At times I'm bombarded with the passion and persistence of some individuals. Often I come across people who are singularly focused and passionate about a variety of interests. But passion without knowledge and control can bring devastating results.
I am deeply moved by the deaths of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, often at the hands of individuals who fall into this "passionate and persistent" category. Recently I watched a report of a teenager who murdered two sheriff's deputies. The boy's dad had influenced him to believe that the government was coming to get them. In January national headlines proclaimed the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords by a "passionate and persistent" young man.
We live in a broken world. Sin has separated us from God and everything good. Christians are persecuted and killed overseas. Church buildings are burned to the ground overseas and here at home. Evil lurks in the shadows.
However, in the midst of all this, I am reminded of God's faithfulness and care. The Apostle Peter warned us about the devil whom he said "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." Peter exhorts us to "resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings."
We are not the first to experience the power and presence of evil. But we are impacted by the power of God to reach the lost and make disciples. The Apostle Paul in writing to Timothy explained that God did not give us a "spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
There is only one way for us, and that is faith in Jesus Christ. I encourage each California Southern Baptist to raise His banner high in reaching those who are caught in the grip of sin and evil. Let the people of God known as California Southern Baptists be passionate and persistent about one thing - telling others about Jesus!
I pray that hope continues to be alive in your heart as it is in mine for the more than 33 million who live in our state and don't know Jesus as Savior. My prayer is that we would have the mind of Christ and weep over our state and its lostness as Jesus wept over Jerusalem.
Let us adopt the challenge Paul gave the church in Corinth to "be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."