BBS Upgrade!


BBS Upgrade!


 We have a very exciting development we want to share with you. Several years ago, Southeast gained approval from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to offer a Bachelor of Biblical Studies degree to everyone who graduated from the two-year program going forward. The question was asked, “What about those who graduated prior to this who received a diploma from East Tennessee School of Preaching and Missions?” At the time, the decision was made to require prior graduates to complete two three-hour courses in order to earn the Bachelor of Biblical Studies diploma. 

We are pleased to announce that we are making the Bachelor of Biblical Studies degree available to all ETSPM graduates in good standing, without further coursework. Graduates of ETSPM should go to our website and fill out the application. We need updated information to verify graduation and also ensure the student files are compliant with Tennessee Higher Education Commission standards. Once the applicant has completed the proper paperwork and their file has been updated, he will receive his diploma. 

Jerry Carmichael and Kevin Key are the inaugural recipients of the Bachelor of Biblical Studies degree. Jerry W. Carmichael is a native of Mt. Sterling, Kentucky and a 1989 graduate of East Tennessee School of Preaching and Missions. He has worked with congregations in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana. Jerry is married to the former Jean Baker and currently serves as one of the preachers for the Rolling Hills church of Christ in Mt. Sterling, KY. 

Kevin Key is a native of Paoli, Indiana and a 2003 graduate of East Tennessee School of Preaching and Missions. He has worked with congregations in Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Kevin is married to the former Dawn Galloway and currently serves as the preacher and an elder for the East End church of Christ in McMinnville, TN. 

We are very excited to make this opportunity available to all of our graduates and to be able to award this degree to both of these fine men. We are hopeful this will be a benefit to all the graduates of Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies/East Tennessee School of Preaching and Missions.


Remember Dothan


Remember Dothan

In II Kings 6, we read of a thrilling display of God’s supernatural help and protection.  Elisha had foiled the attempts of the Syrian king to invade Israel, and the king had found out where Elisha could be found, and dispatched an army to deal with him.  Elisha’s servant, fearful of the Syrian display of strength, was given a glimpse of God’s own army, sent to protect them, and greater by far than the Syrian band (vv. 14-17).  The place where this happened was Dothan (v. 13).

Dothan was also the scene of another biblical event, many centuries before.  Joseph had been sent by his father to check up on his brothers as they kept the family’s sheep.  He eventually caught up with them at Dothan.  It was here that they, being envious of him, cast him into a pit and sold him to passersby, later leading their father to believe that he had been killed (Genesis 37).  This was the beginning of the saga of Joseph’s trials, all a part of God’s plan to preserve the family of Jacob, in continuing fulfillment of the promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:1ff.). Joseph would later inform his brothers of God’s providential hand in both the hardships and subsequent triumphs of his life in Egypt (Gen. 50:20).

Both events were instances of God’s providence.  In both cases, God was acting on behalf of His people, including the individuals involved in the respective incidents.  One had an immediate outcome; the other was the beginning of a long period of hardship.  Still, God was there in His providence (Gen. 39:2, 21).

Sometimes God’s help has been immediate; at other times, it is hidden until such a time as we can look back over a period of time and reflect.   While we will not see the things Elisha saw, all Christians can likely recall difficult times when God’s help came in a relatively short time.  Likewise those times when God seemed slow to act.  This is the difference between the Dothan of Elisha and the Dothan of Joseph.  In fact, are we not tempted to find God’s response to Elisha more appealing than God’s work in Joseph’s life?  More often than not, however, it seems we find ourselves at Joseph’s “Dothan,” rather than Elisha’s.

Remember Dothan.  Remember that, if you are a faithful child of God, whether God works immediately, or your experience is more like that of Joseph, God is there, caring for you, perhaps on behalf of others as well.

—Tim Forlines



Lectureship Audio and Video

This year, instead of selling CDs during the lectureship we will be offering all lectureship audio recordings for free as MP3 downloads through our website.

All audio recordings will be available by May 16.

To know as soon as they are available, like or follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or subscribe to the Messenger Blog.

What if you want CDs?

Although we encourage you to try using our website first, we will still make CD copies of lectureship audio recordings for those who are unable to easily access the free recordings on our website.

