An ‘A’ In Persuasion

Rick Atchley preaching via satellite from The Hills, on the big screen at the west Fort Worth branch
Rick Atchley preaching via satellite from The Hills, on the big screen at the west Fort Worth branch
The first time I ever heard him preach was at Fish Camp my freshman year of college.
He drove a red Prelude, his hair was blonde from the sun, and he didn’t appear to be much older than we were. 
He wasn’t.
But a big church in town had just hired him to be their pulpit minister and after I heard him speak, I knew why.
A couple of years later I sat next to him in a communication class on persuasion. It was my junior year of college and he was working on his master’s.
He told me I should start coming over to that big church where he preached, so I did.
And brought some friends.
Pretty soon we were all going.  You had to get there early to find a seat.
Every time he got up in the pulpit he’d take his watch off and set it up where he could see it.  But I didn’t care if he went over time.
Every Sunday night he started his sermon by leading us in singing “Make Me A Servant.”
During those years, I learned how God uses the most broken among us in Rick’s epic series on David.  After a Wednesday night lesson on the 23d Psalm, I’ve never looked at a sheep the same.  And it touched my feminine heart to hear Rick explain why it was such a huge deal for a woman who had been bleeding for over a decade to venture out of hiding – to risk whatever it took to get to Jesus.
Those were formative years in my life. College and graduate school.  And then ‘no man’s land’ – the years after college when you’re not married and friends move away and it seems like you don’t fit anywhere.  Especially at church.
But I was there.
Because I knew for the thirty or so minutes he was in the pulpit, I felt at home.  Hearing truth.  Learning more of what I was supposed to be about. 
Click here to listen to Rick's sermon on Revelation from last Sunday.  Just whetting our appetites for the Pepperdine Lectures!
Click here to listen to Rick’s sermon on Revelation from last Sunday. Just whetting our appetites for the Pepperdine Lectures!
This past Sunday I was at The Hills West in Fort Worth, and as he preached I was reminded of all the voices in my life who have shaped mine. 
I’m so very grateful.
I’ll bet Rick made an ‘A’ in persuasion, too.
 
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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Persuasion with Carly Dodd? That’s who I had.

    1. sallygary says:

      You got it, Phil. Persuasion at 8 a.m. MWF with Carley Dodd. Nobody better. Anywhere. He took the time to schedule individual sessions with each one of us after our speeches – and the class had 30 or 40 people in it – to critique us. Always so encouraging, always could find good things to point out in your speech, but he also told you what you needed to do to make it better. Love that man. And even I could stay awake in his class at 8 in the morning!

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