A “Watch Night Service” Memory

accuracy afternoon alarm clock analogue

It was sometime during the 1950s, and I was probably around eight years old. My father, Glen Segraves, was pastoring a church in Rector, Arkansas, and he had taken my mother and me to the Watch Night Service at the Bible Hour Tabernacle in Jonesboro, Arkansas, where the pastor was T. Richard Reed.

I had never before attended such a service. My concept of time was just forming in regard to the passing of years. I had nothing with which to compare a “Watch Night Service.” All I knew was what I heard the adults say.

For some reason, I thought when a new year began at midnight, there would be a visible manifestation of the change.

Nothing happened, except I vaguely remember hearing the church bell ring.

At some point after that, my father thought he would have a Watch Night Service in Rector. It was his first time to do so. As I remember, the service began at 8:00 p.m. and lasted, of course, until after midnight.

Dad was never what has been called a “long-winded” preacher. His theory was that if a preacher couldn’t say everything he had to say in twenty minutes, he was preaching too long.

Maybe he didn’t stop to figure out how many times he would have to preach during that four hour service. When a church has a small membership, it doesn’t take long for everyone to sing every song they know, to testify about every blessing they can remember, to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and to wash one another’s feet.

I don’t remember whether he ever held another Watch Night Service.

But since I am now seventy-three years old, I have gained a keen appreciation for the passing of years. Of particular interest to me are the words of Moses in the oldest psalm in the Psalter: “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. . . . So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:10, 12, NKJV).[archive]

A New Year’s Resolution

Psalm 73

When I began a twelve month sabbatical from Urshan Graduate School of Theology [UGST] on July 1, 2017, my intention was to work on the second volume of my commentary on Psalms, titled The Messiah in the Psalms: Discovering Christ in Unexpected Places. The first volume, covering Psalms 1-72, was published in 2007 by WAP Academic, a division of Word Aflame Press.

The goal of finishing this project still lies before me. I have completed Psalms 73, 74, 78, 110, and 132, but I still have seventy-two psalms to go.

It is not that I have neglected Psalms since 2017. I taught a week long course on Psalms in 2018 at the French Bible Institute in Melun, France. Then, I taught a full semester course on Psalms for UGST in 2019. I also taught eleven lessons on Psalms at The Sanctuary UPC in Hazelwood, Missouri, where Susan and I are members.

In the midst of these events, I have collected a substantial number of volumes of the latest research on the Book of Psalms for consultation as I continue my work.

I intend during 2020 to make substantial headway toward completing volume two. If I can finish an average of one psalm per week, I would still have another twenty psalms to go at the end of the year. This is an ambitious goal, and I’m not sure I can achieve it.

In addition to the work I have done in Psalms since going on sabbatical, my newest published book titled Looking Forward: A Clear View of Biblical Prophecy was published in 2017 by Word Aflame Press. The Spanish translation was published in 2019.

I submitted a 275 page monograph titled “The Holy Spirit: An Apostolic Perspective on Pneumatology” to the Pentecostal Publishing House in April 2019. It is currently being edited, and it should be published before the 2020 general conference of the United Pentecostal Church International. This work discusses every mention of the Holy Spirit in Scripture.

In addition to these writing projects, I have written seven articles for publication in the Pentecostal Herald and Pentecostal Life magazines: “The Everlasting Father,” “The Seven Motivators,” Yahweh, Jehovah, and Jesus,” “Bumper Stickers,” “God Chose a Day of Rest,” “You Already Know Some Hebrew,” and “Marriage Without a Helpmate?”

For The Discipleship Series, I have written eight lessons. Four are in a series on “Reflecting God’s Character.” They are titled “A Hearer and a Doer,” “Refusing Prejudice,” Controlling the Tongue,” and “Patient Endurance.” Another four are in the series “Hope for the Last Days.” They are titled “In Like Manner,” “As in the Days,” “Staying Ready,” and “The Best is yet to Come.”

For the adult level Sunday School literature published by Word Aflame, I wrote ten lessons: “The Better Plan,” “The Better High Priest,” “The Better Sacrifice,” “The Better News,” “The Ministry of Prophecy,” “Walking in the Light,” “Rejecting the World,” “Fight the Good Fight of Faith,” “Life and Hope,” and “The Role of the Prophet and Prophecy.”

Over the past three weeks, I’ve had the privilege of hearing the lessons “The Better High Priest,” “The Better Sacrifice,” and “The Better News” taught in the adult Sunday school class by P. Daniel Buford and Harold Jaco at The Sanctuary.

I taught the Easter 2019 Sunday school lesson titled “No More Questions,” based on Psalm 110, at The Sanctuary. Other teaching I have done for an adult class at the Sanctuary since July 2017 includes twenty-one lessons on the Holy Spirit and two lessons on the Book of Daniel. I have also taught two lessons on spiritual gifts to the Hyphens.

Finally, I taught the Purpose Institute course “The Oneness of God” at the PI campus in Jonesboro, Arkansas in September 2019 and stayed over to preach for pastor Darrell Runyan on Sunday morning.

Retirement, anyone?[archive]

My response to a critique of my article “Marriage without a Helpmate?”

My article “Marriage without a Helpmate?” appeared in the January 2020 issue of Pentecostal Life. Shortly after the magazine’s release, I received an email from Jason Weatherly with an attached critique of the article. I composed a response to which Jason replied. After further discussion by email, Jason and I agreed it would be a good thing to post his original critique and my response on my blog for interested readers. His critique is posted on Jason’s blog (theweatherlyreport.blogspot.com), followed by a post titled “Further Clarity on My Review of ‘Marriage without a Helpmate.'”

Jason and I are acquainted. We are both instructors for Purpose Institute. He is currently studying for the degree Master of Divinity at Urshan Graduate School of Theology, from which I retired as professor emeritus on July 1, 2018.

Neither of us wish to debate by blog, and we anticipate our current posts will be the final ones relating to my article.

If you wish, you can read Jason’s critique and my response below. Several of my comments are too long to be contained within the comment box that comes up at first. When you see a small black triangle on the right side of the page beneath a comment, click on it, and the entire comment will open.

To open the document, click on the link below.

Jason Weatherly vertical comments


A bit of time in Branson…

Susan and I are enjoying a brief visit in Branson. Already today, at a live performance by Dino, we have heard two songs identifying Jesus according to biblical insight. First, “Down from His Glory,” written by early twentieth century Oneness Pentecostal William Booth-Clibborn, and second, “Mary Did You Know,” written by Mark Lowery.

Regardless of who plays or sings, the Spirit of truth arises within us when Jesus is proclaimed as the Great I AM.[archive]