The number 13 is the Rodney Dangerfield of numbers. It gets no respect. Adding insult to injury, 13 comes right after 12 which seems to get all the breaks.
Consider, there are 12 months in a year, 12 items in a dozen, Jacob had 12 sons, Israel had 12 tribes, Jesus had 12 disciples. Mathematicians consider 12 is a “sublime number,” a number that has a perfect number of divisors, and the sum of its divisors is also a perfect number. Nobody considers 13 a sublime number.
Twelve seems to get all the breaks. Poor 13. What does it get? It gets saddled with lots of superstition and a bad reputation. Friday the 13th is an unluckiest day on the calendar. Companies and manufacturers use ways of labeling that avoid the number 13. Hotels and tall buildings skip 13 when numbering floors. (Do folks on the 14th floor know they are really on the 13th? Does it bother them?) It’s considered unlucky to have 13 guests at a table. It’s said a hangman’s noose had 13 turns … anything less would not snap a neck. The fear of 13 is so bad it even has it’s own clinically recognized phobia (Triskaidekaphobia). Now how bad is that? Poor 13.
(The Aggies like the number 12, too! I wonder if Johnny "Football" Manziel would have won the Heisman Trophy if he'd worn number 13.)
So you might think I’m despairing about turning the page on the calendar that ends 2012 and begins 2013. Just the opposite is true! As I look ahead to 2013 I’m excited! I think it may well be looked back upon in the years ahead as one of the greatest years in UBA history.
Why am I so excited about 2013? Loving Houston. What is Loving Houston? Loving Houston is about doing good deeds while sharing the good news of the gospel. It is built upon the idea that while Jesus went about sharing the good news, he also went about doing good. In UBA, we want to mobilize churches to follow Jesus example. Working with Houston Mayor Annise Parker and some of her senior leadership team, we have identified four areas of the city and specific projects where the church can serve and bless our city. Working with such groups as Baptist Men, Disaster Relief, Habitat for Humanity, community development groups like Agape and Generation One, area churches and folks coming in for the Southern Baptist Convention, we hope to mobilize thousands of folks to make a demonstrable difference for eight days in four communities across our city (June 1-8).
The kick off to Loving Houston will be a city-wide worship service Sunday night, February 24th, at the Woodway Campus of Second Baptist Church. The following day we will host a day long training conference to help us prepare for Loving Houston. Mark it down on your calendar and plan to come. You’ll be so glad you did!
Information about Loving Houston will soon be available on a dedicated website. There you will be able to find about the project, the locations, and the volunteers needed. You will also be able to take a virtual prayer walk of the areas in the city where we will be working. You will find a downloadable thirty-day prayer guide which you, your Bible study class, your mission group or your church can use to pray for the city.
Undertaking a project of this size and scope won't be easy. In all likelihood, it will be the most significant project we've ever undertaken as an association. What it will do is glorify God, serve people in need and provide a wonderful opportunity to make the love of Christ real and tangible to people who need Him.
Please, set aside Sunday and Monday, February 24-25 for the Loving Houston Launch and some time during the week of June 1-8 to serve the Lord by working in the city.