IMG_1686The date was October 8, 1999.

I was preaching in Atlanta. I finished the sermon and took my seat. Moments later, Charles – a fellow-pastor of my Los Angeles congregation – whispered in my ear that my wife, Crystal, had been rushed to the hospital. Then he walked away.

Crystal was pregnant with our first child, a boy. But she was almost two months away from her due date. The doctor had put her bed rest that week. She was fine just two hours earlier when I talked to her before I went to church. I just sat there frozen, not knowing what to think or do.

I asked the pastor to pray for my wife. When he finished praying, Charles reemerged, took the microphone, and announced that Crystal had given birth to our son. They were both fine.

I caught the first flight I could home to my wife and new son, H.B. Charles III. He was born at 4.3 pounds. By the time I made it home, he had dropped to 3.8 pounds. When he put on some more weight, we were able to take home a healthy baby boy. But the doctors quietly warned us about potential health concerns in light of his premature birth.

Fast-forward sixteen years….

E8053218-27A6-4E47-BB64-621E23A15789Today is my son’s 16th birthday! He is a strong and healthy young man. An athlete at heart, H.B. has aspirations to play sports, particularly basketball. He is now as tall as I am and taller than his mother. But that is not saying much. His parents are vertically-challenged.

Someone recently asked H.B. if he thinks he will preach someday. He replied, “Yep. When my jump shot stops working!”

I could not be more proud of the smart, respectful, and handsome young man my son is growing up to be. All the more, I praise God for his faith in Christ and spiritual growth. May he continue to grow as Jesus grew! (Luke 2:52)

I occasional tell H.B. that he is my favorite son. He quickly reminds me that he is my only son! Indeed, he is my only-begotten son, in whom I am well pleased.

Happy Birthday, Doc! I love you!

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