I spend a lot of time crisscrossing the state on Interstate 40, so much so that I jokingly call it “Randy Davis Boulevard.” The landscape constantly passes, but rarely changes. It’s the people, however, who make Tennessee special.
And the people change. One way we change is our increasing numbers. Our population is rapidly growing. People are relocating here from around the country and around the world bringing racial, ethnic, economic, religious — and non-religious — diversity. There are more dissimilar people now living in Tennessee than ever before.
However, as significant as our diversity is, it is more important to focus on what we have in common. People need Jesus — to be saved, baptized and set on the road to discipleship. Our population is growing faster than the gospel is advancing. The result is that every year our state is becoming more spiritually lost. The reality: any way you slice it, Tennessee is a mission field.
I’ve been saying that for the past several years. It’s a belief based on what I see as I travel Tennessee’s interstates and backroads. Continue reading “Your GOTM Giving and Your Kingdom Impact”
This one has always been clear cut for me. Any person with a moral compass, common sense and even a little knowledge of abortion’s horrors is against the taking of a life in the womb.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that not only demands the right to murder these sweet gifts of God, it celebrates the murderous practice. The image is seared in my mind of celebration that followed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signing into law late-term abortions up to the point of birth. How perverse is that? I never want to see that celebration in Tennessee, and as Tennessee Baptists we not only have an obligation to our Lord to protect unborn children, we have an opportunity to stand and be counted for life. Continue reading “Anti-Abortion to Comprehensively Pro-Life”
I love sunrises and sunsets. I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than a sunrise in all its glory or a sunset in all its splendor. The fact that our Lord has given us another day of abundant life on our way to eternal life is a special gift.
My friend, Paul Clark, Jr., loved the hymn, “For the Beauty of the Earth.” I love it too. “For the beauty of the earth; For the beauty of the skies, For the love which from our birth, over and around us lies, Lord of all, to thee we raise, this our hymn of grateful praise.” Continue reading “Count the Days and Make Them Count”
President George W. Bush once stood in front of a group of people trying to make sense of the world that seemed to be coming undone around them. “One thing is for certain,” he said. “We did not ask for these challenges, but we will meet them. I say that with certainty because this nation has strong foundations and won’t be shaken. In this hour of our country’s history we stand in the need of prayer.”
That comment was made at the first post-9/11 National Prayer Breakfast and prior to the beginning of the longest war, the war on terrorism, in our nation’s history. I was at that prayer breakfast. I saw the resolute courage in our president’s eyes; I heard it in the tone of his voice. Continue reading “Reasons for Optimism About the SBC’s Future”
The March 20 headline splashed across Christianity Today, The Tennessean and National Public Radio was one few in Southern Baptist life thought they’d ever read. There were variations, but in effect they all communicated the same thing: “LifeWay Christian Resources, the largest Christian retail chain in America, plans to close all 170 stores this year and shift its offerings entirely online.”
It was a sad day that revealed the lifelong emotional attachment many Southern Baptists have had with the bookstore. Frankly, generations of us have never known a world without a Baptist Book Store or a Lifeway Christian Store. Many expressed their anger with statements about how the bookstore was more than just books. It was the people who worked there — who ministered there — who made the stores what they were. Continue reading “Change Happens but the Mission Remains”
Money powers all kinds of things. It fuels ministries that we are compelled to begin, it provides for the needs of ministers, and it sends missionaries all over the Tennessee, the North America, and the world. But in some cases, money sends members, ministers, and business meetings into chaos. But fear not. These monetary mix-masters can be avoided.
Every fall, the TBMB unleashes our financial experts, Gary Rickman and Deborah Taylor, across Tennessee for the “Financial Issues Facing Churches and Ministers” seminar. If your financial administrators missed last fall’s seminar, we’ve got some good news! We have an audio presentation (see below) you can enjoy online. Here are just four takeaways from this year’s seminars. Continue reading “Four Power Money Tips for Churches”
Too often pastors develop an “old cowboy” mentality where they feel they need to “stay in the saddle” at all costs. Unfortunately, too many church goers feel their pastors should be old cowboys. That notion of pastoral “toughness” may sound romantic, but it rarely – if ever – ends well. Set aside the obvious sin of pride involved; no one can spiritually, emotionally or physically sustain it.
Pastor, if you feel you’re riding that horse, I’ve got four short statements of unsolicited advice you need to hear if you, your family and your ministry are going to survive. Somebody’s got to tell you so it might as well be me. I’ve ridden in that rodeo before. Continue reading “Somebody Tell the Pastor He’s No Cowboy”
Great Commission work is like having a balanced diet and Acts 1:8 is the recipe.
You know the recipe: “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.” However, it is one thing to know the recipe, it is quite another to actually cook up Great Commission work. I believe Tennessee Baptists are great cooks.
April is the month we celebrate North American missions and offer support to Southern Baptist missionaries through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. As is so often the case, Tennessee Baptists rise to the occasion. Proof? Tennessee Baptists have given an average of over $4.4 million annually over the last five years through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. I believe our generosity flows because we see the need to saturate our country with the gospel. Continue reading “Tenn. Baptists Know the Recipe for Missions”
Dear Tennessee Baptists,
Every personality profile evaluation I have ever taken identifies a particular character trait that is confirmed by my wife, family, friends, everyone I’ve worked with and by everyone for whom I’ve served as their pastor. I am a “bottom line” kind of man.
The Lord has taught me how to temper that trait with patience and grace when appropriate; but to employ that trait when needed. Unfortunately, we live in “bottom line” days, and I am embracing my bottom line self.
Bottom line No. 1: I love life.
Bottom line No. 2: I hate abortion. Continue reading “A Letter to Tennessee Baptists About Abortion”
It is a heavy blow when God determines to bring to light that which is hidden in the shadows. Sometimes the Body of Christ must bear the weight of His judgment when He does.
Such a blow was delivered yesterday morning in an article that appeared in the Houston Chronicle. The headline was, “Abuse of Faith.” The extremely thorough story reported 20 years of sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches that affected at least 700 victims. Far and away the majority of the victims were children or youth; and far and away the perpetrators were ministers. Just in the past decade, at least 250 people who worked for or volunteered in a Southern Baptist church have been charged with sex crimes. Continue reading “The Heavy Hand of God’s Judgment”