“I said, Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through. An’ just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind.” (Carmichael and Gorrell) Even reading through those lyrics brings the sound of the sweet, distinctive voice of Ray Charles. As a native Georgian, Charles often reflected upon his home state and its attraction (even though it faced many difficulties). For those of us who call Louisiana home, the land of Georgia may not have quite the appeal as it did to Charles; but for Louisiana Baptists in particular, the name Georgia has strong significance. Georgia Barnette was the first paid executive director of the Woman’s Missionary Union in Louisiana. As such, she traveled the state to raise support and awareness for Gospel needs throughout the areas. Today, her legacy still challenges us to be faithful to the mission in our own state; and of course, our state missions offering rightly bears her name. The Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering (GBO) undergirds all types of missionary efforts here in Louisiana. From disaster relief efforts to children’s mission camps to church planting efforts, our collective energies are supported by this annual state missions offering. It even looks like our work at The Springs will receive funds from the GBO as we move forward. Some folks from the Louisiana Baptist Convention contacted me recently and said that The Springs is the kind of work in which they want to be involved! How God unites us in mission and provides for His ministry! So, I hope you will especially have Georgia on your mind this month as we seek to give in support of our Louisiana state missions. Our church goal is $27,000, and it will go a long way toward the work that must be done across our parishes. Pray for our efforts and give faithfully!
To be sure, we continue to pursue the Lord’s ministry in our state, in our nation, and in our world. But that does not mean we neglect our own backyard! With the beginning of the university’s fall quarter comes new opportunities and efforts right here. Did you know that Ben Jernigan, Jason Walsworth, Cullen Simmons, Joe Craighead, and Bill Cox host a lunch with the LA Tech baseball team every Tuesday during the school year? They eat together and share thoughts from God’s Word. (Don’t worry! We only ask Bill to cook . . . we don’t allow him to lead any type of spiritual insight!) Moreover, Casey and our college leadership are kicking off Sunday morning Bible studies, weekly challenge groups and discipleship venues, and Sunday night fellowships. For Saturday home games, you will even find our tent on the hill by the TAC as Mike Brister, Matt Barham, Byron Williams, Matt Woodard, Scott Lawrence, and others cook for our tailgating. I could also mention our international efforts on campus, our chaplaincy partnerships, and so many more ministries. I’ll just say there is a lot to be done!
Finally, we continue to evaluate our current ministry programs here at Temple and analyze the best methods for moving forward. No doubt, we are blessed! This past Sunday was indication of God continuing to show His favor upon us. Even in our home Bible study groups on Sunday night, we had almost five hundred people participate! (You can still join a group if you have not done so yet!) We are also noting how we can upgrade our facilities in order to best utilize them in reaching people. When you walk in this Sunday, you will recognize some major work going on in our downstairs hallways. As the old saying goes, “Pardon our Progress” as we update the corridors. It is a great day to be at Temple Baptist Church! See you Sunday!