Louisiana Flooding Call To Action

Thousands of homes sit under flood waters in my home town of Baton Rouge. A close friends home, pictured above, took on water this weekend. Countless other families find themselves in desperate need of assistance. We know what its like and plan to provide help by sending supplies, going to clean up, being there, and offering prayer.

Our Gulf Coast Baptist Association has secured a tractor trailer to deliver pillows and blankets to the effected region. Donations of pillows and blankets can be brought to the GCBA office 11201 Old Hwy 49, Gulfport MS 39503. When roads are open, probably later this week, the supplies will be delivered to our Louisiana partners.

Even as flood waters continue to rise in some places, we are planning to deploy. Lakeshore Baptist Church in partnership with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is assembling a Mud Out team to assist in the clean up efforts in the Baton Rouge area. We know that boots on the ground make a huge difference. We were helped, by so many, after Hurricane Katrina, its time for us to help our neighbors in Louisiana. We are going.

Please pray for the families effected by the flooding, the other families that are taking in evacuees, the rescuers, the relief workers, the state police and other officials, and everyone else, as we all work together to get through this to the glory of God.

If you would like to help financially to these efforts you can donate online via Paypal. Just click on the link below.

Three Out Of Four

The third of the four Quonset huts of our Katrina complex came down last week. Despite the debilitating heat and sporadic thunderstorms, a great group of volunteers from Massachusetts pushed forward and completed an astonishing amount of work. In addition to the decommissioning and clean up efforts, they also provided a tremendous boost to the distribution center at The Mercy House. We can’t thank them enough for their help.

Quonset huts

The Fragments that Remain

Jesus fed 5000+ on a little boys lunch and when everyone ate their fill, he instructed the disciples to gather up “the fragments that remain.” (John 6:1-14) Jesus provided for the physical needs of well over 5000 people here on the gulf coast in the decade following Hurricane Katrina. Its now time to gather the fragments that remain. On almost a daily basis we experienced God’s overwhelming provision as lumber, tile, paint, windows, insulation, sheet rock, and other things, where donated and used in the construction of homes. We’ve seen building materials multiply like loaves and fish. This summer we plan to pick up all the pieces and continue to follow Christ wherever He leads. If you are looking for a mission trip opportunity this summer, consider Lakeshore as a place you can get your hands dirty for the glory of God.

Puritans and Pirates

Three hundred years ago Pirates troubled the waters of the high seas. These real life pirates, like Captain Kidd, Henry Morgan, Edward Teach , and Jack Rackham have spawned legends of popular culture. From Robert Lewis Stephenson’s Treasure Island to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, fact and fiction blur into a fantasy world that has mesmerized the imagination. Speaking of his childhood, Mark Twain famously said, “Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.”

Many people may not realize that “The Golden Age of Piracy” overlaps with the time period of the Puritans. In fact, several puritans would have rubbed shoulders with and ministered to both real life pirates and their victims. One of my favorites, John Flavel (1630-1691), for example, pastoring in the port city of Dartmouth intentionally directed much of his ministry to those who spent their lives on the water. His works include, “A Faithful and Succinct Narrative of Some Late and Wonderful Sea-Deliverances,” “A Seaman’s Catachism,” “Navigation Spiritualized (or, A New Compass for Seamen),” and “The Seaman’s Companion” which consists of six sermons for seafaring men: “The Seaman’s Farewell – Acts 21:5-6,” “The Seaman in a Storm – Psalm 107:23-28,” “The Seaman’s Preservative in Foreign Countries – Psalm 139:9-10,” “The Successful Seaman – Deuteronomy 8:17-18,” “The Disappointed Seaman – Luke 5:5,” and “The Seaman’s Return – Deuteronomy 33:19.” He also had some sermons that seemed to be directly addressed to pirates, like “A pathetic and serious Dissuasive from the horrid and detestable Sins of Drunkenness, Swearing, Uncleanness, Forgetfulness of Mercies, Violation of Promises, and Atheistical Contempt of Death.”

