LIBERTY, Mo. (BNC) by Stephen Lord — This Sunday is April 12. Exactly three years ago to the day, my father Floyd Lord passed away after several years of fighting the ravages of dementia.

He had been a gospel preacher for 28 years, most of my childhood and young adult years.

He was stationed in South Korea, as a medic in the Army in 1957, a fairly new Christian. His plan was to return to the States and become a speech therapist.

He gave the Table Talk one Sunday there in Korea. After services the guest preacher told my dad he ought to become a preacher. My dad let the preacher know his intention to be a speech therapist and then proceeded to explain to the visiting preacher what a speech therapist was.

The guest speaker’s name was Batsell Barrett Baxter. When my dad later learned who Dr. Baxter was, and that he had a Ph.D. in Speech Communication, he was mortified at having explained to Baxter what a speech therapist was. But Dad said Baxter listened patiently.

I was rummaging through my dad’s sermons this week thinking I’d preach one of his lessons on the anniversary of his passing. (The files are something of a mess due to his dementia.) I stumbled across the sermon he gave at the end of my senior year in high school to all of us who were graduating. As my youngest graduates high school this spring, I thought it a poetic find.

He titled it “Teaching Young People to ‘Play for Keeps'”. He had four points, with the purpose of, “If you are to have a good life in the sight of God, you must keep these things.”

His points were:

  1. Keep your eyes open about what is important in life (2 Ki. 6:17; Jam. 1:8; 1 Cor. 15:33).
  2. Keep the Faith (Ps. 71:5-6).
  3. Keep your speech clean (1 Tim. 4:12; Mt. 5:18; Pr. 4:23; Col. 3:8-10).
  4. Keep yourself pure (Mt. 5:8; Pr. 1:10; 23:17).

Conclusion: “Keep all these true sayings always with you as you have fun this summer and as you go off to college or prepare to get married, or whatever your plans are for the stage of life you are now in (Ti. 2:14; 1 Jn. 3:1-3).”

Stephen Lord is a gospel preacher working with the Liberty, Mo., congregation.