Hester spends Father’s Day at Pickens First

PICKENS — It was a special Father’s Day celebration Sunday at First Baptist Church Pickens.
Pastor Fred Stone and his wife Lisa were out of town for the Southern Baptist Convention and Pastor’s Conference, being held in New Orleans. So First Baptist decided to keep it in the family by inviting Dr. Jack Hester to speak at the two morning services at the church.
Dr. Hester, who has now retired, though he still keeps as active a schedule as many full-time pastors, is the father of First Baptist Associate Pastor of Music and worship Bryan Hester.
Dr. Hester’s wife, Shirley, sang “His eye is on the sparrow,” which was requested by one of the First Baptist members.
Dr. Hester began the sermon by praising Stone saying that “One of the greatest preachers in America stands in this pulpit week after week proclaiming the word of God.”
Hester admitted he was now a member of Pickens First Baptist, “though Fred did not want me to join.”
Hester said he was glad that the church presented him more opportunities to spend with his son, his wife Angie, and their children. “I want to be faithful to the Lord, because I know I have a young man coming behind me,” Dr. Hester said.
Hester noted that the second morning service at First Baptist “start at 10:30 a.m. sharp and we will end at 11:30 a.m. dull.”
Hester shared many of his trademark humorous stories. He warned the young men in the church, “Puppy love often leads to a dog’s life.”
He also shared the story of three older ladies who lived together, who were discussing the problems that come with aging. The first said, that the other day she opened the refrigerator door and she could not remember whether she had wanted to get something out or put something in.
The second lady said that a few days ago she had found herself at the top of the stairway inside their apartment, and could not remember whether she had started up the stairs or started down.
The third lady thought regretfully that her two friends were losing their minds, but she was glad she was fortunate enough to have retained her memory. She even knocked on wood, for good luck. After a few seconds, she looked up at her two roommates and said, “Sounds like we’ve got company knocking at the door.”
Dr. Hester remembered when he was five years old and he and his 7-year-old brother decided to save the neighbor’s goat by baptizing the animal.
They jumped on the animal and wrestled with it, but could not force its head under water. Exhausted, Hester came up with a solution.
“Let’s just take some of this water and sprinkle him with it,” he told his brother, “and let him go to hell like the rest of those Methodists.”
Dr. Hester remembered when he began his ministry in Simpsonville, he started a program on WFIS-AM radio. “We started with the intention of it lasting one week, but then that turned into two weeks, and eventually became 21 years,” Dr. Hester said.
He remembered early in his ministry witnessing to a man whose father was a moonshiner. “He was 17, and he was dying from drinking too much of his father’s moonshine,” Dr. Hester said. “He accepted Christ, but he only lived two more weeks.”
Dr. Hester shared that his wife Shirley had asked him if he would still love her when her hair turns grey. “I said, well with all this hair dye that’s available now, I’ve already loved you through six or seven different colors,” Dr. Hester said. “So why would I stop at grey?”
Hester warned that temptation can cause problems for people. “Satan will cause you to think about some things you ought not to be thinking about,” Dr. Hester said.
Dr. Hester suggested that Christians need to remember “God’s goodness.”
“I rejoice for what God has done for me, what he is doing for me now,” Hester said. “And what he’s going to do for me when I leave this old world.”
Hester said that though nobody deserves what Jesus gave us when he died on the cross, Jesus did so anyway. “God has always been faithful,” Dr. Hester said.
Hester said God reached out to him many years ago when all he could focus on was playing Minor League baseball.
“I became so convicted of my sins I just about had a heart attack,” Hester said. “The bells of joy will always ring in your heart when you can drive something as evil as Satan out of your heart and you let Jesus in.”
Hester listed three things Jesus has done for us. 1. He has purged us of our sins. 2. He has given us all things pertaining to life. 3. He has called us to heaven, and bestows His mercy upon us.
“Every one of us is going to die someday,” Dr. Hester said. “Either we will die or we will go up in the clouds to be with him. Jesus is not coming back to earth. He is coming back to get us, but He will be on s cloud.”
Dr. Hester assured the congregation that despite today’s problems, God is in control.
“Everything’s going to turn out all right,” Dr. Hester said. “I know because I read the last chapter.”
Bryan Hester then ended the service by singing “Lord, I’m Coming Home.”