Last Sunday our church had the honor of hosting Randel Everett, the new Executive Director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and his wife Shelia. Dr. Everett preached with passion and clarity in all three of our morning worship service. Although he alluded to the work and mission of the BGCT his message revolved around the power and the authority of the Word of God. Since I am a pulpit minister I rarely have the opportunity to sit under the preaching of others. One thing that struck me about Everett’s preaching was his command of Scripture from memory. He never looked at the text in his hand because it was burned on his heart and in his memory. He spoke to our people from his heart. He connected with us.
Dr. Everett chose for his text the words of the Apostle Paul to the divided and often dysfunctional church in Corinth:
18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Cor. 1:18 (NASB)
It was clear from his message what drum beat he marches to—he marches to the beat of the cross. In a world of choices and options, the core value of Christ followers must be the cross of Christ and His resurrection. Dr. Everett challenged our church to share the hope of the gospel with every one who lives within our community and to join our extended family of Baptists by sharing this hope with every man and woman, boy and girl in Texas by Resurrection Sunday 2010. Some would say this is an idealistic dream, but it is more possible than you might imagine since one out of every ten Texans is a Texas Baptists. If every one of us strategically found a way to share with our friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers it would not be long before everyone had a chance to say “yes” to Jesus.
Sharing Jesus may not solve all the challenges facing the BGCT but it would be a good step forward. It is hard to rock the boat when we are all rowing in the same direction. There are many issues we may never see eye to eye about, but I believe sharing the hope of Jesus is one thing we can all agree on.
Granted I had a brief encounter with Dr. Everett, but I am convinced he is the kind of leader we need for this hour in our history.
Side note: My wife and I took Randel and Shelia to lunch with my two teenage girls. I was particularly impressed with the interest they took in my children. They made them feel very special even to the point of springing for dessert! Often it is the little things that count.