Simply contact Shirley Lyell at (865)-691-7411 and she will assist you in getting CD copies of whatever lectures you would like.

Video Streaming

All lectures in the Karns church of Christ auditorium will be live streamed through our website (via YouTube). Go to to view the stream. Please note that each lecture is its own YouTube video, so be sure to click the "Refresh" button on your browser window as each lecture ends in order to see the next lecture. You can also view these videos using the YouTube app on a number of mobile devices and set-top boxes.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office at (865)-691-7444, or email Daniel Howell, our Technology Coordinator at


From Fable to Fact: Archaeology Backs the Bible


From Fable to Fact: Archaeology Backs the Bible

Archaeology has been of great help in answering many questions regarding Bible history. A study of archaeology creates a healthy respect for the reliability of the biblical story. Names of people and places, customs, explanations of obscure words-all of these have been provided by archaeology. 


Resource Roundup


Resource Roundup

It’s been a little longer than a week (sorry about that), but we are back with this week’s Resource Roundup.

As before, our recommendation of a resource on this blog is not intended to imply that we hold every view of the resource’s creator. They are solely the views and opinions of the author, and not of Southeast. Please be diligent in separating the “wheat” from the “chaff.”

Protecting Our Blind Side by Earl Edwards

This resource recommendation comes from Bart Warren. He says, “This is a discussion of contemporary concerns among churches of Christ by a longtime professor from Freed-Hardeman University. It is a collection of essays originally written for other publications. This is a great place to start your study of difficult issues by a trusted and beloved Bible scholar.”

Buy Protecting our Blind Side on Amazon

Biblical Archaeology (Truth for Today Commentary Series) by Jack P. Lewis

Bob Cowles recommendas a volume which Truth for Today recently published— Biblical Archaeology, Volume 1 by Jack P. Lewis. This is the first book in a two-part study on archaeology added to their series of commentaries, which will eventually cover every book in the Bible.

Bob writes, “Jack P. Lewis is undoubtedly one of the finest scholars of our time within the churches of Christ. In this publication, Truth for Today is embarking on a study of archaeology, which will allow readers to benefit from his research and scholarship.”

Buy Biblical Archaeology, Volume 1

Olive Tree Bible App

Tim Forlines and Steve Higginbotham both recommend the Olive Tree Bible Study app, aptly called The Bible Study App. There are many resources available (some for free), and more features than can be listed here. Tim likes the attractive user interface, and has used the “split screen” feature (Bible on one side, notes on the other) to teach from. It’s available just about every major platform (PC/Mac/Android/iOS/Kindle).

Olive Tree Bible App Website


This recommendation comes from Daniel Howell. If your congregation doesn’t have a website, or has one that no one has updated or is unhappy with, check out Squarespace as an option. They are a one-stop shop, in that they offer hosting and the content management framework to easily build and maintain a beautiful website. As a note, Southeast’s website (which you are using right now) is done through Squarespace.

The Squarespace Website

Sweetwater Church of Christ website (as an example)

That’s all for this week! Check back soon for more helpful resource recommendations from our staff!



We Are Not Afraid

Pakistan. Belgium. Turkey. The list that documents terrorist attacks is long (and growing). In the wake of the murders that took place in Paris, France (carried out by Muslim terrorists), scores of people gathered around the world to show their solidarity. One of the rallying cries was, “We are not afraid.”

In other words, the masses were saying that they were not afraid of terrorists and they would continue to stand up for “freedom of expression.” Misguided or not, the image and message is a powerful one.

The expression “Not Afraid” should be a part of the Christian way of thinking and speaking (Matt. 10:28; John 14:1, 27; 2 Tim. 1:7).

We are not afraid of tomorrow because we know who holds the future (2 Tim. 4:8).

We are not afraid of death because Jesus has overcome it (Heb. 2:14-15; 2 Tim. 1:10).

We are not afraid of isolation because we know we will never be left alone (Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20).

And, indeed, we are not afraid of “attackers” (skeptics and those who want to destroy Christianity) because we know the truth. The truth has nothing at all to fear.

The most reasonable stance to take on any position is the one that is true. If the Bible records history accurately and it portrays Jesus’ life, death and resurrection as history, then it follows that Christianity is true.

