Every year when I go to the SBC Annual meeting, I come home and report to our body, then I bring a short message that resonates in my heart from the week’s meeting. Sometimes it is a passage that was preached, or a topic / issue. This year it was an Old Testament passage resonating in my head while I ruminated on the issues and joys before us.
You can go to our FACEBOOK page if you want the full message at First Baptist Ferguson. I will just include here the text of the message part of my report. Yes, I reported on the Sexual Abuse Task Force, and the new Unity Initiative that is beginning. But I also reported record years of giving and ministry to and from the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. To the ends of the earth is what we do as Great Commission Baptists.
But we are facing a critical moment in the future and so the words of Deuteronomy 30:11-20 were ringing through my head – “I place before Life and Death, Blessing and Curses, and I tell you to CHOOSE LIFE”
Here is my message:
So… we are on the ground in Orange County at John Wayne International, and the pilot comes on in that “pilot voice” and says, “well folks, we are going to take off hard and fast, we are going to climb quickly, but don’t worry, we are going to level off at 30,000 feet, and then we are going to back the speed off a little and settle in slower.”
Well, I’m thinking, “I’m all for leveling off, because I don’t want to end up in outer space, but IF you CAN fly faster, do it. We are 15 minutes late taking off, so get it! What are you worried about, getting pulled over?” “We are late, so let’s go. I know YOU don’t have to be there, you are just flying, but WE got places to be. Are you worried that an air force cop is going to pull you over in his F-22?”
Can’t you see him pulling out from behind a cloud, lights flashing; and your American Pilot is like, “aww man…” and they pull him over, hast to land in a cornfield in Iowa, and it messes up everything, kills the schedule. So, yeah, “we got to back it off, might get a ticket”
I’m also mindful today that it is Juneteenth – President Lincoln on January 1, 1863, made an executive order, that all persons held as slaves (within the rebellious areas) are and henceforward shall be free – But people were still fighting the battle, and some parts of the south didn’t even get notice. But it wasn’t until 17 months later on June 19th, 1865, that General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston, Texas and declared:
“the people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the Unity States, all slaves are free…
Our job is to proclaim freedom. That’s why Jesus came, that’s why he died and rose again.
Sadly, while we addressed the revelation of sexual abuse and continued efforts to address the need for unity and reconciliation in ethnic disparity in society and the church, there was still a minority that want to decry those efforts. And the question comes, “why are some people opposed to dealing with abuse and racial injustice, why?”
And my response is “Why? Why? The Answer to ‘why?’ is NOT hard to determine, but the bigger question is HOW can this BE among God’s people?”
Failure to love and care for people is not the WAY of the people of God
I John 3:10-16 is very clear. This is how we know what love is, Jesus laid down his life. It teaches that we know who the followers of Christ are. If we are born from above, we will love. If we don’t love, we either don’t know Jesus or we are betraying that knowledge. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 says that we are to be purveyors of Reconciliation.
So, I’m not going to preach a long message, but look with me at an Old Testament message from Moses at the end of his ministry.
Deuteronomy 30:11–20 (CSB) — 11“This command that I give you today is certainly not too difficult or beyond your reach. 12It is not in heaven so that you have to ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven, get it for us, and proclaim it to us so that we may follow it?’ 13And it is not across the sea so that you have to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea, get it for us, and proclaim it to us so that we may follow it?’ 14But the message is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may follow it. 15See, today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16For I am commanding you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and multiply, and the Lord your God may bless you in the land you are entering to possess. 17But if your heart turns away and you do not listen and you are led astray to bow in worship to other gods and serve them, 18I tell you today that you will certainly perish and will not prolong your days in the land you are entering to possess across the Jordan. 19I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20love the Lord your God, obey him, and remain faithful to him. For he is your life, and he will prolong your days as you live in the land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Just an outline, it’s so clear that I don’t have the time nor the need to break it down.
So, as we close write these points down: The Way to Blessing, the Commands of God:
It Is Not CONCEALED v16
It’s not hidden or hard to understand
Not difficult… not beyond your reach
This is NOT advanced stuff… this is Kindergarten stuff
It is CLOSE… you can say it, it’s right in your mouth, I don’t have to teach you, I don’t have to give it to you, just remind you.
