the Lord means so much. I could go on but I want to share with you a story I shared with a group of Christians in Kentucky at a benefit dinner last night:
I remember many good things about HCU/IBC but this stands out...
In my first full time preaching work (an interesting term in and of itself) I make up excuses to drive to Cullman, Alabama (the “big city” about 15 minutes down the road) and would hope that I’d have time to drop by Glenn Posey’s office. Brother Posey preached at the big church in town. He was famous for two reasons to me: 1. He had worked as the first youth minister that I knew of back in 1960 alongside one of the heros of the faith, Gus Nichols. 2. My dad loved and highly respected him.
I would go into Glenn’s office and he’d freely give me of his time. He’d listen and advise and I would always overstay my welcome (not knowing that I was doing that). He had plenty to do without this kid dropping in unannounced. I am ever indebted to him. It is in large part because of him I always try to be available now to younger preachers who just need someone to listen that’s “been there”. It was Glenn who encouraged me to “take the job” at Hamilton Crossroads, because it had a good ring to it - I figure now it may have been self-preservation (if I took the job 5 hours south I certainly wouldn’t be stopping by there once a week :)).
Glenn had a son, Mark, who at that point Glenn thought was not going to preach. I believe Mark was majoring in counseling but maybe, Glenn reasoned, “he will preach some as well.” So Brother Posey did something that I became jealous of. Every time he’d finish an outline of a sermon he would make two copies, two files for it. One went in a file cabinet that was his, the other was for his son. Just in case Mark decided to preach he’d have all this material.
Yes, “jealous” I think is the right word. See I never got a sermon from dad. Well, actually I had one he had given me. Sitting in the car outside of the old chapel that Jefferson Christian Academy with only a few minutes before I was to do the devotional for the PTA and I didn’t have anything. He told me to speak on Philemon - Paul was a prayer, a payer, a partner and a prisoner. I recall it from memory over 30 years later. Yet, here was this great preacher, and “if” his son ever decided to preach, he’d start with a huge reservoir of sermons. And most any preacher will tell you that in the early days the hardest thing is coming up with what to preach. Mark would be set.
At some point I began to be thankful that dad hadn’t given me a bunch of his sermons. I began to believe that by not giving us sermons dad was forcing us to develop our own voice. To prepare our own sermons. To dig and work hard. Regardless I wanted dad’s sermons since I knew 1- they worked and 2- he was as good a preacher as I knew. So, I had a plan, I’d follow where he preached meetings and lectures through the Woodlawn/Roebuck bulletin. Then after he’d finished one somewhere I’d call and request the tapes.
It was in 1977 that dad was asked to deliver a keynote at International Bible College’s Soul Winning Workshop. His lesson was “A Man With A Burning Heart”. My brother, Jeff and I both got a copy of that tape somehow and for 30 years it has been my tryout sermon. We’ve both preached it. I retitled it “The Need for Dedication” and have preached it many, many times. It was on this tape that I learned the story of our great-grandmother and her dedication in the midst of abuse and how it lead her husband to the Lord and our family into ministry. I am thankful for International Bible College, now Heritage Christian University for many reasons but maybe most for my first contact with it that came through an old cassette tape they made that has dramatically influenced my life and commitment to the Lord.
No, dad didn’t give me many of his sermons. I now suspicion that he didn’t give me a lot of them just because I never asked.
Incidentally, Glen’s son Mark is a great preacher and a grand friend of all of us who preach.
Obviously I believe that powerful preaching of God’s Word is both effective and within God’s Will. And I believe in the work that Heritage is doing. A tape nearly 35 years old continues to influence people today. What a blessing. We never know the fruit of a good seed planted.