NASHVILLE (BP) – Over the past 10 days, I have been ministering, speaking, preaching and leading with Southern Baptists in multiple settings in Texas, California, Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio and Mississippi. After being in each of these locations, I want to assure you God is working, moving and actively engaged in every way in everything we do. Through it all, God is still doing great things.
Through all the noise
Even through all the noise relating to and about Southern Baptists, the Lord is still doing great things. When we listen more to the voice of the Lord through His Word, it places all the noise in the right perspective.
Sometimes we may think all this is new, but it is not. When the Lord is working through His people, the noise always occurs. Sometimes the noise becomes even louder when God is on the move among His people.
There is nothing new under the sun. When you listen to noise only, it is like chasing the wind.
Listen to God’s voice in His Word. It is reliable. It is trustworthy. It is final. It is never chasing after the wind.
Through all the grief
In the past month, there has been a rise of deep grief across our nation. The rise of deaths among younger Americans due to COVID-19 is becoming apparent. The pain and agony of family members losing their spouses, parents and children is beyond words.
This past month, in no less than five situations, I have interacted with those who have lost a spouse in their 40s and parents who have lost their son in his 30s. Some of these have been former staff members and church members who served alongside me at Cross Church. It has been close and deeply personal.
Sunday, while I was driving from preaching in Ohio, I called and prayed with a mom and dad who had lost their 31-year-old son the day before due to COVID-19.
This is a small representation of what is happening across our nation. Grief is real and being experienced by great numbers of people. Losing anyone we love is difficult to put into words.
In interacting with these grieving people, what becomes clear to me is the extravagant grace of God rising each time in the need of the hour. Daily and step by step, God gives them grace to walk through dark days of deep grief and pain that is unimaginable. Even through all the grief, God is seeing people through.
Through all the concerns across the world
The continuing events of Afghanistan have each of us concerned in every way. More than 2,400 American military personnel willingly gave the greatest sacrifice fighting the terrorists in Afghanistan, so Americans might live free without the threats of ongoing terrorism.
We are now on alert and deeply concerned, not only about what is happening among the Afghan people, but also the potential of a great tragedy occurring on American soil.
None of us who were alive and old enough to remember will ever forget Sept. 11, 2001. As we near this 20th anniversary of 9/11, we are reminded again of the ongoing threats to freedom around the world and to our United States of America.
While you pray for the Afghan people, also focus your prayers for the dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ our Lord who are potentially facing severe persecution by the ones who have come to power today, the Taliban. Even before this recent change in power, Open Doors listed Afghanistan as No. 2 on its World Watch List. This list reports the 50 most dangerous countries where it is most difficult to follow Jesus Christ.
Across the entire world, deep concerns are real. Some far away in places like Afghanistan, and some much closer to us like the ongoing, deep crises on the borders of our nation.
Yet through it all, our God is at work providentially, sovereignly and compassionately.
Through it all, God is still working today.
Now is the time to lead.