My name is Steven Lee, Founder of SermonAudio. Dr. Alan Cairns, my former pastor and mentor, has gone to be with the Lord two days ago. I am still grieving over this loss and as I was sitting in my office watching some of his sermons again, I felt compelled to do what I could to honor the memory of this man of God by telling the story of how he became "SermonAudio's first preacher."
Courage and honesty.
Most people don't know this about me, but although I was studying Computer Science at BJU, I actually had a strong desire to go into the ministry being so moved by the powerful preaching of Alan Cairns week after week. I remember going in to speak with him about this matter and to my surprise he, in essence, told me 'no' as he said he detected other gifts in me. It was a humbling rejection but in retrospect, over 20 years later, I can now see the providence of God in that day. If it were not for his courage and honesty with me, SermonAudio may never have been born.
SermonAudio is born.
Even though my path to full-time ministry was blocked, my love of preaching and my desire to be engaged in Kingdom work never diminished. I sat for a total of twenty years under the preaching of Dr. Cairns and it has had an incalculable impact on my life. Back in the 90's I remember watching this man tirelessly pour his heart and soul into a sermon to a congregation of only a handful of people. 'What a shame that more people weren't able to hear this,' I thought. I remember looking at a wall of cassette tapes in the back room collecting dust and thinking, 'These could still be a blessing to so many people.' There needs to be a platform where small but faithful churches could upload their sermons and reach thousands. That's when the idea of SermonAudio was born and I owe it, under God, to the preaching ministry of Dr. Alan Cairns.
His were the first sermons to go up on the site and so that makes him "SermonAudio's first preacher." If you have benefited in any way from this website, we should thank God for men like Dr. Alan Cairns who inspired other men to use their gifts for the Kingdom.
Q&A with Alan Cairns.
One of the most remarkable interactions I had with Dr. Cairns was back in November of 2008 when I spent a few days recording a series of Q&A videos with him. I came that first day with a list of questions on a notepad and my camera. What happened next astonished me. Without any prior preparation, every question I asked was immediately answered, word-perfect, with full Scripture support‚ÄĒall in a single take! I knew at that moment that I was dealing with an unusually wise and gifted man of God that was able to handle the Scriptures like a skilled swordsman handling his sword with mastery and grace. I have edited a special "behind-the-scenes" video of my very first Q&A with Dr. Cairns so you can see what I mean for yourself.
In closing, I wish simply to leave with you a sample clip of a sermon that is as pertinent today as it ever was when first preached in 2003. Dr. Cairns' legacy will continue on in the 6,000+ sermons that are freely available. Be sure to start with his Prayer Talks that were delivered on the Wednesday evening prayer meetings.
"I have just learned of the passing away of Dr. Alan Cairns, a theological giant in the church. I have long used his Dictionary of Theological Terms as a primary source for better grasping and teaching sound doctrine. His ability to compress profound theological truth into a condensed and accessible summary is a rare gift that will be greatly missed. Though he is now with his Lord, Dr. Cairns remains on my desk and at my side with this invaluable resource."‚ÄĒ Dr. Steven Lawson, OnePassion Ministries
"How greatly I enjoyed Dr. Cairns‚Äô company on those occasions when our paths crossed. He was Spirit-filled, and it showed not only in the pulpit, but also in his daily walk of life. He was serious about eternal Truth and all other things that matter, but he was jocular, and even playful, about ordinary things. God used him and Joan greatly here in their Greenville years at Faith Free. I was always grateful for the influence of their lives and ministry on the students and faculty who attend Faith. They are forever indebted to them for their example and mentorship."‚ÄĒ Dr. Bob Jones III, Bob Jones University
"It was with genuine sorrow that we said farewell to Dr. Alan Cairns on Thursday. At 80 years of age he went to his eternal reward from the hand of Christ whom he served for a lifetime. Alan and I first met in the newly‚Äďformed Mount Merrion church in Northern Ireland in the mid-fifties. Since then our friendship has blossomed as brothers in Christ and fellow-workers for the Lord. I wish I could tell you of Alan‚Äôs powerful preaching of Christ, his pastor‚Äôs heart of love, his happy disposition, and his sense of humour. Please remember the Cairn‚Äôs family in prayer. Due to the Covid19 restrictions the last weeks have been incredibly difficult for Joan and also their son Frank, and his family in the U.S. Frank could not attend his father‚Äôs funeral. Please pray much for them."‚ÄĒ Dr. Frank McClelland, Toronto FPC
"A great theologian and preacher has entered the presence of His Lord. We will miss our godly friend and mentor in the gospel, but we will see him again. I will never forget his personal encouragement and words of wisdom which have impacted and strengthened my life and ministry. He preached Christ and His righteousness with great passion. The clarity of the gospel delivered from his pulpit has given me great understanding. I am indebted to this choice servant of Christ. His works follow him. As we grieve his loss we remember that "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."‚ÄĒ Dr. Bill Jones, New York Gospel Ministries
"I now stand in the pulpit from which he preached sermons that have blessed untold thousands of souls. Although I labor in the congregation to which he committed almost 30 years of his life, I am well aware that I am no Dr. Cairns. He was, without question in my mind, one of the greatest preachers of his generation in the English-speaking world. As so often is the case, I believe future generations will appreciate his body of work far more than the current generation. Yet, like many of those to whom I minister, the influence of this mighty preacher is upon us. I last spoke to Dr. Cairns at the beginning of the year‚ÄĒa two-hour conversation via FaceTime. He assured me he was praying for me every day. He always believed that the best is yet to be, and while his voice no longer pierces heaven for the Lord's work, I trust his prayers will yet be answered, and that Greenville will see the revival for which he earnestly prayed."‚ÄĒ Rev. Armen Thomassian, Faith FPC
"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." Revelation 14:13.