Others, such as Cotton Mather, son of Increase Mather, made a point of ministering directly to pirates. An entire preaching genre, called “Execution Sermons” came from puritans giving the gospel to pirates in a final plea for their souls before meeting the hangman’s noose. Cotton Mather wrote in his journal of 1699

“After the other public Services of the Day were over I visited the Prison. A great Number of Pyrates being there committed, besides other Malefactors, I went and pray’d with them, and preach’d to them. The Text, in which the Lord helped mee to Discourse, was Jer 2. 26. The Thief is ashamed, when hee is found. I hope, I shall have some good Fruit of these Endeavours.”

The Mississippi Gulf Coast saw its fair share of pirate activity. Most notable is the infamous Jean Lafitte and the legends of the Pirate House, destroyed by Hurricane Camille in 1969. I do not know of any puritans in the area that would have preached the gospel to anyone back then, much less the pirates of the 18th century gulf coast. Its high time we correct that deficiency.

We have intercepted a communiqué that a band of pirates plan to storm the Bay St. Louis harbor, on June 25, kidnap the mayor, raise the Jolly Roger flag over city hall and declare “Pirate Day in the Bay.” The street festival will include carnival rides, food vendors, live music, games for the kids and more.

On the eve of landfall, Friday night, June 24th at 6:30 pm Lakeshore Baptist Church will host a lecture on the puritans. Dr. Chris King, pastor of Bayou View Baptist Church of Gulfport MS, will be our guest speaker. We invite you to come hear an “Introduction to the Puritans,” as you discover who they were and why they are important for us to continue reading today. Pastor Tony Hicks, of Clifton Baptist Church, Franklinton, LA, will review and recommend several puritan pamphlets provided by our friends at the Chapel Library, Pensacola FL. Pastor Don Elbourne will salt the event with tales of puritans and pirates. Make plans to attend with the whole family. The event is FREE and open to the public.

On Saturday, we plan to attend the “Pirate Day in the Bay” event, and in the tradition of the puritans, distribute gospel literature to those gathering at the harbor for the festivities.

We also want to invite our friends from out of town to come and join us. The Rebuild Lakeshore Bunk House will be available for those wanting to spend the entire weekend with us. When we built the Bunk House, back in 2009, remember we said that after we completed Hurricane Katrina rebuilding that the bunk house would continue to serve non-Katrina related mission trips, camps, conferences, retreats, and special events. This is one of those kind of events we envisioned. We would love to see you again. First come, first serve, so let us know if you would like us to reserve you a bunk.

Check out our Facebook page “Puritans and Pirates” and make plans to attend the event.

Giving Back

The Mercy House ministry of Lakeshore Baptist Church is going strong. With your help, we are able to touch dozens of families each week. Whatever gets donated, quickly finds its way into the homes of local folks who can use a helping hand. Recently someone donated an old sewing machine. A lady from our community took the machine and with hours of love saturated labor, produced this beautiful quilt. She gifted it to Mrs. Bea, in appreciation for the hard work she puts in at overseeing the distribution center.

Yellow Hats Prepare for Disaster

Lakeshore Baptist Church, in partnership with the Mississippi Baptist Convention, hosted disaster relief training this past Saturday. Don Gann began the day with an introductory seminar, “Involving Southern Baptists in Disaster Relief,” Participants then received training in the following areas: Feeding Unit, Chainsaw Work, Chaplaincy, Childcare, Mud out/Tarping/Shower Trailer, and Basic Assessment. Over 50 people were involved in the training.

After lunch, cooked and served by the feeding unit team, the chainsaw crew practiced by downing a tree in front of the new church building. By the providence of God and the skillful work of the team, the tree fell precisely as intended. The work revealed, however, how rotten the inside of the tree was. If we had not cut it down, it would have soon come down on its own and hit either the church or the power lines. We praise the Lord for his hand of safety.

We highlighted the day with the prayer that our training would be needed as little as possible. Visit the MBCB website for more information about how you, and your church, can get involved with Mississippi Baptist Disaster Relief. I can not thank everyone enough, especially Don Gann, for a very successful day to the glory of God.

