Responding to a Crisis

The last several weeks have brought about unimaginable change to the way of life for most people across the world. No other event in my lifetime, including 9/11, has changed the daily life and routine like the COVID-19 crisis. We have witnessed the rapid spread of the virus, a steep economic downturn, and unprecedented growth in the number of people unemployed.

On March 27, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). This legislation is the largest economic stimulus package in the history of the United States. This sweeping legislation has financial stimulus for businesses large and small, unemployment assistance changes, and direct payments to individuals and families.

We now have the opportunity to be good stewards of this occasion. This opportunity begs the question: Will you tithe your stimulus check to your local church? The reality is that just as every person has been affected by the crisis so has every church. The work of the Kingdom cannot stop because a crisis has come. In fact, the work of the Kingdom is more important than ever. During this crisis the community will need our churches to be a light in the darkness and hope in the midst of despair and fear.

If all North Carolina Baptists would tithe out of their stimulus checks, we would add millions of dollars to the Kingdom work of our churches at this vital time in ministry to our community. We would aid our associations in building partnerships in communities large and small across the state. If each one of us would tithe out of our stimulus funds, we would empower our state convention and the Southern Baptist convention to provide disaster relief to hard hit areas and resource missionaries who will proclaim the Gospel to people who have never heard. We will supply our educational institutions and social ministries with needed resources to both endure the crisis and continue their critical mission.

Our government is putting money in our hands to help cover life’s essentials. Each of us will spend this money in different ways for a variety of reasons. We must not forget, however, that as believers, the work of the Kingdom is essential in times of peace and times of crisis. We fund the work of the Kingdom because we know that everything we have belongs to the Lord.

Now is not the time to retreat from the work we have before us. God has brought us to this moment, and He remains sovereign over all. People are hurting and full of fear. They are uncertain about what will happen with their health, their wealth, and their employment. They do not know what to do and they have no where to turn for hope. May it be said of us, when the future books are written on the history of the church, that we were faithful in the midst of this crisis and stood boldly with the Gospel of Christ.

Make a Nomination

A year ago, I wrote much of the content of this article as an encouragement to NC Baptist to make nominations of leaders from across our state to the various boards and committees that lead in the work of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. The time has come to engage in this work again. As I have seen over this last year as 1st Vice President, the work of the convention does not stop. Our annual gathering is a momentary pause to celebrate all that God has done in and through our convention. When we adjourn, the work continues.

Therefore, I want to challenge each of you, especially young pastors and church leaders to consider serving as a part of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina as we enter 2020. NC Baptists fulfill this process through the nomination process. According to the BSCNC website: Recommendations are sought each year for individuals to serve on the convention’s board of directors, boards of the convention’s agencies and institutions, and convention committees. Recommendations of North Carolina Baptists for places of service and leadership in denominational work are essential for ongoing missions, ministries and evangelistic endeavors.

There is important work being done every day through the ministries of the BSCNC. Churches are being planted, hearts are being transformed, lost people are hearing the Gospel of Christ. Our state convention is guided by those who give of their time to serve on boards and committees of our convention. We consistently need new leaders from all over North Carolina to serve in these positions and provide direction and insight from their churches to our state convention.

Joining the BSCNC Board of Directors was formative for me nine years ago. I did not understand the intricacies of our convention’s ministries. I had no idea how far reaching were the activities of the BSCNC. I had only been in ministry for a few years and witnessed the work of the convention from afar. However, my time on the Board of Directors provided valuable insight that has helped me as I lead my church. I see the work that is being done, from right here in my community to the ends of the earth.

The seventh pillar of the BSCNC’s Seven Pillars for Ministry is to Engage young church leaders. Our convention is committed to engaging younger leaders in the ministries going on around North Carolina and throughout the world. This is a commitment that I both appreciate and have benefited from. I am thankful that I have been able to be involved with convention for over a decade now, and it all started when someone took the time to nominate me to serve. Who will you nominate to serve with the BSCNC? Will you serve when asked? Let’s resolve in 2020 to commit ourselves to the work of the ministry, both in our local church, and wherever else the Lord leads us.

https://ncbaptist.org/make-a-recommendation/

John 13:31-38

J. Allen Murray for PC VP

IMG_2227I am excited to announce that I will nominate Rev. J. Allen Murray to be Vice-President of the 2021 North Carolina Pastors’ Conference when NC Baptist gather in Greensboro next week for our annual convention. Allen is the pastor of Centerville Baptist Church in Kelly, NC and has served churches in Eastern and Western, NC. He and his wife, Hope, have two great children. He has studied at Fruitland Baptist Bible College and the College at Southeastern. Allen is passionate about our pastors here in North Carolina and will be a great asset to our Pastors’ Conference President in crafting a conference that will encourage and challenge pastors from across North Carolina in 2021.