If Christianity is true it becomes the only rational position to hold. In rejecting Christianity, one rejects the truth—and to reject the truth is the most illogical thing someone can do.

Christianity is not afraid of close examination—because it is true.

The Bible is not afraid of close scrutiny—because it is true.

Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD… (Isa. 1:18).

Set forth your case, says the LORD; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob (Isa. 41:21).

—Bart Warren


Lessons Learned at My Funeral


Lessons Learned at My Funeral

It is easy to let the urgent push out the important. Stephen R. Covey suggested that each person ought to envision his own funeral. Imagine there will be one speaker from family, one from friends, one from work and one from church. Try to "hear" what each speaker would say about you if your funeral was today (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, New York: Simon and Shuster, 1989, 96-97). Honestly ask how you could live so as to eliminate those things you would not like to hear and add those you would like to hear.

Covey also suggested the most effective people begin with the end in mind. Paul expressed that very idea in Philippians 3:13-14. He focused on a single goal, heaven (1:21-24). Such living allowed him to face death with confidence (2 Tim. 4:6-8). Looking ahead to the end enabled great men and women of faith to live as wanderers in tents rather than more permanent structures. Their longed-for homeland was not on earth, but in heaven (Heb. 11:13-16).

Joseph was able to turn aside the advances of Mrs. Potiphar and not seek vengeance on his brothers (Gen. 39:9; 50:20). Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego trusted God to deliver them. Daniel centered his attention on pleasing God and prayed in violation of the new law (Dan. 3:16-18; 6:10, 20-22). 

Many other examples of faithful service could be cited (Heb. 11). These serve to show us the power of looking at one's own funeral before deciding what course of action to follow. If I want to be remembered as a good husband, good father, sacrificial servant and diligent soul-winner on the day of my funeral, I need to start acting like one today. After all, I have an appointment with death. I just do not know when its time will arrive (Heb. 9:27).

—Gary C. Hampton


Lessons From Early Evangelists


Lessons From Early Evangelists

I have heard it said that the mission of the church is threefold—evangelism, edification, and benevolence. I do not think this is accurate. The mission of the church is the same mission our Lord had; namely, to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19:10). Thus, evangelism is the mission of the Lord’s church. The church is to glorify God and seek to save mankind by the making known of the gospel of Christ. If this is the case, how does the church go about accomplishing the mission of evangelism? Based on John 1 the early disciples help us with some very important lessons.

First, they had hearts prepared to seek the Lord. In John 1 two of John’s disciples heard John say, “Behold the Lamb of God” (1:36). Upon hearing this they “followed” Jesus. They did this because of the hearts they already had prepared. If we are going to be successful at evangelism we must have the same kind of hearts. Only with prepared hearts can one begin to seek the Lord. Ezra’s prepared heart enabled him to “seek the Law of the LORD” (Ezra 7:10). A prepared heart will be more receptive to the truth.

Second, they had a burden for the lost. After Andrew found the Lord he had a burden for his own brother, Simon Peter (1:41). He had found the answer to his own spiritual condition and wanted Peter to have the same opportunity. Similarly, after the Lord found Philip, Philip in turn found Nathanael and told him about Jesus (1:45). As Godet said, “One lighted torch serves to light another.” This is the way evangelism is really effective. One person finds the Lord and that person finds another person and so the process goes.

Third, they had a sense of urgency. After Andrew found the Lord the very first thing he did was to find his brother, Simon (1:41). Andrew had what we need today to win souls—a sense of urgency. Andrew did not spend days or weeks getting about the business of sharing the good news. He immediately found his brother and “brought him to Jesus” (1:42). He knew that he needed to take advantage of the opportunity while he had the opportunity (cf. Jn. 9:4).

Fourth, they confronted people with Christ. It is true that we must use logical reasoning in our presentation of the gospel but we must not forget about the power of letting people see what Jesus means to us individually. Philip did not begin with sophistical arguments with Nathanael; he simply said: “Come and see” (1:46). May we let people see what Jesus means to us. God help us to put in action the lessons of the early disciples.

—David L. Lipe





Don't Forget About Kindness!


