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”
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”
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”
There have been some excellent Bible teachers over the last 100 years. Without reservation, I count the late Dr. Ron Dunn as one of them. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and anointed to teach like few men I have ever known. Every message articulated careful biblical exposition, clear illustrations and practical applications. He kept it real, relevant and preached with a compelling word from the Lord.
I was visiting Dr. Dunn and his wife, Kay, at their home in Dallas in early 1991. He gave me a signed copy of his then latest book, “Don’t Just Stand There Pray Something: The Incredible Power of Intercessory Prayer.” I will always remember that visit with the Dunns, and the title of the book has forever been etched on my mind. Continue reading “Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something!”
You may be overrun with Christmas activities and see a busy 2019 blowing in like a thunderstorm racing across a Kansas prairie. Last minute gifts, parties, travel to be with loved ones, and on it goes. We get to this point of the year and it seems we try to squeeze about six months of activity through the funnel of a couple weeks. We seldom slow down or stop long enough to remember. Continue reading “Remembering the Lord Our God in 2018”
Time passes, transitions happen, and generations come and go, but I pray we as Southern Baptists never lose the missionary spirit of Charlotte Digges “Lottie” Moon.
Lottie Moon stood no taller than 4 feet 6 inches tall, but she cast a shadow that’s stretched for more than 100 years. Lottie left for China in the early 1880’s and gave 39 years and her life – literally – to the Chinese people as a teacher and evangelist. Among her monumental Kingdom contributions was the foundation she laid for support of international missions among Southern Baptists through a special offering. Continue reading “How Will You Respond to Lottie’s Challenge?”
In 1873, a young Dwight L. Moody stood in the vestry of a Baptist church in Dublin, Ireland, talking with Henry Varley, an influential British revivalist preacher. During the course of that conversation, Varley uttered words that rocketed through Moody’s soul and altered the course of Moody’s future ministry.
“Moody,” he said, “The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him.” Continue reading “A Clarion Call and Not Just a Theme”
It’s just two words but they are incredibly powerful when flowing from a heart genuinely filled with gratitude. They can be delivered a number of ways; a text, an e-mail, or better yet, a handwritten note. Think what it means if you receive a call and the person on the other end simply says, “I wanted to call and just say thank you.”
And then there is the ultimate. Someone who gives you a hug or a handshake, looks you in the eyes and sincerely says, “thanks” for something you’ve done. Continue reading “Two Simple but Powerful Words: Thank You”
Aparna had no idea what to expect when she arrived in America and on the campus of East Tennessee State University. Johnson City couldn’t be more culturally different from her home in Northern India.
She didn’t know anybody when school started. One day she saw a group of people standing around and wandered over to see what was going on. It was the Pop-Tart Cart, a ministry of the ETSU Baptist Collegiate Ministry. Sure, it is a place to grab a pack of Pop-Tarts and a cup of coffee, but it is really a connecting point for BCMers to share the love of Jesus and the gospel with fellow students. One of them struck up a conversation with Aparna and invited her to the BCM. That invitation changed her life.
She made lots of new friends in the following weeks and frequently heard the gospel. It wasn’t long before she realized her need for a Savior and gave her life to Jesus. Awesome!
But the story gets better. Continue reading “The Mission Field Within the Mission Field”