The historic Hamblen County Courthouse helped to make history once more Wednesday evening as the Lakeway Church Coalition hosted a worship and prayer meeting on the courthouse grounds.
“We are under one banner tonight,” said Dr. Dean Haun, senior pastor at First Baptist Church. “The banner of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. He brings us all together from all different backgrounds, all different ages, and all different races under that one banner. (The coalition) said ‘we need to get together to pray. We need to bring our community together to pray.”
And pray they did as more than 500 residents came to the Veterans’ Memorial at the courthouse.
At the end of the service, two youths came forward to give their lives to Jesus Christ.
Led by Antonio Gomez and the worship team from The Avenue Church, the crowd was led in “Angus Dei” and “Do It Again/Great Is Thy Faithfulness”
Prayers of repentance began the program as Haun read from I Chronicles 7:14 in treatment towards the black community.
“We must begin by changing our hearts,” Haun said. “As an old white, fat, Southern Baptist pastor, I love every one of you and there is nothing you can do about it. That’s because Jesus came into my life when I was 17 years old and I’ve never been the same.”
Haun hatched the idea for “Unity in the Community” as a response to the recent murder and racism in Minneapolis.
Jimmy Inman spoke about truth and justice through Psalm 51.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore in me the joy of your salvation and uphold me by your generous spirit. Then I will teach transgressioners your ways and sinners will be converted to you,” Inman read.
Inman offered a moment of silence before continuing.
“The Christian life is a life of ongoing repentance,” he said. “Any sin that we’ve done, God can fix us up.”
There were prayers for restoration.
Ben Shoun spoke on trust.
“Trust has been broken in many ways,” Shoun said. “It’s important for us to keep our hearts in a posture of repentance.”
Shoun then quoted Philippians 2:1.
“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love united in spirit intent on one purpose,” Shoun read.
Elder Ventrus Norfolk discussed physical healing.
“In the salvation package, it includes physical healing,” he said. “The thing we’ve got to do is to believe by faith. Even though we can be prayed for physical healing, the pain may not leave you just then, but you’ve got to walk in the healing and believe you have received it. That is very important. God is a healer. Whatever you need, the Bible said God will have it for you.”
Scott Helton spoke on spiritual healing through Jeremiah 17:7-8 and Psalm 43:5.
“Our spirits are tired tonight,” Helton prayed. “We are tired of seeing hate, we are tired of seeing disease, we are tired of seeing sin in this world, but Lord, and we know that’s us. We’ve all sinned. We’ve all fallen short of your glory. You’ve said ‘Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.’”
Gene Nelson, pastor of Russellville Baptist Church, offered prayers for the community officers and government through Luke 13, the night of the last supper where Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.
“I pray for our police officers as they have taken an oath to serve and protect, that we will allow truth to overcome bigotry, that we allow truth to overcome gossip, that we will allow truth to prevail,” he said. “Bind us together, Lord, remembering that we are loved by an almighty king. Red, yellow, black and white, we’re all precious in His sight.”
Reconciliation topics included protection, students and this generation by Joseph Eaton and unity by Dennis Kyle.
Revival prayers for dependency on God were offered by Dr. Tony Buchanan and awakening by Justin Graham.
The Avenue worship team closed the rally with “What A Friend We Have in Jesus.”