I began the new year by preaching, preaching again, and preaching some more! And I have absolutely no complaints. Saturday night I preached the Watch Night Service at New Philadelphia AME Church in Carson, where my friend Sherman Gordon is the pastor. When Crystal and I arrived, they were introducing a “Christian comedian. ” One day someone is going to have to explain the difference between a Christiand and a non-Christian comedian. For the record, the guy was pretty funny. I think I would have laughed a lot harder if I didn’t have to preach after this guy was done with his set. I guest the laugh was on me! When he finished, there was a mime group that performed. Then there was a poetry reading. Great stuff all. Again, my only complaint is that I had to preach after all of this stuff. I think it’s pretty hard for people to transfer the minds from entertainment to exposition. But I shot my best shot at it. I really do appreciate Pastor Gordon and his ministry. And I am grateful that he invited me to minister the word to his congregation. I hope and pray that my message was beneficial.

Sunday morning, I was dead tired. Crystal and I didn’t get home from church until after 1 AM. And when it was time to get up, it seemed like we had just gone to bed. I was absolutely bushed when I got to Mt. Sinai. But it didn’t matter. I was so grateful to be in worship on the first day of the year. And I was glad to have the opportunity to minister to my beloved congregation on the first day of the year. I attempted an exposition of Matthew 14:22-33, which I called “Following Jesus beyond Your Comfort Zone.” I had two big points I was trying to make: (1) Trust Jesus enough to get into the boat, and (2) trust Jesus enough to get out of the boat. It was a enriching and encouraging time of worship. I trust the Lord was glorified. And I pray that the message will be reality for MSMBC this coming year.

Yesterday, I attended the annual “Prayer Bowl,” hosted by Pastor Melvin V. Wade and the Mt. Moriah Baptist Church of Los Angeles. I rained hard here yesterday, which is the equivalent of a blizzard somewhere in other parts of the country. So the attendance was down at the meeting. But the guest speakers all swung for the fence. And I trust that God ministered to those who weathered the elements to worship. I preached a message that I had been eager to preach again since I presented it at Mt. Sinai about a month ago. I am not sure that the message fit the occasion. In fact, I don’t really think that my Watch Night or Prayer Bowl sermons were “occasional” messages. But they were what the Lord put on my heart. And beggars can’t be choosers. I think the Lord honored by attempts to be faithful to him.

Now, it’s back to the lab. For the rest of January, I plan to preach some various texts that I have been on heart. Then in February, we will have a ministry emphasis month. And I intend to preach on Christian service for the entire month. Our midweek services resume on January 18. And I intend to begin an exposition of Psalm 119. I plan to go through the psalm stanza by stanza, so it be take me at least twenty-two message to get through it. I look forward to it. I difficult texts make good great preachers, I should be a better preacher after this exposition. Please remember me in your prayers that the Lord will help me to devote myself to prayer and the ministry of the in a greater way in 2006. And may he do the same for you, as well. God bless.