That’s how long it’s been since Jeanne and I left a beloved pastorate to follow the clear call of God to serve our Tennessee Baptist Convention network of churches. That decision came only after an intense season of prayerfully seeking the Lord’s direction. It was an agonizing time discovering, as best we could, His direction. I had asked the Lord for two things: A clear call and a compelling reason. He provided both.
Tennessee state representatives took an important step toward protecting life last week when pro-life legislation passed in both the House and the Senate. The legislative approval makes a way for the bill to move on to Governor Bill Lee, who will probably sign it into law since it closely resembles the pro-life legislation he outlined in January of this year.
The bill includes a “laddered” approach, meaning it offers abortion restrictions from most restrictive to less restrictive. The intent is that if the courts strike down the most restrictive it will then hopefully allow the next tier. The restrictions are defined by the number of weeks into a pregnancy the fetus is. Continue reading “I Stand for Life, Now More Than Ever”→
Children have a way of getting to the heart of the matter, don’t they? Their questions come at you unfiltered and often at the most unexpected times. That’s the way my daughters were and that is the way my grandchildren are. Their forthright insight can often catch adults unprepared. Continue reading “Having an Answer for the ‘Why’ Question”→
There are two things about which we can be certain in these uncertain days: God is on His throne sovereignly ruling over the universe, and change seems to be a regular occurrence and comes quickly.
About a year ago I wrote about a change that few Southern Baptists would have ever anticipated. LifeWay Christian Resources sent ripples through denominational life when it announced the closing of its 170 LifeWay Christian Stores and shifting exclusively to online sales. Continue reading “More Change — but the Mission Remains”→
I loved being a pastor. It was my joy and honor to spend 34 years as a pastor in a local church, so obviously I have a special place in my heart for the men who faithfully labor behind the pulpit serving God and His people.
I never saw myself in any other vocational capacity this side of heaven other than in a pastorate serving churches. God had other plans and serving churches has taken a different look. For almost 10 years, it’s been my privilege to lead the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board to serve the 3,200 churches that are part of the network of churches that comprise the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Continue reading “Pastoral Leadership in the COVID-19 Storm”→
It was 1939. War gathered in the distance as German military might rumbled like a deadly thunderstorm rolling across the open plains. Brits looked toward the horizon and saw dread tumbling their direction. It was inevitable. It was widely accepted that German bombers would darken the sky and rain fury on England’s prominent cities once war began. Tension rose; fear increased. Doom was imminent.
It was then the British Ministry of Information produced posters of what has become one of the world’s most iconic slogans intended to strengthen morale in the face of impending danger.
There is a growing reality that causes me great concern. I’m scanning the horizon looking for the billowing dust of reinforcements charging toward the spiritual battle, but all I see are wisps from the few. Where are the supply of recruits enlisted for world conquest?
Where are the pastors and ministers to shepherd Christ’s bride during these most desperate of days?
Where are the missionaries to carry the gospel to faraway lands?
Tennessee Baptists stood for life in 2019. In 2020, we need to mobilize for life.
You may recall that back in August I had the opportunity to represent Tennessee Baptists before a special study committee comprised of Tennessee Senators tasked with more comprehensively reviewing pro-life legislation that had been proposed during last year’s legislative session. The bill being considered was in essence what has become known as a “heartbeat bill;” legislation that would protect unborn babies once a heartbeat is detected. Many surrounding states, and other states around the country, have passed similar legislation.
However, there were many concerns expressed with that legislation and it was moved to a summer senate study committee. In the process, the bill that was being considered was reworked and the proposed legislation for which I advocated is titled SB 1236. It potentially represents one of the most – if not the most – comprehensive piece of pro-life legislation ever written. It clearly protects life from the point of conception, even before a heartbeat is detected. For everyone who recognizes God as the author of life, SB 1236 undoubtedly embodies an opportunity to legally protect unborn children in a way that hasn’t been possible since the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973. Continue reading “It’s Time to Do More Than Simply Stand”→
There are two distinctives that bind Southern Baptists together. The first is our shared biblical belief system. Unfortunately, the Bible can be mishandled in many ways and our Southern Baptist forefathers recognized that, so in 1925, they took the providential step to clearly define what Southern Baptists believe about the Bible.
That document is known as the Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M) and became our “statement of the historic Baptist conception of the nature and foundation of confessions of faith in our religious and denominational life.” The BF&M was updated in 2000 and reaffirms what we believe theologically and why we believe it.
The second distinctive that binds Southern Baptists together is our Great Commission calling to missions, and specifically our historic commitment to rally around international missions. We have always been, and we must always be, a “going” people. Continue reading “Staying Focused on Our Passionate Priority”→
My No. 1 desire is to see the spiritually lost people of Tennessee won to saving faith in Jesus Christ, and it is weeks like last week that give me hope that together as Tennessee Baptists, we might see that happen.
Summit, our annual gathering of Tennessee Baptists, is so much more than just a meeting. It has become a rich time of worship, challenge, fellowship, focus, business and celebrating what God is doing across Tennessee to bring people to salvation through Tennessee Baptists and their churches. Continue reading “Summit is So Much More Than a Meeting”→