Saturday, September 03, 2005

Day of Prayer Tomorrow

Everyone struck by the hurricane asks the same thing - PRAY! We will be doing that tomorrow for our Day of Prayer sessions at 9:00 in Fellowship Hall and 11:00 in the 315 building 1Rear. This is one practical, immediate way to support our brothers and sisters and everyone suffering from the hurricane.

Desire Street Updates

For info on Desire Street Ministries hurricane updates:

Answered Prayers

I asked in an earlier posting prayers for two situations: the mother of Chris Skeene stuck in the Superdome and Nick Silve's missing brother & family. The brother has reported in and Chris' mother is on a bus heading to Dallas!

Link for Displaced Persons

Another link for people looking for displaced loved ones:

Friday, September 02, 2005

Houston PCA Church Report

To see what one PCA church in Houston is doing, go to Christ the King.

Report from Danny Wuerffel

Received this recent email forwarded from a friend. FYI, Danny Wuerffel is a former Heismen Trophy quarterback from the U. of Florida. A request is made here for money. It should be legitimate, though you can verify through Greg Doles (note an earlier posting about Desire Street Ministries). I am posting information as I receive it and requests for money by churches and ministries other than MNA and World Relief has not been endorsed by Tenth trustees. Nevertheless, whatever I post is connected with a valid PCA church/ministry. Desire Street Ministries Director, Mo Leverett, by the way, is the speaker booked for our next Urban Missions Conference next March.

"I just got off the phone with Danny Wuerffel, former Gator quarterback and current (or at least recent) resident of New Orleans. Danny and his family are safe and sound in Fort Walton Beach. His home is destroyed (water up to the roof), as is the Desire Street Ministries site, where he works. He said that, of the two major levee breaches, one was right next to DSM, which is in New Orleans's 9th ward, and the other was right next to his house.

"In case you're not familiar with Danny's work in New Orleans, he is the Director of Development for Desire Street Ministries, an organization that works with some of the very poorest families in New Orleans. A few years ago, they started a school called Desire Street Academy. I've visited the school, and I can attest to the fact that they do a wonderful job redirecting the lives of boys who would otherwise have no hope at all. The philosophy of the organization is the development of indigenous leadership--finding those with the potential to change the course of the community and developing their skills to actually do it.

"Of course, Danny's concerns right now are with the families that DSM works with. Danny and the staff at DSM are working furiously to track down these families, and he just got a call from Texas where 31 of them had been kicked out of a hotel because they have no money. Right now, what they need most is money. He's concerned that money from the Red Cross may not filter down to the families in the Desire Street neighborhood as much as it as needed there, so he was happy to hear there
were Gators and others out there willing to donate directly. This is one way you can donate money that you KNOW every penny will go to help those in desperate need.

"He said that there are two ways to donate money to help out. The best way is to mail a check, payable to Desire Street Ministries to Whitney National Bank Mail Teller, 1716 Mangum Road, Houston, TX 77092."

Day of Prayer

This Sunday's Day of Prayer sessions at 9:00 and 11:00 will focus on the hurricane. I am collecting information for those meetings. I will lead the prayer meeting at 9:00 and Aaron at 11:00. Now, more than ever, the church body needs to be praying together. The 9:00 meeting will be in Fellowship Hall and the 11:00 in the 315 Building, Room 1Rear. See you then!

More Ways to Help

Rick Phillip's church has set up a fund in response to a need for a Mississippi church's new pastor. You can check it out at the Reformation 21 blogsite.

Comments Back

Thanks to Joel for providing the solution to keeping the Comments section spam free. You will find that you must spell letters given to you when you post.

PCA Updates

I get these updates from byFaith weekly email newsletter:

The First Presbyterian Church of Gulfport. Located immediate across the street from the Gulf on U.S. 90. Its building is still standing, but everything (even those pieces of furniture bolted to the ground) inside is gone; this includes the pews, pulpit and organ – nothing is left on the first level and most of the second level is empty. It is just a building with four walls.