It is in your heart… it is part of our DNA as the people of God
It is a COMMAND
The Hebrew word is tsavah = to lay a charge upon, command, order, appoint
This is what God is laying on us, FBCF, Great Commission Baptists
It is CLEAR
Love God – our love for God drives our actions for him, or they will not continue
Walk In His Ways – that’s the Hebrew word halak = to go, come, accompany, – his ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts, God is not waiting for us to tell him where we are going – God is GOING and he wants us to accompany HIM.
Keep his commands – keep – means we are to observe and act according to what he says. We must allow his commands to direct our steps
Proverbs 6:23 (CSB) — 23For a command is a lamp, teaching is a light, and corrective discipline is the way to life.
So, it is not concealed, it is a clear command, but then notice
It is CONDITIONAL
So that – if you then you… if you then I … this is conditional God is wanting to lead us somewhere, but we have to maintain the conditions. Oh but IF we love God and walk in his ways, and keep his commands… then we…
May live … chayah = live, alive, come alive – HIS WAYS ARE LIFE – 1 John 5:3 says that his ways are NOT a burden – no he is saying this is LIFE – this is a way for the person, the church, a convention to have LIFE
And Multiply – Hello Church growth experts – we don’t so much to have to run all over, looking for it. It’s right here, it’s in your mouth, in your heart, so it’s in your head – Love God, Walk in his Ways, Keep his Commands, and you will be alive, and then rabah = abundance, become many, enlarge, multiply – and then…
The Lord will bless you in the land –
But then notice, this is Two-Way Conditional promise.
If your Heart Turns away – i.e. if you love yourself, love your preferences, love your style instead of God’s ways – yes even Baptists have idols
(if) you do not Listen – oh yes you heard, but did you LISTEN – shama = give earnest hearing
If you are led astray to worship other gods – oh so many things we worship instead of God – styles, traditions, politicians, whatever you call it… there is only ONE to worship
If … Then v18
You will certainly perish, and will not prolong your days in the land
The Call / The Choice v19
I call heaven and earth as witness… I have set before you
Life and death
Blessing and curses
This is Life and Blessing
Or Death and Curses
God isn’t wanting to argue with us, he’s just offering us a choice – what do you want in? But I’m urging you,
Choose LIFE – LIVE – this is a generational offer, you and your children
The choice is always there
And we might want to stop right there but what kind of song would that be?
The Coda –
Doug, come to the Piano for me – Doug knows what a Coda is. A “Coda” in Music, is the concluding passage or movement, typically forms an additional theme or structure – It’s like the vamp, the tag, the outro.
So, in the Beatles song, “Hey Jude”, The song just has 3 basic chords, in the key of F. Doug play and “F”, that’s the Tonic – Home
And then a “C” – that’s the Dominant, the V
And now a “Bb” – that’s the Sub-Dominat, the IV
That’s most of the Song.
Don’t make it (C)Bad, Take a (Bb)Sad song
And make it (F)Better. Re-(Bb)member to
Let her into your (F)heart, And you can (C)start to
Make it (F) Better
And the song is 3 minutes long verses and chorus
Basically F, C, Bb – I – V – IV – with some walking chords between in the chorus.
But then comes the CODA – that Circle with a Cross in the Middle (oh I could preach that for a minute.
Sometimes the Coda is a short ending tag, a slight variation with something added to the structure. But in “Hey Jude” Paul Plays the I (F)… and then he plays a bVII (Eb) followed by the IV(Bb) and he goes on for 4 minutes
Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na
Na, Na, Na, Na – Hey Jude
Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na
Na, Na, Na, Na – Hey Jude
And so here is his Coda – Moses says
Love the Lord your God, Obey Him, Remain Faithful To Him…
Ok, we know these chords…
“hey Jude, don’t make it bad, take a sad song, and make it better… Remember to let her under your skin, then you begin to make it … Better … Better… Better… Better… Better
Love the Lord your God, Obey Him, Remain Faithful to Him
Here is where the Coda Changes to the bVII
For He is your LIFE
He will prolong your days
As you live in the Land
Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na
Na, Na, Na, Na –
He is your life
He will prolong your days
He will give you life in the land
This is True for the SBC
This is True for First Ferguson
This is true for the people who live in your House too
There is A CHOICE for us… Life and Blessing, or Death and Curses … HE IS YOUR LIFE… CHOOSE Will he be Your Life?
