This afternoon, Mandy and I are joining up with two other couples from Woodward Park for a journey to Los Angeles. Tonight, we are going to catch the Dodgers/Padres game. David Wells (0-0, 2.70) will toe the rubber for the Padres against Dodgers' ace Derek Lowe (1-1, 5.73) at 7:40 PST.
One of my many quirks throughout my ministry life has been a propensity to schedule my travels around baseball season. Doing so has afforded me the privilege of sharing the good news of Jesus in many neat places and catching a game at many wonderful stadiums.
Tonight, I get to add another stadium -- a famed and historic stadium at that -- to my list. Tonight, it's all-you-can-eat Dodger Dogs and baseball at venerable Dodger Stadium.
Last night, I had the wonderful privilege of filling in for Randy and John who teach our 3rd-6th grade boys on Wednesday nights. They've been studying the life of David but I wanted to talk to them about the glory of preaching.
When I was a kid, I developed an interest in preaching. As I grew, that interest grew also until I determined to go to college to learn skills, service traits and study habits that would allow me to serve God full-time to the best of my ability.
That growth came despite the fact I was rarely offered the opportunity to preach in my home church. The preacher in my home church during my teen years was an older gentleman with a kind heart who seemed to have little interest in sharing the pulpit. Consequently, young guys like myself had to search for neighboring churches to try our hand at preaching. Thankfully, in my life, the Johnson Street Church of Christ in my hometown of Benton always gave me an open invitation. To this day, I consider their investment in my ministry to be one of the dearest gifts in my life. The lessons I learned from their preachers, Willie Hill and Cedric Finley, continue to influence my thinking and my ministry.
I write all that for this purpose: very early in my ministry, I determined that the pulpit where God granted me the opportunity to preach full-time would always be open and available to any young men desiring to try their hand at preaching. Anytime one of our young men shows an interest in preaching, I will help them prepare and practice and will allow them the opportunity to preach their sermon on the Sunday of their choosing.
So, last night, I simply tried to fan a potential flame in the hearts of those young me. Maybe one day (soon), one or more of those guys will seek me out wanting to preach.
I'm praying for that to happen.
The future of the church depends on good men willing to forgo more financially lucrative careers in other fields to commit their lives to the glory of preaching.