Thursday, January 18, 2007

When Your Life is on the Line

Here is the sermon skeleton for my Midweek Worship message last night:

Title: “When Your Life is on the Line”

Text: Psalm 119:153-160 (Resh)

Theme: A prayer for revival

Point: God is able to revive you when your life is on the line.

Probing Question: What do I have to do to move God to revive me when my life is on the line? A godly attitude.

Transitional Sentence: God revives the one who has a godly attitude toward self, toward sin, and toward scripture.


I. God revives the one who has a godly attitude toward self. (119:153-154).

A godly attitude toward self is demonstrated in what and how you pray:

A. Pray as if God is the only one who can deliver you (v. 153).

B. Pray as if God is the only one who can defend you (v. 154).

II. God revives the one who has a godly attitude toward sin (119:155-158).

What does it mean to have a godly attitude toward sin?

A. Embrace the nature of salvation (v. 155).

1. Salvation is far from the wicked.

2. Salvation is found in the word.

B. Embrace the mercy of God (v. 156).

C. Embrace the walk of faithfulness (v. 157).

D. Embrace the grief of sin (v. 158).

III. God revives the one who has a godly attitude toward scripture (119:159-160).

A godly attitude toward scripture is marked by love and trust.

A. Love the word of God (v. 159).

B. Trust the word of God (v. 160).

1. Trust that the word of God is true (v. 160a)

2. Truest that the word of God is eternal (v. 160b)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Finishing Psalm 119

My plan is to resume the exposition of Psalm 119 in our Midweek Worship Service tonight. I have three more stanzas to go. Tonight, I will preach verses 153-160, God willing. And the plan is to finish the last two stanzas over the next two weeks. Pray for this final leg of our journey up this “Mt. Everest of the Psalms.” May our view of God be enlarged, our confidence in the word strengthened, and our passion for holiness intensified as a result of this study of the sufficiency of scripture.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My MLK Day Mix-Up

It had been a long weekend. So I decided to sleep in Monday morning. My plan was to take my time waking up and going through my morning routines, have breakfast with my family, and get to office about midday to prepare myself to preach. I was scheduled to speak at the MLK celebration for the Orange County Minister’s Conference Fellowship. The president, Dr. John McReynolds and the Second Baptist Church of Santa Ana hosted the meeting. I have been preaching in the Santa Ana area since I was fifteen years old. And the various pastors of that community have been extremely kind to me. Specifically and especially, Pastor McReynolds has been a faithful “cheerleader” who has encouraged my ministry over the years. He has gone out of this way to be a blessing to me and my family. And I love and respect him deeply. It was truly an honor to be asked to speak in this service. I agreed to come even before I was sure what he wanted me to do. For the record, thank God he didn’t ask me to give some “civil rights” address. I would have really been in a jam.

About 10:30 AM, Crystal, the kids, my sister, niece, and I were about to leave for breakfast. As we made our final preparations to leave, Crystal and I started debating what time the service began. I said 7 PM. She said 3 PM. So I called my secretary to ensure I was right. Crystal and I were both wrong. Very wrong! When Scharmaine told me that the service started at 11 AM, I just hung up the phone and stood there frozen for a few minutes. I really didn’t know what to do. I decided while I processed what to do, I had better put a suit on. Fifteen minutes later, I was in my car headed to Santa Ana in a mad panic. I hadn’t had the opportunity to finish editing the message and setting to memory the message I had intended preach. So I didn’t know what I was going to preach. But that might not have mattered. I wasn’t sure I would even make it to the service in time to preach anything! Thankfully, I was able to contact Dr. McReynolds, who assured me that I would get there in sufficient time. And, by God’s grace, I did. In fact, I didn’t get up to preach to about 1 PM. But it was a special service. I was sure I could(correction) count on Dr. McReynolds to keep the focus on Christ, even though it was a MKL Day service. The congregation was somewhat tired and restless by the time I ministered the word. But they were attentive and responsive. I pray that the ministry of the word will bear much fruit. And I praise God for the reminder that God has everything under control at all times – even when we mix things up!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A "Postcard" Reminder of God's Faithfulness

