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Katrina was reminder of ‘final storm coming,’ Freeman tells Union students

JACKSON, Tenn.Sept. 30, 2005 – Even throughout the storms of life, both figuratively and literally, Christians must trust in God’s power and providence, Roger Freeman said Sept. 28.

“When God says, ‘I am sovereign,’ it is like he is saying, ‘I am God; and because I am God, I can do anything I want to do,’” said Freeman, pastor of First Baptist Church in Clarksville, Tenn., and president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. “‘But whatever it is, it will always be wise, will always be loving, will always be just and will always be for your good if you will just trust me.’”

Freeman focused on the issue of what God said through Hurricane Katrina when he addressed students in a Union University chapel service.

“After the hurricanes, I began to search the Scriptures, and I asked myself if God speaks through natural disasters,” he said. “God is the creator of thunder, storms and hurricanes. Certainly these are beyond our understanding of all the reasons he does these things. But he says, ‘I am sovereign. Trust my power and my providence.’”

Reminding students that the death rate has not risen because of Hurricane Katrina, Freeman pointed out that every person dies eventually.

“Natural disasters are God’s loving reminder that there is a final storm coming,” he said. “As Christians, we need to go into the world and proclaim that there is a storm coming called judgment. And the only way to survive the final storm is to know Jesus.”

Freeman used the example of Job, whose entire life fell apart in one day. In Job 42, Job is given back as much as he had lost and more. Job humbled himself and submitted to God’s sovereignty, instead of trying to explain his actions.

“Providence is the loving application of God’s sovereignty,” Freeman said.

Freeman told Union students and faculty that God already knows what’s going to happen in their lives. Their job is to get in on what God is doing and trust his power and his providence. Though they may not want them, storms will come into everyone’s lives.

“God has a bigger plan in mind for the hurricane,” Freeman said. “A hurricane can be an event which sparks something great, if we will trust God. It may take everything away but God can give back twice as much.”

Freeman also pointed out that Christians are not only to trust in God’s power and providence in hard times. They are also called to be like him and show sympathy to those affected by the hurricane.

He challenged college students to sacrifice their conveniences for those disadvantaged by the hurricane. And, in addition to donating supplies and money, he asked people to pray for those in need.

Union University President David S. Dockery presented Freeman with a plaque in appreciation of his faithful service and leadership as president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention and as friend of Union University.

Funding from the Tennessee Baptist Convention offsets student tuition costs by about $1,000 each year. This contribution, Dockery said, makes it possible for many students to consider Union as an option for Christian higher education.

By Crystal Kinser (’07)

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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