My wife and I enjoyed attending the annual meeting in Anaheim. I’ve attended the SBC annual meetings since 1975, off and on. The off years were the years when we served overseas with the FMB/IMB. The following are my observations and reflections. Good Things The highlight of the convention for me was the Missionary Appointment Service. The IMB appointed 52 new missionaries. Praise the Lord! That’s our main things, folks. The best quote of the convention was spoken by Dr. Paul Chitwood, President of the IMB (and my former student). He declared, “Missions brought Southern Baptists … [Read more...] about Musings on the SBC Annual Meeting
The Bible contains 1,189 chapters in total. The question I am asking our Voices readers is this: Which is the greatest chapter in the Bible? Some might say, “Well, they are all great.” For sure, that is true, but it is fair to say that Romans 8 influences our faith more than Leviticus 15. Another might say, “All the chapters are equally inspired.” Again, I would agree with that, but that response does not address my question. In your humble, but accurate, opinion which is the greatest chapter in the Bible? I’m asking you to offer your opinion and then explain why you chose that chapter. So, … [Read more...] about What Is the Greatest Chapter in the Bible?
I first noticed the term, “prioritism,” in David Hesselgrave’s book, “Paradigms in Conflict” (Kregel Publications, 2005). Dr. Hesselgrave taught missions at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for more than 30 years, and he was one of the founders of the Evangelical Missions Society. Dr. Hesselgrave died two years ago, but he was the godfather of evangelical missions. In his book he defined “prioritism” in this way: “What I will call traditional prioritism recognizes the importance of all or most of those ministries that address the various medical, educational, economic, and social needs of … [Read more...] about Prioritism and the SBC
Recently, I received this message from IMB missionary friends in Thailand. Dr. Paul Chitwood, the President of the International Mission Board gave me permission to publish this information and make this appeal. Here is the message: We hope you all are doing well. We have a prayer request and opportunity for you to help. As you may be aware there is a coup happening in Myanmar (Burma). Our national partners who live on the border of Thailand and Myanmar have informed us that the Myanmar military has been bombing Karen villages. The Karen people have fled to the border of Thailand. The … [Read more...] about Let’s Help the Karen Baptists in Burma
Some years ago, I heard Johnny Bisagno preach in the Southern Baptist Seminary chapel. He had announced his retirement from FBC Houston, and he was making a “farewell tour” of the SBC seminaries. He titled his message “Finishing Well.” In the sermon, he recounted how he studied at Oklahoma Baptist University with 24 other “preacher boys.” They all had enrolled in OBU to prepare for the ministry. He stated that as best he could determine, he was the only one still active in ministry. So, in his message, he exhorted the seminary students to continue in ministry and “finish well.” This past … [Read more...] about What Keeps You Going in Ministry?
This past year has proved trying for everyone, especially those in the ministry. We’ve dealt with sickness and dying on a scale beyond our experience. Circumstances have forced us to serve in ways that are unfamiliar. (I still don’t like preaching to a camera instead of people!). We’ve had to learn new things and temporarily abandon normal ministry practices. When was the last time you made a hospital visit? Beyond the stresses of church life, we’ve struggled with personal issues. Last year Dave Miller lost his father. My father died of COVID19 in October, and neither I nor my sisters could … [Read more...] about Recovering Our Joy in Ministry
Last year, Thom Rainer predicted that the pandemic would cause the deaths of many churches. I did not disbelieve him, but I hoped his prediction would not come true. Sadly, at least in our association, several churches have died or soon will. I serve on the Mission Team of the Kauf-Van Baptist Association, which includes the Southern Baptist churches in Kaufman and Van Zandt counties in Texas. Our area lies to the southeast of Dallas, and our member churches include some in the eastern suburbs of Dallas and many in the small towns and countryside east of the DFW Metroplex. At our recent … [Read more...] about Concern for Dying Churches
Recently, our pastor stated, “Antioch was a great church. I wish our church could be like the church in Antioch.” Of course, he meant the church in Antioch of Syria. (The other one was in Antioch of Pisidia.) His statement caused me to ask myself: What made Antioch such a good church? Clearly, Luke considered the church in Antioch quite important. The first seven chapters of Acts focus on the Jerusalem church, but the following chapters emphasize the ministry of the Antioch church. Antioch became a great church for several reasons. 1. First, it was a multicultural church. Acts 11:19-23 … [Read more...] about What Made Antioch a Great Church?
Last month I read an article in The Christian Post (Dec 3, 2020), entitled “Biblical Illiteracy Utmost Problem Facing Global Evangelicalism.” Leah Klett’s article summarized an interview with Thomas Schirrmacher, the new secretary-general of the World Evangelical Alliance. Schirrmacher stated, “Our biggest problem is that Bible knowledge is fading away. This is the utmost problem we have beyond all theological differences, and political questions.” His statement surprised me. I thought he would mention resurgent Islam or human trafficking or world hunger. Instead, he focused on biblical … [Read more...] about Is Biblical Illiteracy the Church’s Biggest Problem?
Our church keeps a lost and found box in the church office. Folks leave behind Bibles, umbrellas, sunglasses, coffee mugs, and all sorts of things. Probably, you have a lost and found box, too. I’ve been thinking that in 2020 our churches lost some things and found some things. Lost Things Twelve weeks of in-person worship services. Our church had to cancel in-person worship for 12 weeks in March, April, and May. Who imagined that in January 2020? Vacation Bible School. We always have VBS! Not this year. The pandemic forced us to cancel it. A few churches in our area offered virtual … [Read more...] about Lost and Found