Recorded With Lyrics
5 “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
God allows bad stuff and difficult circumstances to happen to us in order to teach us faith and perseverance. “Remain under,” is the key. Remain under pressure. We dream of getting out from under the pressure – God does not want us to do this. “Endurance is the funnel through which all Christian characterr flows.” This is a message about not giving up. “Don’t quit.”
9 “Make every effort to come to me soon; 10 for Demas, having loved this present [a]world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescenshas gone to [b]Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 12 But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.”
13 “The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.”
14 “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works…”
17 “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.”
This is a brief review of the annual Southern Baptist Pastor’s Conference and Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), with several detailed articles to follow. The theme was Awaken America, Reach The World. Agree, Unite, Pray. The Pastor’s Conference featured music from local Christian choirs and ensembles, and from the well known contemporary Christian group “Passion.” Some of the main points touched on were the fact that there are less Southern Baptist churches and less baptisms each year. (Southern Baptists are still the largest Protestant Denomination in America with over 46,000 churches, but we are going backwards). The good news is that there are more church plants than ever. The need for unity and evangelism were stressed, with prayer as the foundation. Simplicity was asserted, realizing that the Holy Spirit, and NOT programs, is the key to success with the Lord. A multifaceted strategy to reach millennials and diverse groups of ethnics is of great importance, especially since one in five Southern Baptists is from a minority ethnic group! Speakers emphasized the fact that we need to reach the lost, and not quibble over minor theological differences.
The atmosphere of the convention was very peaceful. St. Louis is a bastion of conservatism, featuring well over 40,000 Boy Scouts in the area, many advancing to Eagle Scout, and performing good works in the community. There were absolutely no picketers or protesters present, which was a pleasant surprise. One gentleman with a megaphone was speaking to the Southern Baptist pastors as they entered the conference, and challenging them to lead their congregations in evangelism and soul winning. I appreciated his words. He was spot on.
A summary of the business at hand featured a large variety of subjects. The resolutions that were brought forth from the executive committee were passed, usually by unanimous votes following discussion and/or amendment(s). The resolutions involved the LGBT community, the Confederate Flag, and several other topics- details will be shared in future entries. Tremendous grace was displayed when the new SBC president was elected. Three candidates originally contested for this office, and the final two, Steve Gaines of Belleview Baptist Church in Tennessee and J.D. Greer of Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina, were virtually tied without a clear winner. Grace won the day; details to follow.
“Grace Wins Every Time” (over guilt) according to the lyrics. Matthew uses Biblical illustrations: The Prodigal Son, The Woman At The Well, the Blind Man And The Beggar, and The Thief On The Cross. He then refers to today’s examples: The lost out on the street, the worst part of you and me, and a world that is lost. The prerequisites for us to benefit from God’s grace are 1)Faith (Without faith it is impossible to please God) and 2)Repentance (Without which we cannot be saved: Luke 13:3,5). The lyrics of today’s contemporary music often do not emphasize repentance but praise the Lord the Bible does! Blessings, Pastor Steve