Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Helping the Hurricane victims

Our city is filled with people who have come here from South Louisiana seeking refuge. Many are sleeping in cars, trailers, and tents. About 1700 are residing in the Civic Center here and hundreds more are staying in recreation centers in surrounding towns.

It is devastating to see so much hurt in South Louisiana. Even those who escaped to Monroe still have nothing in New Orleans, Biloxi and other cities. It's all underwater or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

It is encouraging to see people lock shoulders and help in a thousand small ways. Our church is washing and drying clothes, preparing food and our youth are walking the dogs of those stranded. Countless numbers of God's people are showing love when it is needed most.

We are compelled to act.

Jesus said what we do for the "least of these" we do for him.

We are praying and trying to help. We don't know how long that will be, but we intend to help as long as it is needed.

It's the least we can do.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Watching the Hurricane

Joslyn and I have been up watching the path of Hurricane Katrina. It is moving toward New Orleans at the moment, expected to make landfall with 25 foot surges and winds of 150 to 184 miles per hour.

Thousands have moved out of the Hurricane's path. A storm center has been set up here in our city for hundreds of South Louisiana citizens fleeing the storm. The youth of "Top Gun" our church youth ministry, are on standby to help move in cots and supplies for those stranded.

We have friends and associates in South Louisiana. We stayed up to watch, out of concern for them. All we can do at this point is pray for them.

Storms, hurricanes and tornadoes seem to be more frequent. Inconsistencies in the weather, national discord and other events are all indicated in scripture as signs of the last days. As the last days of this system approach it is expected that conditions will get worse before Christ comes and makes them better.

The chilling effect of watching great storms and cosmic events is only balanced by our faith that God is still in control of things....even the wind and waves of Hurrican Katrina.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

100 New Boys in seven days

Joslyn and I have just finished the recruitment week in our youth leadership program called Top Gun. We visited schools, talked to parents and planned a weekend to invite them to the program.

We've been at it constantly since Monday.

Today we concluded the weekend, which included two overnighters for the youth who will spend seven years in the program. We're both hands-on in our involvement, so it is personally draining.

I'm relieved, tired and frustrated.

I'm frustated because four out of five of the 100 new youth from Elementary through high schools have not attended any church in their lives.

Neither have their parents.

If that is the mark of this generation, one that "knows not Joseph or the God of Joseph" then it may explain many things.

It also explains why we can go so frustrated that we stop doing what we do.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Two Mothers?

I'm still trying to understand yesterday's Supreme Court ruling in California recognizing two lesbians as the mothers of a set of twins.

With donated sperm and ova donated from one of the "mothers" a set of twins was born. The couple broke up later and one of the "mothers" sued for parental rights. California says the lesbian petitioner is indeed a "mom" with all the responsibilities and rights of a mom. So the twins have two mothers.

I was reared by a whole community of mothers. Before I was seven, I lived in a dozen or more homes, with a dozen or more mothers. My father had custody and he often paid people to keep me in their homes.

When I spent the summer on the plantation with my sharecropper grandparents in Panterburn Mississippi there was a grandmother and a countryside filled with mothers.

When I came to church at Tabernacle there were dozens of mothers, all of whom who took an interest in me. The lady across the street from me became my mother too. In fact, I moved in her house for several years. There were more.

They were what Hiliary Clinton calls the mothers of the "village." They looked out for me.

I thought about something ele. The California twins had one father, a sperm donor. However, when a person accepts Christ he has one father, and a lot of brothers and sisters, and mothers too.

Even if our parents, lesbian or otherwise, give us difficult situations to live with, like having two mothers. If we know Jesus, we still have one father...

Who cares.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

I Had Chit'lins Today

I enjoy the fine culinary tastes of the best of our people, but every now and then I get a hunger for some real food.

What's "real" food? Pigtails, pig ears, pig feet, tongue, trite, brains, ham, cracklins, and of course chit'lins. Combine that with mustard greens, collard greens, corn bread, rice and gravy, sweet potatoes and a tall glass of water and you're eating high on the hog.

So, I stopped in a soul food restuarant today. I ordered myself a plate of chit'lins, mustard greens, sweet potatoes, rice and gravy and cornbread. It was a feast worthy of a polite and secretive belch. I broke every health and etiquette rule in the book!

I had grease on my mouth, so I know it was good!

Jesus talked about a different kind of hunger. Hunger for righteousness and thirst for the Word of God. He promised that those who feed their spirits on his word would never hunger or thirst. I hunger for the Gospel too. I thirst for that too.

However, I still crave a big bowl of collard greens cooked with ham hocks and served with hot buttered cornbread.

I don't need a fork, I'll eat that with my fingers!

I'm so Countreeeeeee!

Friday, August 19, 2005

A $423 alignment bill

I took the Honda CRX to get that wheel replaced yesterday. What was supposed to be a simple wheel replacement and alignment cost more, but it had to be paid.

