Common Sense

IMG_6703by Robert Earl Houston

I am now 40 days removed from successful cancer surgery. As part of my procedure, a two inch diameter of skin was removed from my right foot and replaced with a skin graft of skin from my right hip. I have been blessed beyond measure and you have no idea what it felt like to be back in the worship at the First Baptist Church and in the pulpit one more time.

Prior to this surgical procedure I had a very busy schedule. I’m the senior pastor of a great congregation here in Northern Kentucky, I’m a member of one of the largest District Associations in Kentucky, I’m the State President of the Kentucky State Convention of the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC), I’m Chairman of the Publishing Board of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, Member of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship and Board Member of the PNBC as well as their webmaster. I don’t list all of these for purposes of bragging  . . . this story is going somewhere – hang on!

As much as I’d love to give great attention to all of these responsibilities and keep up with my preaching engagements and calendars – right now, I just can’t do it. I feel like a frustrated prophet – I want to be there, I want to preach and preach and preach and preach . . . but there is something called common sense.

I’m not out of the woods by any estimation. This surgery requires rest. I’ve actually stopped going to bed at 2 and 3 a.m. I’ve learned that I can’t eat on the run anymore. I’ve learned that I’ve got to slow down. I’ll let you in on a secret – my body will not give me any other choice. When my foot says “whoa” – it’s whoa.

Today I had to call a son of FBC, Dr. William Calhoun, of whom we are all very proud. He was licensed and ordained here by my predecessor, Dr. K.L. Moore, Jr., and we serve together as members of PNBC. Months ago he invited me to preach for him on this coming Sunday at his church in Baltimore. Had the plane ticket, he had made hotel reservations. Baltimore/Washington is one of my favorite areas and I was looking forward to going to Largo, Maryland and dine at one of my favorite seafood establishments. Plus I love history and enjoy going to see the monuments and the Washington mall.

But when we talked today, I had to tell him that I couldn’t make the trip. My foot is immensely sore, I still have an open wound on my foot,  and I don’t have a lengthy timespan to be able to stand. When I preached at FBC on Sunday, I literally sat through most of the sermon (and oh yeah – you can be seated and preach). After worship, my wife and I hosted our graduates – from kindergarten to high school to trade school to college – at Hometown Buffet in Louisville.  Since then, my foot has been killing me.

It’s just 40 days from surgery. I’m trying to get in the swing of things again, but I realize this is not going to be a quick sprint – it’s going to be marathon and patience is required. I’m looking at my calendar and looking at several events upcoming – a district association, a general association and a national convention – and thinking if I attend, I’m not going to be there gavel to gavel – I need to take it easy.

Pastor Calhoun made a common sense statement – “there will be another time.” That’s what my goal is – to finish this season with some common sense and be around for those “other times.” Cancer and Surgery is nothing to play with and I have to do what’s in the best interest of myself, my wife, my family, and my church family – and I can serve them best by exercising common sense.


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by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

About life, preaching, church, books, and other stuff.

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