How tragic it is that the world was the stage for yet another showdown of religions as the Pope apologized for and attempted to reconcile his statements concerning Islam.
We all know the two things that can drive a wedge between/among individuals and/or groups are religion and politics. Political, religious, social and economic issues are sometimes sensitive and volatile. I often am pressed to take sides on a variety of issues and at times I am tempted. But I don't because it is these issues that derail us from sharing Christ with a lost world.
I've often said that many times the public knows much more about what Southern Baptists are against than for. I am reminded daily by my Lord of my primary assignment: helping men and women, boys and girls have a personal relationship with Him.
The Apostle Paul in writing to the Philippians recorded that he was pressing on "toward the goal ... for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Later in that passage Paul encourages those in the church at Philippi to be "of the same mind."
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were all of the same mind when it comes to evangelism and having a heart to reach the lost and make disciples. When I look at the Golden State and realize that about 33 million fellow residents don't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, my heart aches. It aches because I know the heart of Jesus is to have a personal, growing and dynamic relationship with every person He created.
Paul faced many obstacles as he "pressed on" to share the good news of the gospel. His challenges of time, culture and mindset are no different than ours. And yet, Paul was bold in proclaiming the gospel. We need to have the boldness today to confront our culture in every way possible to meet people where they are in order to tell them about Jesus.
My prayer for California Southern Baptists is that we would do everything possible to win as many people to Jesus as possible. I am so thankful for the almost 2,000 congregations that minister and evangelize in communities throughout California. I encourage each one to remain focused, follow the instructions of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, and stay close the Lord and His leading.