I just spent 4 days in the Gentilly area of New Orleans. The levees along the canals off Lake Ponchartrain failed in the hours after Katrina’s landfall flooding, among other areas, Gentilly.
I am compelled to be a Southern Baptist Christian because of my beliefs regarding the security of the believer, believer’s baptism, the priesthood of the believer, and other theological doctrines.
I am pleased to be a Southern Baptist Christian because of the Cooperative Program, the outstanding seminaries within the convention, the swift response to natural disasters worldwide, and other practical applications of scriptural truths.
Arkansas Baptists were waiting “at the water’s edge” to enter New Orleans after Katrina hit. Feeding units staged at Kenner First Baptist Church made use of hundreds of volunteers preparing thousands of meals each day. Remember all the meals served by the Red Cross? They were prepared by Arkansas Baptists. Chainsaw crews comprised of Arkansas Baptists helped clear the mess from the streets and yards of New Orleans. A member of Cross Road Baptist Church who drives a school bus drove to New Orleans to pick up a load of evacuees and transported them to Camp Paron in Arkansas. Churches across the state (and other states, too) collected, packaged, and sent personal hygiene products, bottled water, and snacks to the people who had lost everything.
The North American Mission Board’s Operation NOAH is a city-wide disaster relief effort aimed at helping homeowners and churches rebuild. Arkansas is assigned the Gentilly area. A team of 6 from Cross Road Baptist Church spent last week working on this project.
Jerry Queen’s home sat under water in the early days of September 2005. Last week, we completed hanging new sheetrock in her home. She was so happy because she now actually could see the rooms again. She has a long way to go before moving in but she’s well on her way. That’s one reason I love being a Southern Baptist Christian.
Odell did most of the work on his home himself. His employer has allowed him all the time off from work he needs to complete his house with the promise that his job awaits him when he is ready to return. He lacked only setting the plumbing fixtures and having Entergy connect the electricity. We completed the plumbing fixtures. When we flushed the toilet to test the connections, Odell came running (and smiling) from the other end of the house saying, “Is that water I hear? My wife will be so happy!” That’s one reason I love being a Southern Baptist Christian.
We completed the sheetrock installation in another home but did not meet the homeowner. Another worker (hired, I suppose) was in the house mudding the sheetrock. He heard us singing while we worked and told us as we left that he liked our singing. That’s one reason I love being a Southern Baptist Christian.
Mable Taylor is an octogenarian. Her daughter drove by the house to make sure the house and building material were safe when she saw us working…to her surprise and joy. The daughter brought Mrs. Taylor later in the afternoon. As we were working to install insulation in the exterior walls and sheetrock to the ceilings and walls, Mrs. Taylor bounced into the room with her hands waving in the air, singing, “I’m Mable Taylor and I’m glad to meet you.” Her excitement was more fresh than the bowl of fruit she brought us. That’s one reason I love being a Southern Baptist Christian.
Jerry Queen said she would see us again in Heaven, if not before. Odell gave good answers to our questions about his salvation but I will still pray for his personal relationship with Jesus. Mable Taylor affirmed her salvation with words, as if her attitude weren’t enough. That’s one reason I love being a Southern Baptist Christian.
God uses all of us without regard to denomination or church affiliation. I’m not so narrow minded that I believe Southern Baptists are the only ones who have salvation figured out or are useful instruments in the Master’s hands. But I sure do love being a Southern Baptist Christian.