Connecting the Dots in an Unconnected World

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Friend Dan Wade

Prov 27:17
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

I guess I am getting older. I find myself experiencing moments of grateful reflection. To be very honest I probably would have been a better man, father, husband and pastor if I had experienced these sooner. They have caused me to be more recognize the important place that friends have played in my life.

One of those friends is Dr. Dan Wade, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Zephyrhills, Florida. Dan and his precious wife Lady Jane have been my friends for more than 20 years. God has used Dan in a great way to resurrect First Zephyrhills.

Dan has been a constant encourager. The time I spend with my friend Dan makes me a better preacher and more conscientious soul winner. Dan has a genuine heart to see people saved and is one of the two best pastor soul winners I know. It has been my joy to lead many people to Jesus while fellowshipping with Dan. His spirit is unique. His commitment to Christ and the church is unmatched.

The week of October 19 was a difficult week for my friends the Wades. Lady Jane experienced heart failure and underwent a heart catheterization and had a defibrillator installed. She is recovering well. Please pray for my friends the Wades they have given their life to serving the Lord and are a wonderful example of those to whom our Lord will say “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” I would that my journey for Christ is as fruitful.

I am glad they are my friends.

Attempting to connect the dots…

Romans 1:16

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”
Prov 11:30

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Friend Don

Eccl 4:9-10 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

Across 32 years of ministry God has been very good to me by giving me treasured friends in the work of God. Among my most cherished friends is Don McLaughlin, pastor of Church at the Movies in Tallahassee, Florida. I met Don in 1986 and from the day that we met we have enjoyed a wonderful bond in Christ. Don and Kathy McLaughlin are among God’s finest and most faithful servants.

Don has been a trusted confidant and dependable co-laborer in Christ. I have rejoiced as he has become one of Florida Baptists finest leaders, currently serving a second term as President of the State Board of Missions. I am constantly challenged by Don’s faith and commitment to the vision that God has given him for Church at the Movies. His willingness to transition his congregation to become more intentional at reaching people with the gospel is extraordinary. The price that he and Kathy have paid is great.

Don’s journey is a wonderful example of a man who was willing to seek God’s vision and then to unswervingly pursue that vision for the glory of God. I am glad that Don is my friend. I encourage you to pray for the work of Church at the Movies in Tallahassee and for my precious friends Don and Kathy McLaughlin.

Attempting to connect the dots…

Romans 1:16

“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's a God Thing

Often you will hear someone make the comment “It’s a God thing.” More often than not this is a way to describe something good happening in the life of an individual or some event that we have desired come to fruition. While I recognize that all good things come from above, is it possible that we at times simply want to validate our own desires by crediting God with us getting what we want?

If we are going to quickly declare “It’s a God thing” when it is good, possibly we should also declare “It’s a God thing” when we experience chastising from the Father or things do not go as well as we would have purposed. I fear we have developed an unbalanced and unbiblical view of God. The influence of culture tells us that God is good (and He is) but ignores that God is also sovereign, righteous, and holy. God’s purposes may be for us to endure difficulty as Job or Paul with his thorn in the flesh. By the way, both of these were a “God thing.”

If we are to follow Jesus totally we must surrender our desires to Him and our outcomes to Him. If we are genuinely His it is a “God thing” all the time. We should be prepared to give Him the glory in the valley as well as on the mountaintop. Having experienced both I can testify “It’s a God thing!”

Attempting to connect the dots…

Romans 1:16

“Many men owe the grandeur of their lives to the tremendous difficulties”
~ Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tom Kinchen

I serve as the Administrative Committee Chairman for the Baptist College of Florida Board of trustees. This past Thursday and Friday the board conducted its fall meeting. Allow me several observations.

