By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
BATON ROUGE – Prior to the start of the second day of the 2017 Louisiana Legislative Session, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church Pastor Fred Luter told elected officials that when facing major decisions, follow Jesus’ example and consult with the Father.
“Throughout His time here on earth, whenever Jesus had a choice to make, He always – without fail – consulted with His Father,” Luter said during his keynote address Governor’s Prayer Breakfast. “If you are in a dilemma, if you are in a predicament, if you need to do something, but you just don’t know what to do, learn a lesson from Jesus and take it to God in prayer.”
Luter said when facing a major decision, one cannot stay neutral. Therefore, he said, every person should consider the sorrow, solitude, submission and strength Jesus showed in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the night he was handed over to authorities for his eventual crucifixion.
“On this Christian journey, there will be points in your life when you will face situations that don’t make any sense,” Luter said. “When things don’t make sense, when there are things in your life you don’t understand, just like Jesus you will find yourself in sorrow.”
Luter said at times believers may feel all alone, as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. But, he also emphasized that God pledged not to abandon them.
“He promised to never leave us alone,” he said. “Yes, we’ve been through the flood, we’ve been through the hurricanes, we’ve been through the shootings. But He promised never to forsake us.”
Luter’s message was part of a morning centered on prayer and Scripture reading at the Raising Cane’s River Center.
Other pastors were joined by elected officials and key civic leaders to share Scripture passages, prayers and short messages.
Louisiana Baptists on the program included Jay Johnston, associate pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington; Waylon Bailey, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington; Tom Harrison, executive pastor, Broadmoor Baptist Church, Shreveport; Jim Wallace, minister of education and administration for First Baptist Church, Minden; Rick Brewer, president of Louisiana College, and Jason Coffey, a member of First Baptist, Covington.
Ricky Skaggs and his wife Sharon, Southern Baptists from Nashville, Tenn., led the crowd in a number of tunes including “You Are My Sunshine” written by former Governor Jimmie Davis.
He also encouraged the crowd with how God has spoken to him about Louisiana.
“The wind of the Spirit is going to hit this state and flood the souls and hearts of people,” said Skaggs, a member of the First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, Tenn. “And I believe there will be a great revival, it’s going to start in this state and go all over the world.
“I’m believing the Lord wants to pour out his Spirit without measure!”
PRAYER WORKS, SO PRAY
In his address, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said during the past 15 months when the state faced challenges associated with record flooding and the fatal shootings of Baton Rouge law enforcement officers, he has felt the power of prayer from others like never before.
“Every day as governor I feel it,” he said. “People are praying for our state, praying for our leaders, praying for me – and based on the year we had last year, please don’t stop.”
Edwards encouraged all in attendance and watching on the livestream broadcast to make a concerted effort to pray Friday, April 14, when Christians remember the day Jesus died on the cross.
“While there is never a bad time to pray, there is never a better time to pray than holy week and particularly Good Friday at 3 p.m.,” he said. “I’m encouraging you at 3 o’clock this Friday to offer a prayer of thanksgiving because we are blessed in ways we can take assurance from.”
SHARE LOVE & RESPECT
Johnston, who served as chairman of the prayer breakfast steering committee, closed the event by challenging everyone to offer uplifting words to anyone they encounter.
“I have found the greatest opportunity we can offer someone is a word of encouragement,” he said. “So I pray today that as business takes place at the state capitol, as business leaders go back to their business, that we will find it in ourselves to be encouragers of each other.
“We may have different views but we can treat each other here in Louisiana with love, kindness and respect.”