Close to Home

My dear friend Chris Nicola stands beside his car that was damaged when the tornadoes targeted Jackson and the Union University campus. Thankfully Chris was hunkered down in a classroom and was not injured.
Not only is Chris a dear brother in Christ, he is also a life-long fan of The University of Southern California Trojans! Fight on!
Yesterday I drove by some areas of Jackson I had not seen since the storm. The damage is widespread. Some of the most beautiful trees around, huge trees that must be over 100 years old, were just knocked over like toothpicks.
Behold the power of a tornado!

The Storm Front

I spent much of Tuesday night watching weatherman Dave Brown provide weather reports on WMC TV from Memphis. I was just a step or two from the closet I had prepared with pillows and a flashlight. Meanwhile, Lourene was in Memphis with my mother hunkering down while the tornado sirens sounded. We remember all too well the tornadoes of 1999 and 2003 (when a tree crashed through our roof).

I could tell from the amazing radar images on television when the storm passed across I-40 and headed toward north Jackson. On the one hand I was relieved that it was not heading my way. On the other hand I realized it was headed toward Union University.

By now you have may have seen pictures of the Union University campus. The word is, “devastation.” I am both amazed and thankful no one was killed. How everyone got out alive is nothing short of miraculous.

Please pray for our community as we pull together to rebuild.

You can read The Jackson Sun’s coverage and see several photo galleries here.

Drought Puts Church’s Baptisms On Hold

Tuesday while I was in Memphis for a funeral and my step-father’s oncology appointment a few drops of rain hit the car windshield. I say a few drops, but I can be more specific because I counted them. That’s right, I counted the raindrops. There were 14 that hit the windshield of my car.

Why am I counting raindrops? We have not had any measureable rain at my house since sometime back in July. We had none throughout the entire month of August. We have done some watering to keep the bushes alive but the grass was scorched several weeks ago.

I have done some complaining about our situation. I have prayed for rain.

But suddenly I’m not in so much of a complaining mood. What made the difference? I read this article about the drought in Rock Springs, SC that is so severe some churches have had to delay baptisms. Now that is a serious drought!

Life in the Shelter

One man in Stuart, FL released his pit bulls to attack people with whom he was seeking shelter from Hurricane Frances. The real kicker in the story is that the man was an anger management counselor!

I finally got in touch with my friends in Pensacola. They went to a shelter to ride out Hurricane Ivan. While they were in the shelter, a tornado picked up their car in the parking lot outside the shelter and threw it down. The car was totaled.

In May of 2003 my family huddled in the “safety” of our closet as a tornado roared overhead. The crash of a huge limb through our roof made us very aware of what could have happened had the twister been any closer.

Safety. Real safety is something only our God provides.

“Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!” Psalm 61:4

Hurricane Ivan

Just called some friends in Pensacola, Florida to see how they made it through Hurricane Ivan. “Sorry we cannot take your call due to the hurricane” is a voice mail greeting that gets your attention. From the reports I have seen Pensacola has been hit hard by the storm.

I will continue to pray for my friends in Pensacola and all those displaced by Ivan, Frances, and Charley. Hurricanes. As if I needed another reason to be thankful.