Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A Critical Day for Southern Baptists

I am at least a fourth generation Southern Baptist.  I just enrolled Jonathan as a third-generation Southern Baptist seminary student.  I am proud of what Southern Baptists have accomplished for the glory of God.  We are not perfect, but we have chosen to work together as autonomous Baptist churches in order to be the largest missionary sending organization as well as provide high quality seminary education to our pastors and staff.  The Cooperative Program has served us well in raising funds for our great organizations, so our missionaries and other leaders can invest in the work at hand instead of raising their own funds.  The Baptist Faith and Message has been our confession of faith providing a foundation for conservative, biblical doctrine while uniting the varying cultures found throughout our denomination.

For these reasons my heart hurts when I see negative headlines that threaten to undermine what we have accomplished.  The headlines in national news agencies have been about the failure of our leaders and not the work we are accomplishing for Christ’s sake all around the world.  Specifically, Paige Patterson, a leader in the Conservative Resurgence that happened 30 years ago and President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has been making national headlines of late. His counsel to women in abused relationships, his inappropriate remarks about a teenage girl’s physical appearance, as well as the alleged covering up of sexual abuse to women on his campus has led many people to ask for his resignation.  A special called meeting of the Board of Trustees for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary on May 22 resulted not in his resignation, nor his termination, but rather he was given a new title (President Emeritus), promised financial compensation for his new position, and will be honored as the first Theologian in Residence, where he will live in a currently being constructed home on campus.

Dr. Patterson has done a lot to help us hold firm to our conservative convictions while most main-line denominations turned to liberalism, but these current accusations should not be ignored.  If there was enough evidence to remove him as president, he should not be allowed to remain on campus. The actions by Southwestern’s Board of Trustees, has made all Southern Baptists appear insensitive to women’s issues.  It came with no apology nor clarifications on why he was given a new title, compensation and housing.  On top of this, Dr. Patterson holds the honor of preaching the annual sermon at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas in a couple of weeks.  This convention holds great importance for the future of our denomination.  Thirty years after the Conservative Resurgence we return to the same city with a new challenge.  I believe what happens in Dallas will propel us into the future or divide us into irrelevancy. Let us pray for our leaders during this critical time.

Lucas and I have decided we need to be in Dallas for the convention.  We will have to miss the Tuesday night of VBS in order to accomplish this.  We wrestled with this decision knowing that VBS is an important ministry of our church. Please pray for us and our convention as we look to unify around the Gospel. May our current generation not be the last to experience a relevant, biblically conservative, powerful Southern Baptist Convention.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Thank you, Carrie and Jenifer!

Our exemplary ministries only exist because of the great leaders we have leading them.  Our children’s ministry over the last few years is a great example of what we can accomplish with great leaders and faithful volunteers sacrificially giving of themselves to provide our children with quality programs that point to Jesus.  Carrie Hugeback and Jenifer Miller have served our children faithfully and these ministries have succeeded because of them.  Carrie and Jenifer are stepping down from their leadership role. Be sure and say “thank you” to them for the sacrifices they have made for our children.  Their leadership will be missed.

Our children’s ministry team is the largest team in our church.  They are responsible for birth through 5thgraders including LifeGroups, Extended Session, Worship Kids, AWANA, VBS and so much more.  This team organizes dozens of volunteers who rotate through the various programs.  We believe that it is our responsibility to not just provide childcare but to take seriously the task of raising the next generation of church leaders. Our children’s ministry is the place to bring your children if you want them to love the Bible and live according to its teaching.

We are excited for our new Children’s Team Leaders.  Dwayne and Cassie Conner have agreed to take over this huge responsibility.  Pray for them as they transition to this new role. I believe that they are uniquely gifted and qualified to step into this position.  However, their success will be determined by the many volunteers who step up to help them.  We currently have openings in our Sunday morning children areas from LifeGroup Leaders to extended session workers.  Let Dwayne and Cassie know if you are interested in investing in the lives of our children.  With great leaders and faithful volunteers we will continue to make a significant impact in the children God entrusts to us.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bartlesville to the World

In Acts 2 we see the power of the Holy Spirit come upon the disciples.  It was a physical and spiritual event as they heard with their ears and saw with their eyes.  Immediately they left the Upper Room and the 120 disciples went to the streets to preach the good news of Jesus Christ.  There were 3,000 people saved that day in the streets of Jerusalem.  The multitude that had gathered for Pentecost from all over the known world experienced the miracle of tongues, each one hearing in their own native language.  Many of them returned home spreading the name of Jesus all around the world.