The PCA Historical Center is beginning to put together a site containing maps showing the locations of PCA churches in the Hurricane Katrina area. It is not yet complete, but you can begin to get a sense of where these churches are located. Go to

Update from TE Rob Oates of Faith PCA Brookhaven, Miss:
Most of the folks from our church, Faith Presbyterian Church, Brookhaven, Mississippi, came through the hurricane with little or no damage. About 12 families did have significant damage to their homes and Mrs. Dorothy McLaren did lose her home. Our congregation is providing shelter and food for about 200 evacuees, many from the New Orleans area. The members of the church here, along with workers from the Red Cross, are putting in very long days caring for the evacuees. And with the situation as it is in New Orleans there is no end in sight. Thank the Lord that power was restored here at the church late Tuesday afternoon and power is being restored slowly through the rest of the city and county. But much of Mississippi is still without power and likely will be for weeks.

Finding People

This site takes you to a New Orleans news station. It includes postings for Lost and Found people:

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Prayer Needed

I just received this email from a member of my former church:

Pastor Clark,
I'm sure your church has been flooded with messages related to hurricane relief... i just wanted to chime in with a prayer request, because I don't know what else to do.

Chris's mother, Deborah, was stuck in Downtown New Orleans on a business trip when the hurricane came through (she could not get a flight or a rental car to get out of the city). She was stuck in a flooded hotel for 3 days, and somehow yesterday made it to the Superdome, but we have no idea if or when she will be rescued. She's been able to make very infrequent phone calls to the family, as she's trying to conserve her phone battery. What we do know is that there are little to no supplies in the superdome, she personally has no food, and that she's been traveling with a small group to stay safe, as it's a very dangerous situation there...We feel very blessed that she has a group of people who are trying to take care of each other, but we are also very scared and worried. Our last update came just about 30 minutes ago, telling us that she is outside the Superdome, she's afraid to go back inside so she plans to stay outside until they are rescued, but they're telling her it will be another couple days before they will be rescued. We all feel very helpless, and know
that our only hope is in the Lord. Please pray that she is kept safe and gets home quickly.
Thank you,
Kendra Skeene

Add to that request one from Sarah's friend Nick Silve who has family in the city. He has not heard from his brother who also could not get out in time with his wife and 4 year old daughter.

Comments Spam

I seem to have fallen victim to "Comments" spam, thus having to remove the "Comments" section below each posting, and at a time I especially want to receive them from any reader who may have hurricane information. If you do have info to share, email them to me at And if anyone can help me filter the spammers, let me know.

Pictures from a PCA Blogger

Here is a blogsite from a PCA church member that has pictures of the inside of First Presbyterian Church in Biloxi and his home:

Lastest Desire Street Ministry Report

This came in from Desire Street Ministries.

Mo Leverett a PCA ordained pastor ministering in New Orleans has evacuated safely with his family and has set up a temporary office in Atlanta. He and his family have lost everything—their home, the ministry facility, and all of their worldly positions. The staff is scattered and in need of financial relief. The administration is reorganizing and is planning on partnering up with other relief organizations to respond to the needs of New Orleans as well as looking for an alternate location for Desire Street Academy. The prayer needs are:
- All the families effected be this catastrophe -
- Mo and his family
- The staff and their families
- The families that DSM has been ministering to
- Wisdom in how best to proceed -
- In finding a location for the academy
- In how best to offer relief
- In how to plan for the future of the ministry

If you are interested in more info you can contact me – Greg Doles or 352.375.0049. has been down but should be back up in the next couple of days—an alternate site for info:
If you want to receive updates, email me and we will be sure to keep you updated.

Giving for Hurricane Relief

Here is how things are shaping up regarding counsel about making donations to hurricane relief causes. There are two ministries that we have close ties with and can refer you to. They are:

Mission to North America (MNA), 1700 N. Brown Rd., #101, Lawrenceville, GA 30043, or by credit card at (designate “Hurricane Relief”).

World Relief, P.O. Box 868, Baltimore, MD 21202 (designate “Hurricane Katrina Fund”); toll free at 800.535.LIFE (5433); or online at

You may give to Tenth, designating "Hurricane Relief" on the memo line. We will most likely channel those gifts to MNA. You may want to wait a week or two to send anything. In the days to come, we will learn more and may be in a better position to send funds to meet specific needs.

Meanwhile, though you should naturally want to give to this cause, please do not forget your church and the ministries you are already supporting. CCA, Harvest, Alpha, and other ministries are likely to take a hit in support at a time when they are in financial need. Please give for hurricane relief, but give sacrificially beyond what you are already giving for God's kingdom.

Expect an insert on September 10 giving information about the ministry/projects we will channel money to. But before then, you will know anything we know by coming to this site. Again, help get the word out to the congregation to check out this blogsite for the latest news on the hurricane aftermath and Tenth's involvement.