Don't Forget About Kindness!

Hetty Green was quite possibly the most unkind person of her day. She was the heiress to a whaling fortune who then made even more money trading in stocks and bonds. Hetty received some terrible advice during her life that contributed to her terrible attitude toward people. She said, “My father told me never to give anyone anything, not even a kindness.” She had a tremendous amount of money and an ability to use it to better her fellow-man, yet instead decided to hoard it, not even spending it on herself. When Hetty turned 21 in 1856 and inherited $7.5 million, she refused to light the candles on her cake but instead, returned them to the store for a refund. Hetty’s cruelness earned her the nickname, “the Witch of Wall Street.” She died a friendless woman in a shabby apartment in New Jersey in 1916.

The Bible has much to say about kindness. Micah tells us that all the Lord requires of us is “to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). Paul tells us, “…as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12). Paul lists the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 and mentions love, kindness, and goodness among the things that the Spirit produces.

Kindness is too seldom practiced in our society. If someone cuts us off in traffic, we try to cut them off. If Wal-Mart is slow ringing up and sacking our groceries, we blast the cashier. If a mail-order company incorrectly fills our order, we call them up and let them know that they are terrible people. If an unkind word is said to us, we say two unkind words back. Instead of being kind, all too often we justify our cruel actions by saying, “they started it” or “they brought it on themselves,” etc.

Acts 9 contains a story about a woman named Tabitha (or Dorcas in Greek). Luke tells us “…this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity, which she continually did” (Acts 9:36). When she died, the whole town turned out for the funeral and showed Peter the garments that Tabitha had made for them. The legacy that Tabitha left behind is far greater than the legacy Hetty Green left. The only difference between the two women was in the kindness they showed. Tabitha abounded in kindness. Hetty refused to show any at all. How will people remember us when we are gone? How will the Lord receive us on Judgment Day? Let us all strive to be kind to everyone we come in contact with, regardless of their actions toward us, so we can live in Heaven with our infinitely kind Father.

—Will Hanstein


Introducing the "Resource Roundup"


Introducing the "Resource Roundup"

We are excited about the newest addition to our Messenger Blog, the “Resource Roundup.” 

Every week we will post a new list of resources our staff informative or uplifting. These resources may be books, websites, podcasts, videos, or any other thing our staff finds helpful. We hope this series of posts itself will become a valuable resource to you.

Disclaimer: Our recommendation of a resource on this blog is not intended to imply that we hold every view of the resource’s creator. They are solely the views and opinions of the author, and not of Southeast. Please be diligent in separating the “wheat” from the “chaff.”

The Prophets: An Old Testament Commentary by Wayne Jackson

This recommendation comes from Director Will Hanstein. He says it is very readable, easy to understand, and informative concerning the Old Testament Prophets.

You can order the book through Christian Courier by clicking this link

Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Edwin Jones recommends this volume as being a helpful book to have on your shelf. It is a condensed version of the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. It is also available for Kindle. 

Click here to buy this book on Amazon

Click here to buy this book through Christianbook

ESV Verse by Verse Bible

If you read or teach from the English Standard Version, but prefer the more traditional two-column “verse by verse” format, Crossway has published an option for you. The print is large, and there is quite a bit of margin for notes. It is available bound in “TruTone” or leather. This recommendation comes from Justin Morton.

Click here to view this book on Christianbook

Click here to view the TruTone edition on Amazon

Click here to view the leather edition on Amazon

Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament

This recommendation comes from Steve Higginbotham, who just finished teaching our Sermon Preparation and Delivery Course. Wiersbe’s book (and it’s accompanying volume on the Old Testament) can be helpful in preparing expository sermons.

Click here to buy the book from Amazon

Click here to buy the book from Christianbook—Information About Pornography

Internet pornography is a serious problem in our culture. The website, Fight The New Drug has a wealth of helpful information concerning the effects of pornography on a person’s life. This resource recommendation comes from Daniel Howell.

Click here to download a PDF resource packet about the effects of pornography

Be sure to check back next week for more resources!

Note: Check out a complete listing of all our recommended resources on our Pinterest board.


