Back in 2009, I had an opportunity that was an unbelievable privilege. During the season of Lent, I was invited to preach at my hometown church, Perry Memorial United Methodist in Shady Spring, W.Va. I quickly accepted and was humbled by the chance to preach from the same pulpit where some of my favorite preachers stood.
As I look back, I remember feeling some pressure and a lot of temptation leading up to the service. Keep in mind this was the same congregation that saw me running up and down the aisles, stealing microphones as a child, and doing a bad impersonation of a singer during the Christmas cantata. They knew me and I knew them. I felt a lot of pressure to preach an easy message, one that would be easily received by the congregation and would allow me to maintain the “hometown boy does good” status I had earned.
The passage I preached from was not easy. It was from 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, where Paul speaks of the foolishness of the cross. The message I preached became a message that would serve as a centering point for how I try to serve. What I said was that the Gospel and the cross breaks down the barriers we often create and welcomes all people. In a way, that message set up how I have tried to preach ever since. Continue reading “Sunday Sermon: By Serving Others”