Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Recent pictures of my family

Here are some recent pictures of my family.

Crystal & Natalie

Crystal, H.B. (III), Natalie, & me

H.B., Natalie, and my mother, Ellen Charles

Speaking @ the Louisville Citywide Revival

I am in Louisville preaching the citywide revival through Wednesday night. Dr. Eric A. Johnson is the president of the citywide revival. And my friend, Dr. Derrick Miles, is the vice-president. The services are being held each evening at the Hill Street Baptist Church, where the Rev. Gregory Smith is the pastor. Please remember me and this meeting in your prayers.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Speaking @ Greater St. John in Oakland

I am in Oakland. In the morning, I will be heading home from preaching at the Greater St. John Baptist Church here, where Gregory Payton is the pastor. Pastor Payton has been hosting St. John's "Empowering the City with a Word" conference, which started this past Sunday.There has been a "lecturer" and speaker each night. Clinton McFarland from Columbus (Miss), Brian Hunter from Berkeley, Melvin Wade from Los Angeles, and James Dixon from Houston have spoken this week. Tonight was the closing night. I gave the opening message. And Pastor Dennis Jones of the Gethsemane Baptist Church in Houston gave the closing message.

The enthusiasm and energy of the congregation would have made you think that tonight was the closing night, not the opening night. The service began at 7 PM and didn't let out to about 10:30. And I didn't see anyone leave before it was over. It was a remarkable worship service and a wonderful setting in which to preach. It was obvious the congregation came to church to hear the word of God proclaimed. And, boy, did Dennis Jones preach. I have preached with him and have heard him on a few occasions now. But I have never heard him quite like this. He was in a zone and on target tonight. And God used him in a great may to minister to the congregation.

Please pray that much fruit will come from this meeting. And pray that the Lord will continue to bless and use the ministry of Pastor Payton and the Greater St. John Church.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Praying for California Fire Victims

Please join us this week as we pray for those who have suffered loss in the multiple wildfires that have struck various parts of California this week.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A long day, followed by a short day.

Yesterday was a long, blessed day.

I preached both of our morning services, and also led my small-group during the Sunday School hour. Then I had to preach two more times in the afternoon. At 3 pm, I preached the 14th pastoral anniversary for my longtime friend Reginald Payne at the Full Gospel Baptist Church. Reginald and I started preaching together at Mt. Sinai. And before he was called to serve his church, Reginald was my primary pastoral assistant. I am very proud of him and grateful to God for our friendship and the wonderful way the Lord is using this loving shepherd and faithful preacher.

Then, at 6 pm, I preached the opening night of a revival meeting hosted by Pastor Michael Metters and the Faithway Baptist Church. It is a six-night meeting that will feature preaching from well-respected pastors in the Los Angeles church community - R.A. Williams, Manual Scott, Jr., and Richard Sanders, among others. It was a joy and a privilege to preach the opening message of this meeting. This was maybe my fourth time speaking at Faithway, even though the last time was several years ago.

The Lord was gracious to give me strength for the whole day. And many MSMBC members went churchin' with me the whole day, which was really encouraging. I gave myself a chance to catch up with myself by hanging out with Crystal today. Of course, though, it wasn't enough time - time always flies on my day off! In the morning, it's back to work - Ephesians 4:4-6 is my assignment for tomorrow night.

Churchin' in Omaha

Last week, as I preached for Pastor Reginald Terry and the Antioch Baptist Church, I was also able to attend several other services. Our services started at 6 pm and was over before 7:30. So the last two nights, we were able to attend several special events that were taking place across town.

On Thursday, I was able to attend the closing night of Omaha's Citywide Revival. Dr. Frederick D. Sampson, from Houston, was the speaker. And it was fantastic. Dr. Sampson is a preaching legend. And it was great to get to here him for the first time.

On Friday, we attended the 2nd anniversary service for Dr. Selwyn Bachus at the Salem Baptist Church. Pastor K. Edwin Bryant from Dayton was the guest speaker. I met Pastor Bryant this past summer. And I was really looking forward to hearing him And...

Interestingly, both of these pastors preached from Genesis 22, the story of Abraham going to sacrifice Isaac. They had two different approaches to the text, which reminded me that preaching really is communication of divine truth through (different) human personalities.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Speaking @ Antioch in Omaha

I have returned to the scene of the crime (Don't ask. I will not explain. But if you get do it... pretty funny, huh?).

I am in Omaha to preach for Pastor Reginald Terry at the Antioch Baptist Church. And I am having a blast. I really felt at home preaching to Antioch last night. Reginald Terry is an outstanding preacher and Bible teacher. And it's always good to be in a setting where the preaching of the word of God is the center-piece of the worship service - not an appendix added after a hundred non-essential things take place.

I am also enjoying the time I have spent with Pastor Terry. He bleeds preaching. He has a pastor's heart. And he has a sharp mind. And our conversations about pastoral ministry and biblical preaching have been stimulating. Even when we disagree, the conversations are still engaging and enjoyable. I have a lot of respect for Pastor Terry and find myself refreshed by this trip, which is a pleasant surprise.

Please remember the remainder of this meeting in your prayers.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

WHW 2008 in Los Angeles

About 1,000 pastors, preachers and Bible teachers had converged on Los Angeles this week for the annual expository preaching conference sponsored by WHW Ministries. This group is led by Dr. R.A. Williams who serves the McCoy Memorial Baptist Church in Los Angeles and Dr. George Waddles who pastors in Chicago (They are the two "W" in the group's name, the "H" is for Pastor Larry Harris who passed away several years ago). The conference focuses, primarily, on word studies, grammar, context, and culture in the study of scripture. There are also other classes on various theological and pastoral subjects. And, of course, there is preaching. Pastors Melvin Wade, Jonny Baylor, Frank Ray, A. Louis Patterson, and R.A. Williams, among others, were scheduled to preach this year.