The college is in excellent condition.I participated in a four hour evaluation meeting on Thursday morning. We were tasked with evaluating the stewardship of resources provided for the college by outside donors and Florida Baptists. There is a high level of accountability of all assets of the college. Dr. R.C. Hammrack is to be commended for his excellent service. I would that our governement operated as efficiently and with as much accountability. There is no waste at the college.

There is a wonderful spirit on the campus. Faculty and administration set an exemplary tone for God to move in the hearts of the students. The student center has been renovated and enlarged to provide for appropriate space for the students to fellowship and to develop their theological skills. It is a perfect enviroment.

Finally, this is made possible because of the visionary leadership of our president, Dr. Tom Kinchen. Someone has forgotten to notify him of the recession. New buildings withplans for more, new degree programs (expanding to a Master in Arts in Christian Studies, as well as otheres) and an increase in assets in 2009 of more than $970,000.00. All of this while operatiing on a reduced budget. It was a good day when God sent Tom Kinchen to the Baptst College of Florida.

The Baptist College of Florida is one of the marvelous success stories of the cooperative mnistries of Florida Baptsts.

Attempting to connect the dots...

R. Wayne Briant
Romans 116

"Nothing can be rightly known, if God be not known; nor is any study well managed, nor to any great purpose, if God is not studied. We know little of the creature, till we know it as it stands related to the Creator..."

~ Richard Baxter

Friday, October 2, 2009

Why I Am a Southern Baptist

As I was reading this week I began to ruminate on the reasons I am a Southern Baptist. Reality is I could have been most anything and pleased someone in my extended family. I grew up in a home that was un-religious. After I came to know Jesus as my Savior I discovered that my extended family included Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, and Nazarenes. Sadly, none of these took the time to tell me about Jesus.

Allow me to share some of the reasons I am a Southern Baptist.

It was a Southern Baptist church and a Southern Baptist Evangelist that led me to Christ. I was saved in an Eddie Martin led revival at the Seminole Heights Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida. This church and their pastor cared enough about the lost to take specific steps to reach out to their community with the Gospel.

It was a Southern Baptist church that cared enough about me to follow-up on me and encouraged me to follow the Lord in believer’s baptism and then provide an environment where I was challenged to grow in the Lord. The pastor and lay leaders of this church taught me to love the Bible and to love lost souls. They taught me to be faithful to the Lord and his church. They taught me that missions and evangelism were not programs of the church but rather the reason the church existed.

It was a Southern Baptist church that exhibited enough faith in me to license me and then ordain me to the Gospel Ministry. In retrospect, I am amazed that they would license and ordain a relatively young in the faith preacher like me. I am ever grateful for their support and encouragement.

It has been a Southern Baptist church that has supported me, prayed for me, and allowed me to follow God’s direction in my life for these past nearly 32 years.

It was a Southern Baptist layman that taught me to how win souls.

The above reasons are all very personal. Allow me to share some that are convictional.

I believe that Southern Baptists are committed to the task of carrying out the Great Commission. At every level of our precious fellowship from the local church to the national convention I am impressed with both the desire and the commitment to this great task.

I believe that Southern Baptists have the finest structure to carry out the Great Commission. Our mission boards and seminaries are the finest in all of Christianity. Our denominational structure providing for local, state, national and international missions and evangelism is the finest. Our denominational leaders exhibit clear commitment to world evangelization, while dealing with the opportunities of our historic Baptist polity.

I believe that Southern Baptists have the preeminent process for supporting our desire to carry out the Great Commission through the Cooperative Program. In 1925 God moved to cause us to adopt a cooperative effort that has allowed us to create the largest mission force in the history of Christianity and the finest training effort known to all of Christendom. Our cooperative missions and theological support is the envy of other efforts.

Are Southern Baptists perfect? No. Are there things that can be done to improve our efforts to reach the world? Yes. However, I am glad that God has allowed me to be a part of what I believe to be the greatest movement for world evangelization in all of history.

Attempting to connect the dots…

Romans 1:16

“Baptists do best what they do together."
~ Unknown

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