Monday, December 31, 2007

My Final Sermon for 2007

Yesterday, I preached my final sermon for 2007 to be beloved congregation, Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church. I wavered between several things during the week, trying to find determine what to preach. I was praying for something that would challenge our congregation to examine themselves and renew their personal devotion to the Lord before the new year. I landed on one verse: 1 John 1:9. I preached an exposition on that verse and challenged the congregation to be honest with God about their sins and trust God’s promises to forgive their sins and cleanse their own unrighteousness. My congregation endured an hour long message on the confession of sin. I pray that much fruit will come from it. Here is the sermon skeleton.

TITLE: “Being Honest with God”

TEXT: 1 John 1:9

THEME: The confession of sin

POINT: You can be delivered from the bondage of guilt when you confession your sins to God.


I. The place of confession

A. Confession of sin is a necessary part of the Christian life.

B. Confession of sin is a normal part of the Christian life.

II. The practice of confession

A. Take personal responsibility.

B. Be specific.

C. Repent.

D. Do it promptly.

III. The power of confession

A. Confess your sins with confidence in God’s holy character.

1. God is faithful to his promises.

2. God is just in his actions.

B. Confess your sins with confidence in God’s amazing grace.

1. God gives forgiveness from the penalty of sin.

2. God gives cleansing from the pollution of sin.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Prayer of Agur

This past Sunday, I preached from Proverbs 30:7-9. It is a prayer of a man named Agur (Prov. 30:1) - the only prayer recorded in the book of Proverbs. The prayer of Agur is the counterpart to the prayer of Jabez (1 Chron. 4:9-10). Here is the sermon skeleton:

TITLE: “The Wise Prayer of a Weak Man”

TEXT: Proverbs 30:7-9

THEME: A prayer for a Godward life

POINT: Wise people confront their spiritual weaknesses through prayer.

Introductory points: There are several lessons we can learn from the way in which Agur prayed:

1. The manner of our prayers should honor God.
2. The focus of our prayers should honor God.
3. The content of our prayers should honor God.

TRANSITIONAL SENTENCE: We need God to remove the things that contradict a godly life and keep us from the things that corrupt a godly life.


I. The 1st thing: Remove from me the things that contradict a godly life (30:8a).

A. Agur prays against two things that contradict a godly life.

1. Deceit: falsehood
2. Dishonesty: lies

B. There are two ways that falsehood and lies hinder godliness:

1. Godliness is hindered by our own falsehood and lies.
2. Godliness is hindered by the falsehood and lies of others.

C. There is only one way to overcome falsehood and lies: The Lord must remove it far away from you.

II. The 2nd Thing: Do not give me the things that corrupt a godly life (30:8b).

A. The request:

1. Do not give me poverty.
2. Do not give me riches.

B. The reason:

1. The peril of prosperity: An abundance of provision can lead to indifference toward God (v. 9a).
2. The peril of poverty: A lack of provision can lead to irreverence toward God (v. 9b.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. - Isaiah 9:6-7 (ESV)

From my family to yours, merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pictures from the Pastoral Anniversary

Here are some pictures from this past weekend.

Clint, Ronald, H.B., Barry, Reginald.

H.B. and Natalie

H.B. (III) and Natalie

H.B. and Dr. John A. Reed, Jr.

H.B. (III), Natalie, H.B., Crystal (and the one in the "oven")

My 9th Wedding Anniversary

Crystal and I are celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary today. It was a quiet and slow day. No agenda. Just hanging out. Several long, leisurely meals together. A few long walks. Much window shopping. It was a great day. Now I can't wait for our tenth wedding anniversary. And our fiftieth!

Happy anniversary, Crystal!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Win is a Win

In other important weekend news, the Dallas Cowboys performed some second-half heroics to the defeat Detroit "Whachumacallem's" 28-27.

By the way, did any of you boxing fans see Floyd Mayweather knock out Ricky Hatton Saturday night? Wow!

Celebrating 17 Years of Pastoral Ministry

This past weekend, we celebrated my seventeenth pastoral anniversary at Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church. It was a wonderfully encouraging weekend, for which I am deeply grateful.

On Friday night, the sons of MSMBC worshiped with us. And Pastor Ronald Saunders of the Rhema Community Church in La Puente (CA) brought the message. On Sunday morning, my “Pop”, Dr. John A. Reed of the Fairview Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, brought the message. And on Sunday afternoon, my pastor, Dr. Melvin Wade of the Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, brought the message.

I am grateful for all of my colleagues, friends, and sister-congregations that joined us for the services. Some of you even sent greetings and expressions from different parts of the country. Thank you so much for making this weekend so memorable.

Thank you Mt. Sinai for your continued support, prayers, and encouragement. I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to serve such good people. You have been so kind to my family. And I want you to know that I deeply appreciate all that you have done for me. And I pray that the Lord will grant the coming years to be even more fruitful as we serve together to the glory of God!

