I found a cassette tape yesterday of a sermon I preached on Wednesday, June 14, 1989. The sermon is entitled, “The Day Man Prayed for Jesus to Leave,” based on Mark 5:15-17. The recording is from Chapel Hill Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. The late Dr. Roy Allen was the pastor. I was preaching their youth revival, which went from Sunday morning through Friday night. I was only sixteen-years-old. And it was the furthest and the longest I had ever been away from home to preach. When I told my wife about the tape last night, she immediately asked if I had listened to it. “Absolutely not,” was my firm response. When I was sixteen, this sermon was one of the best arrows I had in my quiver. But, in reality, it was just a boy preacher’s vain attempt to sound “deep.” I was really swinging for the fence with this one. But I think it ended up going just a little past the foul pole (As a more mature preacher – I hope – I do not think it is proper for the primary point of a message to be based on a secondary point of the text.) If I remember correctly (Note: I am determined not to listen to this tape, so memory will have to be the best I can do), I closed the sermon with this story about how God the Father derived the name of Jesus from taking the “J” out of Jeremiah’s name; the “E” out of Eli’s name, the “S” out of Samson’s name… You get the point. I cringe when I think abut that story. And for the record, a month away from my 34th birthday, I am now ready to lend my support to any proposed ban of boy preachers from the pulpit. For that matter, I think I would also support a pulpit ban of some young adult, middle aged, and old preachers, too, who refuse to faithfully preach the word.
The last reason this tape has sentimental value to me is because my father, H.B. Charles, Sr., died the Saturday after this meeting ended. As I was flying home from Detroit to Los Angeles; God was called my father from earth to glory. I got the news when I arrived home from the airport. When I finally was able to get out of the car – some two hours later – I put the tapes on the mantle on top of the fireplace. I was excited for my father to hear these tapes of my first “major meeting.” But God did not will it to be so. And by the end of the day, most of the tapes were gone. This is one of the tapes I was able to hold on to. Even though I am not big on holding on to things for sentimental reasons (I prefer memories over things that people can fight over when someone dies), I will try to hold on to this tape. It is a “postcard” reminder of God’s faithfulness to me over these years. Praise the Lord!