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Check it out HERE!

These folks spent their Saturday morning pushing back the darkness by inviting their community to our Easter worship service.  I am so thankful for their faithfulness.

Read this by Thom Rainer. .  .  HERE.

As the North American Mission Board redirects money and resources away from Southern States the Tennessee Baptist Convention and our local associations must become more engaged in their own backyards.  If we were looking for relevancy. . .  we just found it.  Tennessee is no less inhabited by lost folks than it was before NAMB’s announcement so it is time for us to  Depend deeply upon God’s provision,  Give extravagantly to the TBC’s entities and mission, and Go Urgently to our backyard mission fields.    

Ohhhh yeah I am praying that our Tennessee Baptist Convention churches lead the way in giving and going to the ends of the earth as well.   We need to be a busy bunch of Baptists in the coming days.

One of the best moves your church could make for the Kingdom is this one:

FROM .01 TO .10

Common’, lets go tweek those church budgets and put our wallets where our mouths are.

Click here for more info on the Cooperative Program!

I am  proud to be the pastor of a church that gave 10% of its undesignated receipts long before I was on the scene.  Even more proud to be the pastor of a church that didn’t see the necessity for everyone to “celebrate” or “recognize” the significant amount it gives over and above C.P. giving.   They were giving and going long before the Great Commission needed a resurgence.  Well anyway. . . if we didn’t give 10% to C.P.  this is how I might spend it.   

1.  We could afford to pay a new staff member for about 3 months.  Ohhh the things we could do with 1/4 of a person! 

2.  We could purchase 2,000 reams of paper.  That would keep us in copy paper for the next 20 years.  (good to be prepared though)

3.  We could purchase 833 subscriptions to the Baptist and Reflector this year.  That means that everyone in our church could have 10.4 copies per week.  (although the B&R is a worthy use of our money we simply can’t use 10.4 copies of it per person. . . sorry Lonnie)

4.  We could afford to bring an “up and coming” (code for cheap) contemporary artist to Cottage Grove Cardinal Park where approximately 7 people would show up for the show. 

5.  We could afford to trick the church van out with lots of chrome and a “bumpin'” sound system. 

6.  We could hire the F.B.I. to find some of our missing church members. 

7.  We could commission a new “Jordan River” painting above the baptistry.

8.  50 lucky new guests could receive a new iphone on their first visit. 

9.  We could call the Guinness folks after we create the worlds’ largest bowl of Banana Pudding. 

10.  We could, should, and will continue to cooperate with our sister churches to spend a small portion of  our resources in the grandest missional effort ever implemented. . . the Cooperative Program.

1.  If we go up by 2% this year everyone gets a Lottie Moon bobble head doll.

2.  Let your Women’s Missionary Union host a “sit in” in the pastor’s office until you get to 10%.

3.  Cancel church soft-ball until church reaches 10%.

4.  There will be absolutely no padded pews or air conditioning until goal is met.

5.  Challenge another local church to a duel to see who gets to 10% first.  Looser has to sign over property to winner.

6.  The pastor who leads his church to 11% gets back stage passes to next years Southern Baptist Convention.  All access baby!!!!

7.  Four Words:  No More Fried Chicken!    

8.  Print T-shirts that say cleaver things like:   Give Ten?  We do!   or “Friends don’t let Friends give 3%!”

It is an incredibly exciting time to be a Southern Baptist for numerous reasons.  The most exciting reason being the Great Commission Resurgence.  We are finally talking about mobilizing ourselves again for the sacred task of sharing the Gospel to the Nations.  We are making real efforts to give more and go more.  We are shifting resources and our focus in such a way that the “lostness” of the world is ever before us.   We are renewing our belief in the Gospel as the power of God for Salvation.  Exciting!

I am all in.  My church is all in and has been before the Great Commission was cool.   Let’s go to the nations.  Let’s go to the “global cities”.   The framers of the G.C.R. put it this way: 

“This reinvention of the North American Mission Board that we envision will implement a missional strategy for planting churches in North America with a priority to reach metropolitan areas and underserved people groups. We desire for the North American Mission Board to encourage Southern Baptist churches to become church planting congregations. Regardless of the size or location of our churches, we call for each to have a vision for planting churches somewhere in North America. It is our desire that at least 50% of the ministry efforts of our North American Mission Board be given to assist churches in planting healthy, multiplying, and faithful Baptist congregations in the United States and Canada.”

The drum beat is leading us to the metroplexes of North America.  The drum beat is leading us to the millions of people groups that live within our own boarders.  The Drum beat is leading us to foreign fields.  More and more we are called from Southern rural America to some other place.  

As we are going my fear is that we might, just maybe, lose sight of the lostness in Southern Rural America.  This is where I have been called.  It is the mission field that God has put me in.  Somewhere between all this corn and all these soy beans are people. . .  many lost people.   I guess I am a little concerned that these people, although very un-metropolitain and very homogeneous, might be the ones who fall through the G.C.R. cracks.  I am a little concerned that ruralites across our continent will become a sort of spiritual flyover region for missionaries and pastors headed for New York and L.A. 

I can’t wait to send more teams to metropolitan towns.  I can’t wait to send more resources to “penetrate the lostness in the world”.   We, here in the Southern Rural American mission field, are ready to give and go.   Just don’t forget about us.  Don’t just flyover us and think the work is done here because we put the “Southern” in Southern Baptist.

Read about it Here!

23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings

I’m not sure that I really have my arms around what it means to forsake myself and become all things for the sake of the Gospel.  Do you?  Just a few months ago I believed I was REALLY sacrificing for the Lord.  I was REALLY giving all I could give and doing all I could do for the sake of the Gospel’s proclamation in Cottage Grove.   What does it mean to be spent for the sake of the Gospel?  I was challenged by the Great Commission resurgence report given last Monday. . . I think I (we) can do better. 

I am trying to answer, for myself, the following questions in light of I Cor. 9:23:

How am I willing to live for the sake of the Gospel?  Do living conditions ever trump God’s command to “make disciples”? 

Where am I willing to live for the sake of the Gospel? Is there a place that is truly God forsaken?

Who am I willing to talk to for the sake of the Gospel? Is there a person, race, or group that God doesn’t desire to save?

What am I willing to live without for the sake of the Gospel?  Is there a possession worth my soul?

Tough questions because I still have some flesh to crucify. What about you?