By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
BOSSIER CITY, La. (LBM)–Nearly 350 members of the Northwest Louisiana Baptist Association’s 118 churches came together to cry out to God to bring revival during the local fellowship’s fifth annual “Call to Prayer.”
Hosted by Bellaire Baptist Church in Bossier City, the Jan. 26 gathering brought together Christians of various ages and ethnicities to pray for law enforcement, educators, missionaries serving around the world, pastors and other church leaders, and the persecuted church.
Just like previous gatherings at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, Summer Grove Baptist Church, Shreveport, Cypress Baptist Church, Benton, and Broadmoor Baptist Church, Shreveport, this event was marked by prayer from the worship center stage, in small groups around the room and by individuals who pleaded with God for revival in their community, state and nation.
“The time when pastors pray for each other is always special,” NLBA Associational Mission Strategist Lane Moore told the Baptist Message. “These men come from different cultures, different worship styles and different preaching styles, but when we pray for each other’s ministry it pulls them together.”
SEEK REPENTANCE AND RENEWAL
Billy Sutton, pastor of Reedemer Community Church, Keithville, told the crowd the church must repent before they can have relevance in the world. Sutton explained that a changed heart leads to a changed mind.
“Repentance is necessary for the beginning of the Christian life, as well as the entire Christian life, until we die or until God comes in all of His glory,” he said. “Repentance is to be understood as coexisting with faith. Repentance and faith are inseparable.”
Sutton challenged the crowd to pray as David did in Psalm 139:23, when the biblical king asked ‘Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.’
“Repentance is moving away from darkness toward light,” he said. “It’s away from sin and self, away from the world, away from Satan and to light.”
Kenny Joyner, pastor of Willow Point Baptist Church, Shreveport, said the world needs to see evidence that Jesus is alive in the life of each Christ follower.
“We are the Church,” he said. “We ought to know how to conduct ourselves as the family of God. As the church, it is our time. We need to step up to the plate. There is no time to be letting up. It is time to be pressing on.”
He challenged each person to finish strong in the spiritual race by seeking personal renewal.
“If there is going to be revival in my church, there must be revival in me,” he said. “They need to hear the Gospel from me. They need to hear the Gospel from us.”
PRAY FOR SPIRITUAL AND CIVIL AUTHORITY
Randy Harper, pastor of Bellaire Baptist Church, said believers are called upon to proclaim that each person can find freedom in Christ. He encouraged pastors not to focus on the size of the church, but the message of the Gospel.
“It’s about Jesus,” he said. “It’s about the greatest call to preach the Gospel.”
Harper told pastors to examine their calling from God.
“Because if you don’t have a calling from Him, it doesn’t matter what church you pastor,” he said. “It’s Him we answer to at the end of the day. And will be Him we answer to when it’s all said and done.”
PRAY FOR THE BROKEN
David Rice, pastor of Brookwood Baptist Church, Shreveport, said each person should be an ambassador for Christ in the community.
“The question is not who is not neighbor,” he said. “The question is ‘Who are you being a neighbor to?”
He asked the crowd to share the love they have received from Christ with a broken and hurting world.
“I have a lot of work to do,” he said. “I’m desperate for the church that I serve to be a church that our city can’t live without.”