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Musings & Memories

Hey Preach!

Posted 6/3/23

Every Sunday morning as I walked through the doors of the Church, I would hear this greeting from Mary Lee McKay, “Hey Preach!”

I can still hear her voice today as I sit here in my …

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Musings & Memories

Hey Preach!


Every Sunday morning as I walked through the doors of the Church, I would hear this greeting from Mary Lee McKay, “Hey Preach!”

I can still hear her voice today as I sit here in my study at home, just like I do every Sunday when I walk through the doors at Cannon Methodist.

Mrs. McKay has gone on to Glory now, but she will never be forgotten by her Church and her family and friends.

“Preach” is a title of honor that I wear gladly and that I practice all the time.

Some of my friends at Cannon call me “Preacher,” while some call me “Pastor,” or “Brother Doug.”

And then some just call me by my name, which of course is “Doug.”

But I answer to all of them.

Preaching has been my vocation for all of my adult life.

Back in the late 70s, I had the privilege of preaching in a store-front mission in Springfield, Missouri.

I was in Bible College back then and I was blessed to work with an elderly couple whom we affectionately called Bro. and Sis. Cook, or Mom and Pop.

They were retired preachers who moved from California to Missouri to retire and raise a small herd of cattle.

But it wasn’t long and they got the itch to Preach and reach people once again with the Gospel of Christ.

So they started a street ministry in a small building near the bus station. But the ministry soon outgrew that spot so the Cooks moved the mission to an old shoe store on the city square.

It was in that storefront where I first met the Cooks. The ministry team would gather in the “prayer room” up in the attic to pray before the services surrounded by boxes of old discarded shoes.

We served meals to the men and women from the streets that would wander in from the alley-ways and run-down hotels and the abandoned buildings that surrounded that rundown area of the city.

But before we ate we had Church.

And I mean “WE HAD CHURCH!”

We would Sing and Shout and Praise the Lord!

We would testify of God’s goodness in our lives!

And we would preach the Gospel Message.

We would kneel and pray with the people gathered around the altars who were seeking God’s healing for their bodies, or deliverance from addictions. And we helped so many people surrender their lives to Christ.

Like I said, “We Had Church!

Back in the 80s and 90s I had the privilege of preaching as a visiting evangelist in the pulpit of the church at Castle Butte on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.

I’ve had the honor of preaching to this congregation on numerous occasions over the years, but the last time I was standing in a new pulpit on a new platform in a new church building.

Arsonists had burned the old church building to the ground along with all its contents.

The pastor and his wife had labored in ministry from that spot for years.

The small white church building sat in the shadow of Castle Butte, a large volcanic outcropping of black and red rock out in the desert of Northern Arizona.

Many lives have been changed for eternity at Castle Butte.

Scores of men and women, boys and girls have knelt at those altars to pray and say “Yes” to Jesus. “Aoo! Jiisas!”

The congregation at Castle Butte built a new building to worship in just up the rise from the former building.

And I have had the privilege of preaching in that new building at Castle Butte again and again.

The first time I preached on the Navajo Reservation was back in the mid-80s. I was serving as the pastor of a church in West Texas, and our friend, Linda Thompson, asked me to come and preach revival services at a small church at Black Rock in Arizona.

I was amazed when I saw the “Church Building” that I would be preaching in. It was put together by a group of Navajo women who collected wood and metal and canvas tarps from across the Reservation to build a sanctuary.

The floor was dirt, and the only light in the building came from a string of light bulbs that hung from the rafters that supported the make-shift roof. Those lights were powered by a noisy gas generator that sat outside the sanctuary. That old generator was a gift from another church.

Preaching in that sanctuary was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

And I preached my heart out, and we really did have revival. I know that I sure did!

I returned to my congregation in West Texas with a renewed zeal and a greater desire to serve the Lord, and to PREACH His Word.

And PREACH I did!

I’ve preached in some interesting places over the years. I’ve preached on city streets in the slums of Chicago and at a place called Bughouse Square.

I’ve preached on the streets around Washington Square in downtown Manhattan in New York City.

I’ve preached in jails and prisons to men and women who were hoping to hear some Good News in the midst of their misery.

I’ve preached from pulpits in tents and buildings and out on the streets all across the country.

To stand in the pulpit of my church in Shelbyville, and sit in my stool to share the Gospel Message, is what I love to do.

It’s my privilege to open the Word of God every week and talk to the people of Cannon about the hope that we all have in Our Lord Jesus Christ.

But I realize that if I am going to be able to have an impact from the pulpit, and out of the pulpit, I have to live right and stay right with God.

I want people to see Jesus in Me in the way that I live whether I’m at home or at church or out and about in the community; not just in the words that I speak or the words that I write, but in the life that I live.

I am working hard, with God’s help, to be A Preacher Who Practices What He Preaches.