Don”t be ashamed of the gospel

The 2012 SBTC Evangelism Conference theme is “I Am Not Ashamed,” taken from Romans 1:14-17. The passage challenges us to be courageous witnesses for Christ. In an increasingly hostile culture we cannot allow ourselves to be marginalized as followers of Jesus. A more timely title could not have been chosen for the conference. Every believer is to be unashamed of the gospel.

A major news story going beyond the sports world has been the public prayer and praise by Tim Tebow. Tebow, the Denver Broncos’ quarterback, wears his faith on the outside. He is unashamed to give testimony before a very cynical and critical world. I should not be but I am still amazed that so many people miss what is happening. Although I can’t speak for Tebow, I believe he has made his intentions clear. He is not praying for a completed pass. He is not asking God to help him win the game. Tebow is simply living out a testimony that he wants Jesus Christ to receive all the glory for every accomplishment.

Is God concerned about who wins or loses a football game? While some events of life seem from a human perspective to have higher value, God is sovereign over every aspect of our existence. He is not working in our lives for our happiness but our holiness in order to bring more glory to His name. Submission to the sovereign will of God is a supreme calling all believers have. Our ultimate purpose is to give glory to God.

Tebow works harder in the weight room than most athletes. He studies film to prepare for a game. He follows direction from his coaches. He may or may not become the type of player who makes it to the Hall of Fame. Tebow is doing his part and leaving the rest to God. God does not have to make us successful to bring glory to His name. Repeatedly, Tebow has said that football is a platform that God has given him to proclaim the gospel. As long as he has a gridiron pulpit he is going to use it.

We may never have the type of platform Tim Tebow has, but God has given every one of us a platform. Someone will listen if we will only speak up. Sadly, I confess that I have lost opportunities to be a witness when God has given them to me. I want to make the most of every platform to present the gospel.

Every year the Evangelism Conference refreshes me. This year will be no different. Don Cass has put together a tremendous schedule for the Evangelism Conference. Preachers from across America and right here in Texas will encourage us. There is no better music this side of Heaven. Fellowship will be sweet among the attendees.

Several luncheons will offer spiritual food as well. Tuesday the Cooperative Program Luncheon features recognition of churches that gave to advance the cause of Christ. Some churches gave large amounts. Other churches gave large for their size. It is not equal gifts but equal sacrifice. Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, will bring the message. The Senior Adult Luncheon will be on Wednesday at noon. Everyone, and especially seniors, is invited to enjoy the downtime with music and laughter.

Attending the SBTC Evangelism Conference helps us keep in mind that God has given us a platform for the proclamation of the gospel. I encourage you to make every effort to be with us this year.

Executive Director Emeritus
Jim Richards
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
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