“My First Sunday at Hemphill” by Doug Fincher

March 11, 2019 - When I was in college, I joined a “Preacher” Club called 'The J. B. Gambell Society.' We were a bunch of young preachers seeking advice from our elders. Our Club sent a letter to Dr. W. A. Criswell, the famous pastor of Dallas’ First Baptist Church. In the letter we asked him what was the last thing he did before going to the pulpit to preach. We were both shocked and amused to get an immediate reply - “I checked to see if my pants are zipped up.”

And guess what happened to me on the first Sunday as pastor of The First Baptist Church of Hemphill. I was seated in my chair on the platform with fifteen Choir members singing behind me when I glanced down and saw my pants unzipped wide open. At the end of the choir special, I asked everyone to close their eyes and asked Deacon Douglas Butler to pray. Meanwhile I slipped quietly into a room, zipped up returned while Douglas was still praying. No one said anything about it but after the service organist Freddie Cousins eased up and whispered, “Brother Doug, did you get sick this morning?” “Almost”, I replied… as we had a laugh together.

The experience that morning must have taught me a lesson. And I made a special prayer to God that day: Lord, with your help I’ll never let that happen again. And by the grace of God, it never has…

… and I’m an old feller now.