Sign of the times

CJ-0123-P90-Signs-3CHOUSTON – Signs have popped up along local streets, highways and even very rural roads sporting a big gray “90” surrounded by a rounded black box.

And the goal is for neighbors, family and those who are just curious to stop for a moment and ask what they are all about.

“This year there are 90 days between New Years and Easter,” said Gary Permenter, executive director of the Chickasaw Baptist Association. “There are also 89 chapters in the four Gospels of the Bible.

“The signs are in the yards and on the businesses where people have agreed to study one of the chapters our to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John on a daily basis and pray in the weeks leading up to Easter,” said Permenter, who developed the study guide accompanying the signs and carried it to local pastors.

There are 19 Baptist churches in the Chickasaw Baptist Association and Permenter said 13 have agreed to the P90E study. Signs can be found in Houston, Okolona, Houlka, Woodland and even in Egypt and Atlanta.

“It’s sort of a take off on the P90X exercise program that guarantees you a sleek and trim body in just 90 days,” said Permenter. “I don’t make any guarantees, but I do know that those who sincerely seek the Lord find him.”

Permenter said the goal is spiritual discipline and prompting people to exercise their witness in the community.

“The daily readings also have particular theme,” Permenter added. “Sunday is unity in the body of Christ, Monday is love for God, Tuesday is vision and direction, Wednesday is your internal ministry and Thursday is your external ministry.”

Friday’s study deals with gratitude and generosity toward others. Saturday explores kindness and service.

The study also encourages participants to keep a journal.

“I have been very surprised to see how this has blossomed in Chickasaw County,” said Permenter. “It is work and it’s not always easy to read scripture and then apply it honestly to our lives. Just like sticking with physical exercise leads to a better physical body, sticking with spiritual exercise will lead to a better and stronger spiritual body.”

Permenter has been contacted by the Mississippi Baptist Convention about tailoring the study to a statewide Bible study program.

“Baptist are big on programs, but this is not about a program,” said Permenter. “This is about people exercising their spiritual power, gifts and seeking direction. Yes, I am excited about the initial success, but my real desire is to strike up a conversation between neighbors, family members and people in this community and watch where it goes.”

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