I m excited about the plans that are being made for next year and appreciative that the elders have given consideration and thought to the work and growth of Timberland. Church growth doesn t happen by accident. I am also excited about the events themselves. I am convinced that if we take advantage of them, they will be spiritually good for you and me and give us opportunities to reach others with the gospel. The elders have asked that I share with you some of the plans and the rationale behind them. We have three reasons for doing so: 1) We want you to know of these events now, so you can begin to plan your other activities around them. 2) We want to share our excitement with you; we want you not only to know about these events, but to be excited about them, to look forward to them, and to prepare for them. 3) We want to encourage your fellowship in the work that is planned here at Timberland Drive.
We have just confirmed a short week-end meeting, Saturday evening and Sunday, February 19-20, 2011, with Buddy Payne. Our meeting with Buddy this past August on the Evidences for God was a great success. Our members attended the meeting well, and we had numerous visitors from the community, several who have continued to visit our services Buddy s lessons were well presented and strengthened the faith of many; they helped equip us to answer the atheistic outcries against God. Perhaps the heart of some have been opened so they will receive other truths.
Our desire and thinking is that since we did so much advertising for Buddy s last meeting and that you and the community responded so well, maybe some will return and hear Buddy preach on other matters from the Gospel. We will let you know more about Buddy s choice of topics and some specific ways you can help make this meeting a success as time draws near.
A religious discussion, or a debate, on the Godhead — One Person or Three? — and on what it means to baptize one in the name of Jesus is scheduled Monday and Tuesday, February 28 and March 1, and Thursday and Friday, March 3 and 4, 2011. Participants will be Bruce Reeves, a preacher for the church of Christ in Conway, Arkansas and Roger Perkins, a Pentecostal preacher. (Bruce held a gospel meeting at Timberland Drive in the fall of 2009). Bruce asked us if we would have fellowship with him in this debate, and the elders have agreed to do so. Besides extending fellowship to Bruce in the debate by affirming we believe that the Godhead is three Persons — God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the last two evenings of the debate will be held in our building.
Some shy away from attending debates because of the conduct they have seen by some of the debaters themselves and because they wonder if any good can come from debates. Bruce is an experienced debater and has a reputation of conducting himself as a Christian during his debates. He has assured us that his conduct will be no different in this upcoming debate. Furthermore, numerous Bible studies and some conversions have followed the debates that Bruce has had in other places. We hope for the same here. With the strong Pentecostal element found in Lufkin — Pentecostal churches, the Pentecostal campground, and the Bible college located at their campground — we feel this will be a good opportunity to stand for, defend, and proclaim the truth. Again, we will give you more details about the debate as it draws near.
We have a gospel meeting scheduled with Kris Emerson, March 27 - April 1, 2011. This is our customary spring meeting. Kris is from Baytown, TX. Many of you may remember that Kris preached for us one evening several years ago during our VBS. The elders immediately determined to invite Kris for a gospel meeting, and we have been looking forward to his coming to be with us ever since that time.
While Kris has been scheduled for some time to hold a meeting for us next spring, the date chosen for next year s meeting was done so with a purpose in mind. We hope that some who visit with us during the debate will be inclined to visit with us again during this meeting and be exposed to more of the true teachings of the Bible.
We are aware that this is a lot of going to church — in fact, more than usual! However, we feel that these are opportunities that we must not let pass. They are planned with you and the community in mind — a desire to hold fast the Word of life (Philippians 2:16). See them for what they are — the church doing its work in the Lord and opportunities for you to grow in knowledge, to be built up in the faith, and to share the gospel with your friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. Give your support to this work. With this much advance notice, if we set our priorities right, most of us can arrange to attend these events. Keep these events in mind and pray for them! Give liberally to the Lord, knowing that your money is being used to further the gospel here in Lufkin as well as in other places. Let the elders know you are behind these works 100%. Excited? I hope so! Good days are ahead, if the Lord wills (James 4:15).