Why did they start in Jerusalem?  Because that is where they were.  Jesus had commanded them to start in Jerusalem because that was the place he commanded them to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus said, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).  It was from Jerusalem that the name of Jesus spread to Judea, Samaria and the world.

It is our calling as Eastern Heights Baptist Church to follow the same command that Jesus gave the disciples 2000 years ago.  We are called to start right where we are in Bartlesville Oklahoma and take the name of Jesus to the ends of the earth.  We plan our mission opportunities to accomplish just that.  Our new ministry to the west side of Bartlesville will help us better than ever share the name of Jesus with those living in our backyard.  Through Bounce and Bethel Builders we have teams taking the name of Jesus to our Judea and Samaria.  We also have a team heading to Malawi to continue to strengthen the over twenty churches we have planted over the last six years and plant new churches in villages that have yet to hear the good news of Jesus.

Join us May 30 at 6:00 in the Worship Center as we come together as a church in prayer.  The disciples spent a week in prayer preparing for the coming of the Holy Spirit and the opportunity to preach the name of Jesus.  We have the power of the Holy Spirit and the calling given to us through Jesus.  Let us come together in prayer and ask God to supernaturally multiply our efforts as we start in Bartlesville and take the name of Jesus to the world.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Sacrifice of Mothers

Mary, the mother of Jesus, understood the sacrifice of being a mother.  It was directly related to her obedience to follow God’s plan for her life. She risked losing her fiancĂ© and alienation from society.  Her reputation was hurt as she faced the accusations from her peers.  Being a mother is all about sacrifice.  It is impossible to be a good mother without a continual denying of self for the sake of the children.  No matter the age of the children a mother continually makes decisions to put the need of the children ahead of their own.  It is a sacrifice of time, peace, money and freedom.

The Proverbs 31 woman is a beautiful picture of the sacrifice of a woman who runs her household well.  She sacrifices so her husband has honor within the community.  She sacrifices to provide for the needs of the family.  She sacrifices to provide food and clothing for her children. Her clothes may be worn but she is covered in strength and dignity.  When others are at rest she is running strong.  Being a mother is not easy, but in the end…

28          Her children rise up and call her blessed; 
her husband also, and he praises her: 
29          “Many women have done excellently, 
but you surpass them all.” 
30          Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, 
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
          (Proverbs 31:28-30)

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Summer of Prayer

Prayer is so much more than just a way to provide God with our list of wants.  Prayer is our way of participating in the spiritual battle that is being waged against this world.  God wants to hear our needs as we surrender them to him, however, if your prayer life only consists of praying for the sick and needy you are missing a powerful element of prayer.  We need to be praying for the spiritual condition of our city and world.  We need to be praying for opportunities to share the gospel and lives to be changed.  The early church found this kind of power in their prayer and we can to.

Paul called on the church at Colossae to “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.  At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison- that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.”  Paul knew that their prayer would help him find an open door to share the Gospel and help him to be clear with his ability to communicate the Gospel.

Summer is quickly approaching and some of our most evangelistic events will soon be in session. We need to be in prayer for God to open doors for the word and for those teaching to be clear in communicating the Gospel.  Pray for VBS, Falls Creek, Super Summer, Malawi, Bounce and Children’s Camp.  We will also have a special prayer service for us as we kick off our summer.  Wednesday night, May 30, we will have a prayer walk in the Worship Center where we will be praying for these events as well as having the Lord’s Supper.  Put it on your calendar.  Those living in darkness are worth it. 

God Provides

God provides in many different ways. I have been reading Ezra as part of my daily devotional time.     Ezra leads the people of Israel out o...