Tenth's Response to the Hurricane

I've just asked Jonathan Olsen to pull together a team to plan Tenth's response to the hurricane. Some of you may be wanting to go to the area to help. Phil's Window on the World will be about the hurricane, and the Day of Prayer sessions will focus on the disaster. Before the day is out, I should have posted information about making donations. Let your Tenth brothers and sisters know to check out this blogsite today and tomorrow for the latest news. If you have information PCA related or Tenth member related, add to the comments or email me at so I can post.

More on the Animals and Caretakers

This was just forward to me from Sarah regarding her two colleagues at the research center:

They arrived at Hammond, Louisiana where they were transported by helicopter back to the Audobon facility. There are many damaged buildings and fallen oak trees, but there is dry ground and many animals survived. The bunkers and the food supply are intact, as are several of the ATVs, though the fallen trees make them rather useless for now. There are water moccasins everywhere. Kelly and Jeff ascertained that the lions were still contained, as they are the greatest threat if roaming free. There are leopards loose, but they are not as dangerous. Being dusk, and the ability to see snakes clearly was not good, our heroes locked themselves into a bunker for a night's rest and will begin tomorrow to uncrate the animals, deal with medical problems, feed and water the animals who have been without either for three days, and begin what cleanup and repair they can do. There are generators on site, which will be used to keep meat for animal diets fresh, but not for air conditioning. There is also a satellite phone, which is how Kelly contacted me once they had arrived, but which will be used only for emergencies. They will remain until the authorities allow people back into the city, or unless there is a break in the levee guarding their facility. They do have a boat which is firmly anchored to a building, so if the levee breaks, they have a means of escape. It may be days, or even weeks, before Kelly is able to contact me again, but hopefully she and Jeff will fare well and all the animals (except the moccasins) will survive. Please keep Kelly and Jeff in your prayers.

New Orleans Zoos

In an earlier posting I raised concerns for the staff and animals at the research center Sarah worked at in NO. Good news in that regard. She heard from a colleague last night a good report as confirmed by this posting by the American Zoo Association:

"There is news from the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species. ACRES lost one whooping crane but the remaining animals at the facility are fine. There is some tree damage to fences but no building roofs have been lost. The area has not been flooded but there are some leaks at the Research Center. Four animal keepers were flown in by helicopter. At present, they do no need food or water."

The main zoo is also in relatively good shape.

Desire Street Ministries Report

This update comes from PCA Pastor Fred Harrell in San Francisco:

Mo Leverett, also a PCA minister and seminary classmate of mine, heads up one of the most effective inner city ministries in America, “Desire Street Ministries”, named after the Desire Street housing project. It is located in Ward 9, which is completely under water and one of the hardest hit areas. Mo and his family are safe, but like Jeffrey, they have likely lost everything they own, and the ministry of Desire Street will have lost everything it owns as well.

PCA Hurricane News

Copied from Ligon Duncan's posting at the Reformation 21 blogsite.

Thanks Rick, Phil and Justin for your comforting words and faithful prayers. Let me offer a quick update. I still have no email access - apparently its a problem with the local cable company. I'm typing in the dark (well, some candles and flashlight or two help) at home - still no light or power here. As of Tuesday morning 97% of the homes in Jackson had no light/power, but Entergy (a power concern covering parts of MS, LA, Ark and TX) has been bringing up gas stations, grocery stores and neighborhoods here throughout the day. Indeed, Derek now has power at his home. However, Jackson is weeks away from being back to normal - if we ever get there. The disruption of petroleum flow seems to have potential nationwide and cultural consequences (including gas shorages/rationing/price inflation, disruption of air travel, etc.). Meanwhile, the whole of Mississippi is on a boil water alert. Thousands are sheltering in the MS Coliseum downtown and we want to provide them with Bibles and clothes,

First Presbyterian Church Jackson's building took in some water damage but is basically fine - except for having power only in the office suite. Until we have light, power and water, we will not be able to hold services. Pray that we get them soon - what a crucial time for God to be speaking through his word.

The steeple of Brandon PCA was blown off. We'll be meeting with PCA MNA Disaster relief folks there tomorrow to figure out how we can join in helping the folks on the coast and in NO.

Mississippi's Governor (a PCA deacon out of First Presbyterian, Yazoo City), Haley Barbour, went to the coast yesterday. He cried (and he's not an emotional man) at the press conference last night as he described the destruction. This is the worst "natural diasaster" every to strike the State. Every citizen has been impacted in some way or another. The storm surge was higher than Camille (the storm by which all others are measured in Mississippi).

