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What happens when Almighty God calls your house?

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–The name of the church was Almighty God Tabernacle, a strange name for some.

It was late on a Saturday night, and the pastor of this tabernacle sat at his desk at the church, refining the next day’s sermon. He suddenly decided to call home to check on his wife. He dialed the number and listened to the phone ring…and ring…and ring — certainly he’d called the wrong number, he thought. Where else would his wife be on a Saturday night?

He called the number again and found his wife at the other end of the line. He laughed when he thought about the person he must’ve disturbed so late in the evening.

Not long after the pastor received a call from a man who wondered if a phone call had been placed to him from this number. “Oh, you must be the one,” the pastor said, laughing, and began to apologize for phoning the wrong number.

“There’s no need to apologize,” the man replied, and began to tell the story of that evening.

“You see, that evening I sat in my living room, seriously contemplating suicide,” the man said. “I told God, ‘If you’re really there, please show yourself to me, and I won’t kill myself.’

“Just then the phone rang,” he continued. “When I looked at the caller I.D., it read, ‘Almighty God.’ I was afraid to answer the phone.'”

Michael Claunch, pastor of First Baptist Church of Slidell, La., and NOBTS chairman of the trustees, told the story to an assembly of students, staff and faculty at a New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary chapel service on Dec. 4. Claunch said America, too, is on the verge of suicide, and God is letting us know that He doesn’t want that to happen.

The pastor said he was challenged by a previous chapel service in which NOBTS Dean of Chapel Jim Shaddix preached about the blessings of God, challenging those in attendance to study the Bible concerning God’s blessings to His people. Claunch said the message, “impacted me as an urging from the Lord,” and caused him to ask the question, “What must America do to be blessed by God?”

Claunch noted several instances in the Bible when God chose to bless His children individually, based solely on His mercy. But when one studies the Bible further, he said, there are a “multitude of times” where blessings are attached to conditions. He noted 2 Chronicles 7:14 in which God promises blessing to His people only if they will “humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways.” In order to be blessed by God, America must repent, he said.

Claunch referred to Proverbs 1:20-33, in which the voice of Wisdom cries out that she will mock and laugh at those who reject the way of righteousness, and will not heed the cries of those who are suffering the consequences of their own sins. The same warning applies to America today, said Claunch. “I am convinced that this subject is so important, and if America does not respond — if America does not do this — then I believe the further withdrawal of the favor and blessing of God from our nation is a virtual certainty.

“I cringe to think what God might have to allow for America to realize that she has lost the favor of God, and to bring America to fall upon her knees in repentance before him,” he added.

It is in three main areas from which Claunch believes America must repent — areas where it has failed the most.

The first and foremost, he believes is America’s legalized practice of abortion. Noting Proverbs 6:16-17, Claunch reiterated God’s hatred for the shedding of innocent blood. Not only has this practice affected babies in the very first weeks of their life, but the practice has spread to the killing of full-term children through partial birth abortion. Every day of it is a horror, Claunch said.

“Every weekday — every Monday through Friday is a September 11 for the unborn babies of America,” he said. “America is killing more than 5,000 babies every weekday all year long. God desires — no, God demands — repentance from all the individuals who are guilty of taking the lives of these children.”

The pastor said that as the church ministers to those who have been involved in abortion, while they should love them with the love of Christ, they should not simply allow them to make excuses for themselves before God. They should be made aware that the only way to move them out of their sin and into the righteousness of Christ is through repentance.

Secondly, Claunch noted the sexual perversion from which America must repent. He said this country is in the throes of a sexual crisis, which is standing on the precipice of total acceptance of the most perverted of lifestyles. Noting the government’s increasing acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle, the acceptance and support of big business, as well as the acceptance of some churches, Claunch said America was in direct rebellion to God. Reading from both Leviticus 18 in the Old Testament and I Corinthians 6 in the New Testament, the pastor said finally, “how much more plainly can the Word of God be spoken to us?”

Homosexual perversion is not the only sexual deviance facing the nation, however. Claunch noted a survey that reported that one out of every three internet users visit pornographic sites. “I don’t know if it’s true. I hope it’s not true,” he said. Whether or not the statistic holds, addiction to pornography on the Internet has even taken hold of ministers in its temptation, he added.

Finally, America is faced with a spiritual perversion from which it must also repent. The pastor recently heard of a survey that asked teenage girls what interested them most. “I sat smugly and said, ‘I know that. It’s boys,'” he recalled. He found out he was decidedly wrong. The majority of teenage girls answered that witchcraft interested them most. The fastest growing religion among teenagers is Wicca (the religion of witchcraft).

One website which supported teenage witchcraft said that one reason interest in such religion has risen was partly due to such television shows as, “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer,” and “Charmed.” Though none of them portray witchcraft as it truly is, the website read, they at least created interest. Claunch also mentioned the recent Harry Potter phenomenon as another example of this trend.

“No matter how well-written or how well-produced or how entertaining they may be found, they teach children that witchcraft and sorcery are normal, okay kinds of things,” he said, and reading from Deuteronomy 18, “all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord.”

The only way America will come to repentance is if ministers of God lead the people of God to let repentance begin in the house of God, said Claunch. If this happens in America, he said, Proverbs 1 promises that she will rest securely in God.

“When we so lead our people, then we will put feet to our song and our prayer, ‘God bless America,'” he said.

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