Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

Twenty Years, Next Week

Next Sunday will be the 20th anniversary of my first lesson preached as the evangelist for the West Side congregation. On September 3, 1989 I was a 27 year old, with a wife (same one that I have today), and two small children (Josh — age 4, and Kendra — two months shy of 3 years old).

I don’t believe my sermons that first week were recorded. On September 10th we began a gospel meeting with Ardy P. Brown. September 17th, I began a series of four lessons on True Devotion (I still have the outlines somewhere). The lesson that day was titled: Listening to Heaven (More Bible Study). That lesson, and every lesson since have been recorded and are still available to listen to either on tape or CD. (There are a few exceptions where someone forgot to hit record, or a tape broke, etc.). I don’t expect you to go back and listen to any of those early efforts.

The next Sunday, September 24th, we began publishing our weekly bulletin, Reflections on the Scriptures. My copy of that bulletin shows 103 in attendance and a contribution of $1,290 from the week before, and an article I had written called “The West Side Fishing Club.” It was a satire designed to encourage the brethren to be personal workers, and I intend to republish it next week. Again, with few exceptions, we have published the bulletin every week, and maintain a copy of each bulletin from the past 20 years in the library.

In broad terms, I have preached approximately 2,000 sermons, taught approximately 2,600 classes, written hundreds of articles, engaged in one panel debate with Charles Holt’s group, preached a few weddings and too many funerals in the past 20 years.

In the early 1990’s the congregation supported me in preaching the gospel on the radio. Larry Fain and I had a live, hour long Saturday morning program for a while, on two different AM stations. Additionally, we spent a year with a weekly 15 minute scripted program. Unfortunately, radio work in such a large market is not very effective. The larger stations are too expensive, and the ones you can afford have miniscule audiences on the weekend. Too expensive, and too little return.

We tried public access television for a while, and found out that no one watches public access programs. Again, too much effort, with no returns. We do have the videotapes of the programs if you have a working VCR back in the closet, and want to reminisce.

Efforts have also been made utilizing Bible Correspondence Courses, telephone answering machines, and personal work programs. We have recorded two different podcasts for the computer literate (we will be doing this again before too long), and have mailed out and given away thousands of tapes and CD’s. For a year we mailed out a bulletin I titled: Sound Teaching. It was the inspiration for the present layout of our weekly bulletin, and we used the name for our web site when we finally registered a domain name. The most effective technique for sharing the gospel, of course, has been (and always will be) one-on-one home studies.

About 15 years ago, the internet began to take shape. I recently read an email I had written in 1995 where I was talking about how slow my 2400 baud modem was (using DOS based software on America Online), and how I was contemplating upgrading to a 14.4 baud modem in the near future. It was about that time that I established our congregation’s first website, now in its fourth iteration. It has proven to be a wonderfully inexpensive and effective way of sharing the gospel. Our site is now firmly entrenched in the various search engines, and we get several thousand hits each month from visitors all over the world.

One of the best aspects of my work as an evangelist is writing. I love to prepare this bulletin each week, and have taken a great deal of pride in the fact that we have an eight page weekly bulletin that is chock full of teaching. I have never seen such a bulletin at any other congregation.

In the time we have been in Fort Worth Debbie and I have raised four children, our pride and joy. Two broad shouldered boys who have taken on roles as worship leaders in our congregation, and two sweet and beautiful girls. We have gone from young parenthood to middle age — Debbie more gracefully than I. We have watched hundreds of ball games, I have taken thousands of pictures and have written many articles for the local paper about the exploits of the Castleberry High School athletes. We have enjoyed having the brethren in our home, especially the young people. We have eaten too much at dozens of potlucks, have sat for many hours in hospital waiting rooms, have mourned the loss of many brethren, and have rejoiced at births and baptisms.

Brethren, I owe you my eternal gratitude and wish to express to you what these twenty years have meant to me. Unfortunately, mere words are simply not sufficient. You have loved me and my family. You have allowed me to give my children stability during their school age years. Joshua started kindergarten the year after we arrived, and Jeremiah is now beginning his junior year at CHS. Very few men who preach the gospel have been blessed in this way. For that you have my sincere thanks.

You have shown yourself to be defenders of the truth. There have been a few times where I have been attacked for preaching the truth of God’s word, but the congregation as a whole has always defended the truth, and upheld the hands of those who proclaim it. When I have had to issue public admonitions, you have not taken offense. I have never been asked to avoid any subject, and have always been free to preach the whole counsel of God. I attribute this both to the character of the brethren here, and the leadership of the elders. Jack Gilliland, P.A. Foster, Jerry Gallman and Roger Paulsel have my utmost respect, devotion and loyalty. I encourage you to hold up their hands as they continue in the oversight of our family.

Even as I seek to spur you on to greater faithfulness and fruitfulness each week from the pulpit, I do so with the full realization that the West Side congregation is special. Some men look for greener grass on the other side of the fence, but I know that there is no place more verdant than Fort Worth, TX. Twenty years have passed. This is our home, and you are our family. Debbie, Joshua, Kendra, Kaleigh, Jeremiah and I are truly blessed. And for that we love you, and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.