This past weekend, Crossroads Community Church of IL and St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Ann Arbor MI celebrated the dedication of two new homes in our community. These churches spearheaded the double house project that gave two widows in Lakeshore new homes.
At the dedication, I quoted from the Augsburg Confession . In article XVIII, Augustine speaks of “good works” and specifically references “works which spring from the good in nature, such as, willing to labor in the field, to eat and drink, to have a friend…, to build a house…, to learn divers useful arts, or whatsoever good pertains to this life.” He then adds, “For all of these things are not without dependence on the providence of God; yea, of Him and through Him they are and have their being.”
We praise God for the “good works” exemplified by so many volunteers from across the country, in their “willingness to labor” for the cause of Christ and the good of our communities’ recovery. We praise God for His providential grace as we make lasting friendships, symbolized by these two houses – two neighbors – two friends.
Our friends from Harvest Community Church in North Carolina travel down to Lakeshore today. Their leader, Jeff Kisiah, penned the following poem as they prepared for their ninth trip. They should arrive some time this evening, along with our friends from Crossroads Church of Illinois. Later this week St. Luke’s Lutheran of Ann Arbor Michigan join them. All of these teams have made numerous trips to Lakeshore in the past two years. I praise God for their long-term commitment and the encouragement they bring.
Twas the Night Before the Gulf Coast Trip
Twas the night before the trip
When all through the vans,
Not a supply box was stirring,
Not even a food can.
The teammates were nestled
All snug in their beds
While visions of DTQ’s
Danced in their heads.
Then out in the church parking lot
There arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their beds
To see what was the matter.
Then the veteran tour guide
Who has asked them to pray
They new in a moment
It must be Coach “K!”
More rapid than Tigers
His teammates they came
As he whistled and shouted
And called them by name.
Now Jerry! Now Mike!
Now Debra! Now Gail!
On Ruth! On Preston!
We must not fail!
He sprang to his Clemson van
To his team gave a whistle
And away they all flew
With no “toe” and no “mistle”
And they heard him exclaim
As he drove out of sight
“Baruch HaShem” to all,
And to all a good flight!
– Jeff Kisiah (Dec. 25 2007)
In heavenly love abiding, no change my heart shall fear.
And safe in such confiding, for nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me, my heart may low be laid,
But God is round about me, and can I be dismayed?
Wherever He may guide me, no want shall turn me back.
My Shepherd is beside me, and nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waking, His sight is never dim.
He knows the way He’s taking, and I will walk with Him
Green pastures are before me, which yet I have not seen.
Bright skies will soon be over me, where darkest clouds have been.
My hope I cannot measure, my path to life is free.
My Savior is my treasure, and He will walk with me.
– Anna Laetitia Waring (1850)
* I took the liberty to change the last line from “My Savior has my treasure,” to “My Savior is my treasure.”
Christmas gifts are beginning to pour in from across the country. UPS, Fed Ex, and the US Postal Service stop here on a daily basis. Other gifts come by car, van, truck, and trailer. Our friends from Edgewater Christian Fellowship of Grants Pass Organ, flew Jeff McConnell down with a wad of cash. Jeff spent most of the day in Wal-Mart buying dolls, trucks, and toys that will end up in the hands of community kids who will spend another Christmas in a FEMA camper.
btw, Mrs. Bea made it back to the distribution center this week and continues to recover. she is starting to regain some of her eyesight. She wanted me to thank you all for your prayers. Pictured above, her and Jeff go through the list of Christmas gift recipients.
Some of our friends from New Jersey came down this week with bread and Christmas gifts and other things. They stuck around long enough to dig the holes to set the pilings for the next house we plan to build.
When we built the office, we grossly underestimated the need for closet space. I’ve decided to build a 12 X 12 shed, out back, for expanded storage. I guess we could call it a “detached closet.” It will hold floor to ceiling shelves and will be finished on the outside with siding to match the office. This week James is removing tree stumps to make way for it. I envision it looking something like the image below.
Some of our generous friends from Louisianna donated a camper to the relief effort. We can use it for housing volunteers, however we need to get it to the church property somehow. Its in good condition for sleeping, but doesn’t run. If anyone has the capability of towing a 31′ RV please let us know by calling the church office at (228) 469-0110. Its currently located in Denham Springs LA, about 90 miles from Lakeshore.
Some days I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that God continues to send volunteers and contributions to our storm ravaged community after two years of excruciatingly slow recovery. As you prayerfully consider budgeting your finances this time of year I pray that God will grant a sharper sense of the mercy he pours out on undeserving sinners who put their trust in him. Our motivation for ongoing mercy ministry rests in nothing less than the rich grace God extends through the substitutionary death of his son.
Princeton theologian, B. B. Warfield, recognized that Christians often tend to forget that apart from the sovereign grace of God that overcame their rebellious heart they would have continued in their spiritual bankruptcy. He cited three objections to contributing to mercy ministry.
“Objection 1. ‘My money is my own.’
Answer, Christ might have said, ‘my blood is my own, my life is my own’ … then where should we have been ?
Objection 2. ‘The poor are undeserving.’
Answer: Christ might have said, ‘They are wicked rebels … shall I lay down my life for these ? I will give to the good angels.’ But no, he left the ninety-nine, and came for the lost, he gave his blood for the undeserving.
Objection 3. ‘The poor may abuse it.’
Answer: Christ might have said the same; yea, with far greater truth. Christ knew that thousands would trample his blood under their feet; that most would despise it; that many would make it an excuse for sinning more; yet he gave his own blood.
Oh, my dear Christians ! If you would be like Christ, give much, give often, give freely, to the vile and poor, the thankless and the undeserving. Christ is glorious and happy and so will you be. It is not your money I want, but your happiness. Remember his own word. ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive'”
(The Person and Work of Christ, p.574).
We depend on your generous gifts to continue the mercy ministry here on the gulf coast. Just as the Apostle Paul praised God for the generosity of the churches of Macedonia (2 Corinthians 8:1-15), we thank God for your contributions to rebuilding Lakeshore to the glory of God.
Lakeshore Baptist Church
PO BOX 293
Lakeshore MS 39558
After the guys dug the holes, set the pilings, and poured the concrete, the site sits ready for the prefab house to arrive.