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April 16, 2005

April the Sixteenth

This day in history:

April 16, 1969

It was a Wednesday night at Westpark Baptist Church north of Owasso, Oklahoma. The church had just expanded from a smaller building with a new sanctuary, and the congregation met for their usually enthusiastic service. Pastor Jack Carleton led in prayer and preached his usually fiery sermon, leaving him red in the face, but a little more than halfway back on the left side a little six year old boy listened.

Being six he didn't understand all of what the pastor was saying from the pulpit, in fact when the pastor raised his voice during the sermon, and his face grew red the boy often wondered who he was mad at. This night was different. The words hit home and he understood them.

At the end of the service a hymn was sang, and the pastor invited anyone to come forward to be saved. That little boy, as shy as he was, felt he needed to. He moved his leg once, but stopped, afraid. Then he shifted his body, but stopped again not knowing if he would be allowed to. But there was something inside him that told him, regardless of anything else, he needed to go down that isle. So the next time he kept on moving.

He felt his brother reach out and grab at him and whisper, “What're you doing?” then turn back to their parents to tattle. But none of them stopped him. Walking down that isle with the funny striped pattern and looking up at that sea of faces was the toughest thing he'd ever had to do so far in his short life, but he did it.

The pastor greeted him with a smile. Jack Carleton was a big man, well at least to a little six-year old boy he was, but he was gentle as a lamb as he led the boy over to the front pew, kneeled with him, and explained the plan of salvation.

That was 36 year ago today. If you'd hadn't guessed yet, that little boy was me.

crossposted at DannyCarlton.org

Posted by Danny Carlton at April 16, 2005 05:23 PM

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hey brother jack is my grandfather
i live in the house that he and his father built
he was the coolist preacher man i ever knew!!!

Posted by: rebecca carleton at November 25, 2005 12:55 PM

That's cool that you found my blog, too.

He certainly left a legacy, didn't he.

Posted by: Danny Carlton at November 25, 2005 05:28 PM

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