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  • Tuesday night, I preached my final message at Phillips Temple CME in Dayton. And I did something I have only done two other times in all my pastoral ministry: I preached something away from MSMBC that I had not already preached to MSMBC. I had been working on my midweek message on Psalm 119:57-64 (“The Lord is My Portion”), and it was really in my system. So I took a shot at it Tuesday night, even though I didn’t have much more than an extended outline. I mentioned the fact that it was an “unfinished sermon” before I started preaching. I have absolutely no idea why I did that! I was already very nervous; and my “confession” made it worse. Pastor Washington and his congregation were kind.

    I never went to sleep Tuesday night (I still don’t know what was up with my insomnia in Dayton). Wednesday morning, I had a more than one hour flight to Charlotte. Then I had a more than four hour flight from Charlotte to LAX. It felt like I was on a plane all Wednesday morning! My sinuses were really bothering me when I got off the plane. I took some medicine and, as usual, it knocked me out. I didn’t wake up until after 2 PM. I pulled myself together and headed to Gramercy Place to get ready for our Midweek Worship Service. I got about three more hours in on my Psalm 119 message. It’s still not finished. But when 7:00 hit, I was so ready to preach. It was so good to be home, standing in my own pulpit, preaching to my own congregation. I would have went on and preached another sermon when I finished “The Lord is My Portion,” but that was all of the psalm I have studied so far.

    I really love my congregation!!! And if they don’t really love me back, they deserve an Academy Award for “Best Congregational Actors in a Pastoral Hoodwink.” I know that they are concerned about how much I have been traveling lately. And I know they miss me, even though the guys always do a good job when I’m not present. I miss them, as well. And I look forward to this stretch being over ( have two more trips to go). I am grateful for the ways that the Lord uses me in the different places I travel. But there is no place like home. I feel like I am rambling about right now. But the bottom-line is that I am really glad to be home with Crystal, the kids, and Mt. Sinai. Last night, Johnny Gilmore, our new organist, was with us in worship for the first time. I look forward to him growing with us. There is electrical work being done on our building. Pray for Gilbert and his crew as they do their work. And pray for our staff as they do their work with all that is going on at the building.

    Speaking of my staff, you can hear George’s Sunday sermon on the Rich Young Ruler on our church website. It will be under Matthew in the sermons section. God bless.


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.