Wednesday, February 28, 2007

R.A. Williams Speaking @ MSMBC

Tonight, we will conclude our Wednesdays in the Word Revival series. We have truly been blessed throughout this month of February to be challenged, confronted, convicted, converted, and comforted by the powerful preaching of the word of God. The Lord has blessed each meeting in a unique way. And the Spirit of God has empowered and directed each preacher to preach a timely word for the congregation. We are expecting no less tonight. Our guest speaker will be Dr. R.A. Williams, Jr., who pastors the McCoy Memorial Baptist Church right here in Los Angeles. Dr. Williams, who is also the president of WHW ministries, is not stranger to MSMBC. He has preached for us throughout the years. And he has always been a blessing to us. And we are looking forward to what God is going to do through him in this closing night of this series of services. Please pray for us.

Oh, by the way, if you would like tapes or CD’s of the messages, please call our church office at 323-734-1028. Or you can send your information via email to our office through our church website. Sorry that you can just order them online. We hope to fix that real soon. Thanks for your support.

Monday, February 26, 2007

God's Help for a Long Weekend

I had an unusually busy weekend of preaching and teaching. But God was good and faithful to provide strength as it was needed, as always. I do not think I stood to preach any time this weekend where I didn't feel God's presence and help with me. Praise God! Thanks for praying for me and for the notes of encouragement.

Sunday morning, I concluded my two-part series on prayer. Here is the skeleton from yesterday's message.

Title: “God is not a Crooked Judge”

Text: Luke 18:1-8

Theme: Persistence in prayer

Point: Men ought to always pray and not lose heart.


I. Is God like this crooked judge?

A. Yes. God is the only one who can make things right in your life.

B. No. You do not have to beat God up in prayer to get him to do what is right for you.

1. God’s character is good.

2. God’s ways are just.

3. God’s timing is perfect.

II. Are you like this persistent widow?

A. Yes. You have an adversary (v. 3) that you cannot handle on your own.

B. No. You are God’s elect (v. 7), not some helpless widow.

C. I don’t know. Only time will tell whether you have the faith to persists in prayer (v. 8b).

Friday, February 23, 2007

An Unusually Busy Weekend

This will be an unusually busy weekend for me. I will have to teach or preach seven times over the course of the weekend. Please remember me in your prayers

Today at 11 AM I am to give the eulogy in the funeral service for Roosevelt Wideman, a longtime and devoted member of MSMBC

Tonight at 7 PM I am to close out the Spiritual Emphasis Conference at the Judson Baptist Church in Carson, where Dr. Johnny Baylor is the pastor.

In the morning at 11 AM I am to give the eulogy in the funeral service for Joe Bennett, another longtime and devoted member of MSMBC.

Tomorrow evening at 5 PM I am to bring the message in the California Baptist State Laymen’s Men’s Conference. That service will be held at Pilgrim Baptist Church here in L.A., where Dr. Albert Nicholas is the pastor.

During our Sunday morning services, I am to conclude my two-part series on prayer with a message on Luke 18:1-8, entitled, “God is not a Crooked Judge.”

Note: My small-group will not be meeting this Sunday.

And Sunday afternoon, I am to speak at New Life Christian Fellowship, for the pastoral anniversary of my boyhood friend, Barry Wilson.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Stay in the Race

Thanks for praying for our Wednesday in the Word Revival meeting last night. Our guest speaker was Dr. Ralph Douglas West of The Church Without Walls in Houston. He preached last night from the classic passage in Hebrews 12:1-2, which calls the believer to run the race of faith with determination, without impediments, and with focus on Christ alone. It was a rich, timely, and powerful message that I trust was edifying for the congregation.

