This week I taught and preached at the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church of Los Angeles, where George E. Hurtt is the pastor. The meeting was a part of the congregation’s 71st anniversary celebration. I taught a class on expository preaching and was the main speaker for the evening services.
My personal and spiritual roots are in the soil of this congregation.
My Father – H.B. Charles, Sr. – led this congregation for more than four decades. All I saw my father do was serve this church.
I met Christ and was baptized in this church. I was called to preach and trained for ministry in this church. I was called to succeed my father as pastor of Mt. Sinai in 1990. I was 17-years-old, still a senior in high school. For the record, I do not recommend calling teenagers to pastor a church. I am sure I was not ready (I still feel I am not ready, at times. And it is somewhat embarrassing to admit that I have pastored for 23 years. But it is my story. What can I say?) I was married in this church. My three children were born in this church. My… You get the picture.
Mt. Sinai took a risk on this boy preacher. And they determined not to see me fail. For almost 18 years, this wonderful congregation of saints nurtured me just as much as I nurtured them. In 2008, the Lord reassigned me to the Shiloh Church in Jacksonville. But Mt. Sinai has continued to love, pray for, and support me, my family, and my ongoing work from the other side of the country.
It is an amazing privilege to be invited home to preach. This is only possible because of the bigheartedness of Pastor George Hurtt. He does not owe me anything. Yet he continues to show great kindness to me and my family. I am grateful.
I am what I am by the grace of God. But he has used Mt. Sinai to his favor in my life. I will forever be indebted to this great congregation for his love to me. They are my family.
I owe this congregation everything. And even though these simply words do not seem sufficient, I am moved to say…
Thank you, Mt. Sinai!
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. – Philippians 1:3