My very first sermon
Way, way, waaaaay back, before the dawn of time, when I was a college freshman, I was invited to serve as the part-time youth director for my home church in Yakima, Westminster Presbyterian. I made a whopping $150 per month and thought I was in hog heaven. And believe it or not, in that capacity, I was invited to preach a sermon in “big church.” The text I chose was Romans 12: 1-2:
‚ÄãI appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
I’m not sure WHY, out of ALL the Bible, I chose that to be the text of the first of what would be one million sermons over the course of my life. But something about it captured my young mind. I even remember the illustrations I used for the sermon…they involved high power lines and Jell-O. Of course, little did I know that that sermon would be the launch of a life-long calling to preach the Word. But it also launched me into a life-long journey of actually DOING what the passage says: making my life a living sacrifice of praise to God in which I am constantly being transformed by the Spirit’s renewing work in my mind.
Anyhooo, this weekend we resume our journey through Romans as we come to the “practical” section—chapters 12-16—and as I return to preach the very first text I ever preached. I hope you’ll join me. And to that will be added the delight of being led in worship by our Youth. We will celebrate baptisms and confirmation…it will be a very full and inspiring weekend. You will be sorry if you only hear about it second-hand…and you WILL hear about it!
On another note, I am pleased to share with you the news that Pastor Larry Hackman has been promoted by the Session to serve as our “Executive Pastor,” essentially my right-hand man. He has already been filling that role; now, the Session has made it official. It is a tribute to Larry’s great, wise and steadying leadership. Congratulations are in order!