John 13:1-20

Hell hates Heaven

 

clouds

As my wife and I were shopping at Walmart, I noticed the diversity in the people around me. People with many shades of melanin. People from all around the world. People with heritages different from my own. As I observed them, my heart sank thinking of the tragedy at the Walmart in El Paso just two days before. Another community retail center with people from many parts of the world. A store full of people, shopping and enjoying their day, terrorized by hate.

It is simple to blame an act of terror that claimed more than 20 lives in Texas on political ideologies, video game violence, firearm availability, healthcare access, or even the hatred inside the heart of the murderous terrorist that carried out this atrocity. The answer, spiritually speaking, runs much deeper.

These things happen because Hell hates Heaven. Hell hates that when I look around me and see people “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9), I think about Heaven. My heart rejoices knowing that God loves and redeems people from every skin tone and language group—Hell shutters at the prospect.

I find great comfort knowing that no matter what Hell unleashes on us—no matter what wickedness brings ugly terror—Heaven will look a lot like Walmart. No bigotry or hate or racism can change Heaven. Hell cannot prevail. Hell cannot overcome. The Gospel of Christ will transform the hearts of people from every tribe and language and people and nation. People from every race will comprise the Kingdom of Christ. Hate can rage and Hell can war, but they do so in desperation, not in victory. When Christ’s Kingdom is complete, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). This is the day I long for. This is the day I thought about as I strolled through Walmart.

Is He Enough?

A friend and I were recently having a discussion about church fads and the fact so many in established churches are often dissatisfied with their “experience.” We agreed that it all comes down to one question, “Is Jesus enough?” If He is, you will be content no matter the circumstances. If He is not enough, nothing you add to Him will ever satisfy. Is He enough or do you seek something more than Christ?

Will you serve?

2019 has arrived. It came in, as most do, with fireworks and celebrations. Many of us took the first day of the year off and spent time with family and friends. However, as Christians, the work never ceases—Kingdom work does not stop for holidays. I found myself eager to return to my office on the second day of the year and jump back in to the work to be done. A new year always provides new opportunities and new challenges.

Therefore, I want to challenge each of you, especially young pastors and church leaders to consider serving as a part of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina as we enter a new year. NC Baptists fulfill this process through the nomination process. According to the BSCNC website: Recommendations are sought each year for individuals to serve on the convention’s board of directors, boards of the convention’s agencies and institutions, and convention committees. Recommendations of North Carolina Baptists for places of service and leadership in denominational work are essential for ongoing missions, ministries and evangelistic endeavors.

There is important work being done every day through the ministries of the BSCNC. Churches are being planted, hearts are being transformed, lost people are hearing the Gospel of Christ. Our state convention is guided by those who give of their time to serve on boards and committees of our convention. We consistently need new leaders from all over North Carolina to serve in these positions and provide direction and insight from their churches to our state convention.

Joining the BSCNC Board of Directors was formative for me eight years ago. I did not understand the intricacies of our convention’s ministries. I had no idea how far reaching were the activities of the BSCNC. I had only been in ministry for a few years and witnessed the work of the convention from afar. However, my time on the Board of Directors provided valuable insight that has helped me as I lead my church. I see the work that is being done, from right here in my community to the ends of the earth.

The seventh pillar of the BSCNC’s Seven Pillars for Ministry is to Engage young church leaders. Our convention is committed to engaging younger leaders in the ministries going on around North Carolina and throughout the world. This is a commitment that I both appreciate and have benefited from. I am thankful that I have been able to be involved with convention for over a decade now, and it all started when someone took the time to nominate me to serve. Who will you nominate to serve with the BSCNC? Will you serve when asked? Let’s resolve in 2019 to commit ourselves to the work of the ministry, both in our local church, and wherever else the Lord leads up.

https://ncbaptist.org/make-a-recommendation/

John 3:22-36