Perspective - February 2014
I am thankful that over the past year there have been many excellent reports to celebrate throughout our convention of churches.
We've started more than 100 new congregations, our churches report enough baptisms to be in the top 10 of Southern Baptist state conventions, giving continues to meet objectives and much, much more!
But even with these successes, CSBC is anxious to continue experiencing God's blessings in this new year and continue testifying about what God does through His churches.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Nehemiah 6 where the prophet is having a conversation with a messenger from Sanballat. The work of rebuilding the walls in Jerusalem is going well, despite many challenges and interruptions. Sanballat and his cohorts were trying to stop the building of the wall by inviting Nehemiah to a meeting.
In Nehemiah 6:3, I believe the prophet gives a classic response to those attempting to interrupt his focus and take him off task. According to the New International Version, Nehemiah said, "I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?" (Nehemiah 6:3).
I believe Nehemiah reveals a great principle in this scripture that while we are doing great things for God, don't get distracted or deterred by others who don't share your agenda. There are many distractions around all of us. Daily the invitations to review, discuss, attend, give input, etc. fill my life.
I remember my first few days as CSBC executive director when a lay couple invited my wife and me to dinner.
As we finished dinner, the layman asked, "Dr. Whittaker, what is your dream for CSBC?" Like a light from Heaven, the words came to me and the answer to his question was, "Every man, woman, boy and girl hearing and responding to the gospel, being assimilated into and becoming part of a local congregation, and learning to share their faith until millions in California become Jesus followers."
That is the task of CSBC congregations - sharing the gospel.
That passion has not diminished for me. There is much to be done, and as much as I like to study history and look back and celebrate the lives of those who have "held the rope" for me, for us, I believe 2014 brings new opportunities that excite me. We can't change the past, but we can learn from it and build on the foundation already in place.
I believe the Lord is opening doors of opportunity for us to share the gospel as never before in 2014.
Sometimes it is discouraging not to see immediate results. We must remember our task is not to save, but to plant gospel seeds. I encourage you to join me this year in being a gospel seed-sower!
Last Published: February 1, 2014 12:41 AM