AUGUST 29TH IS NOT MY FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR. On that date 7 years ago, Hurricane Katrina turned my world upside down, as it devastated the city and region I love so much. On that date several years ago, a young man in our church died as a result of a tragic accident. And on August 29, 2012, Hurricane Isaac drenched our region with rain and storm surge, leaving lots of people with flooded homes and even more people having to live for a number of days without electricity. I’m thinking that we ought to make August 29 the “Leap Day” every 4 years (instead of February 29), so that we don’t have to worry about it every year.
Seriously, we are struggling as individuals, families and as a region to recover from the effects of Hurricane Isaac. What we thought would be a “nothing storm” wound up bringing significant damage to our region, and along with that damage came discomfort, fear and financial issues for people. However, as we’ve learned from times past, the Lord can “turn around” what has happened and bring good for you and me and for people throughout our region. Let’s all pray for that to happen.
In the days following Katrina, regional leaders said on national television, “The government couldn’t help us and the Red Cross couldn’t help us, so thank God for the churches and the Christians.” While it seems that our government and Red Cross are doing a better job this time, we can still say “thank God” for churches and Christians (and for utility workers who work long hours to help bring electricity back to our homes and communities). Churches and Christians are leading the way in the relief effort that is taking place in all 5 of the significantly devastated communities in our region. As usual, our Church is very much involved in bringing help, hope and healing to the people of our area. Our St. Bernard Congregation is working to bring relief supplies and aid to people in East Plaquemines Parish. Our Westbank Congregation will be involved in helping bring relief supplies and aid to people in West Plaquemines Parish and the Lafitte/Barataria area. Our Metairie Campus Congregation (comprised primarily of people from Orleans and East Jefferson Parishes) is partnering with our River Parishes congregation to bring relief supplies and aid to people in St. John Parish. And Pastor Adam Beach, our Slidell Campus Pastor, and others are involved in assisting in the relief effort in St. Tammany Parish. While noting all of this, I want to say a big “thank you” to all who faithfully give to the Lord through our Church. It is your faithful giving that enables us to reach out to congregations and communities when they are dealing with the sort of crises storms like Isaac bring our way. Information about our Disaster Relief efforts and how to support it can be found by clicking here. Please share this information with others, because your business or company may want to partner with us in helping those who were most harmed by Hurricane Isaac’s winds and waters. I also want to encourage you to consider participating in some Isaac Relief Serving opportunities over the next 3-4 weeks. You will find information about those opportunities on our Church website and Facebook page.
At our River Parishes Campus in Laplace, we did experience some flooding. We are in the process of restoring that campus, while at the same time conducting a very extensive Disaster Relief Distribution, Feeding and Home-gutting ministry from that site. Please pray for our Campus Pastor Checkerz Williams and our River Parishes congregation as they lead this Relief effort while seeking to restore their own homes and lives.
I WANT TO SAY ONCE AGAIN HOW PROUD I AM OF OUR CHURCH FAMILY. During this time of crisis when many in our church family were suffering losses and almost all of us were dealing with power outages, many of our people rose up to minister to others. Some were assisting their neighbors, others were unloading and distributing Relief supplies, some were tarping roofs for single moms and widows, and others were helping people in other ways. And then to see how many people showed up for worship this past weekend in spite of what they’d endured (and at 2 of our campuses in spite of having no electricity) just blew me away. I want to say once again how proud I am to be your Pastor. You are among the most faith-filled and faithful people in all of the world.
DUE TO DEALING WITH HURRICANE ISAAC ISSUES, WE’RE MOVING SOME EVENTS BACK ON OUR CHURCH CALENDAR. Some of the events we’re re-scheduling include:
* Our SAINTS TAILGATE PARTIES (these are being moved back to September 16)
* Our GAME CHANGERS SPIRITUAL GROWTH EMPHASIS (this now starts September 22-23)
* Our HHCD JAZZY NIGHT DINNER/AUCTION (this is being moved back to November 9)
There will be additional schedule changes as well. Please be patient with us as we incorporate these schedule changes. And pray that we won’t have another “storm” to deal with in the weeks and months ahead.
OVER THE NEXT 2 WEEKENDS WE WILL BE CONTINUING OUR HISTORY MAKERS MESSAGE SERIES. We’ll be learning from the life of David how to PROTECT OUR PROGRESS and how to FINISH STRONG.
I want you all to come and participate in these important worship services (you can join one of Online services if you’re working, out of town or ill), and bring others with you. We’re going to FINISH STRONG here in 2012, regardless of what “storms” come our way.
Thu, September 6, 2012
by Manley Miller