I cannot begin to describe the great blessings Ralph West’s visit was to me personally. I believe that the Lord sent him to Los Angeles just for me. As much as I was richly blessed by the message West preached, our personal time of renewed fellowship was even better. I was able to glean from his pastoral wisdom and be the recipient of his encouragement. It was just what I needed when I needed it. I have been truly challenged and encouraged to run on to the completion of the goal that God has for my life, faith, and ministry.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ralph Douglas West @ MSMBC

Tonight, we will continue our Wednesdays in the Word Revival series at Mt. Sinai. We have really been blessed so far by the preaching ministries of William Curtis and Maurice Watson. Our guest speaker tonight will be Dr. Ralph Douglas West, who pastors the Brookhollow Baptist Church in Houston – a.k.a., “The Church Without Walls.” I first met and heard Pastor West when I was in my early teens. He was one of the keynote speakers each year in the Oklahoma City Simultaneous Revival, which my father would participate in. And Pastor West’s ministry shaped my view of preaching in its early stages. And throughout the years, Dr. West has continued to be a model of Bible exposition and pastoral leadership. Dr. West was last here in 1994, when he did three for us. It was a memorable meeting. And the messages he preached continue to bless us after all this time. So we are looking forward to tonight’s service and trust that God will send us a timely and powerful word. Please remember this revival in your prayers.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Parable of the Friend at Midnight

Sunday, I preached the first of two messages on prayer. It's a two-part series on the parables of Jesus about prayer that I am simply calling, "God Answers Prayer." Here is the sermon skeleton from Sunday.

Title: “God is not a Sleepy Friend”

Text: Luke 11:1-13

Theme: Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray (Luke 11:1).

Probing Question: What is the most important lesson about prayer that you should learn?

Point: God answers prayer.


I. Pray with reverence for God (11:2-4).

The Model Prayer teaches us three fundamental lessons about how to ray God-centered and God-exalting prayers.

A. Pray directly to God.

B. Pray about things that will bring glory to God.

C. Pray as if everything depends on God.

II. Pray with dependence upon God (11:5-8)

This Parable of the Midnight Caller raises two questions about your prayer life that reveal the nature and level of your dependence upon God.

A. Do you pray?

B. How do you pray?

III. Pray with confidence in God (11:9-13)

In verses 9-13, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray with confidence that God is able and willing to answer prayer.

A. Pray with confidence that God is able (11:9-10).

B. Pray with confidence that God is willing (11:11-13).

Friday, February 16, 2007

God Answers Prayer

It happens after prayer! I truly believe that. The things we desire God to do for us – and the things that we desire God to in and through us – happen after we pray. There is much we can and should do about about situation after we pray. But there really is nothing we can about a situation that will matter, ultimately, until we pray. I believe the two primary tools God gives us for Christian life and ministry are prayer and the ministry of the word. So I want to use the ministry of the word to challenge our congregation to be more devoted to prayer.

This Sunday, I will begin a two-part series on prayer that I am simply calling, “God Answers Prayer.” The messages will come from the two parables of Jesus about prayer that are recorded in Luke’s Gospel: the Parable of the Friend at Midnight (Luke 11:1-13) and the Parable of the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1-8). Between these two messages, I will ask the church to pray for themselves, another, the church, its leaders, the lost, and our community. Please pray for these two messages and the corresponding emphasis on prayer in the life of MSMBC to bear much fruit.

2/18 – God is Not a Sleepy Friend (11:1-13)

2/25 – God is Not a Crooked Judge (18:1-8)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Grace for Grown Ups

We continued our Wednesdays in the Word Revival series last night. Dr. Maurice Watson of the Beulahland Bible Church in Macon & Warner Robbins, Georgia, was our guest speaker. And Maurice Watson did what Maurice Watson does. He preached up a storm. The message was from 2 Corinthians 12:6-9, where Paul talks about his thorn in the flesh. He entitled it “The Painful Side of Grace.” It was very timely message. There are members of MSMBC who are struggling with various challenges, delays, and trials in their lives. I know those who heard that message last night left with their faith strengthened and the vision of God enlarged.

