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Why I’m Southern Baptist

Open Boarder, Open Hearts – A Preacher’s Position on the Refugee Resolution

The Confederate Flag resolution has been the dominating take away from the Southern Baptist’s 2016 Annual Meeting in St. Louis, but there was another amazing resolution I hope does not get covered up by a flag.  This resolution was titled “On Refugee Ministry.”  Opening our nation to accept refugees has been a passion of mine for some time.  I have written twice on the support of accepting refugees.  One was our responsibility in Syria since we are directly involved in the conflict, and the second, was in praise of our government’s job of vetting refugees and our continued responsibility to minister to others.  I was overjoyed to learn that my denomination stood tall on this issue and cried with one voice to open our boarders, our churches, our homes, and our hearts to minister to the displaced in this world through war and tradgedy.

Again, this is an extradinary stand by denomination that I am still trying to process.  To help you to undestand my surprise, I must share that many, if not most of the resolutions, passed at the Southern Baptist Annual Meeting and the Goergia Mission Board Annual Meeting are boring.  We pass resolutions like, “Drugs are bad,” “Parents should be involved in children’s education and educate them in a Christian manner,” or “We should tell people about Jesus.”  The resolutions are often so obvious, avoiding controversy, that their passing is barely a blip on the schedule.  That is NOT so in 2016.

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Oh, My Stars and Bars and Garters – A Preacher’s Position on the Confederate Flag Resolution

I will always remember where I was and what I felt on June 14th, 2016 as I learned the denomination in which I pastor, the Southern Baptist Convention, voted overwhelmingly to repudiate the Confederate Battle Flag and to call all Southern Baptist to cease displaying this flag. A incredible mixture of shock and gratefulness and amazement and sheer determination swirled and is still swirling inside of me. I was glad to see this resolution being passed made national news, but let me tell you, unless you are a Southern Baptist, you will have a hard time grasping what this step means.

First, it reveals our unwavering commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As stated at our 2016 Annual Meeting, where this resolution was passed, the Confederate Battle Flag is viewed as a symbol of racism and worse, to African Americas, many other ethnicities, including whites, and by wide geography of peoples. Since this flag has such negative connotations to these people, we must remove it, so we can build relationships with these groups and share the gospel of Jesus Christ without hindrance. This vote proves that the Gospel going forth is vastly more important that so many of our Southern Baptist member’s and pastor’s heritage in the past.

Second, it shows that “they” have a priority over “us.” We told ourselves, we don’t care what that flag means or symbolizes to some of us. What matter is what it means to them because again we are trying to impact them. So get over yourself, take the flag down, and reach others with the gospel unhindered by a symbol that closes so many ears.

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Why I’m Southern Baptist 2 – It’s About The Shoes

IMG_7154A few weeks ago, I shared about all the different religious choices around us every day, and I gave one reason that my family chooses to be Southern Baptist in the larger Christian faith.  I am back to share another reason my wife and I choose to be Southern Baptist, and it has to do with writing. I like books.  I like to read, and one of my favorite pastimes is talking with authors.  I am fascinating with how story is created.

In my passionate enjoyment of stories and their creation, I have gotten to speak to some amazing authors.  Spending time in writing and reading circles, I have, also, met a peculiar type of person.  I have met some quirky people that introduce themselves as “a writer.”  Myself being immediately intrigued by that claim begins to ask questions, and I am shocked by their answers.  What have you published?  Nothing yet.  Who have you submitted your story too?  No one yet.   Can I read your story?  It’s not finished. I’m busy with my other job.  What genre are you exploring?  I haven’t narrowed it down yet.  What do you have?  I have a great title!  After a few questions, I realize that they are actually an “aspiring” writers, not an actual writer, and many are actually aspiring to be an aspiring writer!  Then, I have a chuckle.  They claim to be a writer, but they do not do what a writer does, namely write and complete stories.

Isn’t this one of the major world complaints toward Christians?  Christians do not act like Christ.  Christian do not live what they preach.  Christians like to put on the title of Christian more than they want to put in the work and service of being a Christian just like those so called writers do not want to put in the incredible effort to craft a captivating story.  Just like I said in my latest article on why I am a Southern Baptist, you can tell a lot about a church by how they spend their money, you also can tell a lot about a church by how they spend their time.  Do they just say they are Chrsitians or do they put in the great effort to live it?  I believe Southern Baptist churches work hard to live out their faith.  They claim to be Christian, and they do what Christians should be doing.

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Why I’m Southern Baptist – It’s About the Money

With all of the spiritual and religious choices that permeate our society, It can be hard to choose which faith, which church, which denomination, which variety, will speak to you and your family. I want to take a moment and share the direction my wife and I chose for our family. I also, want to share the reasons why we chose this particular direction for our family. My wife and I are Christians, and we choose to be a part of the Southern Baptist, a denomination of Christianity. The Southern Baptist are a collection of like minded baptist congregations that pool our resources to cooperate in mission and ministry for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Currently, I am the pastor and we attend Sunnyside Baptist Church in Toccoa Georgia.

Have you ever watched a big time free agent athlete sign the one hundred million dollar contract? The athlete attends a news conference to be handed a jersey where fifty cameras take hundreds of pictures. The athlete then sits in front of multiple video cameras as says, “This is not about the money. I love this city, this team, these coaches…yada, yada, yada.” While the athlete is speaking everyone in the room is thinking, it’s one hundred million dollars…it is most certainly about the money. I always hope one of these athletes will one day be honest and say, “Did you count all those zeroes? I’d play on the moon for that many zeroes.”

Well let me share freely and honestly, the first reason why we choose to be a part of the Southern Baptist is all about the money. When I say it is about the money, I do not mean the salary that I make; although, I am very grateful for my church that pays me to do what I love. The money I am talking about is the money we give to our denominational leadership that they in turn use for ministry.

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