Luter shares hope in affliction as someone who’s been there

Meredith Flynn —  June 10, 2013
Fred Luter encourages listeners at the SBC Pastors' Conference in Houston.

Fred Luter encourages listeners at the SBC Pastors’ Conference in Houston.

HOUSTON | “Can I just share my testimony for just a minute?”

Southern Baptist Convention President and New Orleans native Fred Luter drew on his experiences  after Hurricane Katrina to encourage listeners at the SBC Pastors’ Conference June 9.

“One day you can be pastoring thousands and thousands of people, and the next day, you can be without a congregation,” Luter said, alluding to the storm that devastated his city and his church, Franklin Avenue Baptist.

“One day, you’re in a city where everybody knows your name…and the next day, you’re in the city where you’re only known by your FEMA number.”

Luter’s message, from Psalm 34, focused on taking heart when you get to “the other side of ministry,” when afflictions and trials of all kinds threaten to discourage and overwhelm the righteous.

“Every child of God sooner or later in life will face the other side of ministry,” he said.

He spoke like a pastor to the crowd assembled at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center, exhorting them to pay special attention to the word “but” in Psalm 34:19. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

‘That word ‘but’ is a sanctified conjunction,” Luter said to laughter from the audience. “It negates everything that was said before.” He told the crowd that just when it feels like everything is about to go under, “God can put a ‘but’ in your situation.”

He ended his message with an illustration from his favorite movie franchise, James Bond. Animatedly, he described how the super spy manages to get himself out of every scrape he ever gets into. While watching a documentary one day about the making of James Bond movies, Luter said he realized how that was possible: The writers write it that way in the script!

Holding up his Bible and smiling joyously at the crowd, Luter said, “You know how I know you’re going to make it?

“It’s in the script!”

Meredith Flynn


Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.