I returned yesterday after spending a couple of days in Florence, Alabama. The alumni association of Heritage Christian University (formerly International Bible College) invited me back to speak on their annual alumni days. The invitation came at the request of former students who were in some ministry classes I taught as an adjunct teacher while we lived in Florence during the 1980s. I spoke twice. One message was entitled: "How to Stay Fresh and Alive for the Long Haul." The other message was entitled: "When I Am Tempted to Quit."
This was an emotional/sentimental two days with these people. I had not been on the campus but once in the last seventeen years. (That was the occasion of my father-in-law’s death, the former president of the school.) The highlight of these two days was seeing a number of people who had been students in my ministry classes. All of them were so gracious, encouraging, and affirming.
While in Florence during those years, I preached for the College Church, which met on that campus. Thursday, when I walked into the main auditorium on campus, my mind was flooded with memories. After all, this was the room where I preached for almost eight years. This was the room where I participated in countless conversations with people who were a part of our church family or who were visiting our church. This was even the room in which Charlotte and I were married almost 29 years ago.
I am so grateful for those people whose paths I crossed during those years. On this occasion, I was especially grateful to former students. So many of them contributed to my life in important ways.