Conventional Thinking: Oklahoma burning
There are moments in time that make trivial matters fade to the background and weighty, eternal concerns rise to the surface. One of those moments arrived with the Oklahoma wildfires.
After weeks of helping wildfire victims in Colorado and New Mexico, Oklahoma Baptist disaster relief volunteers saw the need arise at home. While work continues out west, Baptists have again stepped up to the plate.
“Oklahomans know what it means to respond to disasters,” said Sam Porter, BGCO Disaster Relief director. “We have had more natural disasters than any other state. While times like these are so very difficult, they provide an occasion to respond in a loving, meaningful way and share Christ.”
Amen to that! Sam’s response brings to mind a quotation from popular pastor and author Chuck Swindoll.
He said, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.”
The attitude of Oklahoma Baptists when disaster strikes is nothing short of supernatural. Only God can give rise to such generosity and self-sacrifice. Only God can spread joy amid devastation. Only God can make us say, “The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”
It moments like these, it is important to ponder how we respond as individuals and as a group. Here are three ways.
Pray: C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” In moments of desperation, we are driven to our knees in prayer. Too often, we use prayer as a last resort, yet we recognize that this painful moment is our opportunity to call on God to do something even we recognize we cannot do on our own. God help us!
Give: Through your tithes and offerings, you and your Oklahoma Baptist church are continually making an impact through the Cooperative Program in disaster relief. Through generous gifts to the State Missions Offering, dollars go toward disaster relief. The BGCO’s Anthony L. Jordan also has established the Oklahoma Wildfire Relief Fund. You may donate online at www.bgco.org, or simply mail a check to the BGCO, Attn: Oklahoma Wildfire Relief, 3800 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City 73112.
Serve: You may not have the best singing voice in the world to join the choir. You may not be a learned Bible teacher, ready to lead a Sunday School class. But if you are able-bodied and so inclined, the BGCO disaster relief ministry may be the place of service for you. Training/orientation sessions are held several times a year across the state. Visit http://www.bgco.org/
disasterrelief for more information, or call the Baptist Building at 405/942-3800.
In the days that followed the Oklahoma Wildfires, Gov. Mary Fallin took note of Baptists’ efforts. She said, “The BGCO is doing essential work to support first responders and victims of wildfires across the state of Oklahoma. My thanks go out to all of their volunteers and their many members who are lending a helping hand during this difficult time. Please consider supporting their efforts by making a donation.”
There is something nice about knowing the person in charge takes notice. Yet we know, even when the media or man do not take notice, our Heavenly Father knows when we serve. And ultimately, He is Who we are trying to please.