This morning the pastors were in great spirits. “I’m still glowing from last night,” one said, referring to the wonderful prayer rally at the First Baptist Church of New Orleans. Fred Luter was being congratulated on his incredible sermon. David Crosby was also basking in compliments for putting together that outstanding program.
At the beginning of the morning session, I told the pastors, “I’m going to list five biblical men. Tell me the characteristic that comes to your mind about each one.” Moses, Samuel, Noah, Daniel, and Job. Courageous and faithful, bold, prayerful, and persevering were mentioned. I said, “Turn to Jeremiah 15:1. God names the two best prayer intercessors He knows: Moses and Samuel. The question is why?”
We thought of the way Moses stood between Israel and God and refused to turn loose of either. And how Samuel (whose name means “Heard by God”) told Israel, “God forbid that I sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you” (I Samuel 12:23).
Next, I asked them to go to Ezekiel 14:14. God names the three most righteous men He can think of (and He ought to know them all!)–Noah, Daniel, and Job. In words reminiscent of Abraham interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18, God warns His people that when He sends judgment, it does not matter who is within their walls. “Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, they could only deliver themselves and no one else!” He says.
Five of the greatest people God knows, each one worth meditating upon.
Our guests almost outnumbered the regulars. (Total attendance: 48) From the Louisiana Baptist Convention, we welcomed David and Patti Hankins, Wayne Jenkins, Mike Canady, Gibbie McMillan, and Ed Jelks. From the North American Mission Board, we recognized Jim Burton, Bill Taylor, and Richard Leach. The Baptist Message was represented by Managing Editor Karen Willoughby, who brought stacks of copies of this week’s “Katrina” issue.
David Hankins (Executive Director, LBC): I have three things to say to you: thank you; we know it’s not over; and we’re with you for the long haul. (Since I had given the pastors a sermon starter earlier, David gave one also. “How do we move on from here?” Philippians 3:12-14 1. Formulate a healthy perspective 2. forget a hurtful past. 3. find a heavenly purpose. 4. focus on a hearty performance.)