I remember it like it was yesterday. The pastor of the church that my family was a part of while in Colorado was called to a new ministry. I was asked to do much of the preaching during the interim time.
The day came in March 2020, when we had to quickly shift to online church only. COVID-19 was making its rounds in communities across the state. I will never forget it. As I gazed into the lens of the camera trying to give calming and hopeful words, internally I was wondering how the world had found itself in this situation. Who would have thought that as advanced as we are in technology, medicine and communication, something like COVID would have turned the world upside down?
The next few weeks and months proved difficult for so many families, churches and communities. Many lost loved ones, some were laid off work; all had to get used to new rhythms and adjust to what seemed to be a new normal. In many ways, the pandemic changed the world.
In the midst of so much uncertainty and chaos, one thing that certainly never changed is the faithfulness of God. While lives were and continue to be altered, the sure thing that we can always place our hope and trust in is the Lord’s goodness to us.
Throughout the story of the Bible, we see many instances of difficulties, heartache, disappointment and obstacles. However, in most of those stories we also see “but God” moments. When all hope seemed lost, God would step in and put his faithfulness and glory on full display. As believers, we must read those stories and be reminded of God’s character.
In life, we will face tremendous challenges and pain, yet we have to believe that God is still fully capable of creating “but God” moments. His glory shines brighter coming out of the dark days.
This is the theme of this year’s SBTC Annual Meeting: “But God.” While we all know how difficult the last couple of years have been, we want to celebrate those moments in which God moved in the midst of the crisis. In early November, you will have the opportunity to hear from people all across Texas who have experienced “but God” moments in their lives. The annual meeting will be an incredible time to be together and celebrate the faithfulness of God.
The evening session on Monday will constitute a unique time of honoring the past with an exciting look toward the future. I will have the distinct honor of following my hero and mentor as we will both preach messages to kick off the 2021 annual meeting. Dr. Richards will open the night and I will follow later. The evening will symbolize the “handing off of the baton” of 23 years of faithful ministry as we look enthusiastically to build on this strong foundation working to reach the current and coming generations of Texans.
On Tuesday we will hear great messages throughout the day, including one from our president, Kie Bowman. Most of our business will happen in the afternoon session on Tuesday. Though the time of business may not seem as exciting as times of worship, it is important for our messengers to hear how God is using the SBTC to serve churches. In addition, it’s an opportunity to make decisions as a united body on issues that are important to Southern Baptists.
I know many people are busy and sometimes must leave during the day on Tuesday. However, I want to make a personal plea for you to stay and participate in our Tuesday evening prayer gathering. It is going to be an incredible time of corporate prayer with worship led by Matt Boswell. We need to unite in prayer for a movement of God like never before. I promise you will be blessed by being a part of it. It is crucial for us to go before our God together in prayer. Please make plans to stay and pray.
We are so grateful for you. It is the joy of the SBTC to serve you and see how God is using you. I believe God is going to meet with us at our annual meeting, and I can’t wait to see you. I love you and am honored to serve you.