I found a cassette tape yesterday of a sermon I preached on Wednesday, June 14, 1989. The sermon is entitled, “The Day Man Prayed for Jesus to Leave,” based on Mark 5:15-17. The recording is from Chapel Hill Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan. The late Dr. Roy Allen was the pastor. I was preaching their youth revival, which went from Sunday morning through Friday night. I was only sixteen-years-old. And it was the furthest and the longest I had ever been away from home to preach. When I told my wife about the tape last night, she immediately asked if I had listened to it. “Absolutely not,” was my firm response. When I was sixteen, this sermon was one of the best arrows I had in my quiver. But, in reality, it was just a boy preacher’s vain attempt to sound “deep.” I was really swinging for the fence with this one. But I think it ended up going just a little past the foul pole (As a more mature preacher – I hope – I do not think it is proper for the primary point of a message to be based on a secondary point of the text.) If I remember correctly (Note: I am determined not to listen to this tape, so memory will have to be the best I can do), I closed the sermon with this story about how God the Father derived the name of Jesus from taking the “J” out of Jeremiah’s name; the “E” out of Eli’s name, the “S” out of Samson’s name… You get the point. I cringe when I think abut that story. And for the record, a month away from my 34th birthday, I am now ready to lend my support to any proposed ban of boy preachers from the pulpit. For that matter, I think I would also support a pulpit ban of some young adult, middle aged, and old preachers, too, who refuse to faithfully preach the word.

The last reason this tape has sentimental value to me is because my father, H.B. Charles, Sr., died the Saturday after this meeting ended. As I was flying home from Detroit to Los Angeles; God was called my father from earth to glory. I got the news when I arrived home from the airport. When I finally was able to get out of the car – some two hours later – I put the tapes on the mantle on top of the fireplace. I was excited for my father to hear these tapes of my first “major meeting.” But God did not will it to be so. And by the end of the day, most of the tapes were gone. This is one of the tapes I was able to hold on to. Even though I am not big on holding on to things for sentimental reasons (I prefer memories over things that people can fight over when someone dies), I will try to hold on to this tape. It is a “postcard” reminder of God’s faithfulness to me over these years. Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

MSMBC Vision Night 2007

Our first Midweek Service of the year at Mt. Sinai is designated as “Vision Night.” No, I do not reveal to the church the “fresh word” I have received from the Lord for the year (Think, “It’s your year; slap your neighbor, turn around three times, praise him to you get your... pull it down…” Sorry for that. I couldn’t resist). In fact, we really don’t do a church theme for the year. We try to let both the preaching and periodic special emphases guide our planning. What we do on Vision Night is pray for the upcoming year of mission and ministry. We sing praises to God together. And I usually give a “State of the Church Address.” Last year,I preached this meeting. But this year I will again give my congregational address. It’s nothing formal. I just use the opportunity to remind the congregation of what the Lord has done in, through, and for us over the course of the last year. And I endeavor to chart the course for the coming year, introducing new leaders, updating program changes, and describing special goals, projects, and efforts.

MSMBC exists to win more Christians to develop better Christians. Period. That’s all we are about. And we don’t what this to be just a slogan for us. We want it to be the Christ-centered priority that shapes our life together. And we strive to make sure that the major things we endeavor support this fundamental mission. My prayer is that we will be a biblically-functioning church in every way. And that the Headship of the Lord Jesus will be freely and fully exercised in our lives, relationships, and service. And I am very excited to see how the Lord will work in and through us this year. Indeed, we have some challenges that we are facing. But I face them all with faith-filled hope. And I am so glad and grateful for that. Honestly, I was not there last year this time. I started 2006 at such a low point that the only prudent thing for me to do was to preach, rather than to give a “State of the Church Address.” But the Lord sustained me through that dark period and has renewed my sense of vision, focus, and passion for my work here. And I can say with all sincerity that our dreams are greater than our memories.

I’m asking all of our members and friends to pray for tonight’s service and for this year of ministry at MSMBC. And may the Lord be obviously present and actively in-charge wherever he has planted you to serve. God bless

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. – 3 John 4

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Thankful for a Great Preaching Station

I exhorted the congregation of MSMBC to be thankful this past Sunday. As I walked to my car after church, my heart and mind were filled with gratitude for the privilege of ministering the word each in week in such a great pulpit. The Lord has truly blessed me to serve him at a place that fits my gifts, sense of calling, and personal convictions. I feel a great sense of freedom to preach my heart and to lead as I believe the Lord is leading me. And MSMBC always prove to be a prayerful, supportive, and edifying team to serve with. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to serve as pastor-teacher of MSMBC.

I began a series of messages this Sunday entitled, “Resolved! Taking Advantage of a New Beginning.” Here is the sermon skeleton from Sunday’s message:

Title: “Resolved to Give Thanks”

Text: Luke 17:11-19

Theme: The benefits of responding with thanksgiving to the healing grace of Jesus Christ

Point: The greatest demonstration of the life-changing power of Jesus Christ is reserved for the one who goes out of his way to give him thanks.


