Several years ago (in the 80s and 90s) when Lillian's grandparents were still around, we would take an annual summer trip to spend a few days with them in Rockport. It was always an enjoyable trip and stay for us.
Lillian's grandfather was a long-time Baptist deacon, and he subscribed to the Baptist Standard, the weekly magazine of the Texas Baptists. Lillian's grandmother would save the magazine every week so that I could read a year's worth of issues on our summer trip. Almost as soon as we arrived in Rockport (after we ate her tamales), she would remind me that the magazines were waiting for me. I'd have Bethany put them in order by date, and I'd sit in a comfortable chair and start reading. It's amazing what I learned about Texas Baptists from that magazine.
One of the preachers I remember reading about in the Standard was Joel Gregory, who was considered an up-and-coming preacher among Southern Baptists. Every since then, I somewhat followed his preaching career from Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Ft. Worth to the First Baptist Church in Dallas, including his sudden departure from that church.
So I got really excited when I found out he was going to be at First Baptist here in San Angelo this week. Lillian, Beth, Ryan, and I went to the service last night, along with some friends, so that I could hear, for the first time in person, a preacher that I have admired for many years.
I started to listen to the sermon as a preacher wanting to learn from a master, but I found myself just receiving God's Word into my heart and life. It was a wonderful sermon that truly blessed and encouraged me.
Afterward, I had a brief conversation with Dr. Gregory and managed to have my picture taken with him. It turned out to be a great evening!