Thursday, February 9, 2012

"My Preacher"

This week I have been enjoying the FHU lectures. Personally it is the most encouraging week of my year. My life changed by coming to Freed-Hardeman. My mentors and Bible teachers are mostly still here.

The lectures this year were dedicated to brother Clarence DeLoach. Brother DeLoach now attends with the church where he retired from local work (Willow Ave. in Cookeville, TN), where I currently preach. I can say without hesitation that brother DeLoach has been my biggest supporter since I followed him there. He is a great man. He is a princely man. He is a Christian, a gentleman, and one of the greatest preachers of our time.

On an occasion or two, since coming to Cookeville, brother DeLoach has introduced me to people in town by saying, "This is my preacher." The first time he said that, my mind went back in time to the FHU lectureships from years ago. I was attending a lecture by brother William Woodson. As I walked into the auditorium brother Woodson saw me and smiled and said, "There's my preacher." William Woodson was one of our members when I preached at Pulaski St. in Lawrenceburg, TN. I feel about brother Woodson as I do about brother DeLoach. Two of the greatest preachers, and men, that I have ever known.

It is extremely hard for me to write this article. But it has been on my mind and heart and I want to express these feelings. I do not want anyone who reads this to think that I am "name-dropping." I don't want anyone who reads this to think that I am a good preacher just because of my association these men. The fact is, I just happened to be so fortunate and blessed to preach for congregations where they have been. This week at FHU is just a reminder to me about how unworthy I am of all of the work and knowledge of men who I believe are the greatest bible students and evangelists in the world.

For William Woodson or Clarence DeLoach to say that I am their preacher reminds me that the preacher is nothing. When I compare my life to them - I know just how far below them I stand. But I can be their preacher, because I preach the gospel. The power is all in the message. The Bible is the life-giving, spirit-transforming, eternity-changing power of our Almighty God. The smallest man can preach its truth to the greatest, and it can change both of their lives.

I want to say to those of you who are preachers, that many people say to others about you, "This is my preacher." Whether they are presidents of companies, Bible department faculty, governors, public officials, or just the people who come in off the street who need a physical meal as much as they do a spiritual one, you represent something to them that is very important. They all equally depend on you to preach to them the truth of the loving message of God's saving gospel. We should take as much care in teaching it to the heathen or infidel as we do to the greatest and strongest Christian we know.

I am thankful for all the people whom I have been able to call, "My preacher." I am thankful for all of those who have given me the honor of that same title in their lives. Anyone can preach the gospel, because the gospel is the message of the true Teacher and Preacher and Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.

"...How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" ~ Romans 10:15


  1. Great thoughts Jeremiah. The interesting thing is, I had thought about this very concept of you being brother Deloach's preacher when you led the prayer at his dinner...and then you blog this!

  2. Thanks, Michael. It has been good seeing you this week.

  3. The two previous places I've preached I've been James Watkins and Flavil Nichols "preacher." I understand what you are talking about and I too had the fortune of having two men who supported and encouraged me even when I was probably not deserving. Good thoughts about the importance of preachers; not because of who we preach to, but because of what we preach!

  4. Thanks, Jason. The difference for me this time around is that I am actually following Brother DeLoach in the pulpit. And you have followed Jerry Jenkins so you know what I am feeling, there, too. Clarence is still there so we have quite a "fill-in."