The One Thing Southern Baptists Must Do Better

As I left the annual meeting/family reunion of Southern Baptists, I have one message resonating that was prevailing in the convention.

We have more churches than ever before, but we are trending downward in baptisms.

There were many positive reports and actions in our meeting. We made thoughtful statements on various topics. Yet, we are reaching fewer people still. The population in America continues to rise, but the number of baptisms is declining.

I left Phoenix with good feelings on several fronts. The commissioning of new foreign missionaries was stirring. Getting the resolution done on the alt right racial sin was good. I am encouraged about the Cooperative Program giving. But to know we have more money, more churches and more of a population to reach while we baptize less should disturb us all.

Jesus gave us a great commission that must begin in our hometowns (Pensacola for me). May the Lord cause our hearts to burn with the Gospel!

 

Praying for Those Within the Shadow of the Cross

 

Naomi Jones lived just a few blocks from the back entrance to Olive Baptist Church. She was abducted a few days ago and yesterday her body was discovered less than five miles from her home.

The search gripped our community. The authorities set up their command post on the Olive back parking lot. Klaas Kids came to search. Hundreds of volunteers were a part of the effort to find Naomi.

On Monday afternoon we held a prayer time for the hurting. I will never forget the sobbing young girl in the church altar, pouring out her hurt to the Lord.

Grief is never easy. Yet, when we are at our worst God is at His best. He is the Comforter.

This crime happened within the shadow of the cross on top of our church building. No place is immune. I am reminded that we must be faithful around the world but also at home with the Gospel.

Today I am praying for our friends in law enforcement. They are working a homicide. Justice must be served. May God give them quick success.

If you have children in your home, hold them a little closer today. May the God of all comfort bless the family of Naomi Jones.

Easter Gratitude

 

Easter weekend at Olive was a God-honoring time of worship. People were saved, baptized, added to the church family and encouraged. We simply could not have pulled it off without the scores of people who did their job.

Thank you, deacons, for putting together a fabulous Lord’s Supper service on Friday night.
Thank you, preschool staff and volunteers, for caring for hundreds of children.
Thank you, music ministry, for soul stirring worship.
Thank you, greeters and ushers, for moving the people to their places for worship.
Thank you, parking lot volunteers, for getting us on and off the campus.
Thank you, housekeeping staff, for taking care of the physical plant.
Thank you, baptismal team, for assisting the people making this step of faith.

Thank you, LORD JESUS, for resurrection!