I. Trust in the mercy of the Lord Jesus (17:11-13).

II. Obey the commands of the Lord Jesus (17:14).

A. Jesus often calls us to participate in the process of our own blessings by doing what doesn’t make sense.

B. Faith obeys the commands of the Lord Jesus.

C. The Lord has a way of fixing your situation as you do what he commands you to do.

III. Give thanks for the goodness of the Lord Jesus (17:15-16).

A. Go out of your way to give thanks to Jesus.

B. Offer your grateful to Jesus wholeheartedly.

C. Thanksgiving to and for Jesus is the highest praise to God.

IV. Receive the salvation of the Lord Jesus (17:17-19).

A. Jesus expects everyone he blesses to come back and give him thanks.

B. Jesus is grieved when you do not come back to thank him for his blessings.

C. Jesus rewards the faith expressed by those who go out of their way to give him thanks.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Resolved! Taking Advantage of a New Beginning

I have approached my preaching calendar a little differently this year. My plan this year is to preach through shorter thematic and expository series on Sundays, rather than doing an extended, sequential exposition of a book of the Bible. (I intend to pick up the exposition of Ephesians I began last year in April, during our midweek services.). This Sunday, I am preparing to begin a six-part series entitled, “Resolved! Taking Advantage of a New Beginning.”

During the new year, many people began to think about making changes in their lives. Often, the commitments they make to change are expressed in terms of “new year’s resolutions.” Unfortunately, many of these good intentions are not carried through to fulfillment. Furthermore, many of these resolutions target the wrong areas of life. They are about external things – money, possessions, weight, appearance, etc. – rather than on the thing that matter the most, what’s going on underneath the skin. So I would like to challenge the congregation at Mt. Sinai to take advantage of this new beginning by making some resolutions that address attitudes of the heart that need to be changed.

Each of these messages will come from one of the Gospel narratives. They will be miracles, parables, or other episodes from the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus. And I will try to examine what Jesus teaches us in these passages about taking advantage of a new beginning in a specific area of life. Please pray for me in the preparation and presentation of this series of messages. And pray for the membership and guests of MSMBC who will hear these messages. May our lives be changed to the glory of God, as we resolve to take advantage of the new beginning God has given us in 2007!

Here is the schedule for this six-week sermon series:

1/7 – Resolved to Give Thanks (Luke 17-11-19)

1/14 – Resolved to Really Change (Matthew 12:43-45)

1/21 – Resolved to Express Devotion (Luke 7:36-50)

1/28 – Resolved to Live Productively (Luke 9:1-9)

2/4 – Resolved to Forgive Others (Matthew 18:21-35)

2/11 – Resolved to Practice Obedience (Luke 17:1-10)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My Last Sermon of 2006

We emphasize world missions on fifth Sundays at MSMBC. Sunday was also the last day of 2006. With both factors in mind, I chose to preach Sunday on Psalm 67 – The Missionary Psalm. It is a prayer for personal blessings with the goal that it will result in the worldwide praise and worship of the Lord God. Here is the sermon skeleton of the message:

Title: “Embracing God’s Mission for Your Life

Text: Psalm 67

Theme: The Missionary Psalm

Point: God desires to use your life to reach the world for his glory.


I. God wants to use you so that the world might know him (67:1-2).

A. Ask God to bless you (67:1).

B. Ask God to make you a blessing (67:2).

II. God wants to use you so that the world might worship him (67:3-5).

A. Long for the glory of God to be praised (67:3, 5).

B. Long for the joy of God to be enjoyed (67:4).

1. There is joy in the holy justice of God.

2. There is joy the sovereign authority of God

III. God wants to use you so that the world might fear him (67:6-7).

A. May the faithfulness of God be experienced (67:6a).

B. May the favor of God be enjoyed (67:6b-7a).

C. May the fear of God be expanded (67:7b).

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Prayer Bowl 2007

The Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, where Dr. Melvin V. Wade pastors, hosts their annual “Prayer Bowl” each year on New Year’s Day. This is an all-day worship service with preaching, prayer, and praise. If I am correct, Pastor Wade has been hosting this event every year since he has been pastor of Mt. Moriah, which would be more the thirty years now. I remember attending this meeting when I was a boy preacher. I would be squeezed into one of the back rows with my other young preacher buddies. And we would stay the whole day listening to some of the best preachers of Los Angeles. I first preached this event more than ten years ago. And Dr. Wade has graciously invited me to speak in this meeting each year since then.

There were five other speakers besides me this year. I had the opportunity to hear three of them. I was encouraged by each of them. There are different styles and backgrounds represented. And this is a great reminder that God has a lot of different tools at his disposal to use to minister his word. I was the final speaker. And the Lord helped me to preach the message he had laid on my heart, even though I wasn’t feeling well. The Prayer Bowl is always special, uplifting, and edifying. This year was no exception. Praise God for Pastor Wade and the Mt. Moriah for being so gracious as to open their doors each year to invite the city to join this in this great celebration of God’s gracious gift of a new year. Praise God for each of the preachers who gave themselves to the Lord so freely, and for the saints who gathered to hear the word proclaimed. And I praise God for the privilege of proclaiming the word of God to the greater Los Angeles church community once again. May much fruit come from this meeting to the glory of God.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." - Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)