EMPOWER 2024: Gaithers, Jeremiah, Reavis exalt Jesus during Classics Session

STBC Senior Strategist Tony Mathews (second from left) speaks after a plaque was presented to Bill Gaither (center) honoring his lifetime contributions to the kingdom of God during the Classics Session Monday. SBTC Executive Director Nathan Lorick (second from right) presented the plaque. SBTC PHOTO

IRVING—A crowd of over 1,800 enjoyed the Classics Session of the 2024 Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Empower Conference, featuring the Gaither Vocal Band and pastors David Jeremiah and Herb Reavis Jr.

The event, held Monday at the Irving Convention Center, is planned each year with senior adults in mind. The Gaithers led off the session with an hourlong concert featuring their gospel quartet sound and later returned for another 40 minutes, after which SBTC Executive Director Nathan Lorick presented Bill Gaither with a plaque commemorating his long impact on the kingdom of God.

‘God has something for you to do’

Speaking from Romans 13:11-14, Jeremiah—pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif.—preached a message he called “Live Like You Were Dying,” emphasizing the urgency of “getting better” in your Christian walk.

“The only way you deal with the darkness is to shine the light,” he said, referring to verse 12. He went on to suggest four ways to resist and overcome the world’s influence on our lives:

  1. Watch vigilantly (v.11): Quoting Matthew 16:3, Jeremiah asserted, “It’s important to understand the times so that we know what we ought to do.” In the context of Romans 13:11, he emphasized the imminence of Jesus’ return.
  2. War valiantly (v.12): “You are the light of the world,” Jeremiah said to his listeners, noting that Jesus has left His followers to carry that mantle. “Walk as children of light, not like you used to be.”
  3. Walk virtuously (v. 13): This verse lists a set of sins—carousing and drunkenness, sexual impurity and promiscuity, and quarreling and jealousy. “We can’t be just like everyone else,” Jeremiah said, noting that such sin can make us useless to God.
  4. Wait victoriously (v. 14): “Be watching for the return of Christ,” he urged. “Put on Christ. Intend that He goes where you go.” Jeremiah said other Christians in our lives can provide strong safeguards so we can “kick sin off [our doorsteps so] it won’t end up in [our] house.”

In conclusion, Jeremiah urged his hearers to stay holy, stay healthy, stay humble, and stay hungry.

“God has something for you to do,” he said.

David Jeremiah preaches from Romans 13 during the Classics Session of the 2024 Empower Conference Monday at Irving Convention Center. SBTC PHOTO

‘Does Jesus have all of you?’

Emphasizing the lordship of Christ, Reavis—pastor of North Jacksonville Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.—turned to Philippians 2:5-11 for his text.

“Jesus does not want to be your co-pilot,” Reavis said. “He demands first place in your life.” To illustrate his point, Reavis noted Jesus is called Lord more often in the New Testament than He is called Savior.

He drew from his text two reasons everyone should make Jesus Lord:

  1. Because of what He gave: From verses 6-8, Reavis noted Jesus was in the form of God prior to the incarnation, but “emptied Himself of all outward trappings of majesty. … He clothed Himself in the body of a peasant carpenter … and stooped low to become obedient to the point of death … to death on an old rugged cross.”
  2. Because of what He gained: Jesus’ terrible suffering on our behalf is in stark contrast to God’s exaltation of the risen Christ. God highly exalted Him and gave Him a name and title above all others. “On the field of battle … there was only one standing, robed in white, with the keys of death, hell, and the grave,” Reavis exclaimed, “and that was Jesus Christ, whose foot was on the neck of the enemy!” We should, therefore, “live like Jesus is alive forever more.”

“This truth,” Reavis said, “demands a practical response: I should bow my knee and confess Him as lord. His will becomes my will; His aims become my aims.

“You have all of Jesus. Does Jesus have all of you?”


Gary Ledbetter
Southern Baptist Texan
Most Read

Bradford appointed dean of Texas Baptist College

FORT WORTH—Carl J. Bradford, assistant professor of evangelism and occupant of the Malcolm R. and Melba L. McDow Chair of Evangelism, has been appointed dean of Texas Baptist College, the undergraduate school of Southwestern Baptist Theological …

Stay informed on the news that matters most.

Stay connected to quality news affecting the lives of southern baptists in Texas and worldwide. Get Texan news delivered straight to your home and digital device.