We had really good attendance last night, even though it was Valentines Day. I was hoping and praying that “Cupid” wouldn’t take precedence over Christ. And I was really proud of our congregation. It was a well-attended service. And I believe that God was glorified and the saints were edified in and through the meeting. We will not be posting the messages on our website. But they are available through our church office. Please remember the continuation of our meeting in your prayers. Dr. Ralph Douglas West of the Brookhollow Baptist Church (“The Church Without Walls”) in Houston will be our guest speaker.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dr. Maurice Watson Speaking @ MSMBC

Tonight, we will continue our Wednesdays in the Word Revival series at Mt. Sinai. And I am really excited about tonight's speaker. One of my favorite preachers, Dr. Maurice Watson, will be bringing the message. Watson pastors the Beuhlahland Bible Church in Macon & Warner Robbins, Georgia. This is the first time Pastor Watson has been to MSMBC since he relocated from Nebraska. He really did take a great step of faith in leaving the historic Salem Baptist Church in Omaha. But the Lord has honored this step by blessing Watson's work at Beulahland in a great way. Since his arrival several years ago, the church has seen outstanding growth, going from two Sunday worship services to four - at two different locations. I have often prayed that the Lord would enlarge Pastor Watson's platform. And the Lord answered that prayer and continues to do so. Yet, in the midst of it all, Watson has not changed. He is still a good friend, a wise mentor, and a model preacher. Please pray for every aspect of tonight's service. But, most especially, pray that the Lord Jesus will be glorified as he uses Dr. Watson in a great way to proclaim the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Speaking @ New Mt. Calvary

I spoke last night at the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Fairfield, CA. The church is celebrating Dr. Claybon Lea Jr's 8th pastoral anniversary. The celebration will conclude this coming Sunday. Dr. William Curtis of the Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh will bring the messages. Lea and I have mutual friends who have encouraged us to know each other. In fact, last summer a brother pastor took me by the Mt. Calvary campus to meet Dr. Lea. He was not present. But his staff was very kind. They even gave me and my family a tour of the facilities and shared some ministry resources with us. I received a book that Dr. Lea had recently published on the cross. I really appreciated it. Anyway, it was a real joy to be at Mt Calvary last night. The worship and fellowship were warm and uplifting. And it is a great preaching station, as the congregation is both attentive and receptive toward biblical preaching. I hope the congregation was as blessed in hearing the message as I was in preaching it to them.

The personal time I was able to spend with Dr. Lea was refreshing and encouraging. He is both kind and humble. And as he shared with me the story of his pastorate and all that God is doing in and through Mt. Calvary, my heart rejoiced. Mt. Calvary is one church in two locations. Several years ago, they purchased and remodeled a large office complex. Today, it is a fully resourced church campus. And after being in the new facility for several months, the Lord led the church to return to its old church facility and continue their work there, as well. And the Lord has smiled on Claybon Lea and the Mt. Calvary Church as they have striven to walk in faith and obedience. Presently, the leaders of MSMBC are prayerfully considering relocation. Our ministry space is pretty limited, with little room for growth. We severly lack both Christian education space and parking that we need. We have had these and other space problems for some time. But now it seems like the Lord is pressing us to aggressively pursue relocation. So seeing what God has done at Mt. Calvary and having Dr. Lea share the story of the church with me were timely blessings from the Lord. I am going home this morning with greater faith in the goodness, wisdom, power, and faithfulness of God to provide what is needed to grow his church.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Speaking @ LABTS

I spoke at the chapel service for the Los Angeles Bible Training School tonight. It was my third time speaking at the schook, I think. It is a honor for me to be asked to minister the word at LABTS. First or all, I have the utmost respect and admiration for President Paul Felix. His kindness to me is a great encouragement. Likewise, Felix and LABTS zre doing a great work in our city, coming alongside of pastors and local churches to train men and women in the scriptures. George Hurtt, my associate pastor at MSMBC, is also one of professors at the school. He is teaching "How to Study the Bible" this semester. And several of our leaders and members have attended classes there over the past few years. I am not sure how well known this work is in our city, even though it has been around for quite some time now. But LABTS should be broadly known and supported generously. It was a joy to fellowship with the students again in worship and the study of the word. Please remember President Paul Felix and LABTS in your prayers.

