Wednesday, August 31, 2011


The calendar for 2005 and 2011 or the same.  I remember well August 27, 2005.  I was returning to New Orleans from Baton Rouge and all of the traffic was going in the opposite direction.  I made preparations all Saturday afternoon and then waited for Sunday morning to come.  I made the call to cancel morning worship but I opened the church to those who would not leave.  There were quite a few that stayed so we had worship on Sunday evening.

The storm began pounding the church building about 2 AM on Monday, August 29, 2005.  I wanted to sing the children's song:

The wise man built his house upon the rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
And the rain came tumbling down

Oh, the rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
And the wise man's house stood firm.

I trusted that the church was built upon the rock and we would be safe.  When transformers begin to fall and sparks were flying, we called the power company and had the power to the grid cut off.  We may have saved Algiers.  The next morning was tough but by afternoon I ventured out and surveyed the damage.  We were very fortunate.

I did finally leave the city on Wednesday and returned a week later.  When the power was restored on September 12, I returned and begin cleanup operations.  Through donations, we provided new refrigerators for about 75 homes.  We also began organizing work parties.  It was very hard.

Now here in 2011, we again witness the storm called Irene (Katrina's cousin) ripping up lives along the east coast.  I still hurt for those displaced in 2005 and now I hurt for those displaced in 2011 (on the anniversary of Katrina).

You can only prepare for the NOW so make sure your house is built upon the ROCK (JESUS).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Beginnings

It has now been a month since we (my wife & I) moved to Jennings.  A lot has happened in this short period of time.  My daughter gave birth to a boy to go along with her 2 daughters, I have put nearly 1,500 miles on the car making several trips to see our newest family member, and now they have come to visit us for a week.  We also unpacked a few boxes in the process.

All of this has caused me to think about new beginnings.  For my grandson, new beginnings means a whole new life to experience.  He has no past except his herritage which may need some unpacking itself.  However, for those of us with a history of experiences, new beginnings has a different feel.

New beginnings means an opportunity to start over.  There is a hymn which shares this idea:

This is a day of new beginnings

1 This is a day of new beginnings,
time to remember and move on,
time to believe what love is bringing,
laying to rest the pain that's gone.

2 For by the life and death of Jesus,
God's mighty Spirit, now as then,
can make for us a world of difference,
as faith and hope are born again.

3 Then let us, with the Spirit's daring,
step from the past and leave behind
our disappointment, guilt and grieving,
seeking new paths, and sure to find.

4 Christ is alive, and goes before us
to show and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
our God is making all things new.

5 In faith we'll gather round the table
to show and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
our God is making all things new.

In some ways moving is one method of starting over.  It all begins with packing and deciding what you are going to take with you.  We have moved several times (more than I want to count) and each time we say, "This is an opportunity to cull out and get rid of STUFF that we no longer use or need (the grey business suit from 1979).  However, most of us will pack everything and when we get to our new location, we unpack everything.

My thought is that if we do that with our stuff, then we also do that with our spirit and attitude.  We don't really give up our past, we just pack it up and bring it with us.  In order to really have a day of new beginnings, we need to cull out our past, truly giving up our disappointments, never revisiting that part of our life, and move beyond who we were into a new creature of faith and love.

I say all of this while sitting in my office surrounded by boxes of books and then go home where 90% of my past is still in boxes and I sing:  "This Is A Day Of New Beginnings".  Then I start unpacking and continue to cull and recycle my past.

This is a new day though and I love it.