We celebrated 75 years of history last month at our annual meeting in Bakersfield.
California Southern Baptists are a blessed people. And I’m blessed by the outpouring of thankfulness to God for His presence with our churches, leaders and members all these years.
Celebrating the past also gives us an opportunity to reflect on God’s gracious love over the years. For decades California Southern Baptists have started churches. We have strengthened churches. Those churches have impacted communities by transforming lives. Through all of this, Christ has been and will continue to be glorified.
Did you know that California Southern Baptists reported more than 900,000 baptisms in the Golden State during our first 75 years of ministry? That’s nearly 1 million souls who will live an eternal life with the Savior because of California Southern Baptists’ faithful witness.
But what does the future hold?
Thinking about the future can be a scary thing. I’ve seen an increase in the interest in end times during 2015. I’ve noticed many evangelicals with national ministries teaching and preaching from the Book of Revelation. And at least one international Bible study group is delving into Revelation for the first time in its more than 50-year history.
Much of the time we look to the future with apprehension and uncertainty, even though the Bible is clear that our God is victorious over Satan and death. Over the years I have heard many sermons on prophecy. Since Christ’s ascension, some have even attempted to predict when all prophecy will be fulfilled and
He will return. Yet we continue to wait for that glorious day.
As believers we are instructed to tell the Good News of Christ’s redemptive power. There continues to be a challenge before us as we seek to share Christ. Let’s remember our assignment to remain focused on the lostness of our state and nation. California continues to be our primary mission field and we have been given the responsibility to serve here.
During his theme interpretation to begin the annual meeting, CSBC President Randy Bennett talked about the 33 million in California who don’t know Christ. He said the number is “staggering” and that he can’t “really understand what that number means.”
We learned a lot about California Southern Baptist ministry during our annual meeting. One of the takeaway items for me was the strong foundation that has been laid for us to reach all kinds of people who make California their home.
So let’s build on that strong foundation. I echo our president’s admonitions to continue starting churches, strengthening churches, being personal soul winners and disciple-makers, and giving sacrificially so Californians and the entire world may know our Jesus.
My prayer is that all of our churches, leaders and members would link our hearts and our gifts to impact not only California, but our nation and world.