It turns out I needed two tires, an alignment, tie rod ends, and a wheel rotation. Final bill $423.00. After I got over the shock of the cost I drove off in my little 1985 red CRX feeling pretty good because everything was straigtened out.

The same rings true for us spiritually. The price of our salvation was a death on a cross. It was a high price.

But, thanks to Jesus we have the assurance that everything has been straigthened out and realigned.

Jesus paid for my salvation, unfortunately I had to pay the $423.00 for little Honda. Thanks to his grace, I shelled it out and drove away.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Wheels Out of Line

I like to drive a little red Honda CRX, 1985. It's old but it runs and it's paid for. My wife drives the new SUV Expedition.

Someone pointed out to me yesterday that the right front tire of my CRX is worn to the thread. I hadn't noticed. It's dangerously close to the blow out stage. I'll get my wheels aligned today and a new tire.

Our lives can really get messed up when our alignment is off. It wears our spirituality to the thread. Without a realignment, we're all close to the blow out stage.

As for the 20 year old long as it starts and runs 30 miles to a gallon of gas, I'll keep driving it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Thieves and Burglars

The police surrounded my office after the alarm went off. Our district association has been meeting this week, but I had to skip out when I received a call that my buglar alarm had been tripped by burglars.

I watched as police dogs moved through the building and police officers stood outside with hands on their holstered weapons shouting commands to the burglar if he was in the building.

After about an hour the drama was over. With the exception of the broken glass and fingerprint powder everywhere, it was done. Nothing was taken apparently. The alarmed surprised the burglars.

It was a reminder that Jesus said not to put your trust in worldly goods where burglars and thieves can get to them. We should put our treasures in heavenly things where they are safe in the trust of God.

The burglars apparently didn't get the message.

For those burglars who don't follow Jesus' teaching...we buy burglar alarms.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I Fell Down

I'm still laughing at myself. I know everyone present got a good laugh because I still chuckle everytime I think about it.

I went to a community meeting Monday night to hear presentations from our school board members. I sat up close to the front, shaking everyone's hand and doing the cordiality thing. When I sat down, my chair slipped from under me.

I tumbled backward as if I was drunk. My chair seemed to run away from me. There was nothing to hold on to. My feet spread apart and flew up into the air!

Once everyone saw that I wasn't hurt they had a good laugh. I did too.

There was the pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church and publisher of the local newspaper with his feet up in the air like a drunk man. It was too funny.

That's the way it is in life. Sometimes what you thought was there to support you is not there. You reach for something to hold on to but it's not there.

We fall down!

Thanks to Jesus, we get up!

I got up..but it was still funny.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Bubble Bath and A Wake Up Call

After a week at the Youth Encampment at Southern University, I had a chance to take a full bath, instead of just a shower yesterday. The showers at Southern were very nice but nothing takes the place of a good hot bath.

I drew a full tub of water, added fragranted bubble bath. The temperature of the water was hot enough to boil a cob of corn I suspect; but I like hot baths.

With bubbles everywhere, I sat in the tub. It was relaxing.

I wonder if there will be bubble baths in heaven? I guess not; especially since we won't get dirty or smelly or tired.

I'll miss the bubble baths when I get there, but I'm sure I'll get over it..quickly.

Before I knew it I dozed off to the tub. I dreamed about bubble baths in heaven. I was running around on clouds, wrapped in a towell, blowing bubbles! I passed Moses and Elijah and blew bubbles at them. I shook hands with Martin Luther King, and said hello to Mary McCleod Bethune and Marian Anderson. I blew bubbles as I raced past all of them, floating like an astronaut in space from one cloud to the next.


Blowing bubbles!

Then the phone rang!

When I woke up, the bubbles were gone. The water was luke warm and the bubbly dream was gone too.

I don't know what heaven will be like, but one thing is for certain, once the dream of eternity begins we won't wake up to find that the bubble are gone!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Getting to the real me

I'm attending the Louisiana Baptist Youth Encampment this week in Baton Rouge. It's a week long retreat for Louisiana youth to reflect on their spirituality, sponsored by the State Convention at Southern University.

Yesterday, as I ate breakfast, I watched the myriad of youth pass by with a variety of fashions. Then I noticed that the adults were similar in their fashion statements, just more conservative. It struck me how far we go to present a face to the public that may not be the real us.

A weave looks good, but it's not the natural hair of the wearer. A girdle can make me appear thinner. Contacts, fingernails, padded bras and hips, false teeth, girdles and rows of gold plated teeth, all present an image to the public that may not really be us.

It's not just youth, it's adults too. We all seem to mask who we really are behind something else. There are several layers of articificial appearances and personalities that we have dig through to get to the real us.

God cuts to the chase. He's ignores our weaves, contacts, pads, clip ons, etc. He looks straight at our heart. Man sees the outside and can be fooled by appearances. God judges the heart.

Our outward masks may give us an artificial appearance before others, but they won't change the way God sees us.

God saw us in the shower!

He knows the real deal!