CORPUS CHRISTI?”The message that we must boldly share with this culture is the same message that John shared with his culture and that the church bore witness to in the first century,” said Scott Camp, pastor of First Baptist Church of Mansfield, in the opening theme interpretation of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s annual meeting.
Camp reminded listeners that Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of who God is, citing John 1:1.
“Jesus is equal with and equal to God and yet distinct from God the Father,” Camp said. “This is the crux of our faith.”
Camp expressed his own burden that biblically-based doctrinal preaching has fallen on hard times.
“We’ve replaced it with slick power presentations and stand-up comedy routines, self-help therapeutic pop psychology. If we ever move away from preaching the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ we have forfeited our right to be called New Testament Christians.”
Ronald Byrd, who is blind and the pastor of Sweet Home Baptist Church in Round Rock, proclaimed that “God can always see more than we can see.”
Byrd implored pastors and lay leaders gathered for the SBTC meeting not to give up on their call to ministry. Recounting Paul’s journey from Athens to Corinth and the change in his disposition during that time, Byrd said the apostle wanted to give up.
Paul felt like a failure, he was fatigued, and he was frustrated, said Byrd, reading from Acts 18:9-10 and I Corinthians 15:57-58. Proclaiming the gospel boldly in Athens, Paul wanted to throw in the towel by the time he arrived in Corinth.
There was a sense of failure when faced with the overwhelming opposition in Corinth, Byrd noted. He had walked 300 miles and was fatigued. The people of the city were in organized opposition to the preacher. Pastors today can feel the same but Byrd reminded them of what God told Paul.
“I am with you,” he said reciting Acts 18:10. Byrd reminded the pastors, “What God has assigned to your hand to do no one else can do.” He said God also promises to protect those he calls. “Paul, you are immortal until I say your work is done.”
For a man who cannot see what is in front of him, Byrd encouraged his fellow workers to see what is ahead of them. God’s word promises future possibilities. Paul saw Corinth as a city of sin and deprivation but, Byrd said, God saw it as a town filled with future missionaries and pastors.
“If you can’t see the invisible you can’t do the impossible,” Byrd declared. As Byrd closed he encouraged conference members to stand fast to remember their victory is in Jesus. As he finished the convention hall rose to give the enthusiastic pastor a standing ovation.
Living a life of victory in Jesus as a pastor cannot be accomplished without having victory in the family, said Steve McMeans, pastor of Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood.
McMeans remarked, “If you don’t have victory in the family, you’re lost ? What does it profit a man if he gains the whole Baptist world and loses his family?”
McMeans said as a pastor he understands the stresses and the issues that weigh upon church leaders and how it can drain them of the physical and emotional ability to give to their families. Associates complain their churches are so demanding that they do not have time for their families.
But McMeans countered that there is always something that can be given up in favor of the family (i.e. TV and golf). The gift of time spent with their wives and children is one way pastors show their love.
The gift of touch that a father gives to his wife and children reassures them of his love and care, McMeans said.
“We need to touch our wives all during the day, not just late at night.” Watching their parents touch affectionately, McMeans said, assures kids of the strength of their marriage.
Giving children hugs, kisses, and snuggles can build self-confidence in them, especially girls. McMeans said his ninth-grade daughter does not feel she needs to chase boys in order to get special attention from a guy because she has a man at home who will give her loving affection.
It is with the gift of time and touch that families are bonded to one another in victory, he noted.
Closing out the theme interpretations was a young pastor named Bil Cornelius. Though his appearance and age?Cornelius is 30 years old?was different from the other preachers, his message of victory in Jesus was as pertinent and poignant.