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Paper reminds Baptists of blessingscomment (0)

November 18, 2004

By Johnie Sentell

Recently my siblings and I sold the house in which all four of us were born. It was a sad but necessary occasion.

Built in 1937 when Mother and Daddy were newlyweds, the house had not been lived in for more than five years. It is hard to keep a house in good condition when no one lives there.

As we gathered things we wanted to keep, I was reminded of the blessings of growing up there. I can relate them to blessings Baptists in Alabama should remember during the Thanksgiving season and can read about in this paper each week.

In the front yard was a well older than our house. Covered by a concrete slab, it had a tall hand pump on top. We children always had fun pumping the long handle until water finally poured out of the spout.

The well reminds me that each week The Alabama Baptist reaches down deep with two Sunday School lesson commentaries, a Bible verse of the week and the plan of salvation. A nonbeliever can pick up the paper and find out how to be saved.

I picked up a hand-painted sign that said “Fish Pond” with an arrow pointing to the right. Our dad was an enthusiastic walker, and he especially enjoyed a peaceful walk around his two-acre fish pond.

But the sign also reminds me that we are called to be fishers of men. Every week readers can find encouraging stories of what God is doing through Baptists to reach people in Alabama and around the world. In the kitchen there was an old black-and-white metal step stool. It had often been used to reach things high up in Mother’s pantry. Each week the paper carries news of how Baptists help new Christians reach higher and become better disciples.

Up in the attic old toys brought back happy memories. They also remind me that The Alabama Baptist prints news about the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries. And the paper tells how churches reach out to families.

In the hall there was a walking stick made out of metal with a small platform at the bottom and rubber tips under each corner. This reminds me that the Baptist retirement homes ministry is covered in the paper. There is also a special section each month called Senior Spotlight. In fact, this issue (pages 9–11) deals with making your home safer for visits from young grandchildren.

Two chains were hanging from the old oak tree in the front yard. The swing was long gone, but I could remember swinging and looking up into the beautiful branches. Emphasizing the enjoyment of leisure times, this paper often highlights the beauty of Alabama and the South.

Copies of the minutes of associational meetings, some going back almost 100 years, remind me it is important for Baptists to know our heritage. Each week in the paper you can read a bit about Baptist history and how our churches work together to do things we can’t do alone. You can also keep up with what Bro. Dan Ireland is able to do as we cooperate with Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP).

My sister Betty’s Samford University student handbook (actually it says “Howard College”) reminds me the paper’s readers can keep up with our fine state Baptist colleges — Samford, Judson and the University of Mobile and our seminaries.

Tools around the house remind me the Cooperative Program has proved to be the greatest tool Baptists have ever devised. The paper tells about all the things it makes possible throughout the year.

Some acorns under the oak tree had sprouted. I enjoy reading about new churches and Baptist missions work all around the world.

An old car there had seen its better days, but someone is going to be fixing it up. You may have noticed this year the paper has been emphasizing not only good physical health for individuals but also good health for churches. Churches that seem to have stalled can be made stronger. We trust that the paper encourages you in your walk of faith.
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