As this article is written on the seventh day of a brand new year, my heart is filled with both burden and optimism for the Kingdom work of a network of 3,000 churches known as the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The optimism is birthed in knowing the power and passion of a MIGHTY GOD. This optimism comes from knowing the character and tenacity of our pastors and people serving Him in Tennessee Baptist churches.
The burden we cannot and will not escape is twofold. First, the fact that in the shadow of all the church steeples from Mountain City to Memphis and from Ocoee to Owl City lives at least 3,655,000 souls headed to hell without Christ. These are people that God has called our churches to reach with the Gospel.
There is also the inescapable brutally honest assessment that we desperately need a spiritual awakening. In our travels across the state, it has been an unexpected joy to see pockets of real revival breaking out.
The mighty work of God is seldom hindered by the demons of hell as it is by the back-slidden citizens of heaven becoming self-centered and self-serving, arrogant and proud, divided and isolated. We must have an awakening resulting in a love for and submission to the Lord Jesus Christ. When we repent of where we are and move our hearts to where He is, our love for each other will be obviously real. By that, I mean we will go from the shallow posture of political back-slapping to a Christ-like position of a spirit of foot washing. We will desire to serve each other, not to be served by each other.
When this Pentecost-like unity becomes an ever present reality, our greatest desire will be to fulfill The Great Commission in obedience to our Lord by carrying out His Acts 1:8 strategy. We will want to reach our communities, our state, our nation, and our world TOGETHER.
We have never had a greater opportunity to do His great work in Tennessee than right now. The spiritual hunger on the part of our neighbors provides an open door. We have the hope for their hurts.
Join me in expecting an incredible move of God through His people in 2012. It is a joy to be on this journey with you.