Living in Reverse


Living in Reverse

One time I had a friend tell me about an accident he had. The accident was not major, but he did back into the car that was behind him. When I asked him what happened, he simply said, “I didn’t mean to go in reverse.” 

In most aspects of our lives, we never mean to go in reverse; we always want to go forward: a better job, a better life, better physical health. Just consider how much time we spend talking with others about moving forward in life as opposed to moving backward. 

We desire to go forward instead of in reverse. However, as Christians, God calls us to live our lives in reverse.

Paul said, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). Instead of living life like the world, Christians are to live differently, in reverse. We shouldn’t conform to the pattern of those around us, but transform into what God wants us to be.

The will of God desires moral and spiritual growth on our part, to become what He wants us to be and not what the world wants us to be. As Christians, we are to live according to God’s will and His standard, which generally means we live in reverse of the world around us. Consider a few ways we can accomplish this:

  • Stand up to sin when others bow down to sin.
  • Speak up against sin when others have been silent because of sin.
  • Kneel down before God when others run away from God.
  • Guard our hearts and minds and keep them pure when others have given up their hearts and minds for impurity.
  • Become godly men and women when others have become ungodly men and women.

As a believer and follower of Christ, our lives should look different from most of the people around us. While others are focusing on earthly things, we should be focusing on the eternal.

Does your life look different? Are you living in reverse? 

—Justin Morton


People Are People Wherever You Go


People Are People Wherever You Go

In the missions class I am teaching at Southeast there are two constant factors and one variable I present as keys to understanding evangelism (points made in the book, Living Proof by Petersen). The constants are that all humans are created in the image of God and that all accountable individuals have sinned. The variable, the thing most generally the focus of a missions class, is that culture is an ever-changing factor always needing attention (I Cor. 9:18–23). However, the aspect of missions I wish to develop centers on the two constants and their implications for encountering people with the Gospel.

First, we are all created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26–27). We have longings that only God can satisfy (Ecc. 3:11). The “eternity” God has placed within us is something every person shares. The nature of this void is such that only God can fill it (Ecc. 12:13).

Solomon, as quoted above, tried to fill the eternity-sized-hole with everything at his disposal, and he had a vast amount of things to employ in this “grievous task.” It was “grievous” because his treasure trove was found “under the sun.” Alas, eternity cannot even be filled by the whole of creation! In short, Solomon found only “vanity” despite all his impressive efforts to find what he was looking for.

This is an enormous edge we have in missions. Every lost soul we encounter is a person frustrated with life. The Bible tells us so. Despite protests to the contrary, there simply is no true peace found outside of God. This world offers nothing in all its vast riches that can make even a small reduction in the volume of the hole that is the size of eternity.

This edge allows us to proceed in all evangelistic exchanges with the confidence that the one and only thing all people need in order to be at peace is the very thing we have to offer: the Gospel. Whether Alaska, Egypt, Venezuela, Russia, or the Sudan, all people created in the image of God have a hunger only the Gospel can satisfy. 

Second, all humans of an accountable age and faculty have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). Therefore, in addition to the relentless urge to fill the limitless void of the soul, mankind is mangled and hurting because of sin. We can no more escape sin’s wounds in ourselves than we can flee the open sores of humanity. We therefore not only live in a restless, unsatisfied world, we also dwell in a realm of pain.

This is our second major edge in evangelism. For all the pain of this sin-plagued world; we alone have the medicine that can heal: the Gospel. There are wounds to bind, gashes requiring balm, and broken bones to set. There is no want of people in need.

With these two biblically revealed constants to give us motivation, let us be prepared and eager to fill the hungry and bring relief to the wounded. God has given us not one “edge,” but two!

—Edwin Jones


"God is Not Safe, but He is Good"


"God is Not Safe, but He is Good"

In 1950 , C.S. Lewis wrote The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This book is an allegory in which Aslan, a powerful lion (representing Jesus) had to die so that Edmund (a young man deceived by a witch) could live.

In my judgment, one of the most contemplative lines in the entire book comes when the children first learned about Aslan. When they were told that Aslan was a lion, one of the children said that since he was a lion, she would probably be nervous standing before him. Looking for reassurance, she then asked if he was “safe.” The response she received is in much need of contemplation. She was told, “Of course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

I’m fearful that we live during a time when we have lost all fear of God. We approach him with very little trepidation, forgetting (if we ever knew) that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31). Our culture has become casual and irreverent, and to an alarming extent, this attitude has spilled over into the church.

