Shaking My Head

Texting has some great–and some not so great–shorthand. For the most part, these are abbreviations. You know like, IMHO, that is, “in my humble opinion.” Or, BTW, which is “by the way,” but my favorite is SMH, shorthand for “shaking my head.”

It’s a way of saying that what you have seen or heard is unbelievable.

The events over Mardi Gras with Hope Church of Metairie, LA, leave me SMH.

Here’s the way it went:

Hope Church of Metaire and its pastor, Matt Tipton, had a great idea–they would give out free water along the parade routes for Mardi Gras. They purchased 5,000 bottles of water to give to thirsty parade goers–free of charge. All the recipients had to do was take the bottle and enjoy the water. The church also had an logo with the church name and web address on the bottle. Apart from where the bottle came from, there was not even a religious message involved.

Unfortunately, the church could not finish the distribution. Members of the church were approached by plain clothes Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Officers who told them that their distribution of free bottles of water would have to cease because the church did not have a vendor’s license. They were actually cited for failing to secure an occupational license and for failure to register for a sales tax. Makes me want to ask: “say what?” It also leaves me SMH.

Sounds to me as if it’s a hoax. Surely, this can’t be true, but sadly it is.

For his part, pastor Tipton is quite contrite. The church has apologized to Jefferson Parish authorities. They wanted the authorities to know that they were simply trying to help and didn’t know that they were breaking any rules. They were just trying to show their love for the city “and to serve the city.”

Actually, what they tried to do is not a novel or unique idea. It comes directly from the pages of the New Testament.

In a passage of Scripture that talks about true discipleship, Jesus encouraged His followers to care about the least and the lost of the world. After talking about the importance of taking up the cross, Jesus said that “whoever gives just a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple–I assure you: He will never lose his reward!” (Matthew 10:42).

It may be against the rules, but it really is a great idea. Maybe this unique idea will catch on. Maybe more people will really try to show the love of God to others. Maybe they will give “just a cup of cold water” in the name of Jesus.

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6 Comments


  1. Bethellen
    Feb 28, 2012

    Wow! When I read about the water distribution earlier, I thought … what a great ministry. Now, like you I am SMH! So sad really!


  2. Bob Donald
    Feb 28, 2012

    **SMH**Someone had to complain………


  3. Ed Matthew
    Feb 28, 2012

    Yep. That also is a two way street. With people tampering with candy, pill bottles, etc. There likely is a reason for knowing how to trace a water/food supply. Glad to see the comments.


  4. Elizabeth
    Feb 29, 2012

    I think the church should sue for discrimination! I know for a fact that teenagers were in bars and teenagers walked past cops drinking beer! With that said if they gonna ticket one then ticket all- its time us Christians take a stand.


  5. Matt Tipton
    Mar 06, 2012

    Here is our story. Our hope is that this story will be more about how to live graciously in the city, FOR THE CITY… http://bit.ly/zI5HLq

    Thanks for blogging about us.


    • Waylon
      Mar 08, 2012

      Matt,
      Thanks for clarifying the situation and for your great vision for reaching the city. I really appreciate that you are seeking to be a positive force for the Gospel.
      May God bless you and your efforts.

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Verse of the Day

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. — James 3:17-18 (NIV)