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White encourages state legislators to meet God's expectations


Scott Barkley/Index

Georgia Baptist Convention Executive Director J. Robert White speaks with Mike Coan, state representative for District 101, at the Legislative Prayer Breakfast held Jan. 24 in Atlanta. The event, in its fifth year, was sponsored by GBC Ethics and Public Affairs.

ATLANTA — Using David as an example of a man after God’s own heart, GBC Executive Director J. Robert White asked state legislators to take the same path in policy-making at the Fifth Annual Legislative Prayer Breakfast Jan. 24.

The event, sponsored by Ethics and Public Affairs of the Georgia Baptist Convention, was held in the Empire Room on the 20th floor of the James H. “Sloppy” Floyd Veterans Memorial Building across from the state capitol in Atlanta.

Recounting his time as a freshman at Samford University in Birmingham, White told of his feelings of inadequacy regarding exams. His father, a pastor, sent a card with the reference of Micah 6:8 on it – a passage that simply asks “What does God expect of you?”

“Dad had already told me to just do my best with my exams, but this posed a critical question to me, as it does to all of us in this room. What does God expect of us? To do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with him.

“David did what God expected, and that was why he was said to have a heart like His.

“The message is still the same. What does God expect of us? Do justly – just do what you know in your heart is right as you look over legislation. Love mercy. Be kind in all that you do – all of us need to do that. Walk humbly with your God and you’ll be pleasing in his sight.”


Scott Barkley/Index

State Senator Bill Heath, District 31, talks with Georgia Baptist pastors David Owen, left, and Tony Samples, right, and at the Legislative Prayer Breakfast Jan. 24. Samples is pastor of Pickett’s Mill Baptist Church in Dallas and Owen is pastor of Piney Grove Baptist Church in Acworth.

A time of appreciation

State representatives and senators in a room feeling full from a hearty breakfast should be a dream for any lobbyist, but Ray Newman said that’s not the point for the annual event sponsored by his department.

“We appreciate our legislators and want them to know we’re praying for them,” said Newman, specialist with GBC Ethics and Public Affairs. “There is no politicking in this. No strings attached. No agenda.”

The breakfast is a time for GBC representatives of various stripes to meet with their own legislators as well as others from across Georgia.

“We invited all representatives and senators,” said Newman. “The governor and lieutenant governor are also invited, but it’s not unusual for them to be unable to make it due to their schedule.

“Invitations are sent out to metro pastors and associational missionaries, GBC specialists and ministry resource consultants, members of the Public Affairs Committee and community leaders such as Georgia Right to Life.”

Phil West’s participation in the breakfast was the first for the First Baptist Valdosta pastor, serving his first term on the Ethics and Public Affairs Committee.

“It’s important for the legislators to know that we care and are praying for them,” he said. “I was impressed with the number that came out. Whether you’re a leader in a church or nation, God holds you responsible for your decisions.”