September 2017

‘It’s time to fly!’

September 13 2017 by Nate Adams, Baptist Press

Boarding a small airplane, I immediately noticed the cheerful demeanor of the lone flight attendant. It was early in the morning, and amidst the crowd of bleary-eyed passengers shuffling onto the plane, she beamed like a ray of sunshine.
 
After welcoming us on board and making sure we were all buckled in and our carry-on luggage stowed, she proceeded to give us the prescribed safety instructions that anyone who has flown often could probably recite from memory. But instead of monotonously reading from a script about emergency exits and unlikely water landings, she delivered the entire speech from memory, yet with great personal warmth and conviction.

Nate Adams


I was impressed, even inspired. But what I have not yet forgotten about this exceptional young lady are her spontaneous words after delivering that mandatory safety speech. She paused, and then with the most childlike wonder and enthusiasm you can imagine, she said, her eyes twinkling, “And now – it’s time to fly!”
 
How I wish I could better convey the way she bade us to the heavens with that one phrase. As many times as she had undoubtedly endured the routines of stowing luggage, delivering safety speeches and serving soft drinks and peanuts, she had not yet lost the wonder of getting to fly.
 
A few days later, I heard a comedian on a talk show describing his own recent experience on an airplane. As he awaited takeoff, he said he was contemplating the miracle that he would soon be sitting in a cylindrical tube 30,000 feet in the air, hurling through the atmosphere at 500 mph to arrive cross country in less than four hours, a trip that once took early pioneers a lifetime. Just then the flight attendant announced that wireless internet would not be available on that flight, and the man sitting next to the comedian flew into a fit of profanity. How quickly, he observed, we turn miracles into entitlements, and entitlements into opportunities for criticism.
 
The word “miracles,” of course, turned my thoughts to the many spiritual blessings that I too often take for granted or consider entitlements. Every week, I gather freely with other believers and have fresh opportunity to celebrate the resurrected Lord Jesus and the transformational difference He has made and is still making in my life.
 
Every week I sing, along with people I call brothers and sisters, the songs of our deliverance from sin, our new life purpose, and eternity in heaven. Every week, I hear from God’s Word a new, relevant message that applies to me personally.
 
With all that being true, it seems that every week, worship leaders in every local church should stand and tell us, “And now – it’s time to fly!” Yet it may be more common for us to settle into familiar weekly routines and even rituals, taking for granted the gathering for corporate worship and considering it an entitlement.
 
That cheerful flight attendant reminded me that it only takes one sincerely excited and grateful worshiper to call other sleepy souls out of their routines and criticisms. One person who recaptures the wonder and miracle of the church assembling together in God’s presence can rekindle that wonder in others. This Sunday, I will not be a presumptuous passenger who feels entitled to the miracle of access to God that cost Jesus so much. This Sunday, my worship will say to any on board with me, “And now – it’s time to fly!”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. This column first appeared in the Illinois Baptist, illinoisbaptist.org, news journal of the Illinois Baptist State Association.)
 

9/13/2017 9:18:44 AM by Nate Adams, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Letter to pastors in the hurricane zones

September 12 2017 by Joe McKeever, Baptist Press

The horrors of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma tell us anew that these are scary times.
 
For those of us who came through Katrina in 2005, nothing about this is fun. We recall all too well the hundreds of deaths, flooded neighborhoods, destroyed churches and uprooted lives. God bless our friends as they recover from Harvey and Irma.

Joe McKeever


I was the director of missions for the Southern Baptist churches of the New Orleans Baptist Association, which gave me a front row seat to all that had happened and what the Lord was doing. With that in mind, I would like to offer a few thoughts for the pastors and other church leaders in these war zones:
 

You are about to see what God can do with thousands of His faithful people.

You already know His power; that has been amply demonstrated. But the power of His people flocking into your area to help neighbors rebuild their lives may be more inspiring than anything you have ever imagined.
 
They will feed the hungry and knock themselves out ministering and giving, and your neighbors will be amazed that they ask nothing in return. As a result, most will be more open to the gospel of Jesus Christ than at any time in their lives.
 
You will be talking about things God does in the next few months for the rest of your life. Personally, I hope you don’t have to move away to another place of service but can stay and see what God does. Jesus’ words to Martha before raising Lazarus from the dead come to mind: “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40).
 

This will be a time of great change for your church.

On our first Sunday back from evacuation, about half our congregation was in town. Our pastor at the time, Tony Merida, welcomed everyone, then said, “If you don’t like change, you’ve come at a bad time.”
 
To pastors and other church leaders whose services had been disrupted by Katrina for an indefinite period, I said, “Have you ever wanted to put an end to some of the programs in your church that have outlived their usefulness? Now’s the time. When your people come back, just don’t restart them. And are there programs you have wanted to begin but just couldn’t find the right time? You’ve been handed a golden opportunity. Just do it.”
 
While it’s true some of your best people will be moving away, new ones will be coming. Staid, stagnant churches are going to be infused with new people bringing new energy and zest. You don’t want to miss this.
 

Tell everyone of your prayer requests; tell them to “Pray Big.”

John Newton said this about our prayers: “Thou art coming to a King; Large petitions with thee bring; For His grace and power are such, None can ever ask too much.”
 
After Katrina, I printed up business cards with that poem on one side and on the other something like this: “Thank you for praying for us. But please don’t pray just another ‘God bless New Orleans’ prayer. Pray big. Perhaps something like this: ‘Lord, You love this city. You have many people here. Please do a new thing in our city, a God thing, a big thing. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.’”
 

This is the time to reach out to your neighboring churches.

Often you will have more volunteers than you need, while the church down the street has none. Reach out to them and share the blessing.
 