Every year after I attend the SBC Annual Meeting I bring a message reporting what we are doing in the Southern Baptist Convention, based on the inspiration of the messages I heard, and the reports about our primary ministries.
Here is my message, it’s sort of long, but maybe NOT as controversial as you might think.
Convention Inspiration 2021
Matthew 28:18-20; Revelation 7:9
From Commission to Culmination
IN December of 1975, two weeks before my 11th, birthday God called me to preach. I heard it in my heart as clear as can be. But I waited. I didn’t tell anyone, not because I didn’t want to respond, not because I wasn’t sure, but because my dad was called to preach when he was 11 and I had heard that all my life, and when I heard that voice, I waited because I wanted to be 11. So, I waited two weeks and I felt guilty for two weeks because I wanted to be 11.,,
That call has shaped my life. It has taken me to 4 continents, it has taken me to concerts, and preaching engagements, revivals, church staff positions. But it has also had me share my faith one on one with people on planes, and over lunch, and on street corners, in coffee shops. That call was to preach the Gospel. But that is NOT the first call for the Christian. The first call of a Christian is to share their faith, meet Jesus, share Jesus. It will be different for different people, but it is still an expectation.
What then is the Commission of the Church and When is the Culmination of that Mission
Mission should be measurable and attainable, so what is our mission and how do we know how we are doing and when we are finished?
The Southern Baptist Convention is 175 Years old. We didn’t start for ALL the right reasons. We split from Northern Baptists primarily over slavery. We have confessed that sin as a convention. But our focus has always been on people meeting Jesus.
What was Our Commission? – Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8
Read Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8
Why Does Jesus have the Right to Commission Us? 28:18
Because he has the Authority. All the Authority has been given to him.
Why? Because Philippians 2 tells us he emptied himself of glory, took up the nature of a servant, was obedient to death on the cross. So that passage says
Philippians 2:9–10 (CSB)
9For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— in heaven and on earth and under the earth—
Ephesians 1:20–22 (CSB)
20He exercised this power in Christ by raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens—21far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22And he subjected everything under his feet and appointed him as head over everything for the church,
The Father has given EVERYTHING to the Son. The Spirit is pointing everyone TO the Son. It is ALL his … and he says;
– We are commissioned because he is the Boss. Because it is HIS Kingdom, not OUR Kingdom. It is his plan not our plan.
Because HE HAS ALL AUTHORITY. And Dr. Tony Evans preached from this passage and several speakers referred to it. Why because it is where we start. It is why we are here. It is why he left us on earth. He hasn’t left us here because he needs 2000 years to get Heaven Ready. He can SPEAK IT READY. But he left us here because he has a commission for us. Tony Evans reminded us that he has Authorityekousia = power in legitimate hands – authorized authority.
So, the authority IS his, legitimized by Father’s Will, and Spirit’s Power, but by HIS Obedience and Faithfulness to the Cross.
Evans called that process a transformation of worldviews
Certainly, before we can disciple people from being lovers of self into being lovers of God, we have to lead them to Christ through Evangelism. But discipling is copying the Master. But not just discipling THE ONES WE LIKE or the ones like us…
OF the Nations – ethnos
That’s the Kingdom work that Evans has been focusing on all of his books recently, Kingdom People, transformation of the people, the structures, the systems. Yes, we want to see worlds change, but that happens as we change people, and people engage with structures and systems and we change systems – discipling the nations
And right here we need to be careful. Because the question I asked myself in my notes was, “how can we do this without being trapped by Politics?” and I believe the answer is in WHOM we seek to glorify and WHY. It’s not about the Church being Political. It’s about the People of God sharing Jesus, Engaging in Society, Transforming Systems, with the Good News that though we are sinners, there is transformation and LIFE in Jesus Christ.
Our hope is NOT in ANY Political System – One speaker this week reminded us that Christ is “not riding any donkeys or elephants.”
And our Outgoing President J.D. Greer, Pastor of The Summit Church Durham, happens to be sending Pastor to our Children now on the Mission Field, he said, when the Church gets into bed with Politics it always gets pregnant and the offspring never looks like our Heavenly Father”
But we are to Go and Disciple the Nations
How? By going to where they are!
