When I was growing up, I was taken to Church three times every week. If there was a Gospel meeting (Churches of Christ don't have revivals, they have Gospel meetings), we never missed a night. We'd drive to other towns to attend meetings, too.
So some of my earliest memories are of sitting in a pew listening to preachers, and I learned early on to pay attention to them and ponder what they were saying.
Most were average speakers, but a few stand out in my mind as great. They not only held my interest, but made me sit on the edge of my seat with anticipation. One of them used charts to illustrate his sermons, and in an old childhood Bible of mine, on those blank pages inside the covers , I had copied one of those charts. It has stick people running a race, and was based on Hebrews 12:1. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us...".
I don't remember the preacher or what he looked like, but I remember the sermon.
There used to be a few television preachers I enjoyed, but so many of those became tarnished, and most of them seem to be money-motivated. So I've given up listening to them.
Years back, my husband was out of a job. It was a very low time in our lives, although, looking back, it brought us closer and gave us a new and better perspective. We learned what is really important in life, lessons we will never forget.
At that time, I watched TBN (selectively), searching for good preaching: I would usually switch channels when that woman with the wig came on, by the way.
Now I've never cared for Jerry Falwell. But one day I happened by his program and saw a black man preaching the sort of sermon I love to hear; his name was Darryll Gilyard, and he was saying exactly what I needed to hear that day. At the end of the program, I found out I could buy a video-tape of this man preaching three or four sermons. Well, they didn't say I could "buy" it... they said I could have it for a certain "donation".
I here and now confess that Jerry Falwell got some of my money that day. I had to hear more of that good preaching. And money was very hard to come by then, with Cliff between jobs.
It was one of the best investments I ever made. I don't know what ever happened to that video tape, but I practically wore it out. It helped me get through a difficult time of my life.
This morning I noticed a headline in the Kansas City Star about a serial killer on trial for murder. His last name is Gilyard, and that caused me to remember another black man with a similar name who did some "good preachin'". Using a Google search, I found that preacher, now in Florida with a huge congregation. And joy of joys, I discovered his sermons right online for download, for my listening pleasure.
He still preaches good sermons.
And I don't have to send Jerry Falwell a dime to hear them!