How else do we explain the lack of respect for God’s word, the flippant and casual way in which we sometimes approach him in worship, and the presumptuous liberties we take without his authority? Friends, God is good, but he isn’t safe.

King Uzziah discovered this truth the hard way. Uzziah was made king of Judah at the age of sixteen, and he reigned for fifty-two years, doing what was right in the sight of God (2 Chronicles 26:1-4). However, Uzziah got careless, allowed his heart to be filled with pride, and attempted to burn incense to God, which was the job of the priests. Eighty priests attempted to stop him, but he wouldn’t listen. Consequently, God struck him with leprosy, and he went to his grave as a leper (2 Chronicles 26:16-23). Although Uzziah was King of God’s people, and served him faithfully for many years, he learned the hard way that God is not safe, but he is good.

Let us learn from King Uzziah’s mistake. Let us remember that God is not one to be trifled with. He is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). He is “greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints...” (Psalm 89:7). Approach him with respect and reverence. He is not tame. He is not safe. But he is good.

—Steve Higginbotham


Study for Yourself!


Study for Yourself!

We are encouraged over and over in the scriptures to read and be diligent to know God’s Word. Many believe they know the Bible, but really only know what men have told them the Bible says. There is a difference, and it is a difference that makes a difference! 



"The Birth of Jesus was as Follows..."


At this time of the year, more will be said about the birth of Jesus than at any other time of the year.  Yet, each year I can’t help but be a bit disturbed by all the biblical ignorance and inaccuracies associated with the birth of our Savior.  When it comes to one of the most fundamental tenets of Christianity, the incarnation of Jesus, and one of the most pivotal historical events that ever occurred, I find that many cannot discern between fact and fiction.  As fundamental as the birth of Jesus is, people do not really know the account of his birth as well as they might think.

Doubt me?  Then give the following brief “True or False” quiz a shot and see how well you do?

True or False: The Bible says the angel Gabriel appeared to Joseph to inform him that Mary was with child.

True or False: The Bible says that three wise men came to to the manger to worship and give gifts to Jesus.

True or False: The Bible says that an unknown number of wise men came to the manger to worship Jesus.

True or False: The Bible says a bright star appeared in the sky and led the shepherds to the manger.

True or False: The Bible says a bright star appeared in the sky and led the wise men to the manger.

True or False: The Bible says the shepherds and the wise men were present on the night of Jesus’ birth.

True or False: The Bible says an innkeeper told Mary and Joseph that there was no room in the inn, thus Jesus was born in a manger.

Okay, so how did you do?  Did anyone get them all right?  Did you get a passing grade?  Well, if you answered any of the questions with a “True,” you were mistaken.  Every statement is false for one reason or another.  Open your Bible and check it for yourself.

What I have discovered through the years is that it is surprisingly easy for us to believe as fact, what is in reality, fiction.  Furthermore, this “fiction” is sometimes propagated by religion.  How many church lawns and “Christmas” re-enactments will portray a nativity scene which inaccurately portrays the biblical account? Churches that decried the inaccuracies in the movie “Noah” and the “Bible Series” on television may very well do their part in perpetuating biblical inaccuracies this December.

But now here’s the point of my article:  If we can be misinformed about something as fundamental as the birth of Jesus, what’s to make us think we cannot be misled regarding other religious matters?

Friends, make sure your faith is not based on what others have told you is true, but rather make sure your faith is based on what you know to be true from your own personal study.  Let the “fiction” you see perpetuated on church lawns and in church pageants this holiday season be a reminder and a warning to you to do your own Bible study, and to never be content with what others say.

“Prove all things; Hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

—Steve Higginbotham



"One of Our Best Decisions"—Bob Hawk, Student at Southeast

If you had asked me ten years ago if I had any idea that I would be attending a preaching school, I would have probably laughed. Near my sixtieth birthday, I applied for admission to the Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies. I learned about Southeast at a Gospel meeting at our home congregation in Searcy, AR. My wife and I were attending Crosby Church of Christ.

