Grateful for 40 Years of a Blessed Life

Today, the Lord has blessed me to see my 40th birthday.

I am in shock that I am now 40. Where in the world did the time go? Let me think about it…

  • I have been following Jesus for 34 years.
  • I have been preaching the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ for 29 years.
  • I have been pastoring God’s people for 23 years.
  • I have been married for more than 14 years.
  • I have been a father for 13 years.

Yep. I guess 40 years makes sense, after all.

The Lord has been good to me. I am saved forever by God’s amazing grace. I have a loving wife and children. I have a great family and wonderful friends. I am privileged to be a herald for the Lord Jesus Christ. I serve a precious congregation of saints. And I enjoyed many open doors to serve others for Christ’s sake. Can a man be more blessed?

I do not know what the future holds. But I have absolutely confidence in the sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness of God.

May the Lord help me to number my days and live wisely, faithfully, and obediently, and fruitfully.

I heard somewhere recently that when a man gets into his forties, he should strive to use his influence to build up others. I am not sure about that statement. I would say that we should use our build up others in whatever season of life we are in. But to whatever degree that point is especially true for this season of life, I want it to be my experience.

Lord, you have blessed my life in so many ways. Please make me a blessing to others for your glory.

 Thanks for your kind birthday expressions. I greatly appreciate it.

25 Random Things About HBC2

There is a note circulating on Facebook, in which friends ask one another to list twenty-five random things about themselves. I have been “tagged” with these notes. And I have enjoyed reading them. But I had no intention of writing a list myself. But without much deliberation, I opened a new Word document and began to type. Soon a list emerged. Here are twenty-five random things about me:

1.    H.B. is not my initials. That’s my name. For real. My name is H.B. Charles Jr. It’s on my birth certificate, driver’s license, and everything else. My father did it to me. And I did it to my son.

2.    I was born about an hour and a half after her my mother’s birthday. Her birthday is February 10. My birthday is February 11.

3.    Virtually every day, I notice something new about my wife or am reminded of something I already knew about her, that causes me to fall in love with Crystal all over again.

4.    I am absolutely nervous every time I stand to teach or preach the Bible. But I usually calm down right after I finish praying over the message before I begin.

5.    I really wish I knew how to play the piano and the organ.

6.    I love music. But I am paranoid about it. My father used to speak of singing preachers as if it was a bad word. He was convinced that preachers would sing to filibuster, because they didn’t have anything to say.

7.    I pretend to be a realist. But I am a closet idealist. In my world, things are black and white – not gray.

8.    I would rather have a few, meaningful relationships than to have large group of acquaintances that I only know on a superficial level.

9.    I believe in spiritual warfare through long naps.

10.    I did not learn to drive or get my driver’s license until I was 19 years old. Mind you, I began my first pastorate when I was 17. And for about two years, I hitched rides with others everywhere I needed to go.

11.    I bought my first car on April 29, 1992 – The day the Rodney King riots began. That afternoon, I went to the church office to prepare for prayer meeting and a later speaking engagement. I saw the news and the uprising on Florence and Normandy. I encourage the members not to come out to the revival I was preaching. When I got on the freeway to go home after preaching, it looked like the whole city was on fire.

12.    I think I have RLS – Restless Leg Syndrome.

13.    God has blessed me to have a short memory when I have been wronged or hurt. For some reason, forgiveness comes easy for me. I think it is because I know that I need it so from God and others.

14.    I try not to use slang, because most of the slang I am comfortable with is from the 60’s and 70’s. Can you dig it?

15.    I am convinced that “The Nature Boy,” Ric Flair, is one of the all-time great athletes. No, not wrestlers. Athletes. Woooo!!!

16.    I am afraid of heights. Really afraid of heights.

17.    There are very few things in this world that bring me as much pure joy as writing does.

18.    I become emotional whenever I go into a bookstore. This is one of the reasons why, on most occasions, I prefer to go to bookstores alone. I love books! 

19.    I have absolutely no sense of fashion. I would be content if my entire work wardrobe consisted of black suits, white shirts, black ties, black socks, and black shoes.

20.    I have nightmares about Word of Faith preachers kidnapping me and taking me to WoF concentration camps to torture and convert me.

21.    I may seem to be very serious most of the time. But I actually have a great sense of humor. Believe me, I know funny.

22.    I wore a Jheri Curl most of my teenage years, hoping it would keep me from going bald like my father. It did not work.

23.    I remember a large chunk of everything I read. I forget a large chunk of everything people tell me. I need to work at being a better listener.

24.    I am deeply amused whenever I hear anyone pronounce the word “specific” as “Pacific.” I always want to ask, “What does the ocean have to do with this?” I don’t actually do it. But the thought cracks me up on the inside every time.

25.    I love passionately. So I bruise easily. But I heal quickly.

One more for free: I hate lists!

