The Pepperdine Bible Lectures is one of the spiritual highlights of my year for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason is getting to see all my Sisters and Brothers from churches all over the world. With a nod of deep respect to ACU, Lipscomb, and Tulsa, the Pepperdine Lectures really remains the benchmark gathering place for the Churches of Christ each year. It's the one annual event where most of preachers/leaders within Churches of Christ gather. It's great staying in the dorms, enjoying the beautiful Malibu weather, and eating at the great spiritual feast Jerry Rushford and his team at Pepperdine put together.
All the usual suspects with the usually fantastic classes will be there. Here are a few other tidbits and shameless plugs:
- This year, I'm teaching a class called, "All We Are Meant to Be: Reviving and Sustaining Growing and Health Churches," in AMB 105 each morning at 8:30am. There will be a lot of church leadership stuff taught—using some of the stuff from the Turnaround Churches and Turnaround Fellowship posts on this humble blog as a foundation to dig deeper. If you feel like your church could benefit from it…I hope you'll come. I hope you can make it for the class…if for no other reason than to get a seat for Terry Rush's class right after mine J.
- One of Pepperdine's greatest assets is the unique gathering of musical talent that comes each year. There are a lot of wonderful groups there… but either Psallo or the ZOE Group will be leading worship each night in Smothers Theater. If you like praising God, these times are awesome. Peter Wilson (our worship minister at North County) will be leading the ZOE praise sessions this year…and on Thursday night in Smothers, I'll be teaching for about 10 minutes in the ZOE praise session about finding rest in God.
- I'll be introducing my former co-workers Jon Mullican and Becky Burroughs' class on church administration for churches in transition at 9:45 Wednesday. They are among the best in that ministry…and their class will be terrific.
- Then at 3:15, I get to introduce my buddy Don McLaughlin's class in the Firestone Fieldhouse. He's going to tell the amazing story of what God just did at North Atlanta. A donor who asked to remain anonymous had given $1.5 million to be divided among all present that Sunday — from first-graders up — and spent on good works in the Lord's name. He'll be telling stories of how God worked through it. It's going to be awesome.
- I'm eager to hear Shon Smith's opening night keynote. Shon and I became friends when we were both young turkey preachers in Houston–I at West Houston he at Bammel. We became friends and stayed in touch for a while, and I've always been a fan of his preaching. Shon is really one of the good guys–which is even more important than his substantial talent. While preaching is obviously far more than this, it's a great honor to be asked to open the Pepperdine Bible Lectures. In fact, for a preacher in Churches of Christ, delivering the opening night lecture at Pepperdine is a bit like winning the Green Jacket at the Masters for a golfer….so I'm thrilled for Shon and know God will speak through him that night.
- At 2pm, Dr. Bill Banowsky will be teaching the material in his new book, The Malibu Miracle, which offers the inside story of Pepperdine's development – and particularly the building of Pepperdine's Malibu campus. Emily and I read early manuscripts of the book and helped with editing. I can safely say no one living (and perhaps even dead) knows the story of Pepperdine better than Bill Banowsky. He was there and was the architect of Pepperdine's building. It will be absolutely must see—a living legend and a formidable preacher at that, telling the story of one of America's elite Christian Colleges.
That's a start. I haven't mentioned many of the others characters that will be roaming the hillside of Malibu (Randy Harris, Rick Atchley, Chris Seidman, Jeff Walling, Scot McKnight, among others). If you haven't decided to come… Why tarriest thou? Repent and enjoy the great time in Malibu. I promise, you'll come back renewed emotionally and spiritually.
Question: Are you coming? What classes are you looking forward to?