Perspective - June 2014
Summer is upon us. It is interesting how time seems to fly, especially as we grow older. Enjoying history is probably why I often review the successes and blessings of yesterday - in my own personal life and the life of California Southern Baptist Convention.
Although I do not live in the past, I learn daily from events of yesterday to help me in my ministry today and for the future. Recently I had a conversation with an individual whose grandfather was the founding pastor of one of our leading churches and also served as president of California Baptist College (now University). This conversation reminded me of those on whose shoulders we stand.
In May one of CSBC's retired staff members, Tom Kelly, finished his mission and received his ultimate reward. Reading information about Tom was inspirational. He was a tireless worker who believed in the church.
California Southern Baptists have a number of leaders, like Tom, who were called from business, military and other private-sector jobs to serve God. These individuals responded so they could be part of reaching the lost and making disciples. Many gave up lucrative responsibilities to respond to God's call on their lives. Like Tom, they have served or are serving faithfully, and their lives and ministries touch many individuals and churches.
Today, CSBC has grown and continues to impact our state for Christ because we stand on the shoulders of many like Tom Kelly. When I left First Bilingual Baptist Church in Pico Rivera as pastor to enter denominational life, a teenager presented me a plaque reminding me, "The future is as bright as the promises of God." Our future is in the hands of God, who has made great promises to those who believe, follow and obey His Word.
As we continue reaching the world in California, two words come to mind - purpose and focus. Purpose is the easier of the two to describe. Since we are called to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, our purpose is to reach the lost and make disciples in California. Our purpose is to reach the unchurched in California and to serve them by following Christ's example.
Our focus dovetails beautifully with our purpose - those things we do to fulfill our purpose. For California Southern Baptists it is church planting, evangelism and ministry. King Solomon said, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." The SBC Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) had three major emphases - congregationalizing, evangelizing and ministering. After becoming HMB president, Larry Lewis declared Southern Baptists would "plant" churches all over America. Congregationalizing morphed into church planting. Dr. Lewis led us well and we continue the process of planting churches, evangelizing and ministering in California.
While remembering the past, let us work and minister to reach the lost and make disciples today so we might have a bright future.
Last Published: May 27, 2014 5:28 PM