Series Stuff

Yesterday, I finished the six-part Sunday series I have been preaching, entitled, "Resolved! Taking Advantage of a New Beginning." These weeks (Doesn't time seem to just fly by!) have been an enriching study for me. However, I must admit that I really didn't expect the messages to be so hard. When we selected the passages and themes, it all seemed to fit together so smoothly. But I don't think I really considered how challenging passages would be. For instance, yesterday's text, Luke 17:1-10, was really stern. I don't mind this. But I just didn't expect it. I have been confronted and convicted quite a bit over these weeks. I think the same could also be said of the congregation that heard these messages. May God be please to bring much fruit from this study.

Likewise, I finished my series on Psalm 119 at the end of January. I preached 22 messages from the 176 verses of this "Mt. Everest of the Psalms." This was one of he most personally enriching series I have ever done. And it really stretched me as a preacher. I plan to do more work with these messages in the days to come.

This Sunday, I plan to begin a two-part series that I am calling, "God Answers Prayer!" The two messages will be on the parables about prayer that Jesus gives in Luke 11 and 18. Between these two messages, we are planning a week long emphasis on prayer for the church. Please pray for this work.

Hey! I almost forgot. Yesterday was my 34th birthday. Happy birthday to me!!!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom!

My mother, Ellen Louise Charles, turns 65 years old today. And I am glad to be able to celebrate it with her. As many of you know, the Lord called my father, H.B. Charles Sr., to glory while I was in my middle teens. But the Lord has graciously given me these years with my mother. She has been able to see my development as a man, my growth as a Christian and a pastor, and my life as a husband and a father. And my mother has been my biggest cheerleader every step of the way. I praise God for the gift my mother is to me. Whenever I need a pick-me-up, all I have to do is call my mom. And she will inevitably make me feel like the most special and important person in the world. Plus, she will inevitably say something to make me bust up laughing.

The plan was for me and my siblings to all meet up in Oklahoma City this weekend, where my mother lives, to celebrate her birthday. But these plans fell through. So I sent for her to come here and spend her birthday here with us. I am glad it turned out this way. If we would have gone to OKC, I would have had to rush back tonight to be in the pulpit in the morning. But now that she is here, we get to spend our birthdays together (I turn 34 years old on Sunday). I am glad that the providence worked things out this way. I have even talked her into singing “Only What You Do for Christ Will Last” in one of our services Sunday. It should be a great weekend. The only problem is that my children will no doubt give her a long report of my “wrongdoings.” When I do something that H.B. and Natalie don’t like, they regularly threaten to tell my mom on me, so that I can get a “whipping” when she sees me. I try to tell them that I’m a grown man and that I don’t get whippings. But that only makes them laugh. They are convinced their grandmother is the great equalizer. So I guess I should brace myself for my birthday “whipping.” I am just grateful that my mom is still with me to issue it.

Happy Birthday mom! I love you.

Friday, February 09, 2007

My Spring 2007 Small-Group

This Sunday, between our two morning worship services, I will begin my spring 2007 small-group. Well, I don’t know it if is really a “small-group,” as thirty-two people have signed up for it so far. Each semester, I tell myself that I am not going to lead any Sunday school class (we call them “small-groups” or “Bible study fellowship groups”). But I end up changing my mind each time. This semester is no different. I just enjoy it too much to let it go. And I am excited about this upcoming semester. I like (and seem to need) the opportunity to pray, study, and fellowship with members of MSMBC in a more informal setting. And my spiritual growth is always nurtured by the experience, even though I am usually the one leading the group. I really do learn just as much from the other members of the group as they learn from me.