Dr. Evans had been using a football game as a metaphor and said there three teams in every conflict, home, away, and the kingdom representative, the referees. But he said, that the offense gets into the Huddle … but no one came to watch the Huddle. You don’t MIND the Huddle, but you came to watch them break the Huddle and play the game. The question is DID THEY SCORE? Or Did they Stop them? So, we have to GO. And honestly if you go to the book of Acts, they had been commissioned, and they had been given clear instructions. And the instructions weren’t to build a Huge Jerusalem Church. It was to GO, empowered, to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the Church.
And so, what happened?
Before Saul became Paul. Before he became the great Preacher of the Gospel, I think you could say he became the greatest SENDER of the Gospel. Because there he is at the stoning of the deacon Stephen. And in the CHAOS of Persecution, the Church is forced to DO what they were called to.
Go – Baptist, Teach to Observe
Baptizing them, who, the Nations
Baptism is how we identify with Christ and with the Church
And Tony Evans said that our Identity as a Christian is MORE than any other identifier we have. He said God went to SAVE the NATIONS and commissioned us to do that. He says God is NOT Colorblind. Still in Heaven they were every race, tribe, color, and tongue – God is NOT Color Blind, but he is also not Blinded by Color.
Baptizing the Nations in the name of Father, Son, and Spirit
Teaching Them (the nations) to OBSERVE
It is NOT in the Knowing but in the Doing that we truly identify AS Christians. Doing doesn’t MAKE us Christians, but it DOES Identify us as Christians.
It’s about Transformation. Our job is to evangelize but to share the accountability to BE Like Christ. And if WE will Observe all that he is Commanded … THEN as Kingdom People, we can see Kingdom Impact in the World.
Tony Evans said, we can’t expect God to “Skip the church house, to fix the White House”
And then as Evans closed, he reminded us that the I am with you always – literally I even I am with you always to the end of the age … he was NOT talking about salvation, he was talking about how he is WITH us, accompanies us. And that God only Accompanies us, is with us as we are with HIM. As we are doing what we’ve been told to do, THEN he is WITH Us.
As we are Kingdom people, living with Kingdom Authority, For Kingdom Glory … THEN he is with us. In John 2:21-25 Jesus preached and many believe in his name … Jesus, however would not entrust himself to them,
There is and can be a time, when we believe, have faith, but we are on our own Agenda and he is not WITH us.
2. Why Is Our Commission? – Acts 1:3-8
If Jesus only has 40 days on earth what is going to focus on? What is mostimportant. He taught them about the Kingdom of God
The kingdom of God NOW is in our hearts surrendered to God. The Kingdom of God to COME is the Eternal Rule of God over all things – Heart, Soul, Mind, Strength, in a Unified Universe of Surrendered Creation and Creature. And he had spent 40 days teaching them about the Kingdom of God.
And the commands them NOT TO LEAVE Jerusalem but to WAIT for the Father’s promise … What was the promise? John 14 don’t let your hearts be troubled… believe in me… I am going to prepare a place for you… I will come again and take you to myself… but then he says in v16, I will ask the Father, and he will give you another counselor… I will not leave you as orphans… the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send me my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you. Peace I leave with you… don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful and in John 15:25 he continues, he will testify about me. You also will testify… chapter 16 I came from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father… I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.
So, he has told them he is leaving. Now the time is here. He is leaving. He has also promised them that he will return. But In the Meantime, we have a Person, we have Power, and we have a Purpose. Oh wow that sounds like a sermon doesn’t it.
The Person we have is the representative of Jesus Christ, the Person, 3rd Person of the Trinity, The Holy Spirit. He is NOT the Father, He is NOT the Son, He is the Spirit, and He is GOD! His purpose is to teach us, to convict us, he will encourage us, and he will empower us.
The Power – Jesus says he is leaving. We are going to be wondering what to do. But peace comes in realizing that when Jesus left, he was sending all the power we need. There is power in knowledge. There is power in a message, there is power in purpose.
I have been running 3-4 times a week since I started focusing on running, back in August. It’s been a different thing for me. It has stretched my endurance, my perseverance. There is a trainer that I have been using via video, Tommy Rivers Puzey. And he will be ramping things up and he often says, “come on, you can do anything for a minute”. And so, we would press on and push forward at this new rate, for a minute. We can make it for a minute. And by breaking it down, my endurance increases. What the training is doing is increasing my power, but also increasing my mental, and even spiritual power to continue.
