MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–The president of the Alabama Baptist Convention, in visiting California’s Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, noted in a chapel message that “service to God is never a substitute for knowing God.”
Roger Willmore, pastor of Deerfoot Baptist Church in Trussville, Ala., urged the seminarians to “keep your focus on God” and a “yearning” in their hearts for Him.
“It is possible in the midst of the busyness of seminary life and ministry to lose focus of the real reason we are in ministry,” Willmore said in a message based on Psalm 84.
Underscoring the need for a genuine desire to know God, Willmore said, “You can counterfeit the actions of a Christian, you can wear a facade or a mask, and you can pretend a lot of things, but you can’t counterfeit desire.
“And that is my question to you today, as seminary students, faculty and staff: Do you earnestly desire God? Do your heart and flesh cry out for the living God, as the Psalmist’s does?”
Willmore quoted author Stuart Briscoe as noting: “God meets man on the level of his desire; man can have as much of God as he wants.”
The writer of Psalm 84, Willmore pointed out, envied the sparrows in the temple because they were in the very presence of God.
“Our pursuit is not about a place,” Willmore said, “but a person.”
During his Sept. 6 visit to Golden Gate’s campus in Mill Valley, Calif., Willmore said he “encountered in the president, faculty and students a contagious passion for reaching the peoples of the world at our seminary on the West Coast.
“It is located in such a culturally diverse region of the world that it is the ideal place to train church planters, missionaries, pastors and teachers. While I can wholeheartedly recommend any of our seminaries, no other Southern Baptist seminary offers the opportunity for cross-cultural ministry training like Golden Gate,” Willmore said.
Amanda Phifer is a writer for Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.