The other night, I was thinking about my life’s journey. I was reminded that my preaching ministry began 18 years ago in a homeless mission in downtown Houston. I remember it like it was yesterday. At the Open Door Mission, on January 30, 1992, I delivered my first sermon to a group of gracious homeless guys.
I didn’t know how to preach, so I did what every preacher would. I just started yelling real loud and called it preaching. I received a chorus of Amen’s. At the altar call three people gave their hearts to Christ. I was riding high!
The next week I delivered my second sermon. I envisioned myself as the next Billy Graham or Billy Sunday. The only difference between them and me was that they knew how to preach. At the Star of Hope Mission in downtown Houston, I delivered my second message. I had gone in there with this great pride that I was the man, but it didn’t go as good this time. I blanked! In the middle of my message, I forgot everything. I had notes but they were a blur. I just completely froze up. Those homeless guys coaxed me on. Prayed for me! Encouraged me to take my time. I finally got my composure and finished the rest of the message.
At the conclusion of that sermon, my grandfather gave me the greatest advice that a young man could have received. I still cling to it today. He said, “If you would have went up the way you came down, you would have came down the way you went up.” I held my high on the way to the pulpit but I came down with it hanging in embarrassment and failure. My grandfather gave me a quick lesson in humility and how we have to rely on Christ when we stand in the pulpit and preach his Holy Word.
Ministry has been a great journey. Homeless ministry is my roots. I did that for several years and thank God for the hundreds of salvations we saw in that time. We moved on to inner-city ministry for a couple of years before pastoring our first church. We are now in our 14th year of pastoring. It has been a wonderful journey. I have learned a lot of lessons during these years. Had successes and made alot of mistakes, but the truth is that I am more dependant on Christ now than I have ever been.
Here is a copy of my first sermon notes.