Next Saturday, August 6th, there is going to be something bigger than an NFL game in Hosuton’s Reliant Stadium. Texas Governor Rick Perry has called for a day of prayer and fasting in response to the crises that our nation is facing. This gathering of believers has been entitled “The Response.”
Skepticism abounds. Some on the left have criticized it as a violation of the separation of church and state, and filed suit to shut it down. Others on the right are leery of associating with Christians of different backgrounds and beliefs, or question Perry’s motives, since he has been mentioned as a Presidential candidate.
My take on it is this: yes, I am typically skeptical (my last name is Thomas, you know!) but the way I see it, a responsible, nationally recognized leader – the governor of Texas – has issued a call for Christians to pray and fast for our country, citing Biblical references, and has stated that God is the only hope for our nation. In the days of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Old Testament, God’s people responded to such a call. And I think that Christians of our day, if we are serious about seeking God for the ills of our nation, should respond as well. I do not know what the “end result” will be; I don’t know if it will bring healing to our land, or spark a great revival, or if it will merely go down as a meeting of those who were concerned about our nation before she finally fell from her greatness. But regardless of what happens, I want it to be said that I was part of a group that took seriously the call to seek God on behalf of our country. When Elijah was in despair before God concerning the fallen state of the nation of Israel, God said that He still had 7000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal. How many people will show up in Houston? I don’t know; but I think they will be somewhat akin to “the remnant” of Elijah’s day. I just know that I would like to go down in history as one of that remnant, who responded to the call to pray and fast and seek God together with other believers.
I am encouraging the members of our church, First Baptist Moss Bluff, to respond in one of several ways:
1) Go with us to Houston next Saturday. The Response will meet from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Reliant Stadium. There is no admission cost, but you will have to pay $15 to the stadium for parking. We already have dozens of people signed up to attend from our church. There are no “reserved seats” as such in the stadium, but they are keeping track of group sizes to make sure the stadium is not over-filled. If you are an FBCMB member, please call our church office so we can keep tabs on our total number attending. We have a bus leaving from the FBCMB parking lot at 6:30; because of limited space, the bus is reserved for senior adults and those unable to drive. Call Kathy at the church office (855-9067) to secure a spot on the bus, or to sign up to attend as part of our church group.
2) Participate through live video. Our church will host streaming video of The Response in the worship center next Saturday; doors will open at 9:30, and the video will run from 10:00-5:00. One of our men, Mike Paris will be hosting this meeting. Feel free to come and go during this time.
3) Set aside next Saturday to pray and fast, and seek the Lord in whatever specific way He leads you.
If you are a member of First Baptist, Moss Bluff, I hope you will join us in one of the above ways. If you attend church somewhere else, I hope you’ll respond similarly: go to Houston if you are able; or set up streaming video in your church for next Saturday – it is not too late for that. Or just make Saturday a special day of prayer and fasting for our country. You can get more information –including registration and video signup, at theresponseusa.com.
The Response has been endorsed by national Christian leaders such as James & Shirley Dobson and Max Lucado, as well as Southern Baptists Richard Land of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, pastor Greg Matte of First Baptist Houston, and pastor Edwin Young of Second Baptist, Houston. The American Family Association is co-hosting the event with Governor Perry.
They tell us that thousands of American children, after the Second World War, asked their fathers: “What did YOU do in the war, Daddy?” In the years to come, our children and grandchildren may ask us: “What did you do when the battle for our country’s spiritual life was raging?” Next Saturday, thousands of Christians are going to respond by seeking God on behalf of our nation during her hour of need. I want history to record that I responded. What will it say that you did?