Standing tall and proud at only about 4 feet 10 inches tall, Rev. Oliver Lovelace delivered an electrified message to the members and guests of First Free Will Baptist Church recently.
Known as a living legend to many, Lovelace is 100 years old and those who know him say he still possesses the spirit and energy of any 20 year old.
It quickly became apparent that Pastor Charles Sheppard, senior minister at First Free Will Baptist Church, made no mistake when he invited Lovelace to speak during a special Sunday morning service. His subject, “Be Ready,” was taken from Matthew 24:44.
“Stop complaining about all the bad things, because Jesus said these things will happen,” Lovelace reminded the captivated audience. “All of my family is dead, but I read in the Bible that if you love and live with honor, God will take care of you.”
According to Lovelace, when he was called to preach he began to cry, but was not weak. He also stated there are false prophets leading people astray, but that God is leading him.
“Sometimes the going gets tough and rough,” Lovelace declared. “But if you just hold onto God’s unchanging hands, it will be all right.”
The feisty minister came to Indianapolis at the age of eight. Sheppard noted that during that era fire engines were still pulled by wagons.
“Horses would pull the wagons to the fire site and march in place while firefighters fought the fire,” Sheppard explained. “This is something I cannot even conceive, but because of his longevity, it gives him a remarkable outlook on life itself.”
Lovelace is very serious about following the word of God.
“As long as I have been in the gospel, I still need to keep doing what God wants me to do, and live like he wants me to live,” Lovelace said. “His word will stand forever, and he continues to tell me what to say.”
Lovelace also demonstrated that despite decades of life’s challenges, he hasn’t lost his sense of humor.
“Now, I am an old preacher who can deal with older people, because I’m old. But I also know how to deal with younger people, because I was once young,” he chuckled. “Saved at the age of 19, I was filled with the Holy Spirit, and even at my age now I do not need a refill.”
Lovelace concluded his message with moans and sounds of old-time preachers, which delighted those in attendance. But it was his last thought that made the most impact.
“Let me tell all of you that we cannot make it by ourselves. But don’t you give up,” he said. “Just look at me, and know that God is a way maker, and he will make a way for you.”