Heroes honored for service; 53 profess faith
    September 4 2015 by Alex Sibley, SWBTS Communications

    First Baptist Church of Bossier City, La., hosted “Honor our Heroes Sunday,” a special day devoted to doing just that: honoring the first responders and military service personnel in and around the city.
     
    The church formally invited all police officers, firefighters and paramedics from the city, as well as individuals in active military service, particularly those stationed at nearby Barksdale Air Force Base. Hundreds accepted the invitation, and roughly 5,000 people attended the church’s two worship services that day, which featured a gospel presentation and a live interview with Taya Kyle, wife of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, Aug. 30. By the end of the event, 53 people had prayed to receive Christ.

     
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    First Baptist Church of Bossier City, La., hosted “Honor our Heroes Sunday,” a special day devoted to ministering to and serving first responders and military servicemen in and around the city, Aug. 30.

    Senior pastor Brad Jurkovich, who completed his doctor of ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2013, says the current cultural climate prompted the church to host the event. With nationally covered police shootings to the on-duty deaths of three Louisiana officers in the last month alone, Jurkovich saw the need to set aside a day to honor local first responders and military service personnel.
     
    “We just wanted to be a blessing to them. That was our first goal,” he said. “Second, we wanted to share the gospel with as many people as we could.”
     
    The church offered two worship services instead of its usual one offered each Sunday. The church also held a free breakfast to those who attended the first service and a free lunch to those who attended the second.
     
    “The expectation was that our church would really demonstrate the serving passion of Christ to others,” Jurkovich said. “You’ve got these military and first responders that, all the time, they’re serving,” and the church decided to say, “No, we want to serve you.”
     
    Hundreds of service personnel and first responders attended the services, including the police chief, fire chief, and the new four-star general at Barksdale and his staff. The mayor of Bossier also attended, as did the mayor of Shreveport.
     
    The two worship services featured two primary activities: a gospel presentation from Romans 5:8 and a 25-minute interview with Kyle, wife of the late U.S. Navy SEAL sniper, whose life was featured in the movie “American Sniper.” During the interview, which was conducted on the platform by Jurkovich, Kyle shared about her husband, their life together, and the struggles she and her family have experienced in the two years since his death.

     
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    Pastor Brad Jurkovich interviewed Taya Kyle, wife of the late U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, Aug. 30.

    When asked how she has been able to persevere through such difficult circumstances, Kyle said she has relied on her faith in the Lord. She explained that, had she known from the beginning that her husband would go through four tours in the Middle East and that he would be murdered upon his return home, she may not have been able to handle it. “But,” she continued, “He prepares you for things, and my faith is what’s getting me through.”
     
    Jurkovich noted, “When you have someone whom people across the board are [asking], ‘How are they getting through all of this?’ and she flat-out says, ‘It’s because of my faith in the living God,’ God starts to work on a heart through that.”
     
    He added, “You follow that up with, ‘Let me tell you what God did. He didn’t just talk about His love; He demonstrated it.’ And I said to them, ‘I’m looking at an audience where many of you, [when] you see a need, your initial response is to do something about it and to save [those in trouble]. That’s what God did for you. He didn’t just sit on the sideline; He did something for us. And He gives us a choice to receive Him or reject Him.”
     
    At the conclusion of his sermon, Jurkovich extended an invitation. The two services combined saw 53 people respond by placing their faith in Christ.
     
    “The phrase that I kept hearing as people left was, ‘I didn’t realize how badly I needed that kind of day of appreciation, affirmation and spiritual nourishment,’” Jurkovich said. “It was very humbling to be around all of that.”
     
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Alex Sibley is a writer for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.)

    9/4/2015 11:37:13 AM by Alex Sibley, SWBTS Communications | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Chris Kyle, FBC Bossier City, honor our heroes




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