Archive for January, 2015
For most parents, there is nothing more important than making sure our children are safe. Bike helmets, elbow and kneepads for sports, baby strollers that look like moon buggies, safety gates, and car seats with 5-point harnesses. We do everything we can to ensure our kids are protected from injury.
Protection vs. Fear
Sometimes our efforts to protect our kids or grandkids veer away from a protective nurturing into full-blown fear of harm. We move from exercising the responsibility God gave us to fearing God lacks sufficient power to do what He says. In crossing this line, we assume a burden He never desired for us to bear. As Philip Nation writes in Bible Studies for Life, “How do we find that line? How do we balance between living in unhealthy fear and living with total disregard for the threats that challenge us? Such balance is gained through trust in God’s protection. No matter what we face, we can know God is present.”1
God’s Faithfulness is our Protection
Psalm 91 has served as a shelter through life’s storms for many of God’s people. The Psalmist writes, “The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.’ He Himself will deliver you from the hunter’s net, from the destructive plague. He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield.”
God is Immoveable
It is interesting that God is portrayed as both a refuge and a fortress. Neither of these things move. Both a refuge and a fortress are places we go; they are places we seek when we need rest, restoration, or protection. When the psalmist writes that God is a refuge and a fortress, we receive the image of God protecting us when we are under attack. The word translated fortress is also translated in numerous Old Testament passages as stronghold or castle. It is a place the soldiers, often King David or his army, went when under attack or to avert an attack.
God is our Protection
The picture for us could not be more clear. God is our protection. He does not merely provide protection, though He does, He is our protection. Where should we go when we are under attack at work? The Lord is our fortress. Where should we take our family when we are under attack? The Lord is our fortress. Where should we go when it seems culture is caving in? The Lord is our fortress. He is our protection and strength.
God’s Presence is all we Need
How does God respond? What can He do? According to the psalmist, God delivers, He covers, He provides refuge, and He is faithful. The presence of God is what we need; the presence of God is all we need. He is our peace.
Having these assurances, let us not wait in running to God. Let Him be our first choice, not second, third, or last. God does not call us to be the fortress; God calls us to the fortress, and that fortress is Himself.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. FloydSenior Pastor, Cross Church General Editor, Bible Studies for Life President, Southern Baptist Convention
1– Bible Studies for Life, Storm Shelter, Philip Nation
As we near the coming of the Lord, we should be more focused than ever before. As our 50,000 plus churches and congregations partner together in gospel causes, the time is now for us to rise up like never before.
I want to ask you to consider these four things with me in 2015.
1. Personally, collectively, and cooperatively, we need to own the Great Commission.
As Southern Baptists, our missional vision is to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations. There is not one of us that can escape this vision, not because it our vision as Southern Baptists, but because it is the vision of Jesus Christ for each of us as His disciples.
When I challenge us to own the Great Commission, I mean we must own this responsibility personally. This means that my church and your church must own the responsibility of presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ to every person and make disciples of every people group in our own region. It also means we must work cooperatively to reach the world for Jesus Christ.
Our church cannot do it by ourselves. Your church cannot do it by yourselves. Our 50,000 plus churches and congregations must cooperate like never before through our 1,100 associations, 42 state conventions, and twelve Southern Baptist entities. As Southern Baptists, we must own the Great Commission in every way possible.
2. Increase your financial support of our Great Commission work together.
Unashamedly and unapologetically, I humbly request that each local church increase their giving through our Cooperative Program. I have never been more convinced that each church must give more than we have ever given before through our Cooperative Program. Whether your practice is to give by percentage or dollar amount, I call upon each of our churches to increase our giving. This is imperative if we are going to see all of our Great Commission ministries advanced regionally, nationally, and internationally.
The Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists’ unified plan of giving through which churches give to reach the world for Jesus Christ. As Southern Baptists, I have heard us talk about our great commitment to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Friends, we must renew and increase our financial commitment to seeing the gospel advanced throughout the world. Therefore, consider this strongly and urgently. Tell the story. Trust your people. I believe they will step up in an unprecedented manner.
3. Plan now to have your church represented at our upcoming Southern Baptist Convention on June 16-17, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio.
Since the moment I was elected as President, I have extended a clear calling to Columbus, Ohio, for our annual gathering in 2015. Regardless of the size of your church, we need your church represented.
Why is this so important? We need our Southern Baptist family in one place, praying, worshipping, and working together to see the Great Commission completed in our generation. Soon, I will begin to talk about many more specifics of our upcoming gathering, but right now, do all you can to be in Columbus, Ohio. If you have questions, go online to our annual meeting website or call 615-244-2355 to have your questions answered.
Remember, we would like to see every church represented in Columbus. Join me. I believe this will be one of the great spiritual highlights for each of us this year. Come early! Help us in Crossover Columbus on June 13, participate in our pre-convention gatherings like the Pastors’ Conference, the Women’s Missionary Union, the Pastors’ Wives session, and others. We need to come to Columbus on June 16-17, in clear agreement, visible union and in extraordinary prayer for the next Great Awakening and to reach the world for Christ.
4. Join many of us that are praying and seeking the face of God daily for the next Great Awakening and to reach the world for Christ.
Our beloved nation and world needs the next great move of God to come upon us more than anything. Our churches in America need a mighty spiritual revival. Disunity needs to cease and unity in Christ’s community must begin to prevail.
Spiritual awakening is our greatest need in America. We need to see places, regions, and prayerfully even nationally, a sweeping, God-sized moving of God. It has happened before. It can happen again. America’s need has never been greater.
We must reach the world for Jesus Christ. This is why we are praying and seeking the face of God for the next Great Awakening. A massive harvest is needed and every people group in the world deserves the privilege to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.
Join others who are downloading, reading, and sharing this special and free e-book, Pleading With Southern Baptists. Please consider sharing it with your church and others.
Southern Baptist Family, we can do this
We can do this together. Pastor and leaders, you are not in this quest alone. Take these four considerations to the Lord in prayer, then take them to your church. The need is now. The urgency is upon us. This is our time.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. FloydSenior Pastor, Cross Church President, Southern Baptist Convention
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is currently serving as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.7 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide.
To request an interview with Dr. Ronnie Floyd
contact Gayla Oldham at (479) 751-4523 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.