A new year always offers exciting prospects and challenges and 2008 is no exception - elections are around the corner, churches are developing strategies for global impact, organizations are re-tasking their workers to meet the challenges of today, and social and cultural issues continue to grab headlines.
I was standing on the tarmac at a California airport waiting to board a flight after having spoken at the fellowship meeting of one of our language groups. My soul was rejoicing with the commitment made by many to be more intentional in sharing Christ with the lost.
Since 9/11, airports have not been at the top of my "favorite places" list. I found myself wondering why we were being delayed in boarding when the gate agent announced the delay was due to the arrival of a "special customer."
Our fellow passenger, a paraplegic, made his way to the plane controlling the movement of his wheelchair by blowing into what appeared to be a straw. No one moved or said a word as the airline employees assisted in getting him into the plane. I was amazed at their commitment, care and customer service. I wondered about the young man's condition, and marveled at his courage to live life in such a difficult way. It was then the Father revealed to me the young man truly was a "special customer," dependent on the love, support and help of others for many of life's routine tasks.
The young man smiled and greeted each of us as we boarded the aircraft. The issues facing Baptists and their institutions and conventions faded in light of this incident which demonstrated that we all need help along the way, but those situations need not deter our spirit in any way.
My heart continues to be moved by the generosity of Baptists. I pray that we remember Zechariah's admonishment of "not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord almighty" (Zechariah 4:6). The solutions to our greatest needs are in the unchanging power of God. Elections, social and cultural issues, the economy, etc., are in the hands of God. I ask that my fellow California Southern Baptists commit to intensely praying for the spiritual transformation of our communities, state, nation and world. I believe God can do it. Let's join Him!