My office at Lakeview Baptist Church where I am pastor also doubles as a children's playland. On my bookshelves and hanging on my walls are an incredible array of toys, gadgets, caps, pen and pencil containers and even a stuffed baby alligator head! Those, along with the pictures and snacks that are found in most pastor's offices, make this a popular place.

A pack-rat by nature (and choice . . . ) I've kept everything given to me by church members over the years and try to find a place for it somewhere where I can view it. The walls are covered with pictures, paintings and plaques as well as a framed degree and that ordination certificate that includes my father's signature.

However, on the far wall where I can see it anytime I look up, is a framed counted cross-stitch project that my wife gave me when I graduated from seminary. It's a 1×13-inch matted Precious Moments piece. In it a little boy is perched on a stool, peering over a makeshift pulpit. With his Bible open the 'young preacher boy' looks down on his lone parishioner, a cute tiny gray mouse. The caption below reads, "Preach the Truth, no matter what."

Other than family pictures, this is my most cherished keepsake. It was special enough that Julie did this for me at a time when she was most busy, working full-time to put me through school. But it is also a message that has encouraged me many times over the years.

In Paul's second letter to Timothy, he warned him about those who 'will turn their ears away from the Truth . . . ' Preaching can comfort, challenge and encourage but it can also anger the hearer and make him uncomfortable. Some will turn away. The preacher's call, or any minister for that matter, is not to please men but to please God. If the preacher preaches the truth, he always has for his foundation the authority of the Word of God.

Some preachers have experienced the "no matter what" part. It has cost them jobs, friends and maybe even family members, to boldly preach the Word. Yet they haven't stopped.

That little guy on my wall has been a real encourager to me (as well as the one who put him there, my wife), Preach the Truth! I'm reminded too that God is faithful to take care of the "no matter what" that comes along.

Julie's works also adorn our home and many other homes. She also has many 'works in progress.' I'm told they'll get done someday! No doubt some of them will make it to my office. But nothing will take the 'preacher boys' place.



Roy D. Hall is Pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church in Diboll, TX and Professor of Bible at Angelina College in Lufkin, TX.

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