Fiercely introvertish. Super shy. That’s who I am still. That’s Duke Jeyaraj even now. But my God chose me – and when I get to heaven I will certainly ask him why – to preach His Word. 31 years ago as a 16 year old, I preached God’s Word from a stage for the first time as a class XII student of Ida Scudder School, Vellore, on this very day – 9th August. This journey has been marvelous and I fall down at His feet and worship Him acknowledging my nothingness. To each one of you who have ‘endured’ my sermons all these years I am most grateful.
Some of my preaching heroes are in heaven now. One of them is Rev. S. A. Sundarraj of Vellore-6 Assemblies of God. Once I paid a courtesy visit to him. He was in the church. He was the one who recommended me to Southern Asia Bible College for the M. Div. course. His face lit up as he saw me. He then asked me this question: “Will you preach the message in our church, this Sunday?” I was flattered. I was floored. Me, to preach in the church I went to week after week as a little boy? Me, to preach in the church where I was baptized in water? Me, to preach in the presence of my pastor?
When the day came – a Sunday in the month of May 2011 – Rev. S. A. Sundarraj introduced me to the congregation. He said, ‘Duke and me have a lot in common. We can start with anything we see or anything we have read in the newspaper and preach a message from that!’ And I went to preach a message that Sunday that was titled, Bible Lessons for Today’s Believers From India’s World Cup Win with Dorai Jasper annan interpreting into Tamil. The message can be heard here:
One of the joys that I have had in all these years of preaching is this: I have preached in meetings organised by others. By others I mean churches. By others, I mean parachurch organisations. By others I mean loosely-administered corporate company fellowships. By others I mean College Administrations or School Administrations. This way I have crossed many different boundaries and barriers. The kingdom of God has been built.
Another surprise that I have had in these 31 years of preaching is this: though I do not preach to get invited again, there are places I wanted again. Though I tell people what they should hear and not what they want to hear, in some cases, they want me back. For example, after I preached in a youth camp in Germany in 1998, the pastor wanted me back in 1999. I have been invited again to speak in a top medical college in their annual camp. Why do I say this? When you are faithful in executing God’s call upon you as a preacher, you will not become ‘jobless’! I am a witness!
Thank you for all your sacrificial support to my preaching over all these decades! I am ever so grateful!