So, Peter said, to the Lord, a day is “like 1000 years.” So, a day is 24 hours right. So, if 1000 years is a day, then 41 years is an hour. So, I’m going to live to 100 at least. That would simply be living 2 ½ HOURS. And if 41 years is an hour then 8 months is a minute, and 4 days is a second. Tommy Rivs says, “you can do anything for a minute”
And Jesus said, “for a little while you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” If your whole life is TROUBLE – it’s just a couple of hours. But in those HOURS – we can make it because we have the Power of the Holy Spirit.
But IN THOSE HOURS … let’s focus on the RIGHT THINGS
The Purpose – I’m giving you the Holy Spirit to work on the KINGDOM. Now there in Acts 1 the disciples are trying to get the verbiage right. And He has just again promised them that they would be BAPTIZED with the Holy Spirit with Power for the Purpose, IN A FEW DAYS … and the disciples ask, Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?
Oh my they got the word right, but not the concept. We ARE Kingdom People in Christ Jesus, but it’s NOT that kind of Kingdom. Some of us step into the voting booth trying to bring the Kingdom and that’s NOT the place. OH YES. THAT Kingdom is Coming. And that Promise will be fulfilled, but Jesus isn’t asking for our help with THAT Kingdom, but he DOES want to USE us in the Advancement of the Kingdom of God here on earth IN the Heart of All who Would Believe.
And Jesus gently answers their question by saying, it’s not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority …
… BUT you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
So, if that’s our Commission, WHEN will we know we are finished?
3. When Is the Culmination? – Revelation 7:9
Until we get to Heaven and see Revelation 5:9 and 7:9 become a reality, we have work to do.
What does that look like?
Revelation 7:9 (CSB)
9After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands.
This is the vision that Great Commission Baptists are Committed to. Yes, we are still the Southern Baptist Convention. We are not all “southern”, but we are all Great Commission Baptists. We adopted this moniker 10 years ago as a way to refer to us. That is our Mission, that is our Focus, to fulfill the great commission. And we put our money where our mission is.
SBC Budget 2021/22 – $190,000,000.
We can do that because we are 48,000 churches cooperating together for the Great Commission. Some might expect that to be a bloating of facilitation and administration, but that’s the beautify of the SBC.
Of the $190Million only 2.99% is spent on Facilitating Ministries, that is the Executive Committee which operates for the SBC between Annual Meetings, and the overall Operations of the SBC.
1.65% is spent on the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission which works with Culture and Engagement of Issues. It assists churches in moral and ethical issues, engagement and education. They work with faith-based adoption issues, human rights issues, and religious liberty engagement.
22% is spent on our 6 Seminaries, training the next generation of Pastors and Staff.
Then 73% of our Budget is Spent on World MissionsMinistries!
That includes $43,000,000 on the North American Mission Board. The North American Mission Board is focused in the USA and Canada in Compassion Ministry, Evangelism, Church Planting, and Chaplains (Hospitals and Military)
The IMB and NAMB work together on www.sendrelief.org When there is a tragedy worldwide, if you want to give to a specific need, go to send relief. You can give directly to them and know that in addition to meeting needs they will share the gospel. You can also know that they will work WITH Salvation Army and many others on the field to make the most of the opportunity, not compete.
The NAMB is focused heavily on Church Planting and Replanting of existing churches struggling and ready to reengage. Church planting is the strategy to spread the gospel, respond to brokenness, and bring spiritual, emotional, economic and social healing.
Look at this.
Notice the church plants in 2010.
Now SINCE 2011, look at this.
In 2020 we have truly LIT up the Continent with the gospel. 7,300 churches planted in 10 years. 80% are still thriving after 4 years. 18% of the baptisms in our 48,000 churches come from church plants. And notice a little but exciting thing. Down there on the bottom right in Puerto Rico. 16 New Church Plants. No new churches had been planted there in 25 years previously. That’s Great Commission Baptists at Work. http://www.namb.net
Then our Biggest Focus on Revelation 7:9 is the International Mission Board. And we allocate $95.6 Million or 50% of our budget to the IMB, and that does NOT include the $159Million given to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, in spite of COVID, that was the 2nd largest Offering every. And with that investment, there are more than 3,500 missionaries and their 2500 children on the field right now. The world becomes more hostile to the Gospel daily and so they have to be creative and create jobs that allow them to work and connect overseas. Companies like www.kingdomgrowers.com in Forney Texas. I’m not a coffee drinker, but you can order online. Check it out. And you can buy plants that go overseas to farmers in need. The IMB is a Partner for the Gospel with Kingdom Growers so you get great Coffee and people learn about Jesus. I could go on and on. But what happens with that money and those missionaries. And with the thousands of short-term missionaries that partner?
