The Final Countdown
It doesn’t seem possible that an entire year has passed since Tim Stevens led the final song of the 39th Southside Lectures. I remember thinking on that Thursday night, after a week of hearing all the preachers who have been through the training program here, “it can’t get any better than this.” But it can. And it will. How do I know? Because I’ve said that at the end of every lecture program since I’ve been here. Each year is filled with its own special memories of sermons and songs that bring us closer to the Lord and closer to one another.
What will the 40th lectureship bring? What will be their story? We’re just a week away from finding out. The speakers will be coming in over the weekend. The brochures have been mailed to people in our area and around the country. The deacons have made preparations to ensure that things run as smoothly this year as they have the past 39 times. What’s left to do? What difference can you make in the next seven days?
You can still pray. Think about it this way. If all you do is include the lectures when you bow your head before each meal, you will pray for the lectures over 20 times between now and June 17. Do you think that would make a difference? And imagine if we all do that!
You can pray for the speakers by name – Paul Earnhart, Rickie Jenkins, Gary Sandusky, and Terry Slack. They will preach on such a timely and timeless theme: “Do You Know My Jesus?” They will use the Word to introduce us to our Savior, our Shepherd, our Friend, and our King. The greatest story ever told deserves our greatest effort of prayer.
You can pray for Tim Stevens. What an important responsibility to lead a congregation of people in worship to God. Yet, he does it in such a way that does not draw attention to himself but to the One who is worthy of praise. For some of the visitors, the lectures will be their first introduction to the Lord’s church and to New Testament worship. Pray that we will do it in spirit and in truth.
You can still plan. The reason they’re called the Southside Lectures is because they’re for the benefit of the Southside people. We encourage visitors to come from other places. We want to fill the pews and put out chairs. We want as many people as we can to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. But if all that is done to the exclusion of the edification and building up of our local body, I’m not sure we can count the 40th lectures a success.
One of my favorite things to do during lectures is to watch our members. How you greet the visitors, how you encourage the speakers, how you serve one another. Especially is that the case with our new members. They usually have a smile on their face that says they understand why we talk about this week all year long. And the Sunday morning after, even though everyone is exhausted, there is this great buzz in the building leftover from a powerful, emotional, inspiring week that we all experienced. Together.
You can be a part of that, if you’ll start planning. Plan to be at every service you possibly can. Even when it means some sacrifice must be made to get here, you won’t regret it. In fact, you’ll say, “I’m sure glad I didn’t miss this.” The 40th Southside Lectures have been in the planning stages for some time now. Will you make them a part of yours?
You can still invite. This year’s theme is an evangelistic one. What did the apostles preach when they went into all the world? What caused people to be pricked in their hearts? Christ and Him crucified. Paul Earnhart, Rickie Jenkins, Gary Sandusky, and Terry Slack will help us to know Jesus. Do you know anyone who would benefit from knowing Him and hearing the Lord’s invitation?
You may have already handed out a stack of brochures. You can still invite some more. This past Thursday, 800 brochures were distributed in the neighborhood surrounding the building. You can still invite. There are people on your own street, in your office, at your school who might be searching for the Savior. Don’t throw the opportunity away by thinking, “They’ll never come.” Let them decide. Let them know your Jesus.
There’s still a lot left to do when you’re one week away. And when it’s all over, we can drive home on Thursday night and wonder how it could ever get any better. But it can. It will. When we all get to heaven.