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Chapman asks: ‘What does God have planned for us now?’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Southern Baptists, “in spite of the struggle required, have gotten it right” over more than two decades of returning to the convention’s biblical roots, said Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee.

During the opening session of the Executive Committee’s Sept. 16-17 meeting in Nashville, Tenn., Chapman used the occasion of his 10th anniversary as Executive Committee president to pose the question, “What does God have planned for us now?”

In Southern Baptist life in the days ahead, Chapman noted, additional questions — personal questions — are coming to the fore through the new “Empowering Kingdom Growth” convention-wide emphasis:

“Am I a Kingdom person? If not, how can I be? If so, how shall I live?”

Chapman reminded of the EKG mission statement: “Empowering Kingdom Growth is an initiative designed to call individual Southern Baptists to renew their passion for the Lord Jesus and the reign of His Kingdom in their hearts, families, and churches from which God can forge a spiritual movement marked by holy living, sacrificial service, and global witness.”

The EKG vision statement, meanwhile, is “to seek first the King and His Kingdom,” Chapman continued.

A number of truths — accompanied by questions of spiritual significance — were then listed by Chapman as worthy of every Baptist’s attention:

— “The Kingdom of God is about kingdom identity, the state of my relationship with him. Do I talk with him often and listen to what he says?”

— “The Kingdom of God is about kingdom character. Do I obey his kingly rule in living life daily? Is my heart’s desire to glorify his name?”

— “The Kingdom of God is about kingdom priority. Am I willing to sacrifice for the cause of Christ? Is he first, foremost and forever as he was when I was saved, or when he called me to preach the gospel? Is there any chance that upon looking into the deepest recesses of my heart, I will discover that in reality, I no longer posses an all-encompassing abandonment in my allegiance to him? Even though unintentional, have I lost my first love?”

— “The Kingdom of God is about kingdom family. Have I led my family to have a spiritual purpose with definite kingdom practices?”

— “The Kingdom of God is about kingdom perspective. Am I willing to set aside lesser goals such as personal aggrandizement and pursuit of the things of the world? Do I value the ministry of other Christians….? Do I lift them up in prayer or tear them down in criticism?”

— “The Kingdom of God is about kingdom calendar. Do I work with a sense of urgency that Christ is coming soon? Do I value the importance of ‘redeeming the time because the days are evil’ (Ephesians. 5:16)?”

Chapman recounted that years ago he heard someone say, “What a person loves the most is what he or she talks about.”

“Do I find myself talking about Jesus?” Chapman asked aloud. “Can others tell what means the most to me when I speak?

“In conversation with me, do you readily come to know I first love Jesus?” Chapman continued. “Even though God has given me a most wonderful and devoted wife, beautiful children and gorgeous grandchildren, my first love could not and today cannot be my family.

“My first love cannot be myself, but Jesus,” Chapman said.

“My first love cannot be my ambitions, but Jesus.

“My first love cannot be things of the world, but Jesus.

“My first love cannot be the church, but Jesus.

“My first love cannot be the convention, but Jesus.”

Vital EKG-oriented questions, Chapman noted at the outset of his message to the Executive Committee, flow from the renewed Southern Baptist conviction over the past two decades that “the Bible is the inspired, infallible, Word of God, inerrant in the original manuscripts.”

“Why else preach the Bible if it is not the absolute, authoritative Word from an almighty God?” Chapman asked.

“Why would a man of faith spend his time defending the right to preach a watered-down gospel if he is going to decide what is true and what is not? It makes absolutely no sense.”

Chapman reminded that “preaching God’s Word [will] mean we will often find ourselves in conflict with the world’s standards.”

“God has an absolute, once-for-all-time standard that never changes,” he said. “The world has an ever-changing standard. Those people who hold to nothing more than the world’s standard will find the waters of the world swirling around them and washing over them. Ultimately if they do not trust in Jesus, confessing him as Savior, Lord and King, they will be swept away spiritually by the rushing waters of the world.”

Speaking to the Executive Committee’s 80 members, Chapman said, “Thanks to you, other Southern Baptist leaders and God’s grace, these have been 10 of the best years I have ever experienced. The work is both challenging and rewarding.”

The Executive Committee has been a key partner, Chapman said, noting, “Your job is one of the toughest of all volunteers who serve in any capacity in the convention because you are primarily assigned the responsibility to facilitate the work of the other entities and you are expected to have your fingers on the pulse of all SBC entities.

“Throughout these 10 years, you and those who have gone before you have brought intelligence, insight and wisdom, along with a determination to put your own self-interests aside, to make decisions based upon what’s right not for a few, but for all Southern Baptists,” Chapman said. “You have made decisions with your eyes upon Jesus, your mind and heart guided by the Holy Spirit and your feet planted firmly upon the Solid Rock. You have taken time to be informed, to seek the Lord’s counsel, to listen to both solicited and unsolicited advice, and then wade through it all to separate facts from anything less. …

“I believe God has looked favorably upon us in our earnest search to do his perfect will in every matter,” Chapman said. “No issue has been flippantly disregarded or dismissed by this body nor will it. You are serving God and his people with distinction, humility, conviction, courage and Christlike character. I know our brethren and sisters across the country would ask no more or less.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at https://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: CHAPMAN SPEAKS.