Excerpts from my first sermon as a Lay Minister-

My brothers, Charlie Foster and I were invited to the Hughes Avenue Baptist Church to sing during their evening service on August 15, 1954. That was three days before I turned sixteen years of age. For the past two and a half years, as a quartet, we had visited different churches for the evening service as the special music guest. This particular evening was to be no different.

We presented our last song and was departing the pulpit area. As we descended we were stopped at the foot of the steps with this question. Which of you is giving the sermon? Startled, we looked at each other then, all eyes settled on me. Why, I don’t rightly know. I asked the Deacon if I could have a few minutes in a solitaire place to pray while they took up the evening offering. Upon my return I began to speak about what God had placed on my heart. Many people had heard of my out-of-body experience and wanted to know exactly what Heaven looked like and if it matched the Bible’s description. I had learned at a very early age to avoid responding to that question because there are many different denominational understandings of the Biblical description that to answer that question was not a good thing to do. Instead, God had led me to respond in this manner.

I began by reading this passage from the Bible: And they brought young children to him (Jesus), that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, “suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” Mark 10:13-15

What is the Kingdom of Heaven really like? Is a child not ready to do anything his parents ask? Are they not eager to learn as much as we have to teach them? Do they not play and have fun when not accomplishing the tasks we have asked them to do? Do they not cling to us for all their substances, love and safety?

Do you ask of your children to do or do you demand? Do you teach them all of the good knowledge you possess? Do you teach or display bad manners, selfishness, profanity, by your actions or words? Do they see you wrapped up in your problems or do they see you work through them in a loving and corporative manner? Are you always there for them or for anyone else that needs you? Do you give them love and safety? Are you a parent and teacher or girl or boy friend?

Most parents in today’s society only want their children to be a playmate or companion or someone they tolerate. They give them over to someone else to raise like baby sitters, nurseries, parents, etc? Dad, does your children look up to you as the head of the household or do they look at you as just someone that shrugs off his responsibilities?

After Adam and Eve fell from grace God set an order in place. I have not found in the Bible where he changed that order. A man (husband) is to be head of the house (family) and suffer all the responsibilities of that position. A woman (wife) is to be his helpmate. Not a servant to do the man’s bidding but to be a helpmate.

Where does it all begin and end? In prayer asking God for his direction on how to follow his plan for your life. I seek a spot that I can shut off from the world. As a youth I usually found that spot behind the living room sofa. As an adult I find it in a closet or a locked dark room. I find a completely darkened room greatly aids my concentration on God and helps me listen to his word. God does not shout, it is a fain whisper and you have to really pay attention to hear him. ©2016 James Wilburn Chauncey

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