Maybe you’ve been there, on a missions trip standing in the middle of the urban sprawl of one of the world’s great cities, cities like Buenos Aires, Guatemala City, Sao Paulo, London, Krakow, Rome, or Istanbul. There are people everywhere, bouncing off each other like pinballs. You may have even felt — like I have — very small and wondering what kind of a difference you could possibly make in such an ocean of spiritual lostness.
But we go anyway, don’t we? We have a Great Commission calling, and we know that despite the seemingly overwhelming odds, God calls us to wade into those concrete jungles to serve people and to preach the gospel. And we go knowing that He faithfully brings in the harvest. Continue reading “How Near Are You Willing to Go?”→
If lost people are going to be reached in our communities, it will require that the church must engage lost people. One of the most effective ways to interact with the lost is through compassion ministry.
Compassion ministry is an attempt to follow the model of Jesus. Just as he met human need, we are called to meet human need. One of the most alarming passages in all of Scripture is the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25:31-46. Jesus speaks of a day of separation based upon doing ministry “unto the least of these.” Continue reading “Five Tips for Launching a Compassion Ministry”→
It is my adopted home and home to all of my immediate family. I believe our state is the most beautiful and unique of the 50 states. From the Smoky Mountains to the majestic and mighty Mississippi River, I stand in awe that the providential hand of God led me here decades ago to invest the best — and rest — of my life to serve Him in saturating Tennessee with the gospel.
And it is that last statement that fuels my drive. As much as I love the geographic diversity of Tennessee, I especially love the demographic diversity. Tennessee is home to more than 145 global people groups. Those red, yellow, black, and white who are precious in Jesus’ sight, we have them by the thousands. Continue reading “Making a Difference Through GOTM”→
When I was a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, my professor of counseling, Stanley Watson, used to say “Actions precede attitudes.” He would speak about how a married couple who say they no longer love each other can rekindle those loving emotions through performing loving actions toward one another.
Tennessee Baptists are about emptying mosques, not building them.
There are a few pseudo-news websites authored by bloggers who produce satirical “news” stories, and some of their recent stories state that the Southern Baptist Convention is building mosques.
Those stories have gained traction through social media and people are assuming their truth. At least one of those stories states the Tennessee Baptist Convention is also building a mosque. As my pastor back home would say, “That’s a lie born in the pits of hell!” Continue reading “Trying to Empty Mosques, Not Build Them”→
Any way you slice it, Tennessee is a missions field.
I’ve known that for years but that really hit me a couple of years ago as I made my way across Tennessee and to all 95 counties. You may recall that yearlong journey as we gathered at county courthouses to pray and ring the bell of salvation. That excursion was an eye-opener to Tennessee’s deep spiritual and physical needs.
Look at our demographic reality. Did you know that we now have more than 145 global people groups living in our state and that more than 40 of those are identified by the International Mission Board as among the world’s most unreached with the gospel? Staggering. Continue reading “So Why Change the Name?”→
It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.
We’ve all heard that sports cliché and frankly it is one I don’t particularly like. Yes, it does matter how you play the game, but the point of playing the game is to win. However, how we deal with setbacks reveals our true character and builds resiliency. Like Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work.” Continue reading “Moving Forward With the IMB”→
There is an old expression that states that about 80 percent of life is just showing up. That may be true, but it begs the question: So what do you do once you get there? That’s easy. Participate.
That would be my advice to any minister or messenger wondering whether to attend the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting, and especially this meeting coming up in a few weeks in St. Louis. Show up and participate.
Personally, I believe every Southern Baptist Convention meeting is important. Look back through our history and the annual meetings are key markers on our journey as a denomination. Yes, we’ve tackled some tough issues along the way, but as the largest evangelical network of churches in the United States gathered via elected messengers, we have collectively committed through the years to embrace the centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ communicated through an inerrant Scripture. Continue reading “First Show Up, Then Participate”→
It was a dark day two weeks ago when International Mission Board President David Platt stepped to the microphone to inform Southern Baptists that 983 missionaries and 149 IMB staffers were stepping away from their involvement in taking the gospel to the nations. Dr. Platt described it best when he spoke of the “heaviness” of the day. I agreed, and wondered, “How’d we get here?”
That’s a question worth exploring. It is important to learn from our past so that we can make necessary changes that positively impact our future. There are lessons here for all of us, and as Christians, we need to pause and take stock in how this applies to us individually and collectively. Continue reading “The IMB: How Did We Get Here?”→
The world is in chaos. Wars rage. Terror perpetrated by evil people has nations on edge. Millions are displaced, and the debate over refuge resettlement is burning white hot. The world’s spiritual soil is as fertile as it ever has been and cries out for a broad spreading of gospel seeds. This world desperately needs Jesus.
Southern Baptists have historically rallied to the moment and responded to the call of Christ to go into the world and make disciples of all nations. However, I believe we as Southern Baptists stand at a crossroads. Either our action will be the substance that validates our calling, or will be hollow “Great Commission” rhetoric with no action and will expose the superficiality of our Christianity.
In other words, it is time to put our money where our mouth is.
This year, IMB President David Platt made the difficult decision to downsize IMB personnel by 600 to 800 people, many of them missionaries being recalled from the field. One of the reasons for doing so was to financially restructure the organization to be a better steward of the resources the IMB receives from Southern Baptists. Another is to stretch the dollars it does receive, and that’s a variable that needs to increase. Continue reading “Does Your Missions Rhetoric Have Substance?”→