This week, the membership of MSMBC and I will celebrate 15 years of ministry together as pastor and people. I was selected to pastor Mt. Sinai on Monday, November 5, 1990. And I was installed as pastor during the week between the 1st and 2nd Sunday of that December. So much has happened over the course of these fifteen years, I wouldn’t know where to begin talking about it all. There have been some great victories. And there have been some crushing defeats. There have been some things that bring a grateful smile to my mouth when I think about them. And there are other things that still make me cringe to think about. There have been a lot of changes – some good, some bad, and some a mixture of the two. But one thing I believe has been consistent throughout the years: my commitment to biblical preaching and teaching. I do not say this to compliment myself. Rather, I say it to affirm my confidence in the sufficiency of God’s Word to save the lost, edify the church, and change the world. My goal is to have a philosophy of ministry that is stubbornly biblical. And I believe that I am heading in that direction. I still have so much to learn. And I have an even longer way to go in learning how to flesh out the practical implications of my doctrinal convictions. May the Lord help me to remain focused, diligent, and teachable, as I seek to guard my life and doctrine (1 Tim. 4:16).
The celebration of these fifteen years will take in worship services on Wednesday (12/7), Friday (12/9), and Sunday (12/11). One special element to these services will be that the men who preached my installation fifteen years ago are scheduled to preach again. On Wednesday, Pastor A.D. Iverson of the Paradise Baptist Church will bring the message. I don’t think I will ever forget the message he preached that Wednesday night fifteen years ago. It was on the sin of Moses in Numbers 20. He called it, “Don’t Knock the Rock.” Friday, my brother, Kevin Willis, who pastors the Riverside Baptist Church in Memphis, will bring the message. He is Mt. Sinai’s favorite preacher. I am sure that it will be a special service. On Sunday morning, “Pops,” Dr. John A. Reed, Jr. of the Fairview Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, will bring the message. He was one of my dad’s dear friends. And he has been a father to me since my dad’s death. He was preaching at MSMBC the week my dad died. He ordained me. He installed me. I have preached his meeting during the OKC Simultaneous Revival since 1990. He… Oh, you get the picture. This celebration just wouldn’t be complete without Pastor Reed here.
On the afternoon of my installation fifteen years ago, Dr. E.V. Hill preached the message. He preached a message that only Dr. Hill could preach. He called it, “What Can that Boy Tell Me?” Several years ago, the Lord called Dr. Hill home. He is the only one of the men who preached my installation that is not scheduled to return. But, by God’s grace, we have a great replacement. My pastor, Dr. Melvin Wade of the Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, will bring the message. Pastor Wade has been my pastor for most of my pastorate. And I cannot measure the contribution that the Lord has used him to be in my development as a man, Christian, husband, father, and and pastor. And Dr. Wade is one of the best preacher anywhere! I am really looking forward to hearing him preach again. Along with these special speakers, many other of friends from around will will join us during this celebration. Even my “boys,” who were young preachers of the church with me when I was selected to pastor, will be back – with their own congregations. Above all, I look forward to sharing this special milestone with the leaders and members of MSMBC. God has been faithful to us. And he is worthy of our grateful praise. It’s fifteen years and counting. May the Lord bless us with many more years of faithful and fruitful ministry.