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June 2010 entries

NEWS FLASH: GOD Found Disney World!

My family and I are back from rubbing elbows with Baptist messengers and Disney characters in Orlando. The first half of the week was filled with long sessions of heated debates. The second was occupied by short rides and heated buses. I am glad to report Minnie and Mickey are still a couple and Southern Baptists are still united.

We voted, at the convention not at the theme park, to elect a mission minded conservative pastor as our president. We passed the recommendations from the Great Commission Task Force that will eventually get more resources to our missionaries and more missionaries in the field by reducing the amount of money going to administrative overhead.

At the park I was also pleased to observe that God was not omitted from the premises. I have often heard that good Christians should oppose Disney because of that very reason. I found that to be less than accurate. While my son and I were listening to a Bee Gees cover band perform at Epcot, an event occurred that blessed my soul.  (They were the "Staying Alive" band and awesome by the way.) A storm hit suddenly and we all dashed for cover like drowning rats. Andy and I found our way into the U.S. exhibit just before the show was to begin. We stayed and got dry. I fully expected Divine providence and any mention of God to be absent from the program. Nothing could be more untrue. Several times during the 30 minute program the animated characters and narrators mentioned the role of God and faith in the formation and prosperity of America. It seems Disney writers had not taken God's hand out of history as many textbook writers do today.

One other thing the church could learn from Disney World. Millions of people come to the parks each year from all over the world. Yet not one bathroom was a mess or out of paper. The dining rooms were clean and well stocked. Each "cast member" wished you a "magical day" when you left and a "welcome home" when you returned. While one may complain about the prices, it is difficult to find fault with the quality. HEY CHURCH! We are not about amusement but we are in the business of eternity and men's souls! Why can't we make the effort to offer the best environment, the most gracious people, and the most compelling story ever told to as many people as possible. Mickey and Minnie may help take your mind off your troubles for a while, but Jesus has offered to carry them for you. And when God calls us home Dumbo can only get you as far as his wings can take you, but those of us who believe will be carried away by His angels. Isn't that something to get excited about?

Great Commission Task Force Motions Passes in Orlando

This was a historic day at the SBC in Orlando. First of all the attendance was nearly twice what it was last year. The last count I heard late this afternoon was nearly 11,000 messengers. It seems controversy brings out crowds.

As you know I often do not agree with the status quo. Having that perspective I often lose when it comes to the tradition laden SBC. Going into today I expected the same would hold true with the vote on the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force report and recommendations. Most conversations I had over heard at lunch and on the shuttle to and from the convention center were strongly against the GCRTF proposal. So when it came time to the vote I expected to cast my vote once again on the losing side of things. Thats ok with me. Voting is not about winning but about expressing your opinion. After 2 1/2 hours of debate it was finally time for the vote. To my amazement the task forces motion passed on first ballot. 

I will try and explain later all that means. At the very least it means we have taken the first step moving back to a place where our denomination is growing again. Continuing the way we were going was like arranging the chairs on the Titanic expecting somehow chairs in different positions would keep the great ship from sinking. I'm excited what the Lord can and will do reaching the millions of lost people in this country and around the world with our new strategy and renewed emphasis on the great commission. 

Live from the SBC

My wife and youngest son have made it to Orlando for the annual Southern Baptist Convention. This is Monday morning and Marilyn has already left for the pastor's wives morning session. I'm still waiting to awake Andy and head to the conference myself. If the crowd last night was any indication it is going to be the biggest gathering in many years, When the SBC officially begins tomorrow we will start debating restructuring the convention around the controversial Great Commission Resurgence Task Force. I'm not sure how it will go. I am not sure if the masses are gathering to support it or oppose it. No matter I'm sure the sparks will fly.   

This is the last day of the pastor's conference which is separate from the formal SBC that commences tomorrow. The pastor's conference is preaching, teaching and singing. Last night Travis Cottrel (Beth Moore's worship leader) led us in worship with a praise team and choir of about 300 vocalists. Tony Evans and Ravi Zacharias were the main speakers. Both did great but Ravi got my vote for the best of the night. My wife preferred Tony. Tonight should be interesting. Charles Stanley is being honored and his son Andy is going to preach just afterwards.

Just a note from my people watching hobby; Southern Baptists are a diverse group of people. There are men sweltering in the 100 degree heat in dark business suits standing next to men in the pastel sport coats and contrasting shirt and tie. The first is probably the pastor of a First Baptist Church in some county seat southern town. The other guy is probably a vocational evangelists. Then you got the too-cool-for-school youth pastors with their beautiful hair, flip flops, expensive jeans and ear buds. There's the older pastors in suspenders and their wives with white purses and shoes. As always there are the missionary couples dressed in the clothing of the people they have been called to serve. I like the guys from the tropical countries with their 60's like neru shirts and linen pants with sandals. We are a diverse group, but we have a common love for the Lord. That's a cool thing.

I will try to report each day as to the progress of the impending Great Commission Resurgence Task Force and the sparks that fly as we discuss the future direction of our great convention.  

I Need Your Assistance

Hey faithful readers I am asking for your help once again. I have just completed the rough draft of my latest book, Solomon's Prayer. I would like to have examples of God's intervention into the lives of His children through answered prayer. I think this adds a lot to what would otherwise be just an exposition of scripture. Would some of you be willing to share your stories with me. If I included them in the book I would not reveal your true name but use pseudonyms when necessary.  If used there will also be a free copy of the book in your future. This book is going to have broader appeal than my first book "Lessons Learned in Obscurity" which was geared more specifically for those in the ministry. That means you will be able to assist me touch the lives of many people with your story. Any answered prayer stories will be considered. Email your stories to They may be any length. I reserve the right to edit for length but your story will remain intact the way you share it with me. If there are major changes to the wording I will clear it with you before I make them permanent. Thanks so much for your assistance. I have been working on this book for over two years now and it will be a great relief to get it done with your help.