Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The BGC Response to Hurricane Katrina

I just pulled this off the Baptist General Conference web-page (
Besides our prayers, the victims of Hurricane Katrina need our resources.

Posted: 8/31/05 | HOMEPAGE | WORLD RELIEF


BWAid Responds to Hurricane Katrina Devastation
August 31, 2005

Dear Pastor:

On August 29 Hurricane Katrina devastated the coastal region of Mississippi, killing more than 50 in Harrison County alone. Breached levees in New Orleans resulted in massive flooding. Mayor Ray Nagin said, "The city of New Orleans is in a state of devastation. We probably have 80 percent of our city under water, with some sections as deep as 20 feet." Suburbs were also hard hit, with one reporting 40,000 homes under water.

A number of churches and individuals have called the BGC asking how they can contribute to relief efforts for victims of Katrina, which struck Gulf Coast Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

The BGC will forward funds to Baptist World Aid and National Association of Evangelicals World Relief, our two primary partners in world relief. Both work through Baptist/evangelical churches and conferences to bring immediate disaster response, with a gospel witness.

Baptist teams from North Carolina and Virginia have already sent teams to provide meals and water, as well as crisis care counselors and water purification units. Other Baptist groups are heading for the affected areas. NAE World Relief is working with evangelical churches to provide assistance on a need basis, including clearing debris and clean-up equipment.

The BGC has forwarded an initial $5,000 to BWAid and NAE World Relief for these efforts. If your church wishes to participate in this effort, make your check payable to BGC World Relief and mark it for "Hurricane Katrina Relief" (project number 605026).

Ray Swatkowski, executive vice president

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

How to Respond to Hurricane Katrina

How should we respond to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina? Below are some words from a sermon Pastor John Piper preached on April 11, 2004:

"But just as much as we need a merciful Savior, we need a sovereign Lord. If Christ is merciful to us, but doesn’t have the sovereignty to rule the forces that threaten us, what good will his mercy be? Our lives are fragile and vulnerable in hundreds of ways. What will happen in Iraq—another Viet Nam, or worse? What will happen between Israel and the Palestinians and the global tension that situation creates? What will happen with North Korea and its nuclear threat? When will the next big 9-11 to come on American soil? What will happen to my health? Or the health of my children? My spouse? My parents? (Little children ask: What if mommy and daddy die?) What natural disasters will befall me or my family? What car accident or sniper or kidnapper may turn my world upside down? We are fragile and vulnerable—all of us.

If you are honest, you know that you cannot protect yourself from these things. And if you devote your life to trying, you will become a pitiful old man or woman barricaded and lonely behind the illusion of self-made security.

In other words, we need a sovereign Lord over the world. We need one who rules over Iraq and Israel and Korea and terrorists and disease and disaster and accidents—right down to the details of our lives. Not that he would always spare us calamity—the Bible doesn’t teach that he will—but if he is merciful, he will not let any calamity happen to us that he did not design for our ultimate good.

My point this morning is that Jesus Christ is both merciful and sovereign. Because he both died for our sins (so he is merciful) and rose from the dead (so he is sovereign)."

Friday, August 26, 2005

Praying Myself to Sleep!

Last night I went to bed around 9:45 pm, but I did not fall asleep for a while (It must have been the soda I had in the evening!).

It is my usual practice to try to pray myself to sleep. In other words, I want fall asleep while praying. I do believe that is exactly what happened. I also woke up a couple of times during the night. I went to prayer again until I fell asleep. I am far from a prayer warrior, but I do desire to pray consistently!

Have a great day.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Our Great Need for Revival!

What is hindering the Holy Spirit from sending revival to our country? Is it the lack of prayer and faith on behalf of God's people? Is it because the church has compromised and settled for a "cheap grace" as Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it?

What do you think?


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Looking back to 1857

Good Morning. I grabbed this blog off It is a great blog site on national prayer. Below, we are reminded of the great prayer movement in New York City

In 1857 America was in crisis. What had begun as a cultural divide over slavery had deepened into a spiritual rift. Had God created blacks to have the same self-evident rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as whites? Or did He intend them to be intelligent beasts of burden, put on earth to serve whites? Hearts North and South had so hardened over this question that resolution by force of arms seemed inevitable.

Then the stock market crashed, the economy collapsed, multitudes were thrown out of work, and no one had any answers.

But one man thought God might. Jeremiah Lanphier invited men in the business district of New York City to gather for prayer at Noon on Wednesdays. The first Wednesday, there were six. The second Wednesday, twenty. The third Wednesday, forty. The Great Men’s Prayer Revival of 1857 had begun.

Today America is again in crisis. The cultural divide has become a spiritual rift. No one has any answers. But perhaps God does. What if – we were to accept the challenge of Jeremiah’s example? What if we were to go and do likewise?

Jeremiah’s Rules

1. All who desire to seek the face of God in meekness and humility are welcome.

2. Come to pray, not to preach or proselytize, or be entertained. Just to pray.

3. Avoid controversial subjects and divisive prayers. Ask God to guide your prayers.

4. As you pray, be sensitive to those around you, who might not come from the same prayer tradition as you.

5. Prayer requests and praise for answered prayer are welcome, as are reports of what the Lord is doing elsewhere. Exhortations are also welcome, but no more than two in a row, and none should exceed five minutes. A bell can be rung to announce the next person’s turn.

6. Promptness is vital. The hour should begin at Noon and end at one. If you can give Him the whole hour, fine. If you can stay only a few minutes, that is also fine. Linger afterwards if you care to, but the closing benediction will be at one.

7. Throughout, be sensitive to the leading of the Spirit of God. It is His hour, not ours; we’ve come to please Him, not ourselves.

Guiding Principles

For he was looking for the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. – Hebrews 11:10

Abraham was looking for a far city, whose foundations were already laid down by the Master Builder. So it will be for the Noon Prayer Hour. Erected on the firm foundation of the Word and Will of God, it will have His Spirit hovering over it, guiding the work.

From inception to completion, it will be His, and when it is ready, He will send His Spirit to speak it into existence.We will be living stones, shaped and prepared by God to fit into His temple of prayer.

Until it is finished, we will serve as watchmen and gatekeepers, awaiting His arrival and His command: Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shall come upon you.
Isaiah 60:1

Jesus revealed that the glory the Father gave Him is also given to us, that we might be one – in spirit and purpose, in one accord. As the work gets underway, let us always remember: Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. – Psalm 127:1

Friday, August 12, 2005

Jesus Told Us to Deny Ourselves Daily...

Here is a good quote from the past on denying ourselves for the sake of Jesus...

"One secret act of self-denial, one sacrifice of inclination to duty, is worth all the mere good thoughts, warm feelings, passionate prayers, in which idle people indulge themselves." ... John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I Am Back In the Country

Good Morning. My wife, son and I just returned from a two week tour in England, Wales and Scotland. Wow, talk about being in places filled with history! I fell in love with Scotland! I would love to be a pastor there.

Last Sunday, we worshipped in the Westminster Abbey in London. The great Scottish missionary David Livingstone is buried there. He devoted his life to spread the gospel in Africa and to abolish the slave trade. I stood right by his grave.