Two dramatic events took place in my life in February of 1990. First of all, I turned eighteen-years-old. My birthday was on a Monday. And by the end of that very week, I was moving into my first apartment. It was one in a series of events in which the Lord was forcing me to grow up quickly.
During that same month, I hosted our first revival at Mt. Sinai Church, where I been the pastor for three months. My guest speaker wanted to go to Mt. Moriah that Tuesday to here Dr. E.K. Bailey. I had heard of Dr. Bailey’s name before. But I knew absolutely nothing about his ministry. But if my guest wanted to go to church, we were going to church.
That day changed my life. Dr. Bailey preached on Joshua 7. That sermon changed my life. I was spiritually challenged by the word of God that day. But the message also sent my preaching in a new direction. I heard expository preaching that day, in which Dr. Bailey simply explained what the text meant by what it says. I had recently begun studying expository preaching. And I began to listen to some expository preachers. But that day sealed the deal for me. I remember leaving the service saying to myself, “That is what I want to do.”
Over the years, Dr. E.K. Bailey of the Concord Baptist Church in Dallas remained one of my homiletical heroes. And I was excited and encouraged when I learned about his Expository Preaching Conference. The year I attended, I had the joy of sitting under the teaching of Dr. Bailey, A. Louis Patterson, Jr., Kenneth Ulmer, Myles Jones, Warren Wiersbe, Stephen Olford, and Jasper Williams, among others. It was also the year that Dr. Bailey preached his classic sermon on Zacchaeus. Unfortunately, it was the only year I was able to attend. But I have purchased the tapes and CDs over the years, and have richly benefited from them.
My friend, Brian Carter, the senior pastor of the Concord Church, graciously invited me to participate in this year’s conference. I am schedule to speak this evening (Monday). And I am teaching a workshop on developing expository sermons on Tuesday afternoon. I do not have the words to express how grateful I am to have this opportunity to participate in this conference.
I will also have the opportunity to hear some good preaching and teaching this week. Brian Carter, Joel Gregory, Ralph West, Maurice Watson, and Robert Smith will all be speaking. Likewise, my pastor, Melvin Wade, is scheduled to teach on spiritual discipline and devotion.
This should be a great week of worship, fellowship, and study. Just going through the hotel lobby, I have bumped into friends from Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Oklahoma City, and Newark.
Please remember this great conference in your prayers. May the Lord cause much fruit to come from our time together in his work this week!