Month: July 2018
Have you ever visited the Deep South in the United States? Heck there is a Baptist Church on every corner and it is rather interesting indeed to see all this and even more funny when driving down the road in a Prevost motor home or motor home on a truck chassis which are not all that quiet and you can hear the people singing out side the church, while you drive by.
And I sheet you not; in Macon Georgia we drove down one street with 4 Baptist Churches about 400 yards apart and on both sides of the street and we could hear singing as we drove down the street at the same time from each of them.
Now folks that is scary indeed, that is just too much church for me. There are Too Many Baptist Churches in Deep South and this is very problematic indeed. Some say it keeps people from doing bad things so it is good? It puts the fear of God in them. It makes them better citizens? What for 2 hours before and after church? That is a bunch of bull some of the areas in the Deep South have some of the worst crime in the country and someone tried to break into my motor home at a roadside stake house there?
Putting fear or guilt in someone does not make them a better citizen. There is not moral base that is set. Good people do good things and bad people do bad things; and religion allows good people to do bad things? Too Many Baptist Churches in Deep South is Very Problematic Indeed.
N A fictitious village in Africa lives a farming family very representative of many farming families in poverty stricken regions in the world. Jamu is a pre-teen girl who is hungry, typically sick with fever, and unable to read or write. She would love an education, but must stay at home to help her mother who has to walk two kilometres twice daily to draw water.
Somi is a little better off compared with his older sister; at least he goes to school – well, that is until he’s too sick to go. He’s had four life-threatening cases of diahorrea in the past year. You see, the whole village relies on water sources that are at the root of the disease and ill-health in the town. There is one good well in town, but the person who manages it limits access to the best water for fear that the pump will break down.
Mathu, father of Jamu and Somi and their two siblings, is husband to Kayla. She battles to manage the logistics of the home to keep the family alive. Mathu works hard on the farm, but yields get lower and lower each year because deforestation in the region has led to the once nutrient-rich top soil to be frequently washed away due to torrential season rains. The whole family constantly battle fatigue.
The teacher at the local school, Aruna, battles with the 50 percent attendance at school and is frequently not able to make school himself as he needs additional work to survive – the school can’t afford to pay him more than a pittance.
Michael is the Minister for Regional Affairs and Infrastructure in the government of the country and would love to help, but his poor country has little influence brokering competitive deals for infrastructure for the country in a global market. His government isn’t corrupt as much as it’s limited by true economic factors.
Jompa is a local product who’s been fortunate enough to get an education as an agriculturalist – he knows the root of the problem is the cutting down of trees for wood to burn. Electricity would address this town’s poverty concerns, but who could possibly afford to set up that infrastructure?
Josephine has moved away from town into the city and is proud to make T-shirts of such quality they’re exported to America and Australia and are sold for over $50 a piece – but she’s paid less than a hundredth of that. She battles to make ends meet and still sends a little back to her family in her home village.
Baptist is not as well known among us as the Biblical character of that name, of course. He is in fact relatively unknown, and I admit that I keep forgetting his name myself. He is one of the myriad of believers through the ages that has quietly and faithfully rendered service to his Lord.
Brother Harper actually becomes known to Americans first as an effective visiting minister of the Moody Church of Chicago. During his three months of service there, the church experiences unparalleled revival. The congregation is so impressed with this man that they decide to ask him to come again from England, soon. He follows through on that invitation. And his second trip across the Atlantic will be even more eventful than the first.
Accompanied by his 6-year-old daughter, in April of 1912 Harper boards the Titanic on its maiden and final voyage.
After the infamous iceberg has been struck, Harper’s first task is to be sure that daughter Nana is cared for. He wraps her up and passes her on to a member of the crew, who secures her place on one of the lifeboats. We all understand that the number of lifeboats is limited, as the proud creators of the ship could never have believed such a catastrophe would occur.
Nevertheless, thus far the good pastor does only what most all of the men on board are being asked to do: make room in the boats for women and children.
His first step beyond the human call of duty is to add to the announcement that is being made along these lines, that all unsaved should also surely get into those boats. To be sure he is understood, he offers his own life jacket to a fellow passenger.
Now see him scurrying along the decks begging people to come to Christ before it will be everlastingly too late. He gathers people around him and earnestly prays for their salvation. The report is that it is John Harper that asks the Titanic‘s orchestra to play “Nearer, My God, to Thee.”
Now this 39-year-old man of God jumps into the icy waters and begins swimming around to men clutching to this or that piece of the Titanic for dear life. Once more he issues the invitation of Christ to repent and be saved. With his last gasp of life he is telling another of the Saviour.
It was four years later when one saying he was Harper’s final convert, surfaced in a Gospel meeting in Canada. He tells the account of how the pastor swam up to him, asking if he were saved or no. He sadly admitted he was not. The waves bore Harper away, but brought him back another time, when he confronted the dying man yet again with the plight of his soul. Still he had to say he was not secure in Christ. This time, Harper went down, to be with the Lord. The sinner, alone in the night, gave his heart to the Lord. His soul, and then later his life, was rescued from death.