It was a long, exhausting, and wonderful weekend. Crystal and I caught a red-eye flight from Honolulu. We were to arrive at LAX and then catch another flight to Atlanta. But we missed our connecting flight. So we left Saturday for Atlanta in the afternoon, rather than in the morning. It was past 9 PM when we reached Atlanta. And by the time we reached Macon, it was about 11 PM. In essence, we spent all of Saturday in planes and on/or in airports. By the time we got something to eat, checked into our hotel, showered-up and settled-down, it was past 2 AM. And we had to be ready for church at 7 AM. We had jet-lag, airport-jag, and any other “jag” that has to do with being tired. We didn’t fall asleep as much as we simply passed out!
Yesterday was Crystal’s birthday. And we spent the day “churchin.” We were in Macon to be with our friend, Pastor Maurice Watson. Watson, former pastor of the Salem Baptist Church in Omaha, is now the pastor of Beulahland Bible Church of “middle Georgia.” The church is spoken of this way because it is one-church-in-two-locations. The congregation meets at 7:30 and 11:30 AM at its Macon location. And it meets at 9:30 at a site in Warner-Robbins, where is currently building its own facility (By the way, Pastor Watson announced yesterday that the church would be going to four services in February, 2006). I preached all three services at the two locations. That was something new for me. I was very tired. But the Lord gave me strength to preach. Pastor Watson is my favorite preacher, hands down. He is a solid and consistent expository preacher. And he is a sincere, prayerful, and devoted pastor. His example has been a great blessing to my life and ministry. And I am honored beyond words that he considers me his friend. So it was with pure joy that I watched him lead his new congregation in worship (He has served Beulahland for less than two years.). I am so excited that the Lord is blessing his ministry here. And I pray that the Lord will continue to strategically use Pastor Watson and the Beulahland Church to proclaim and promote the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
After the services, Crystal and I had lunch with Pastor Watson and his family. Then we came back to Atlanta. I slept off most of the entire evening. Crystal went out to see the Leslies, a family from MSMBC that moved to Atlanta a couple of years ago (By the way, our daughter, Natalie Marie, got her middle name from Marie Leslie). We miss the Leslies a lot. They were not able to make it to Macon for the worship services, but I am glad that Crystal and Marie were able to hook-up. When we get up and moving this morning, we plan to spend the day seeing the sights around Atlanta. This is really the first time either of us have been to Atlanta. I have been here once before to preach, but I was here for less then 24 hours. In fact, I was here to preach on October 8, 1999. When I sat down from preaching, I found out that my wife had given birth to our son, H.B. III, who was six-weeks premature. Interestingly, I met one of the “mothers” of Beulahland Church yesterday who heard me preach that night, more than six years ago. This “young lady” was at least in her seventies. And I thanked her for remembering. She assured me that, although she had a stroke a few years ago, God simply used it to get rid of the stuff she didn’t need to remember. Now, she only remembers the importance stuff! That was great. I really enjoyed those few moments talking with this dear mother. I love to see senior saints who are still on fire for the Lord.
Tomorrow, God willing, we will head home to our children. I really miss them and look forward to seeing them. And I will start my work for Christmas morning. I intend to do an exposition of Matthew 2:1-12. I will have to be very disciplined and creative about my study time this week. Crystal and I plan to take the kids somewhere in driving distance from LA for a few days. We are going to celebrate Crystal’s birthday together as a family. I have had (and am having) a good vacation. But I do look forward to getting home and returning to my life and ministry routines. I really miss MSMBC. Even though I travel a lot, I am not often away from Mt. Sinai on Sunday morning. Being with Beulahland yesterday made me long for my own pulpit. Hopefully, I’ll be there soon. But not too soon… I still have a little more vacation time left.