To God alone be the glory for the things that he has done!

Friday, December 07, 2007

17 Years and Counting

This evening we will celebrate my pastoral anniversary at Mt. Sinai. The celebration will conclude on Sunday afternoon. Here is a brief article I wrote in this month's church newsletter about anniversary celebration.

17 Years and Counting…
When people hear that I was called to pastor MSMBC while still a senior in high school, they often respond with a look that says, “What in the world…?” I understand their concern and share their shock. It really is amazing. And the years seem to have past so quickly. Yet it feels like a lifetime of events have taken place in these seventeen years.

I am often asked what it was like to begin this work at seventeen. And what has it been like to pastor the same church – my father’s congregation, no less – for seventeen years. The answers are rather simple and clear to me. First of all, God has been strong, gracious, and faithful. Over the years of my ministry, I have had opportunities that some men never have after a lifetime of ministry work. Many lives have been impacted for Christ through my ministry in spite of me. To God be the glory!

Likewise, the word of God has proven to be true, powerful, and sufficient. I am both too dumb and too smart to build my ministry on anything but the word of God. And I am more convinced than ever that the word of God will stand when the world is on fire. I think I am just a glorified Sunday School teacher. Of course, I try to be clear, applicable, and interesting (with various degrees of success). But I basically go to the pulpit with the conviction that either the Spirit of God is going to do something dynamic through the scriptures or my preaching is a doomed exercise in futility. And over and over again, the word of God does its work. Praise God!

Furthermore, you have been wonderful congregation to serve. When people ask what was it like to be a pastor at seventeen, I think it would be better to ask MSMBC what it was like to have a seventeen-year-old pastor. I have learned much about leadership through trial and error. In fact, I often tease that I should write a book on pastoral leadership entitled, “Oops.” Yet through it all, this congregation has been prayerful and supportive. Can a pastor be more blessed? May the Lord give us many more fruitful years together to win more Christians and develop better Christians to the glory of God.

Finally, I am grateful to God for the partnership of my wife Crystal over the past decade. I have learned much about the grace of God by the way Crystal cares for me and supports me. Her respect and encouragement and friendship has meant (and means) more than you (or she) will ever know. And what can I say about H.B. and Natalie? They remind me that I am not the “big-shot” that some people think I am. To them, I am just their silly daddy who happens to preach. And that’s the coolest thing in the world! Truly, I face the days ahead with gratitude, hope, and confidence in our great God.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Browse My Library

I have been cataloging my personal library through Library Thing. I am not finished yet. I have several hundred more books to add to complete my catalog. But here is what I have. There are books on all kinds of subjects here. There are the sermon outline books I bought as a boy preacher. There are the my reference works. There are the commentaries I have collected over the years. There are also books on pastoral ministry, church dynamics, preaching, sermon illustrations, and Christian living. I also have books on African American subjects and by African American authors. And I also have some "junk food." I know that life is too short to read bad books. But there are times when I feel like reading just for fun. So you will find those on this list as well. So feel free to browse through the titles. And keep a look out for the updates I will add as I finish my catalog.

To link to my library click here. And note that there is a link to the right of my blog page under my links that you can click to get to my library at any time.

Remember, there are no better minds. Just better libraries!

Finishing Mark 5

I completed the series on the miracles of Mark 4-5 this past Sunday. I preached the miracle Jesus performed for Jairus and his sick, dying daughter. This was a interesting, challenging passage to preach - along with the woman with the issue of blood. As an theologian and expositor, I am absolutely convinced that the miracles of Mark 5 are historically true. And I firmly believe that these miracles rightly affirm the divine power and sovereign authority of Jesus over sickness and death. But as a pastor I am aware that, if Jesus tarries, my people will have to face sickness and death. This is the challenge of the pulpit. If you don't have a pastor's heart, it's easy to preach texts like this with triumphalistic claims. You must boldly preach with pastoral sensitivity. I took my best shot at it this Sunday. My goal was that the congregation would leave the worship service believing that Jesus has the last word in every situation. Here is the sermon skeleton.

TITLE: “Trust Jesus at a Dead-End”

TEXT: Mark 5:21-24, 34-43

THEME: The sovereign authority of Jesus over death

POINT: Jesus has the last word in every situation.

TRANSITION SENTENCE: Jesus last the last word when disappointment speaks, when doubt speaks, and even when death speaks.


I. Jesus has the last word disappointment speaks (5:35-36).

A. Jairus’ heart is broken by the words of the messengers (v. 35).

B. Jairus’ heart is comforted by the words of the Master (v. 36).

II. Jesus has the last word doubt speaks (5:37-39).

A. The world says that death is the end (v. 38).

B. Jesus says that death is not the end (v. 39).

III. Jesus has the last word death speaks (5:40-43).

A. Jesus has the last word over physical death (v. 40-42).

B. Jesus has the last word over spiritual death (v. 43).