Open Wide Your Heart

The church I served in Louisiana needed to be expanded. We met in a World War II army barracks that had been moved to a lot on Warren Street.

As a 25-year-old pastor, I was nervous when I attended a deacon’s meeting of the mother church for our mission.

The First Baptist Church had forty deacons, all of whom seemed intimidating in one way or another.

Brother Wallace, the Senior Pastor of the church, stood before a whiteboard and outlined the needs we had at the mission. He mentioned moving two additional barracks to our property to expand the ministry.

He invited one of the deacons to the front of the room, who described the construction of the barracks in detail. His explanation involved the cost to have T. Barry Porter move the two buildings to our property.

T. Barry Porter was a well-known rodeo star, who also had a house moving service and was a very interesting character.

Brother Wallace took the floor again and finished talking about our needs. He drew a circle around the proposal for the mission and said, “This is non-negotiable. We must have this.”

I breathed a sigh of relief and still fondly remember the way he conducted the meeting.

Brother Wallace returned to the whiteboard, while he talked about a dream he had of a retreat center.

He explained the value of a retreat center, as he sketched a diagram of what would become the Bundick Lake Retreat Center.

Forty-five years have passed since I sat in that deacon’s meeting. The deacons embraced Brother Wallace’s vision and thousands of people have benefited from their assent to his vision.

Open Wide Your Heart

When I read Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians, I thought of Brother Wallace and a 1970’s deacon’s meeting.

Paul would have rejoiced to have had the same respect and response that was given to him.

2 Corinthians 6.11-13We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you.

There is no restriction in our affections but only in yours.

In return — I speak as to children — open wide your hearts also.

Brother Wallace served the community of DeRidder Louisiana between 30 and 40 years. He was a big, loving, visionary leader.

“Brother” is the old South term for pastors, but he lived like a generous elder brother to his church and the city.

He lived with an open heart to others. In turn, they opened their hearts to him.

My prayer for the ministry is that pastors will live with open hearts to Jesus, the church, and the community they serve. In turn, may church members open their hearts to their leaders.

Prayer for Ukraine

Today’s video and article are shorter than normal because we want to include a larger scripture passage tomorrow.

My prayer request is for Ukraine, but also for other countries that are suffering because of this war and others.

(1) The BBC News estimates that one-third of the Russian army has been eliminated. There are possibly 20,000 dead Russian soldiers.

(2) Ukraine has not given a number of deaths among its military, but we can guess that it approaches the same number of Russian soldiers.

(3) There are 5 million Ukrainian refugees in Europe. Europe has an immigration problem that is similar to the United States.

People are making every effort to get to a European country to escape war, famine, and oppression in their home countries.

We can only imagine what an additional 5 million people will do to the countries that are receiving them.

(4) The war in Syria has also created 5 million refugees. It should be noted that Russia is the major backer of that conflict.

(5) 20 million people in Africa will experience food shortages and possible starvation, because of the disruption of wheat supplies from Ukraine and a three-year drought.

One of the greatest prayer promises is found in Revelation 3.20: “Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you, and you with me.”

Prayer is simply opening the door to Jesus. Let’s bring these needs to Jesus and open the door through prayer for Jesus to enter and make a difference.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I have produced a short video on this passage. It can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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