Mike Cope's blog

Friday, September 16, 2005

I met this morning with "my group of elders." I can't tell you what a blessing it is. They're there to encourage me and to support me. I remember an experience from another time in life when "my group of elders" was often upset. It was a scolding session. One time one of them barked at me, "When are we going to get back to preaching about the gospel?" I was preaching a long series on the cross. And he wanted to know when we were going to talk about the gospel. The frightening thing is that this man had been in many places of spiritual leadership. It's so nice to have trust for the 40 brothers who serve as our elders. At times I miss a meeting and find out decisions that have been made. Even when I don't understand, I have no doubts about the prayer and spiritual discernment that went into it. If it doesn't sound right to me, my assumption is that there is something I don't know. For that I'm very thankful. But most meetings don't center on decisions, anyway. They center on prayer, affirmation, commissioning, and encouragement. Especially, prayer. I'm a better man for being allowed to peek in these past fourteen-plus years. - - - - Yesterday I sat next to my buddy Eddie Sharp, one of the world's great ministers, during the ACU Preacher's Workshop (or whatever it's called). As I listened to Paul Scott Wilson -- author of The Four Pages of the Sermon, God Sense, Broken Words, and Preaching and Homiletical Theory -- I was transported back to when I was 20. It was like a wave falling over me as I was swept up in remembering how eager I had been to preach. I was all of a sudden in the Harding library reading my Greek New Testament. I was listening to Jim Woodroof preach at the College Church. I was bug-eyed listening to the passion of Terry Smith and Landon Saunders. I was underlining in my first NIV New Testament. I was soaking up the words of Neale Pryor and Jimmy Allen, Tom Eddins and Jerry Jones. I was sitting in chapel listening to the powerful words of faith from Cliff Ganus. For just a brief moment, I got to be twenty again.


  • Thanks, Mike, for also transporting me back to the wondrous days of Harding. I have lately been reliving those as our daughter is a freshman at Sears (I still call it New Dorm some 28 years later). But yes, I remember coming up with accronyms for Jimmy Allen listing questions, seeing Avon Malone coming into class shouting "Hupomone"; and leading singing in "Brother" Eddie Cloer's New Testament Survey Class (my daughter's teacher this year too. Oh, what marvelous times those Harding years were.

    By Blogger Buzz, at 9/16/2005 10:21:00 AM  

  • Ah, Sears Dorm. Now there's a good Harding memory!

    Every year I was at Harding some office produced a "Viewbook" of all the incoming freshmen...pictures, home towns, etc. Being the super mature 18 year old men that we were, we quickly dubbed that priceless trasure (upperclassmen were always trying to get their hands on one) the "Sears Catalog."

    Or, in our less mature times, "The Menu."

    I remember breaking out in cold sweats if I took a girl from Sears out on a date, and didn't have her back by 10:59pm. Mama Cox and all of her British charm would be waiting....oh the horror!

    By Blogger Greg Kendall-Ball, at 9/16/2005 11:29:00 AM  

  • If that's your description of being twenty...in my opinion, you're still twenty.

    Love you, man.

    (PS: don't forget the sharpie smiley face on the back of your head for the ZOE team during the conference.)

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 9/16/2005 11:46:00 AM  

  • OK, this memory emerged in my mind. I first heard Mike Cope speak in the Administration Auditorium at Harding in the Fall of 1987. It was my first Peak of the Week. I was 17 years, a Freshman, sweating in the armpits and thrilled to be at Harding.

    Cute girls, cool campus, living far from home, it was awesome - even the preachers didn't suck. It was one of those times I was fully alive.

    By Blogger Fajita, at 9/16/2005 12:49:00 PM  

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    By Blogger MarkS, at 9/16/2005 01:17:00 PM  

  • The likes of Woodroof, Smith and Saunders nurtured my faith in my early years as a follower of Jesus (Terry Smith baptized me). I would be a much less empathetic and compassionate believer were it not for them and others...like Shipp.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Steve Sr.

    By Blogger MarkS, at 9/16/2005 01:19:00 PM  

  • Mike,

    My wife and I got to meet Eddie Sharp on the very same occasion that we met Joe and Laura Hays. All great people, praise the Lord, and all in need of prayer.

    I love to listen to Eddie.

    Thank for the moment to reflect.

    By Blogger dagwud, at 9/16/2005 01:55:00 PM  

  • Now Tom Eddins teaches 11th grade Bible. I teach 9th grade Bible and can say that we're co-workers. Somehow "co" doesn't seem to fit. He is a wonderful man and mentor. I'm grateful that I can stop by his classroom anytime and have his attention. I'm grateful that he does such a wonderful job ministering to our football team as the "team chaplain." I knew he was a great guy, but thanks Mike for really putting into context the impact he has had on so many. Helps me not to take for granted what a great man I get to work with everyday.

    By Blogger Jon, at 9/16/2005 06:37:00 PM  

  • I was at Harding at the same time, and those folks all left quite an impression on me, as well. The other day my seventeen year old daughter told me she might major in bible when she goes to college, so she can be a youth minister one day. This is a thought that never occurred to me 20 something years ago, and it seemed perfectly normal to her!

    By Blogger kim, at 9/16/2005 06:39:00 PM  

  • While the teachers have changed, Harding is having as great an impact on me as well. Glad to see the classics like "Sears Catalog" haven't changed.

    By Blogger Derek Wilson, at 9/16/2005 10:39:00 PM  

  • This is completely off-subject. But felt some readers may be interested.

    I'm in a conference with Len Sweet (NexChurch Leadership Conference) and I'm posting notes from his talk. Friday's notes are already up.


    forgive for the intrusion,


    By Blogger Fred Peatross, at 9/17/2005 02:47:00 AM  

  • "Those were the days my friend,"

    Years ago Lynn Anderson quoted the entire book of Ephesians by memory as a sermon. One of the responses from one of the senior women in the church, "When are you going to preach from the Bible?"

    By Blogger David Michael, at 9/17/2005 11:03:00 AM  

  • After hearing Jimmy Allen preach at the Cobo Arena in Detroit in the mid-sixties, I found myself frightened to be in his New Testament Survey Class my first semester at Harding. I was ready for a semester of sinners in the hand of an angry God.

    That fear disappeared the first day when I began to sense his passionate love he had for the good news of Jesus.

    My father died my senior of high school, so the raw wound of that loss was exposed every MWF to one more beautiful exposition of the NT. I hardly remember a day in which I didn't feel tears welling in my eyes as he told us about †he grace and love of God shown to us in Christ Jesus. And for the first time, I began to grasp the idea that my salvation came from the LORD--independent of my paltry achievements and spectacular failures in imitating Christ.

    The next semester Neal Pryor taught my Old Tesament class. The next fall Jim Woodruff came and shortly aftewards Terry Smith.

    To sense the Holy Spirit guiding one into truth, to be convicted of sin, and to gain confidence in the Spirit's power remain treasures of my youth and legacies of powerful teaching and preaching.

    It inspired me to preach too.

    Oh well...

    By Blogger Beverly Choate Dowdy, at 9/19/2005 09:18:00 AM  

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