A few months earlier, I had made a few attempts at preaching at Crosby. I had become interested in spreading the truth of the Gospel. My wife and I operated a lawn care business and as far as we were concerned, we were going to finish out our lives in Searcy. When we learned about Southeast at the Gospel meeting, we were interested but concerned I was too old. Learning about the intense two-year program in Knoxville (Karns) run by a very sound faculty by a very sound congregation, made us want to know more.

Dawana and I soon learned that this well-known preaching school with an excellent reputation was offering a tuition-free opportunity to study and be trained by a staff of Bible scholars. We soon made a reconnaissance trip to visit the school and Karns congregation. We were overwhelmed by the kindness and first-class operation at this school and congregation.

I must say that making the decision to attend Southeast was one of the best decisions we have made in our walk for Christ.

Bob is a Mid-Year student scheduled to graduate in December of 2016. If you would like more information to help yourself or someone else in making the decision to attend Southeast, please call us (865-691-7444) or contact us via our website to speak with someone.



What's First?


Rick Reilly wrote an article for Sports Illustrated in 2003 titled, “Let Us Play.” He described in his article how many families in America are opting to engage in recreational activities on Sunday instead of attending worship services. He quoted many religious leaders who have decried the loss of spirituality in our society. Reilly attributed this to parents placing too much importance on the success of their children in sports. He wrote, “For some reason over-caffeinated parents feel they have to ‘keep up’ with the Joneses. They used to do it with their cars. Now they do it with their kids.” Reilly also commented on parents inundating their children with recreation. Again, he wrote, “…I just feel sorry for these kids who get nothing but organized sports crammed down their gullets 24/7.”

The Bible tells us what is truly important in this life. We are told to love God more than anything else. Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). We are told to put the Lord first in everything we do. Paul says, “I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service” (Romans 12:1). The writer of Hebrews makes it plain where our energy should be directed when he says, “…not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).

Rick Reilly may not be a person we would normally turn to for spiritual advice, but his article helps to remind us that the Lord expects us to put him first. When we choose other activities over him we are not putting him first, and we simultaneously send very same message to our children. Reilly made a tremendous point when he wrote, “Just remember, when little Shaniqua has two free throws to win or lose a game on some Sunday morning, good luck finding somebody who’ll answer your prayers.” Let us all remember what is truly important in this life and strive to always put God first.

—Will Hanstein



The One Not Chosen


How would you feel if you volunteered to do a much needed work in the church, but your offer to help was rejected? Surely, all of us have faced rejection, and more than likely we haven’t always responded as we should.  Maybe we were overcome with disappointment, anger and bitterness, at least for a little while. If you can relate to such feelings, then try to put yourself in the first century sandals of a man named, Barsabas.

Barsabas is mentioned in Acts 1:23-26.  A proposal was made by the disciples to either appoint Barsabas or Matthias as an apostle to fill the office Judas vacated. Can you imagine what an honor it would have been to be selected as the next “apostle of Jesus?” For one who loved the Lord and had followed him since the baptism of John (Acts 1:21-22), this opportunity must have been a thrilling possibility. To be able to be used by God in such a capacity; to be able to be an instrument through which God performed signs, wonders, and miracles, and to reveal new truth must have sent his mind reeling with possibilities.

But his dreams, whatever they may have been, were short-lived. Lots were cast. Matthias was chosen. Barsabas was rejected. And the narrative of the book of Acts moves on, never mentioning Barsabas again. But how I would love to know, as Paul Harvey was known for saying, “the rest of the story.”

Did Barsabas sulk? Did he accuse someone of tampering with the lots that were cast? Did he ask for two-out-of-three? Did he act respectfully, publicly shaking Matthias’ hand, but inwardly trying to tame his rage and jealousy? Did this man who followed Jesus from the time of the baptism of John, slowly lose interest after this rejection and drift away? Or did he zealously press on, being content to serve God in whatever capacity he could?

I don’t know how Barsabas responded, but I do know what the right and wrong response would be to such rejection. The challenge is to take what we see so clearly with respect to Barsabas and apply it to our own lives. Don’t allow disappointment to derail your faith.

