I didn’t think about it until I started writing this congratulations commemorating the anniversary of the paper, but it was actually right at 25 years ago that I started preaching.
I was almost 19 years old when a small church in a small Missouri town was so desperate for a preacher they asked me to preach.
The name of the church was Christ’s Church of Perseverance, and trust me, they needed plenty of it to endure my sermons.
It was around that time I discovered a newspaper called The Southeast Outlook that was delivered to the library of the Bible college I attended.
One day in the library I just happened to pick it up. As I was reading through it, I stumbled upon a section that had the previous week’s sermon outline from either Bob Russell or Dave Stone. As a struggling young preacher who had to prepare a sermon for Sunday morning, a sermon for Sunday night and a sermon for Wednesday night, it was like that scene in Indiana Jones where he discovers the holy grail.
For the next few years I would regularly get my Sunday night sermon outline from The Outlook. As thankful as I was for that resource, I can assure you that the handful of people who came to Sunday night services at Christ’s Church of Perseverance were elated.
It was through The Southeast Outlook that I became more familiar with Southeast Christian Church. So, when I graduated from college and Dave Stone encouraged me to fill out an application to be the next preaching intern, I jumped at the chance. In my first week as an intern, one of the responsibilities I was given was to take sermons written by Bob and Dave and convert them into sermon notes for The Outlook.
I’m thankful that The Outlook started the same year I started preaching and helped me fall in love with a church in Louisville that I had never attended, but where I would one day preach.
Well, that’s my Outlook story. I bet you didn’t know that one.
I wonder how many other stories there are like that. Stories we may never hear from people we may never know. There are likely thousands of other stories that include the sentence, “I just happened to pick up a Southeast Outlook.” A big thank you to The Southeast Outlook for 25 years of faithfully connecting people to Jesus and one another.