Well, last year in spite of covid 422 new missionaries went to their fields. 18,000 local pastors received training. 127,000 received leadership and theological training. In Healthy Church Formation 35,000 groups are meeting intending to BECOME a church. 15,000 groups were just started with the intention of becoming a church. 18,380 New Churches were formed 57,888 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Generation churches are meeting with only 670 churches that have stopped meeting. Then the Big Winning Numbers. 769,494 people heard a Gospel Witness by our 3552 missionaries and partners. OF those 576,395 had an opportunity to respond to Christ. 144,322 became New Believers. One of those new believers was a young man who met our son and the went through the Gospel of John and He said, “I can’t believe what they did to Jesus”. He is a brother now. Then of those new believers 86,587 baptisms. You realize that is equal to nearly Two Mission Baptism for EACH of our Churches.
That brings us to ONE other Focus. $200,000 has been allocated for a new effort from our Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd.
We are Great Commission Baptist. The Great Commission Compels us to Go. Why? Because Matthew 25:46 says that without Christ, they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. What’s common, ETERNAL. What’s different is the address. If we want to take the Gospel to the Nations, leading to faith, baptizing for declaration, teaching to live according to the truth of the Kingdom, We have work to do.
So, we have been presented with Vision 2025 with 5 Initiatives. It was amended to include a 6th initiative.
Increase the total number of Missionaries by 500. That will account for 100 lost annually.
Add 5,000 new Church Plants taking us over 50,000 churches.
Calling Out the Call – each church taking their role in calling on students, adults even retirees or career change new Pastors and Staff Ministers.
Turn Around Current Reduction in Baptisms by focusing on children and students between the ages of 5 and 17. The numbers have dropped dramatically in the last 10 years
Increase % giving, and Numbers given to the CP to 500,000,000
Then from the Floor came a recommendation for an addition to this task, of these important things:
Prayerfully Endeavor to eliminate all incidents of sexual abuse, and racial discrimination, in our churches – those two atrocities’ damage people and damage the work of the church. We will seek to END their incidence, and end churches being silent when it happens. We must protect the next church after you put that pastor out. We have a responsibility to protect one another. And there is no place for hatred of any kind in the Church of Jesus Christ.
I read Francis Bacon – he said that what gives rise to Atheism is primarily 3 things, 1) divisions in religions. When we fight, the world doesn’t believe. 2) Scandal among the preachers of the gospel. 3) Profane Scoffing in Holy matters, which he says defaces the reverence for God. He then added a 4) learned times especially in peace and prosperity. When times are GOOD, and we are “smart”, we forget God.
We can combat Atheism, not by ARGUING truth, but by Living the Gospel we Speak of
David Jeremiah says “Preach the Gospel with Word, Picture the Gospel with Life, Practice the Gospel with Love.”
The Prayer is to engage the 331million Americans, and 7.9 Billion worldwide, with the Gospel.
But until we stand around the throne, we have work to do.
What does that mean for us? There is a Message for Everyone. Oh, you might say, “well, there are mostly white people around us.” If that’s TRUE. I would still say the word “mostly”. Reach the rest. But Revelation says, “every tribe and people”. Are there people you don’t reach out to because they are of a different “tribe” or a different “people”? “Oh they aren’t LIKE US”. Praise God … go get them! Different Tribe. Is there a place for Republicans here? How about Democrats? How about Independents? What about other Tribes? You name the divider do they need Jesus? Will we allow Jesus to be the only definer? Will we allow his WORD to be our only Teacher? We still have work to do.
And so, the Call for you and for me is to Go
Go To friends
…To hard places
…To near places
…To far places
Give to facilitate the work of others
Pray for the advancement of the gospel
Cooperate with others on the same mission
You may not be called to be a preacher, or a missionary
But you have a Commission to Share your faith, from home, across the street, into the hard places to the ends of the Earth.
Are you A Great Commission Baptist? I am, We are, There’s room for you.