Peyton Manning is perhaps the best quarterback at calling audibles. Football fans have watched this guy for years step up to the line of scrimmage, and if he discovers that the play called in the huddle is not going to translate into a successful yardage gain, he calls an audible. The play doesn’t need to be complicated, just something the opposing team doesn’t expect.
I need to call an audible.
One of the functions of the state convention is to convene the people of God called Missouri Baptists. Besides the Annual Meeting, we don’t convene very often but sometimes it is necessary. Convening the people doesn’t mean we all have to meet at one geographic location, but it does mean there are times we need to convene God’s people for a common purpose.
April 8 – A call to prayer
As I listen to church leaders from every corner of our state, my heart grieves at so many levels. At the same time, God’s Word tells us that our difficulties are God’s opportunities. Instead of throwing up our hands in defeat, the redeemed need to extraordinarily call upon the Lord.
There are many things demanding a need for a call to prayer:
Broken Relationships. There are so many churches working with families under relational siege. Marriages are conflicted. Parents are exasperated. Children are frustrated. Many families have unresolved, unregenerate issues from their past. Add to that, the deep pain associated with health challenges, the lack of forgiveness, moral infidelity and you find too many people in our Missouri Baptist churches struggling with family relationships and brokenness.
Finances. The number of people in our state wounded by this nation’s economic struggles is beyond comprehension. Even people within the church who are faithful disciples and who years ago learned to tithe and give generously are financially hemorrhaging. Some new believers are learning to climb out of their past, pre-redemption obligations.
Then there is the impact of this winter’s weather, which has raised heating bills and other expenses. Also, many churches are wounded by the weather and consequent service cancellations. This translates into a terrible situation for churches on the edge of financial trauma. Most of our churches operate on very small, if any, reserves and when they miss one week of offerings, it is bad. Miss two and it is really tough. Miss three and you are talking a potential catastrophe.
The losses are what they are. So the appropriate “faith thing” to do is to call upon the Lord. After all, the church we call “ours” is actually “His.” When we struggle financially, the first place to go is to our knees.
Spiritual Barrenness. There are far too many church nurseries without children. There are too many churches with no guests, or baptisteries decorated with cobwebs from lack of use. These word pictures are symptomatic of a much larger issue.
We need the vitality of the Holy Spirit at work in our hearts, lives and homes. Somehow, some of our churches have embraced a consumer mentality that values more “what you can do for me” instead of “our being the eyes, ears and hands of the Lord Jesus” to the fallen. Our spiritual barrenness is the call of God to come back to our first love.
The enemy’s agitation. Don’t be surprised. If we are engaged in service of the Master with obedient, faithful hearts, we should expect the enemy to become agitated. He tempts us to sit on our blessed assurance and persuades us to passively wait until the role is called up yonder before we begin by faith to take a stand against the enemy and resist the principalities and powers of wickedness. Instead, let’s do something the enemy doesn’t expect from us. Let’s call an audible and go to our knees.
Call to Prayer – April 8
We can call on the Lord anytime and any place. However, I want to ask you and your church to set aside extraordinary time for prayer on this particular day. Fast during the day and gather to pray for the things listed above and other significant things. The Holy Spirit will prompt you. Avoid the temptation to pray for health issues. Reserve those for your normal prayer meeting. This is an extraordinary time of prayer. You may want to join with another church to pray or gather as an association to pray.
Your MBC state missionaries are setting aside this day for fasting and prayer. We are opening the Baptist Building for prayer from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. No lunch. Just prayer. Bring your own cushion for your knees. You are welcome to join us. However, imagine the impact of hundreds of Missouri Baptists all across this great state in an extraordinary concert of prayer calling upon the Lord simultaneously.