Blessed, Brightened Days

After Dale Pierce went through the devastated regions of our city recently, he penned a poem to express his feelings. I asked for a copy to share with you.

Title: Blessed is Each New Day

by Dale T. Pierce

As I walked through Saint Bernard,

I scanned the woe and loss.

I pondered Great Katrina,

And added up the cost.

The buildings all were damaged,

And some were rubble piles.

I knew it would be many days,

‘Fore home they’d come from miles.

Alone I walked through Saint Bernard,

The silence struck me dumb.

The cost and loss beyond compare,

How could such wreckage come?

Now a year has come and gone,

And help still comes and goes.

The hands of God came through His men,

And women, Heaven knows.

We praise the Lord for all He’s done,

We count now praises due.

We thank our God for blessings come,

And hearts He has renewed.

So thank you all for coming,

To help us build our homes.

We thank you for your sacrifice,

For Father’s love you’ve shown.

Our churches still are meeting,

In homes and sheds and more.

We’re praising God for healing,

His Church of ‘us’ restored.

When you go home our one request

Is pray, and pray, and pray.

For Father’s hand is great to bless,

And blessed is each new day.

(I’m certain you have Dale’s permission to reprint it.)

David Crosby of the FBC of NO sent an email this week which we in turn forwarded to all our pastors, announcing the Second Katrina Anniversary Prayer Rally. The date, of course, is Wednesday, August 29, 2007, 7 pm, at the First Baptist Church of New Orleans, 5290 Canal Boulevard.

At present, the program for this anniversary service looks like this. George Shinn, owner of the New Orleans Hornets NBA team and a member of the FBC-NO, will give a brief testimony on what the Lord is doing in his organization these days. Drew Brees, star quarterback of the N.O. Saints NFL team, is still trying to decide if he can be present. The Saints have a game the very next evening. Lisa Pierre is likely going to be the special music guest. Other possibilities include Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, and Major Mike Hawley of the Salvation Army.

Right now, David is urging our pastors to get this event on the church calendars and to lead their congregations to move their Wednesday night services over to Canal Boulevard that evening. Anyone working with churches knows in order to get people to change their routine, you have to begin prepping them early and keep the event before them.

I met the most unusual ministry couple this week. The husband and wife dropped by our office. He said, “You may remember my wife. You were her pastor 37 years ago.” Unfortunately (but not to my surprise!), I did not remember. What struck me, however, was the man’s focus on his ministry. He said, “I’m 59 years old, and will get my master’s degree from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary this December. I want to pastor. And right now, I’m trying to decide whether we should move down here and enroll in the Ph.D. program.” As we talked, it soon came out that he would be around 67 years of age when he received that degree. Since he put in a full career in another field, he has never pastored. His wife said, “It’s a major decision pulling up stakes and moving to New Orleans without any guarantee of the future.”

I told them I’ve had this same conversation with many a couple over the past few years, but they were all in their 20’s or 30’s. Never with a couple close to being able to draw their Social Security. In fact, I realized that if the gentleman gets his doctorate when he’s 67 and then goes out to pastor a church, he would be beginning his ministry at the exact age I am today. And this is a time when most people are thinking of hanging it up.

Pretty inspiring, if you ask me. Also scary–which is par for the course for faith decisions. Exciting and frightening. Anyone doubting that should check the roll call of Old Testament heroes in Hebrews 11. Every one acted by faith in God and made decisions that were both frightening and inspiring. My hunch is the fright came up front and the joy on the back side.

A table-ful of our leaders met today, Thursday, at the associational Baptist Center to plan for the Ridgecrest on the River event of Saturday, September 8. We’ll share more later, but that’s one more event we want all our churches to calendarize (is that a word?) and prioritize (that is).

“The Lord God is a sun and a shield. The Lord gives grace and glory. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11)

That’s a real day-brightener!