Even closer to home, our Twin Lakes Conference Center housed evacuees from New Orleans (including folks from Desire Street) - however, Twin Lakes lost power and also endured structural damage. We have not been able to contact our staff there and travel on 49-South is only just now allowed.

First PCA Biloxi's and FPC Gulfport's (both PCA congregations) buildings were completely destroyed. In the case of FPC Gulfport, they were due to install Guy Richard as their minister next month but now all is on hold. Many of their members lost homes and may not remain in Gulfport but move elsewhere. The future of our PCA presence is thus uncertain. One of their members, who literally lost everything, called me today and said "My wife and I have been married for 37 years and all we have left is one another."

I have had calls today from SC, TX, GA and elsewhere with pastors and churches wanting to help come to the aid of those in need. It may be that the best way we can help them in the long run is to fund ministry in their midst until the community's rebuild - which could be years. I'll let you know as things grow clearer.

We're hot, tired and befuddled - but trusting in the Lord who is the God of storms and "gathers the winds in his fists." Katrina's waves were his and now we must study the message of his providence and respond to it humbly by his grace.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

More PCA Hurricane Info

This information came through the byFaith magazine email newsletter:

TE Richard Bailey, pastor of Plains Presbyterian Church in Zachary, La., reports that "we will be opening our church as an evacuation shelter on August 31. We can keep about 75 – 100 persons. We have never done this before and are putting policies and rules and volunteer schedules together tonight. The folks who will be coming here, most have lost everything. We already have one family who showed up today. Seven folks in a small car. All that they have is in the trunk of their car. The enormity of this is mind boggling. It is almost surreal. They may be here for weeks. Most will have nothing to go back to, Nothing.

"This is a big blow to Southeast Louisiana Presbytery. We may have lost three churches, two church plants and a Ministry. They are: Desire Street Fellowship plant, Desire Street ministries. Three Rivers Presbyterian Church in Covington, Trinity Presbyterian in Slidell, Redeemer Church plant in New Orleans, and Grace Presbyterian Church, Metarie. The fate of all of these is unknown at this time. Life around here has changed for a while. Pray that we will minister and the church should during this lengthy event." Contact information:; 225-654-2960.

TE Rob Oates, pastor of Faith PCA in Brookhaven, Miss., has reported that about 250 people in the church are without a place to live as a result of Hurricane Katrina. He reports: one man needs kidney dialysis; a woman heard that her home was completely destroyed; at least half of his immediate congregation has damaged homes and businesses; and one 90-year-old lady and her daughter were sitting in their family room when a huge tree split her home in half and she lost everything. There is no power and it may be weeks, and in some instances months, before electrical power is restored. He asks that we pray for them. 601-833-0081

Other areas of Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida, especially the coastal and south central areas, have experienced significant damage. There are a number of PCA churches in these areas hit hard by the hurricane, which include the following Presbyteries: Southeast Louisiana, Louisiana, Grace, Mississippi Valley, Southeast Alabama, Evangel and Gulf Coast.

Latest Communications Technology

Leland Ryken received an email that he tweeked then sent to Phil who sent it to me. And now you are next to know about the latest inovation in technology!

I am so excited. In this age of technology, I've discovered a BRAND NEW device to help learn: Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge (BOOK).

The BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use even a child can operate it. Just lift its cover! Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere (even sitting in an armchair by the fire), yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc. Here's how it works:

Each BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper capable of holding thousands of bits of information. These pages are locked together with a custom-fit process called binding, which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence. Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs in half.

A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet. The BOOK may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it. The BOOK never crashes and never needs rebooting, though like other display devices it can become unusable if dropped overboard.

The browse feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish.

Many BOOKs come with an index feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval. An optional BOOKmark accessory allows you to open the BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session—even if the BOOK has been closed.

You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with an optional programming tool, the Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylus (PENCILS).

Portable, durable, and affordable, the BOOK is being hailed as the entertainment wave of the future. The BOOK's appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform. Look for a flood of new titles soon.

Phil at B&N

Barnes & Noble is advertising a Discussion/Signing evening with Phil:

"Dr. Philip G. Ryken, Senior Minister of the Tenth Presbyterian Church, shares his knowledge of God's word in his latest book, Exodus: Saved for God's Glory. For those who preach, teach, and study God's word, this book is more than a commentary, it's a celebration of God's faithfulness."

