- We were honored with so many, enthusiastic guests (not including speakers and their families, we had brothers and sisters attending from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming). Most of the Denver-metro area congregations had representation and nearly 30 congregations throughout the state were represented.
- We were blessed by great congregational participation (this huge undertaking is underwritten financially by the Bear Valley Bible Institute and everyone associated with the school is involved in multiple tasks, but the Bear Valley congregation donated food, cooked for the banquet, helped set up, move things, and “break down” tables, chairs, providing security, coordinating parking, and the like, and attended in unprecedented fashion. From the leadership down, there was much support from the home crowd. This church is taking increasing “ownership” of this great, annual event).
- We were reminded that God’s people want to hear from “The Book” (our textual studies continue to be popular with men, women, and teens. The ability to “walk through” a book of the Bible was met with constant, thoughtful compliments and enthusiasm! Letting God speak through His inspired Word is an unbeatable approach).
- We were treated to great preaching and teaching throughout (it was put many ways, like “there was not a dud in the bunch,” “there was no let down, not even for one session,” and “there wasn’t a session you felt like you could skip to do something else.” That is a tribute to the men and women who handled their assignments so superlatively. So many good things were said about how rich and encouraging this year’s program was).
- We were witnesses to continued growth (the first fact above gives insight into the fact that our attendance continues to climb. We set attendance records at one session on Friday and five on Saturday, and we came close to matching records at several other sessions throughout the weekend. It was great seeing a “full house” throughout the lectureship).
- We were made even more proud of our alumni (some of the most “rave reviews” about sessions concerned our alumni who spoke. We got to see and hear about the progress and success our graduates are having in their local works. So many of our former students showed up from near and far to support this year’s program. We learned at the banquet that, once again, a large number of our current student body received encouragement to come from our graduates. We want to deepen and strengthen our tie with the men who came through our school).
- We were left anticipating an even better year next year (would you begin to make your plans, even now, to be a part of the 2017 Bear Valley Lectures? I hope so!).
When the boys were younger, I would ask them questions about Old Testament characters as part of a quiz. Included in that were questions about the Minor Prophets. How well do you know the following without consulting your Bible (or Google)?
- He wondered why God used a more wicked nation to punish his own nation.
- He repeatedly talks about “that day” near the end of his book, referring to the day of Christ and the church.
- He asked, “Will a man rob God?” and said, “God hates divorce.”
- He wrote to condemn Nineveh and was a prophet of comfort for God’s people.
- He said, “The just shall live by faith.”
- He was the Minor Prophet who spoke the most about “the day of the Lord.”
- His message was, “Rebuild the temple.”
- He compared his nation to a person who touched an unclean body, who became unclean.
- His book includes the “Shigionoth.”
- He said, “The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked.”
- He mentioned, “The Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings.”
- He saw a flying scroll.
- He was the great-great grandson of Hezekiah.
- He talked about putting wages in a bag with holes.
- He talks about a Man whose name is “The BRANCH.”
All of these answers come from either the books of Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, or Malachi. This weekend will be more than about mere facts and information, though. The message, principles, and application will enrich your heart and life because it is “a portion” of the Word of God. These prophets write at a significant time in Bible history, and the implications of much of their writing play out in the ministry of Christ and establishment of the church. I hope you will come and be a part of our lectureship, if you can and for as much as you can. It will be a time of great growth and building up. Send me your answers and I’ll message you back with your “grade.” Happy test-taking! See you here starting tomorrow night at 7 P.M.
Anything special, big and worthwhile a church attempts, be it a new program, evangelism, visitation, the Bible School, or a lectureship, will fail if it rests only on the shoulders of the elders, preachers, or select few. The late Wendell Winkler was fond of saying, “Programs do not work. People do.” Programs are only as effective as the people in the local church work to make them. It is estimated that nearly a gazillion little things must be done for something of any magnitude to go smoothly, and the active, tireless labor of as many as possible makes all the difference.
Active members are so crucial to a church being successful, in God’s eyes. Here is a tribute to some very special members of a congregation:
The REMEMBERS: These are the folks who don’t “forget” events on the church’s calendar, who don’t say “Oh, was that this week?” As you involve yourself in the church’s work, you take seriously the ever-relevant principle, “But you shall remember the LORD your God…” (Deut. 8:18). God does not like to be forgotten (Psa. 42:9; Jer. 2:32; Ezek. 22:12).
The DISMEMBERS: These are folks who are willing to sever themselves from their normal routines, preempting other events, to support an activity or event. Such are living out Matthew 6:33 and Romans 12:1-2. God richly blesses Christians who make such decisions. You are those who know it is better to “cut off” anything that keeps you from doing what you can for the Lord (cf. Heb. 12:1).
The EMBER MEMBERS: These are members who are involved, supporting the works and activities of the church. You have your fire lit. You want to be a better child of God. Keep the fires of enthusiasm, rededication, and determination burning brightly. We see your glow. It encourages all of us. You can help smoke out spiritual enemies even better through your faithful participation.
God bless every faithful member of His church. Your support for good works is overwhelming. Let us use each event and opportunity to make the church, with its every member, stronger.