Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reflections from the 2011 S.B.C. in Phoenix

It has been a week since returning from this year's Southern Baptist Convention and Pastor's Conference in Phoenix. I am very encouraged in regards to our Convention and the focus on planting churches and taking the gospel to the nations.

New IMB President Tom Elliff was right when he said that the whole convention had led to a commitment to get involved in touching one of the 3800 unengaged people groups that have yet to hear the gospel of Christ.

It is always good to be reaquainted with preacher friends from all over the country. One hi light was meeting the cast of Courageous coming out September 30. It is going to be huge.

As in the past few years, the dress code was very casual with President Bryant Wright sporting a golf shirt through the entire convention. He did a fine job of handling the business, and used appropriate humor to lighten any tenseness.

One thing I appreciated was that some of the speakers did wear suit and tie, just as they always have. That is where I wish to make a point. Let's just be who we are and not think we have to fit in someone else's mold. If we are casual on Sunday morning in our home church amen. If we are in a suit amen. Just be who you are in Christ.

In regards to the Pastor's Conference I was blessed tremendously. The music was spirit led and each preacher I heard spoke to my heart. With somewhere around 200,000.00 coming in through the offering , not to cover expenses, but to have a Bible translated into two languages who have never had the Bible is wonderful.

One bit of sorrow I have is that for many years us older pastors have prayed that young preachers would attend. When Vance Pitman scheduled the speakers this year it seemed he became a target for many and there seemed to be a great assault by some of us seasoned preachers. I pray as I get older, that criticism and sarcasm will not be weapons I use to hurt another brother in Christ.

While attendance was down, probably due to the economy and the location, there were more young preachers there with their wives and family. If the next generation is going to lead, we need to support them and encourage them as they do so. The next generation, like you and me, who are preaching the Bible and the Gospel of Christ. That is what I heard from each of the men invited to preach.

I am grateful to pastor a S.B.C. church and one that is growing to have a heart for the nations.
This year's convention has fueled that flame.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Across the Street

It is hard to believe that we are now in June. The rainy spring shot us into 90 degree humid weather. Summer is upon us ready or not.

I used to have some crazy thought that if I were ever a pastor, I could schedule vacation whenever I wanted and have pick of the prime weeks. The truth is, that during the summer, it becomes one of the busiest periods of the year in the life of the local church. Camps, Mission Trips, VBS. There are plenty of places to serve this summer. These are exciting times to be part of the First Family with the privilege of serving in a wonderful community like Camden.

If the Lord wills, we are excited to take our first beach vacation later in the summer with the entire family, grand son and all. I remember those beach vacations as a boy and they are things I hope our family continues to repeat. Our kids were blessed to go on trips with my parents and I hope we can do it as our family grows.

One memory I have is the fact they we normally stayed across the street from the beach. We could see the ocean, but were just across the street. There were reasons that I now realize such as cost, and that my parents were loyal to clean places that had good managers. You could count on it being as advertised.

As we serve this summer by doing things here and going to other places, let us be sure that we go across the street in our neighborhoods and streets and share the hope of Christ with those closest to us, even across the street!

Until He comes...we will go!