Archives For Thanksgiving

Turtle on a fence post

Meredith Flynn —  April 15, 2013

Turtle on Fence Post[3]HEARTLAND | Nate Adams

There is an old saying that if you ever see a turtle sitting on a fence post, you can be sure of one thing: It didn’t get there by itself.

As I begin my eighth year with IBSA, I identify very much with that turtle. On one hand, seven years is a long time, long enough for me to write more than 170 columns for The Illinois Baptist. On the other hand, my father Tom Adams wrote at least 850 columns here, over the course of 34 years. Like many of you, I read his insights on church life, Baptist life, and life in general for decades. So I still feel indebted to my dad for whatever perspective and service I have to offer IBSA churches.

It’s hard for me to think about my early days at IBSA without thinking about my dad. My mom tells me he was so excited about my coming back to Illinois, and to IBSA in particular, that he would fall asleep in his recliner with the Illinois Baptist in his lap, open to the article about my selection to serve here. And yet a month to the day after I started at IBSA, Dad passed away.

During these years since then, I have often thought how nice it would have been to have my dad around. He loved IBSA, and the Illinois Baptist, and the pastors and members of IBSA churches. Though he was basically quiet and introverted, he knew many, many people through his writing and ministry roles. He understood a lot about people and churches, how they work together, and why they sometimes don’t. Many times I have wished I could pick up the phone and ask him a question.

But it’s not like I’ve been without his help. Though my dad’s been gone for seven years now, I still rarely go into a church for the first time without someone telling me how much he or she appreciated his wisdom and his writing. Often they have a favorite column or two clipped and in their Bible. One dear lady told me she still has one framed and hanging over her desk at work. As often as not, these folks say they never met dad personally. But frequently they will say they felt as if they knew him.

Of course, if my dad ever heard anyone praising his writing, he would quickly point to Dr. Robert Hastings, who edited the Illinois Baptist for many years, and who was a wonderful writer as well. Dad frequently said that if Dr. Hastings hadn’t “taken a chance” on him as a young writer, he would never have had the opportunities or influence that he did.

And dad wouldn’t want to stop there. He would want me to point out that every column he scribbled by hand on a yellow pad of paper was typed up for publication by my mom, who added her own skilled editing and insight to the final product.

Of course my mom would want to point to her parents, and how they sacrificed for her education, and how their support of her made it possible for her to support my dad with her skills. And if my grandparents were here, well, I trust you get the point.

We are all turtles on our own fence posts, aren’t we? Whether it’s our parents, or the pastor or leader that served before us, or the faithful families that founded or sustained our church or that brought the Gospel to our area, none of us arrived at our places of service and opportunity without the help of others. We would do well to thank them when we have a chance, and to pledge to them that we will do the same for others. From my fence post today, thanks Dad.

Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association.

HEARTLAND | Excerpted from Baptist Press

Thanksgiving in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy has prompted new reflections on life and faith among those who were impacted and those who came to their aid:

“God used the fury and destruction of Hurricane Sandy to give this pastor, our church, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and others the opportunity to walk the talk, get outside the walls of the church and be Jesus to those in need,” said Don Knotts, pastor of Wayside Southern Baptist Church in Buckhannon, W.Va. His church hosted Southern Baptist feeding units in the aftermath of a crippling snowstorm connected to the hurricane.

“This year as we give thanks to God for His many blessings, many West Virginians, me included, will remember things often taken for granted. Things like electricity, hot water, hot meals and the people who work hard to make sure we have them. And a special thanks for selfless volunteers who came to minister, in the name of Jesus, in a time of great need.”

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“… We live in a community that often appears to have no real tangible needs. By in large, people in our community have what they need and more,” Sterling Edwards, pastor of Ecclesia Church of East Islip and Crossroads Church in Farmingdale, wrote. “People in our community work hard. They fight to make ends meet. But all in all, the majority of people in our community are quite comfortable.

“So when something like Hurricane Sandy comes along, it reveals a vulnerability. It reveals that there are needs. But this storm has provided us an opportunity to share with our community that food, shelter, clothes and gasoline are not the only needs that we have. We have been able to share that Jesus Christ has met our absolute greatest need.”

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Ray Parascando, pastor of Crossroads Church on Staten Island, was among the first responders in a community hit particularly hard by the hurricane. “In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy I’ve been reminded how easy it is to take for granted the comforts of home like food, electricity and phone. More impactful is the sobering realization that every day of life which God gives is truly a gift,” Parascando wrote to Baptist Press.

“In just one wave, everything that is dear to your heart: people, possessions and property can be destroyed. These are facts that all of us know well but these same facts easily get lost in the grind of life. I’ve been challenged once again to make every day count and to wisely number my days with family, friends and the faith.

“Thanksgiving this year will be more significant than in past years for sure. I’ve been convicted to live with an attitude of gratitude regardless of the many storms that life may bring my way.”

For more Hurricane Sandy reflections, go to BPNews.net.