My MLK Day Mix-Up

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  • 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!


    H.B. Charles Jr.

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