Definitions, directions set by your vote, your voice
November 9, 2004
I was up too late.
Like many, I sat up way too long on election night wanting to see who our next set of leaders would be for our country. My observation of the proceedings until 2 a.m. did absolutely nothing to change the outcome. I should have gone to sleep but, like you, was compelled to watch. I praised the Lord every time I learned of a godly leader being elected or a state that solidly supported traditional marriage!
I was especially encouraged by the many commentators who kept saying, in essence, “the moral issues (sanctity of marriage and abortion) across this country drew millions of evangelical Christians to the polls this year and they made the difference.” If memory serves me correctly, at about 1:30 a.m., someone on a panel of secular commentators which included talk show host Larry King said, “The victory margin of this four million-plus popular vote for the president and new Republican senators/representatives had better be a wake up call to the Democratic Party. This country is not what they think it is. It is much more conservative in its values than the Democratic Party thinks.” That was certainly an interesting thought. I wish that were true.
My personal heartbreak is that the margin was only about four million votes. On the great moral issues of traditional marriage and abortion, I would hope to see it more of a ninety percent landslide. What the numbers tell me is that we need to be doing a better job of making disciples and not just converts. Start with your 14- to 17-year-olds. They will be voting in the next election.
MBC’s annual meeting in Kansas City
Our meeting is an annual highlight for me. It is like a huge family reunion. I love it. Each annual meeting seems to be getting better and better. Pastor Danny O’Guin, Executive Board Member and pastor of the Tower Grove Baptist Church in St Louis said, “I have been to 37 annual meetings in Missouri. This was the best one I have ever attended.” Our staff came back with many testimonies like this. We are all blessed.
Tuesday night was missions night. The powerful missions messages shared by Dr. Al Gilbert, Dr. John Marshall and our IMB missionary, Mrs. Carrie McDonnall are simply “must hear” words from God. I would encourage you to order a set of the audio recordings of the preaching of this convention (go to http://www.mobaptist.org/ and click on the 2004 MBC Annual Meeting Audio Order Form.pdf ). The altars were full on Tuesday night and many tears shed with a burden for missions.
Many significant reports were given to Missouri Baptists at this meeting. The Legal Task Force (LTF) supplied a video report so that a copy of it could be mailed to every church and association in our convention. This 21-minute long report on CD-ROM with printed supporting materials should be delivered to your church within the week. If it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video has to be worth a million.
Already we have received many positive responses; seeing clarity come to an issue that some find confusing. We encourage you to show this video and distribute all of these materials freely. Additional copies of the LTF report are available on request by calling 800-736-6227, Ext. 201.
Another video was prepared and given by your MBC staff; reporting the work of the Convention this year. It is an exciting story of missions, evangelism, church planting and growing churches. This video report is available free to you on CD-ROM or VHS tape. Call 800-736-6227, Ext. 201, to get your free copy.
Single alignment has been a subject of discussion in both of the last two conventions I have been a part of. The Constitution of the MBC in Article IV Section 1 has had Single Alignment spelled out for a long time. The question at the last two annual meetings is “How is single alignment defined?” The Committee on Continuing Review has worked long and hard on this; with a stellar cast. Their report on this subject will voted on for adoption in 2005. You can soon view their recommendations in detail on our website at: http://www.mobaptist.org or call us and request a copy. It will also be reported in The Pathway (see a related story on page 7).
The United States’ Christian heritage was masterfully explained to us by Dr. David Barton. After his address, almost ever piece of material he brought was purchased by a hungry-for-truth Baptist convention. If you want to learn more visit www.wallbuilders.com
Cultural issues are NOT going away. We will have to continue to be the voice of Christ to our world regarding sin, righteousness and judgment. I have recently had conversations with some of our allies in the August battle we had to halt the expansion of gambling in Missouri. We all know that gambling in Missouri will raise its head again. So, don’t hang up your spears and shields in your homes. Be ready for the next battle in the war for righteousness in our land.
Now, some really good news! Dr. Jerry Field, the leader of our MBC Church Planting group, told me this just two weeks ago: “When you add together the number of churches started and subtract the number of churches that were closed, the Missouri Baptist Convention had a net increase of 17 churches in the decade of ’92 to ’02. However, in the last 18 months, the MBC has had a net increase of 70 Churches!”
Missouri Baptists, you have a terrific staff team in this convention. I am so pleased to serve with you and them in this Convention. The best days are still ahead of us.