Not a bad publicity piece, despite the run-on sentence. The event is September 15 at 7:00 p.m. A great opportunity to invite your neighbors to meet your pastor.

PCA Hurricane Relief Efforts

From MNA (Mission to North America) site:

As we continue to follow the news from New Orleans, reports tell us of increasing flooding and loss of life continues to grow. Accordingly, we are realizing the need to respond at a level unlike any previous natural disasters in recent history in North America.

Within the next few days, Mission to North America will gather a group of PCA key leaders from Louisiana and Mississippi to make plans for relief efforts. Mission to the World has also graciously offered to seek involvement from those who normally assist with disaster response overseas. More...

Event Dates

Dates to note on your church calendar:
World Missions Conference - Nov 5,6,12,13
Congregational Meeting - Dec 2
Men's Conference - Jan 27,28
Women's Conference - Feb 25
Urban Missions Conference - Mar 10-12
Congregational Meeting - Mar 17
Easter - Apr 16
PCRT - Apr 28-30
Church Picnic - Jun 3


Am meeting today with Tenth and Alliance staff to plan the Workshop on Biblical Exposition. This is the preaching conference I've spoken of before that will take place Feb 1-3 that Kent Hughes is involved with.

More Word Help

I need more crossword help:

"Last checkable box, often" - five letters, 2nd letter is T, 4th is E
"Centro-" - three letters, 2nd is I, 3rd D
"Withdraws all invested monies" - seven letters, 1st is G, 6th is U

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Staff Switch

Christy Corbett and Melynda Feeney are switching staff positions. Christy will take on the Parish & Membership duties, as well as add on music responsibilities. Melynda is moving over into the bookkeeping/accounting duties.

Other Hurricane Victims

My daughter Sarah just called. She heard from a friend who works at the zoo's research center in New Orleans. The zoo itself is okay, although water is rising in the city and heading in that direction. The research center is beside a levy and flooded. No animal caretakers are there and many of the animals are feared dead or escaped. All of her friends are safe, but their homes are flooded and won't be able to return for a week, maybe longer. This is one hurricane in which the worse may be the aftermath of the storm rather than the storm itself.

Hurricane Disaster Relief

Check out the PCA site for disaster relief to see how you can help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Go to The PCA has a disaster relief ministry and will update us about relief efforts.

When you are on that page, also click "Mercy Ministry." It will bring up Disaster Response and tell you about that particular ministry and how to be involved in it.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Crossword Stymied

I need help! I bought a Literary Crosswords book. What is a four letter word for "Zest for life," begins with E and ends with N? Also, a four letter word for "Trireme propellers," the third letter is R. One more: four letter word for "Coward of the stage," first letter is N and third letter is E.

Hurricane Katrina

I hope you are praying for those who are in the path of the hurricane. My daughter Sarah has a number of friends in New Orleans, having recently moved from there. Her further concern are the animals in the zoo and research center where she worked. They cannot be evacuated and have few, if any, help staying behind.

Of Crowds and Lesser Crowds

Missions Lunch was the place to be yesterday. Fellowship Hall was packed out with tables and chairs having to be brought in to accomodate everyone. I hope to see that kind of crowd in the same room next Sunday for the Day of Prayer session at 9:00 a.m. and the 315 Building room jammed for the 11:00 hour.

If you were not in church yesterday, I'll give you the same exhortation as I gave at Living Church. The Session established the Day of Prayer years ago to give opportunity for the congregation to pray together for the church. However good teaching, planning, and ministry we may put together, what truly matters is to receive the blessing and power of God, and prayer is the means of declaring to God that we depend on him and trust him.

Typically, the Day of Prayer attendance has been a quarter of the normal Bible school attendance. Don't let that happen this Sunday. Be there and join your brothers and sisters to pray for your church to glorify and serve her head, Jesus Christ.

New Members

The elders listened to the testimonies of 25 persons yesterday and received them into membership. Public reception is scheduled for September 18. Parish 3 had 11 of them. Parish 4 had 8, but 6 were from one family!

The End of the Hobbit

"Then the prophecies of the old songs have turned out to be true, after a fashion!" said Bilbo.

"Of course!" said Gandalf. "And why should not they prove true? Surely you don't disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself? You don't really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!"

"Thank goodness!" said Bilbo laughing...