I’m back to work after being on vacation for the past two weeks. This was the best vacation I have ever had. I feel rested, refreshed, and ready for the new year. I have been in the office the past several days. But I have not really been able to catch up on much administrative work. The office is closed until next week. So I have kind of had the house to myself. This has allowed me to plunge right into my study. I am scheduled to preach Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Saturday evening, I am to preach a Watch Night Service at the New Philadelphia AME Church in Carson, where Sherman Gordon is the pastor. To my knowledge, MSMBC has never had a Watch Night Service. So, usually, I am in the bed sleep when one year passes to the next. So this will be new for me. But what better way to start a the new year than in the assembly of God’s people in worship.

Of course, New Year’s Day is this coming Sunday. So I will have to get out of that Watch Night Service and try to get as much rest as possible, so that I will be ready to lead worship and preach in our Lord’s Day Service. We will meet at 9:00 AM. And there will be no Sunday School (it’s scheduled to resume on 1/8). I am working on an exposition of Matthew 14:22-33, where Jesus walks on water to rescue his disciples who were caught in a storm. And then Peter walks on the water to go to Jesus. I preached this text when I was a teenager. But that has been so long ago, that I am doing a fresh study of the passage. This is why I strive to be diligent is taking good notes now as I study scripture and write out my sermon manuscripts. If the Lord allows me to live and minister another ten or fifteen years, I want to have a better record of what I am presently learning and teaching from the scriptures. Anyway, I plan to finish my research today and write out the message tomorrow.

Monday, Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, where my pastor Melvin V. Wade, Sr. serves, will host its annual “Prayer Bowl.” It’s an all-day interdenominational worship service of praise, prayer, and preaching. It’s usually a really good meeting. When I was a boy, my friends and I used to go to Prayer Bowl every year. Mt. Moriah’s rather large auditorium would be packed to capacity. And we would squeeze into on of the back rows. On several occasions, we sat in the last row with the ushers. I would hear men like Dr. William Epps, Manual Scott, Jr., Pastor Jarvis Collier, and other stellar preachers, one after the other. I never thought I would one day preach this meeting. My goal each year was just to get a seat. But in the providence of God, I have been preaching this meeting for twelve or thirteen years now. Many members of MSMBC will be present. Mt. Moriah is my “home church,” so they usually receive my eagerly preaching. And many friends from across the city will be present. I pray this will be the best meeting in a long time. I am note yet sure what I will preach either Saturday night or Monday. I have been working this week to get myself ready for Sunday. 95% of the time, I preach and/or teach new material at Mt. Sinai. But I virtually never do new material away from Mt. Sinai. If it’s good enough for my family; it’s good enough for someone else’s. So I am working to prepare for my first sermon of the year in my own pulpit. And I am trusting the Lord to guide me what to preach that will win the lost and edify the saints. Remember me in your prayers. And happy new year!