Don Gann

Cross and Resurrection Church

We had a great week with our good friends of Cross and Resurrection Church, Ann Arbor MI. As they drive home today, we pray for their safe travel and rejoice in the partnership we have enjoyed with them over the years. They made an all male mission trip this year and the guys accomplished a lot of work this week, not the least of which was a much needed massive cleaning of the bunk house kitchen.
Cross and Resurrection Church

Camp Lakeshore

When Lakeshore Baptist Church voted to build “The Bunk House,” we envisioned a day when we would complete the Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts and then continue using the facilities to host camps, retreats, conferences, etc. Its time to make that dream a reality. Would you like to be a part of it? If so, we could use your help this summer.

Top of the list – we need to decommission all the temporary housing. The quonset huts have seen their glory days. We are looking for some groups this summer to dismantle the sleeping quarters, and reclaim the grounds. This will include sorting through all the left over building materials, the demolition and moving of old sheds, and other things; all in an effort to transform the back area of the property into a well kept facilaty.

Good-bye Stuff

Do you have a green thumb? Landscaping and the planting of trees on the church property keeps getting pushed down the list of priorities. I would love if we could begin doing some of this type of beautification in 2016. The gulf coast serves as a wonderful fertile ground for God’s glory to be seen through His creation.

We have several other wonderful ideas that depend on partnering with groups coming down to the coast for a mission trip. Many of them hinge on how many churches and teams we can put on the calendar for this year. Talk it up and start planning your trip.

The Mercy House still serves our community with clothes, food, and household items. This huge ministry that the Lord has granted us always can use hands to sort clothes, work with donations, etc. For many people, working in the distribution center holds the best memories of their mission trip to Lakeshore. I’ve been asked if this ministry opportunity is still available to folks coming on a mission trip. Absolutely! We would love to see you again!

In addition to getting the camp going and putting the finishing touches on the church building, we want to continue ministering to the needy of our comunity. While most home repair projects these days can’t be tied directly to Katrina relief, the need still exists. Weather its a handicap man with a leaking roof, or an elderly lady with broken front steps, or some other need, Lakeshore has become known as a place where God’s people step up to the plate and lend a helping hand. Plan a mission trip to Lakeshore and everyone in your group will have something to do to the glory of God. We look forward to seeing you this summer.

Lakeshore Baptist Church

Disaster Relief Training

Rebuild Lakeshore is excited to partner with the Mississippi Baptist Convention. We will host the 2016 Regional Disaster Relief Training, February 27 at Lakeshore Baptist Church. If you are part of a Southern Baptist Church in Mississippi, we would love to see you. Being trained will prepare your church for mobilization in the event of a disaster. Training will include the “Involving Southern Baptists in Disaster Relief” seminar, and then break-out sessions covering Feeding, Chainsaw, Chaplaincy, Childcare, Mud out/Tarping/Shower trailer, and Basic Assessment.

Training will begin at 8:00 am. The cost is only $7 per person which covers a background check and ID card. Yellow hats and T-shirts will be available for purchase. For more information contact Don Gann, Men’s Ministry/Disaster Relief director with the Mississippi Baptist Convention (601-292-3339).

If you would like to spend the night with us, Friday and/or Saturday, the Rebuild Lakeshore Bunkhouse is available.

Mike and Naida Poirier

A big “Thank-you” goes out to Mike and Naida Poirier for their time with us at Lakeshore Baptist Church. As most of you know, the Poiriers made several mission trips to the Mississippi Gulf Coast with their home church, Pioneer Valley Baptist Chapel of Chicopee, MA. In 2012, the Lord led them to sell their home, move to the gulf coast, and join Lakeshore Baptist Church. In God’s providence, they hit the ground right before we broke ground on the new church building. With his construction experience, Mike was instrumental in the entire project – from the bottom of the piling holes, to the tip of the steeple, and everything in-between. We can not thank him enough. He also served as the Volunteer Chaplain at the Hancock County Jail. Likewise, the Lord had a place for Naida to serve alongside Mrs. Bea at the Mercy House during their three years with us. 2016 brings another move for the Poiriers as they relocate to Jackson Mississippi and join Grace Baptist Church to assist in their new church building project. We pray the Lord will continue to use the Poiriers for His glory in Jackson.