Please remember this conference and its ongoing ministry in your prayers. Sure, there are a lot of conferences these days being held around the country. Too many, if you ask me (but we'll save that rant for another post). But there really is no conference doing what WHW seeks to do. It has a great opportunity to equip and encourage a generation of African-American pastors to explain what scripture means by what it says. May the Lord bless their efforts.

Speaking @ Oakland Avenue

I am in Detroit preaching for Pastor Larry Walker and the Oakland Avenue Baptist Church. This is the third year I have done this meeting, so I think I know what to expect from them and they know what to expect from me. That always makes preaching a little bit easier. Again, for the third year, I am partnered with Dr. William Burwell, who lives and serves in Palm Springs California. Dr. B. is an itinerant preacher and Bible teacher, who travels the country speaking at churches and conferences. So each night Oakland Avenue takes Dr. B.'s best shot, then they take my best shot. I have never heard Pastor Walker preach. But the Lord has certainly used him to develop a congregation that appreciates the word of God. We got off to a good start last night, and have two more nights to go. Please remember this meeting in your prayers.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Still Feasting on the Preaching of Ray Pritchard

We were blessed to have a special day of worship at Mt. Sinai yesterday. First of all, we one first Sundays, we celebrate the Lord's Table together, which is always a special time in the life of our congregation. Likewise, our fall semester of small-groups began on yesterday. But what really made the day so special was the presence of Dr. Ray Pritchard, president of Keep Believing Ministries, who preached in both of our morning services.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Dr. Pritchard spent Saturday morning with us, giving practical advice for faithful and effective preaching. But, come on, how many practioners are there out there who cannot do what the teach?!?! Ray Pritchard is not one of them. He is a clear and compelling preacher. And it was a joy to sit under his preaching in worship. And the message was very pastoral, touching on an often-overlooked but important subject: when believers doubt. Preaching from the story of John the Baptist in Matthew 11:1-6, the Lord used Pastor Pritchard to richly bless our congregation yesterday. And his kind comments about our church were so encouraging to us. And his kindness to preach and then patiently sign copies of his various books for our members was just another expression of his humility and big heart. Praise God for Ray Pritchard! May the Lord enlarge the platform of his spiritual influence. And may his tribe increase.

By the way, I have recently switched from a PC to a Mac. And I have not really figured how to put links onto my blog yet. So let me just give you Dr. Pritchard's web address: www.keepbelieving.org. There should be a couple of recent posts there about his trip to MSMBC, along with Pritchard's weblog and sermon manuscripts. You can also find his various books - he has written almost 30 in the past 13 years or so - on the sight.

Go, H.B. It's your birthday!!!

Today is H.B. Charles III's 8th birthday. Happy birthday, son!!!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Ray Pritchard @ MSMBMC

Dr. Ray Pritchard, president and featured speaker of Keep Believing Ministries, is our guest at Mt. Sinai this weekend. This morning, Dr. Pritchard, led a conference in which he gave us practical tips for regular biblical preaching. There were only a few people present – MSMBC associate pastors and one local pastor. And I was a little disappointed that more brothers didn’t take advantage of this opportunity to meet Dr. Pritchard. But I understand how busy pastors are – especially on Saturdays! And so we had a small, intimate setting in which we were able to learn from Dr. Pritchard and interact with him. And it was a great experience. Personally, I was greatly helped, challenged, and encouraged by the session. And I hope and pray that the Lord will help me to implement the key things I need to learn in order to become a better preacher.

If the Lord spares us, Dr. Pritchard will preach our two morning services tomorrow. And I look forward to a rich time of worship and the opportunity to sit under Dr. Pritchard’s preaching. I was introduced to Dr. Pritchard through his writings. I found out this weekend that Dr. Pritchard has written some 29 books over the past 13 or so years. And virtually all of his writing has developed from his preaching ministry. Wow! Dr. Pritchard served the Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois, for 17 years. And it was during his ministry there that I was able to both read his sermon manuscripts and listen to archived audio/video messages that were posted on the Calvary Memorial website. I also began reading Pritchard’s weblog during this time. And these ministries had a profound effect on me. Most obviously, I started a blog and started posting my sermons online by the influence of Pritchard’s example. So, in many ways, Pritchard has mentored me from afar. And it has been a joy to actually meet him. And I look forward to worshiping with him at MSMBC in the morning.

Please remember our Sunday services in your prayers. And please remember Dr. Ray Pritchard’s family and ministry in your prayers. I believe that Ray Pritchard is one of the great, important preaching voices of our day. And I pray that the Lord will further Pritchard’s influence and fruitfulness in the coming years – to the glory of God.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Speaking @ the Cleveland Citywide Revival

I am in Cleveland, preaching the citywide revival sponsored by the local Baptist Minister's Conference. Pastor Claudie Williams is the president of this group. Rev. George Parks is the chairman of the revival. And Pastor Charles Matthews is the host, as the The services are being held at - get this - Mt. Sinai Baptist Church. Cool.

I don't really know anyone hear. I was invited by Pastor Parks, whom I met while preaching in Northern California. I know Pastor Houston here. And Pastor Veal and I, who I met for the first time this week, have numerous mutual friends. But in spite of the fact that I don't know many people here, everyone has been very warm and welcoming to me.

The first night, Monday, was kind of slow, as it stormed here pretty heavily. But the meeting picked up steam last night. I have two nights to go - Wednesday and Thursday. Please remember this meeting in your prayers.