This semester, my group will be reading together He’s God and We’re Not by Ray Pritchard. Pritchard is the former pastor of the Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois. And he is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, which is his writing and speaking ministry. Ray Pritchard is one of my favorite preachers and authors. His work is consistently sound, clear, and practical. And I have been richly blessed by it through the years. By the way, for my fellow preachers, Pritchard’s sermon manuscripts are also posted on his website. They are a great resource that will benefit you both devotionally and homiletically. Likewise, Pritchard’s church website is what introduced me to the world of ministry blogs. So it is no stretch for me to use one of his books in my small group. And even though I have enjoyed and been enriched by all his books I have read, He’s God is one of my favorites. It’s about what Pritchard calls “the seven laws of the spiritual life.” These seven biblical principles will be the focus of my small-group’s study this semester. I solicit your prayers for my small-group. And I encourage you to pick up this book for yourself and be blessed by its call to spiritual growth in Christ.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Wednesdays in the Word Kick-Off

Last night, we began our Wednesday in the Word Revival series at MSMBC. Dr. William Curtis of the Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in Pittburg was our guest speaker. And he kicked off this series in a great way. The Lord really did use Pastor Curtis to deliver a timely, challenging, and uplifting message from the word of God. I don’t like to attach a lot of descriptions to the term “preaching.” I think the word ought to stand on its own – either one preached or he did not. But there are two terms that I think are appropriate to describe preaching – “faithful” and "courageous.” And both terms describe Pastor Curtis’ message last night. The message ministered to me in a personal way at an important time in my life. Praise God! Likewise, our congregation was enriched by the ministry of the word. I was somewhat disappointment that more people were not present. But I am grateful for everyone who was present – members and guest alike. And I pray that last night will be just the beginning of a great revival in and through MSMBC.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

William Curtis @ MSMBC

Tonight begins our Wednesdays in the Word Revival at Mt. Sinai Church. Rather than meeting consecutive nights which we typically do, we are meeting consecutive Wednesdays in February for the first time. The idea is not original with us. But I am praying that the Lord will honor this meeting with his blessings in a special way. We are not a large congregation. And this meeting is a real step of faith for us in some ways. Yet, we are honored to have some great men of God to minister the word to us over the course of these weeks. Dr. William Curtis, who pastors the Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburg, is our guest speaker tonight. Dr. Curtis is also the new president of the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference. Most importantly, this guy can just flat out preach. I have heard him on tape quite a bit over the past few years. I also watch his internet broadcasts occasionally. I had the opportunity to meet and hear him personally last October. I was enriched by both the personal fellowship and the ministry of the word he delivered. And I trust that tonight will be no different. Please pray that this revival will be a fruitful in, for and through MSMBC to the glory of God.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Freedom of Forgiveness

Title: “The Freedom of Forgiveness” (“Resolved to Forgive Others”)

Series: “Resolved! Taking Advantage of a New Beginning”

Text: Matthew 18:21-35

Theme: Being forgiven and being forgiving

Point: You are not really free until you forgive the ones who have wronged you.

Probing Question: Why forgive?

Transitional Sentence: In the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, Jesus gives three reasons why we who are Christians must forgive others from the heart.


I. I must forgive because God has forgiven me.

A. Sin is a debt that you owe to God.

1. It is an incalculable debt.

2. It is an unpayable debt.

B. God has forgiven your sin-debt through Jesus Christ.

1. The forgiveness of God is free.

2. The forgiveness of God is full.

3. The forgiveness of God is faithful.

C. The forgiveness you have received from God is the grounds upon which you extend forgiveness to others.

II. I must forgive others because no offense is beyond my forgiveness.

A. The wrong you have suffered from others is significant.

B. The wrong you have suffered from others is insignificant in comparison to the debt you have been forgiven.

III. I must forgive others because unforgiveness is too costly.

A. Unforgiveness is wicked.

B. Unforgiveness is torture.