While I don’t know “the rest of this story,” I choose to hope the best in Barsabas following his disappointment, and as you face disappointment, I choose to hope the best in you too.

—Steve Higginbotham



Making Technology Work for the Church: How We Use Technology at Southeast

One of our primary goals at the Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies is to prepare our students to be able to work both effectively and efficiently in the culture in which they live. In order to do this, we have made it our mission to not only embrace new technologies as they come along, but to be sure that our students are fully trained in how to use them. We also use technology to better serve the church as a whole, by edifying and evangelizing the world from our location in Knoxville, TN. So how exactly do we at Southeast make technology work for ourselves, our students, and the church of Christ at large? 

In the Classroom

Our students’ experience with technology at Southeast begins every day in the classroom. Each room is equipped with large flat screen televisions, as well as a Mac Mini computer and an Apple TV. This setup allows our instructors to enrich their class presentations by using PowerPoint (or equivalent apps), easily showing videos, maps, photographs, books, websites, and more. Much of this can be done wirelessly through the use of an Apple Macbook, iPad, or even an iPhone. Students also have access to each of these tools for the purpose of giving in-class presentations.

One other device connected to our in-class technology setup is a robotic webcam. Using the webcam, the Mac Mini computer, and the large television screen, we are able to bring highly qualified and talented instructors from across the country into our classrooms. Now we can have the experts in their fields teach our classes. It is in these ways that we are able to continue to provide the highest quality level of instruction possible to our students.

In Our Training

One of the most obvious areas where technology can assist our students is in the study of the Scriptures. Due to the donation of a generous benefactor we have been able to provide each of our students with their own license to Logos Bible study software. The advantages of Logos are too numerous to list, but the most important advantage of any Bible study software is the ability it gives to a student to quickly access information that, in the past, may have taken hours of searching bookshelves, indexes, and card catalogs. Our students are able to be more efficient in their work, and we pray that efficiency translates into their ministry once they graduate.

We also devote time at Southeast to studying the basics of good graphic design. What does this have to do with preaching, you ask? Well, the reality is that many of our students will at some point find themselves in small congregations where they are solely responsible for the church’s website, designing flyers for various church functions, and even creating a weekly PowerPoint. Since graphics, whether printed or on a screen, give a face to the local congregation, we want to be sure that our students are equipped to do so in the best way possible.

Over their time at Southeast, students also participate in more “hands on” projects by creating their own blog, a personal website which they can use to share articles they have written with both those in, and outside the church. Our students are also instructed in effectively using “Permission Evangelism,” a method which uses social media and technology to reach those who otherwise might never allow a person into their home for a Bible study, but will read an article or listen to a podcast.

There are also several ways in which the staff at Southeast seek to edify the church as a whole, as well as take advantages of technology to reach out to the lost. Not only does our website serve as a source of information about our school, we also use it to spread the gospel.

Our website hosts links to the various works in which we are involved. Every two weeks we release a podcast, called The Overflow, in which a different staff member expounds upon some “overflow” point from a class they are teaching in the current quarter. We also have The Messenger Blog, through which our staff regularly posts helpful articles for all Christians. Links to these resources are shared through our social media accounts, so be sure to “Like” us on Facebook or “Follow” us on Twitter to keep up-to-date with the latest posts.

In addition to these things, we have other exciting projects in the works which we are not quite ready to share, but will only serve to enhance our overall mission of helping the church as a whole to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.

The Children of a Technological Age

Librarian and literary critic Lawrence Clark Powell once wrote, “We are the children of a technological age. We have found streamlined ways of doing much of our routine work. Printing is no longer the only way of reproducing books. Reading them, however, has not changed.” 

Please allow me to adapt Powell’s sentiments to fit our situation at Southeast: We are the children of a technological age. We have found more efficient ways of doing much of the work of study and ministry. The desperate need to teach and study God’s word, however, has not changed.

Please do not equate embracing modern technology in ministry with somehow reducing the importance of the gospel itself. We live in a time when the fields are white for the harvest, and the masses are seeking good news—the good news which only the gospel itself can provide. May it not be said of us at the final judgment that we did not use every avenue possible to advance the gospel during our fleeting time on this earth. —Daniel Howell