Today was the first Easter in over 25 years that I was not in a pulpit. I was in church, and I was so encouraged by the preaching of my pastor, and the music was off the chain great as Jesus was exalted in glorified in song and sermon.
The reality of not preaching today began to sink in as I was praying for those who were and as I continued to pray I was overwhelmed with an incredible sense of grattitude of being saved and called to preach the incredible truth and treasure of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I admit, I also felt like I was watching my regiment go off to battle while I was assigned a desk job with the civilians, no offense to those folks because they are extremely valuable but I lack those skills. This was not a moment of self-pity but one of longing to do what God put in me to do on November 28, 1983. On Sunday night, the 27th, I had gone to bed a lost and pleasure driven college student consumed with partying to the fullest degree, I was good at it. As a matter of fact it was the only degree I was meeting the requirements for. But, around 2:00 a.m. I was awakened and overwhelmed by the conviction of the Holy Spirit (I didn’t know that at the time) and the reality that I was in great danger of dying and going to hell.
I asked God to save me and not let me sleep until I had the chance to talk with somebody. I called an evangelist, Dr. Michael Guido and secondly my aunt, Dr. Sandra Kennedy who is a pastor in Augusta, Georgia. They both served as witnesses and couselors that I had asked Jesus to save me and with that salvation came the call to preach; that night is just as real to me today as it was almost 34 years ago.
I don’t know if I’m a good preacher or a bad preacher, I do know all I want to be is God’s preacher. I’ve got friends and family that still don’t know Jesus, they are so precious to me, I love them, I love being around them, laughing and remembering. Every now and then I’ll get asked, “Do you ever miss the way you used to be?” And I’ll say “No, that guy died on November 28, 1983.” Then I’ll tell them, “I didn’t quit doing all that stuff because I was trying to be good enough to preach or because I was worried about what other people thought. No, I just started listening and serving the One (Jesus) Who loves me and wants me to live instead of listening and serving the one (Satan) who hates me and wants to kill me. Jesus promises everlasting life with Him in heaven, all Satan can give me is hell, I’m just living for who I’m serving.”
I don’t miss serving my old master at all. Oh, he tries to enlist me to work both sides; that will wear you out! But today I missed serving the work I was called to; it’s not about the number of people I preach to but name of Jesus I preach and knowing that in that name Hell’s gates are crashed open and captives are set free from darkness and deceeption, the hurt are comforted and the hopeless are given hope.
I’m a preacher of the sort described in 1 Corinthians 1:26-27, “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,” Yep, I fit this to a tee and today I missed preaching on Easter but I am so grateful that miss doing what I can only effectively do with His filling. I’m a redeemed redneck who is grateful to be one of those “foolish things” used in the service of the Savior. Y’all Alright?!?!