2009 FBSC Annual Meeting, Pensacola
PENSACOLA (FBC)—Using the story of Jonah as her backdrop, speaker Elizabeth Luter challenged approximately 150 women to answer God’s call on their lives at the Florida’s Ministers’ Wives Luncheon Nov. 10 in Pensacola.
Themed “Unto One,” the luncheon, based on Matthew 25:40 was at Hillcrest Baptist Church in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Florida Baptist State Convention.
Luter, wife of Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, has served as an intercessor and counselor at LifeWay Women’s Conferences and Living Proof Live events; she also was the featured speaker at the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Wives’ conference this past June during the SBC annual meeting in Louisville.
Citing Jonah’s response to God’s call on his life, Luter noted first his apprehension, asking: “Who would take an assignment with failure written all over it?” Next she emphasized his acceptance of the call, after God had issued the call a second time to Jonah. Finally, Luter discussed the accomplishment of the call. Jonah proclaimed the Lord’s message.
One person, Luter noted, heard the message. That person was the king, who called for repentance from the people of Nineveh. “Because they repented, God relented,” Luter said.
“What if that one man had not heard?” she asked.
Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans has undergone three deaths and three resurrections in its life, according to Luter.
The first death came when the community in which the church was located experienced significant racial change. When the church did not respond to the change, it died, only to be resurrected by other leaders who embraced the new community.
Conflict led to the church’s second death, and it was resurrected a second time 23 years ago when her husband accepted the pastorate.
“He wasn’t in the mood for a funeral,” Luter said.
The third death for Franklin Avenue came in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Before the hurricane, the church averaged 7,000 on Sunday mornings; yet, the church facility was flooded and the majority of the membership was displaced by Katrina. In four years, however, “God has done a miraculous work in the church,” she said, which now has two overflow services in its renovated sanctuary.
Admitting she has at times been reluctant to answer God’s clear call on her life, Luter challenged women who had been aware of “God tugging at your heart to do something—but you have been reluctant” to come forward and kneel in front of the stage.
There, she prayed for the dozens who came forward to accept God’s call on their lives. “Remove your apprehension; accept the assignment; and watch God accomplish great things in your life,” she said.
Also during the luncheon, Ruth Ann Kinchen, wife of Tom Kinchen, president of The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, received the Clyde Maguire Minister’s Wife Award.
Nancy Sullivan, wife of John Sullivan, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, presented this year’s award to Kinchen, whom she honored with a personally-written poem.
The award is named for the late Clyde Merrill Maguire, whose husband, John, served as executive secretary-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention 1945-1967. It recognizes a Florida Baptist woman who has demonstrated faithful use of her God-given gifts in support of her husband’s ministry and in her own ministry. The award was first presented in 1987.
The luncheon also featured musical presentations by Brian Bates, worship pastor at First Baptist Church of
Cottage Hill. in Cantonment.
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