This past Sunday, I had the privilege of preaching at the Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church in Houston (TX), which is led by Pastor Dennis C. Jones. When Pastor Jones invited me to preach this meeting some months ago, we had not yet met. We only knew of each other through mutual friends. But in the providence of God, a schedule change resulted in us preaching together for a week in San Antonio earlier this year. I thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship with Pastor Jones, was blessed by each of the messages he preached, and left the meeting with a new friend. So I was really looking forward to being with Pastor Jones and the Gethsemane Church… Almost.

I had been watching the news about Hurricane Dean last week. And the meteorologists were saying that it was quite possible that it would end up hitting Houston, among other cities. Now, as a man who grew up in the land of earthquakes, you would think that I would not be nervous about a hurricane. But two women changed my mind – Katrina and Rita! As I sat in the airport Saturday morning, Pastor Jones called to check on me. My first question was about the weather. The report he gave me helped me relax – until we got 150 miles from Houston and were placed in a holding pattern because of storm activity over the airport. Thankfully, we made it safely. And the weather was nice the whole time I was there. But continue pray for those who have been hit by the hurricane, and those who may be in its path.

The women’s ministry of Gethsemane had activities the whole weekend. And the emphasis climaxed with the two services I preached Sunday morning. Gethsemane is a very warm and friendly congregation. And the worship was reverent, yet passionate. The congregation is multi-generational. And things were conducted with both sincerity and excellence. I was also impressed by how the congregation seemed to be both traditional and contemporary at the same time, with both weaved together quite seamlessly. I was happily reminded by this that you don’t have to choose one or the other to be effective.

I don’t like being away from MSMBC on Sunday mornings. But it was a joy to be with Pastor Jones and the Gethsemane Church. The messages seemed to be well-received. And there was great ease in preaching, as the congregation was quite attentive and alert. And as late as afternoon email I received yesterday afternoon, I have received reports of how God used the messages to encourage and edify those who were present. Praise God!