My First Night in our New Home

Lido and I made it safely to Jacksonville yesterday afternoon. Pastor Letson took us to the house. And I prepared myself for worship. An hour or so later, I drove myself to church for the first time. If Jacksonville’s rush hour was any reflection of what I experienced last night, driving here will be a breeze in comparison to Los Angeles.

I went down to the main auditorium about thirty minutes for the worship service to check on something. I went another route back to the study and got lost. Thankfully, I bumped into one of the staff members in the lobby who led me back to the study. I can be clueless at times.

The service was a blessing. I preached from Psalm 119:9-16 – “How to Clean Up Your Life.” I am still getting adjusted to preaching to a new congregation on a weekly basis. And it has been somewhat difficult for me in making some adjustments. But time will fix that. Likewise, after next week, I will not be getting up to preach on Wednesday after getting off a plane. My body is worn out. I can really feel it when I was preaching last night.

I am quickly falling in love with Shiloh Church. I am meeting a lot of loving people who are embracing me so warmly. I know that it doesn’t have to be this way. I am very grateful.

I got totally lost on my way home from church last night. It took me an hour, with much help, to make it to the house. I found my little GPS gadget in one of the boxes this morning. Hopefully, this won’t happen again.

Last night was my first night in our new home. I passed out as soon as I laid down.

Crystal and the kids are on their way here today. They have an afternoon flight and will get in this evening. Please remember them in your prayers that the Lord would grant them safe passage here.

Thanks, again, for all of your prayers, acts of kindness, and encouragements during this time of transition in our lives. God bless.

My Final Weekend @ Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church

This is a pretty big weekend for me. It is to be my last Sunday services with my beloved congregation at Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church.

Several events will mark this celebration. A luncheon is scheduled for this afternoon, which will give us an opportunity to fellowship with one another outside of the formal setting of a worship service. Dr. R.A. Williams, pastor of the McCoy Memorial Baptist Church of Los Angeles, was scheduled to speak. But he is not feeling and will not be able to attend. Please remember him in your prayers. Tuesday, we asked Dr. A.D. Iverson of the Paradise Baptist Church to speak. He gracious consented. I am grateful and honored that he accepted our invitation. Pastor Iverson was one of the (four) speakers during my installation services almost eighteen years ago. I still carry his message, “Don’t Knock the Rock,” from Numbers 20, with me to this day.

Sunday, we will celebrate sixty-six years of God’s faithfulness to and through MSMBC. Mt. Sinai has had three pastors. And the Lord has blessed MSMBC to be an “epicenter” church, that has a vast, great influence for the kingdom of God. Sunday morning, we will join in praise to God for all that he has done in us, through us, and for us – through Jesus Christ. And we will pray God’s continued blessings on the church.

Of course, Sunday’s services will be bittersweet, in that it will be my last Sunday with the church before I move to my new assignment in Jacksonville. I pray the Lord will help me to preach his word with faithfulness and clarity.

Sunday afternoon will be our final service. Several guests and colleagues will be with us. And my pastor, Dr. Melvin Wade, and the Mt. Moriah Baptist Church family, will be with us. Pastor is scheduled to bring the message.

If and when we cross your mind this weekend, please whisper a prayer for God’s blessings on our behalf.

God bless.

Coming Home to a Cold Reality

As I was making my way to my connecting flight home this morning, my phone rang. It was Crystal. She was overwhelmed as she watched the movers pack and load up our possessions to transport them to Jacksonville. I didn’t know what to say. So I prayed. And I recommended that Crystal go out for a couple of hours, so that she wouldn’t have to watch them moving our things out.

I arrived home several hours ago, with a message to pick up a car rental. Another does of reality. Our cars are gone and on their way to Jacksonville.

When I arrived home, I walked into an empty house. My mind went back to the day we first saw this house, and the rather large family that occupied it. I also remembered moving into this house as first-time homeowners. It was a good, special time for us.

Seeing it empty again was strange. Same house. But in many ways its so different. It has the feel of the place that has been home to us for more than four years. Yet it feels so empty. It is empty. Literally. Another dose of reality.

There are many memories here.

The competing emotions that I am having right now have left me numb.

Please continue to remember me and my family in your prayers during these days of transition.

The Official Release of my Blackmail Video

After church this morning, my little sister, Donetta, informed me that portions of the Kidsongs Videos we did as children are on YouTube. One of my father’s pastoral assistants helped to open this door for us when we were kids. We were able to participate in “A Day at Old McDonald’s Farm.”

My “feature” song is about 4:30 minutes into this clip. I “starred” in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

And about 6:30 minutes into the clip, you can catch a brief glimpse of me “pop-locking.”

And with all due respect and humility, I am still waiting on my Oscar nomination.

And for the record, my hair was naturally curly. Or, at least, that’s my story. And I’m sticking to it.

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