Lynn Rodrigue was pastoring Port Sulphur Baptist Church, some 50 miles below New Orleans. When he found out the Catholic church down the highway needed an electrician and was unable to find one, he sent a volunteer from Oklahoma who was a certified electrician. As a result, Lynn and the priest became friends and eventually they invited Lynn to preach to their congregation, truly a “first” for our part of the world.
 

Though you are stressed and distressed, keep good records on money given to your church.

At the time we were so scattered and so few, I pulled together a few leaders and asked them to serve as administrative committee for the association. They would pass on all our Katrina-related expenditures and decisions. That way, if and when the day should come that anyone questioned how we spent the hundreds of thousands of dollars funneled through our office, we had the records and the written approvals. No hint of scandal ever appeared.
 
God bless you during this trying time. Know that you are being loved and prayed for throughout the world. We’re going to be watching to see what new things the Lord will be doing in your part of His Kingdom.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Joe McKeever, online at joemckeever.com, is a cartoonist whose work is featured in Baptist Press and other media. He formerly was director of missions for the New Orleans Baptist Association and pastor of First Baptist Church in Kenner, La.)
 

9/12/2017 9:25:39 AM by Joe McKeever, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



They took it

September 11 2017 by Kevin Parker, Baptist Press

I never cease being amazed at the spiritual openness and curiosity of people.
 
On one hand, I hear talk about the deplorable moral condition of our nation. On the other hand, I hear Jesus saying “look,” “go” and “love.” Jesus is not wrong. He sees beyond depravity and sees people lost and without God in the world. He saw me that way.

Kevin Parker


But where do I find this openness and curiosity? Everywhere! In 2012, God did a work in my heart and life that changed me. I began giving out tracts – one by one. By now, I have given out hundreds of them. Only once has someone declined my tract. Only once.
 
Rather than rejection, people have thanked me. Servers have read the booklet right there while I explained it. I have had people shake my hand. They have smiled. A few have cried. The reaction has been uncanny. Rejection is rare.
 
When I tell people about my journey, I tell them about giving away tracts. With each story I ask, “When I held my tract out to them, do you know what they did?” The answer is simple: “They took it.” Time after time, they took it. I never expected that when God launched me on my journey. Without doubt, He has paved the way. He is the reason they took it, not me.
 
Here are some recent stories of my tracting journey.
 
I was meeting a friend at a Subway sandwich shop for lunch. I was ready and had prayed, asking God to help me see lost people and give away a tract. As we stood in line, I recognized the prompting in my heart. The lady making my sandwich needed a tract. After paying for our sandwiches, I held out a tract to her. Its bold lettered title was in plain view: “Steps to Peace With God.” “I’d like to give you something,” I said. “This is a little booklet that tells a story that changed my life, literally. Maybe it could change your life too.”
 
I opened to the back page and continued, “I’ve written my name and email address here on the back page in case you have any questions.” Then I finished, saying, “I know you don’t have time to read it now. Just put it in your pocket and check it out later. Thanks for serving us.”
 
Then, I did it. I held out the tract toward her. Do you know what she did? She took it. It happens every time.
 
Another time I was picking up a guest for a Baptist Convention of New Mexico meeting. He flew into the airport. After I met him at the arrival area, we headed for my car. Driving out, I had to stop to pay for parking. I recognized again the prompting with which I have become familiar. I was uncomfortable with the situation – having a guest with me. I hoped not to appear like I was trying to show off. Actually, I was very uncomfortable. Yet I obeyed.
 
The parking attendant gave me my receipt, and I started. I said the same thing that I said at Subway. The woman smiled. She was appreciative, not dismissive.
 
Then, I did it. I held out the tract toward her. Do you know what she did? She took it.
 
At a hotel, during a banquet meal, I recognized the familiar prompting once more. Hotel staff were everywhere. I went looking for one whom I could catch and who could speak English. I approached the serving supervisor. She was harried, but she paused as I spoke.
 
I said the same thing as I said at Subway and the parking lot. She smiled too. She listened. She did not interrupt or stop me. I try not to take long because most people are busy.
 
Then, I did it. I held out the tract toward her. Do you know what she did? She took it.
 
On my 30th anniversary, I was eating with my wife at a nice restaurant for lunch. A kind, attentive young man tended our table and met our needs. He did a great job. I sensed the same prompting. So I got out a tract to be ready when he came by. I did the same thing with him as I had with the others. My approach is not fancy.
 
Then, I did it. I held out the tract toward him. Do you know what he did? He took it.
 
I have a feeling they would take it from you too.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Kevin Parker is editor of the Baptist New Mexican, bcnm.com/bnm-current-edition, news journal of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico.)
 

9/11/2017 11:04:25 AM by Kevin Parker, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Flood relief in Jesus’ name

September 8 2017 by Diana Davis, Baptist Press

We all watched on television and social media, aghast, as Hurricane Harvey and its floods devastated much of south Texas and adjacent parts of Louisiana. Praise God that His people and His churches have shown His love in amazing ways – heroic rescues; provision of food, water, shelter and clothing; helping and hugging; and compassionate chaplaincy.

Diana Davis


Enormous help with recovery, however, will continue long-term, especially in view of Hurricane Irma’s potential devastation as it barrels toward the southeast U.S.
 
Here’s an important question: As you send, pray, give or go to help, how can you assure that victims know you represent the Lord Jesus Himself? As Colossians 3:17 instructs, “Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus.
 
Here are five ideas for getting involved along with simple tips for doing them in Jesus’ name accompanied by a word from scripture.
 

Make a donation.

Be certain your financial contribution is given in Jesus’ name. Our Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) is the nation’s third-largest disaster relief organization. Our Cooperative Program funds it, and in elevated crisis situations additional funding is desperately needed. Be sure that it underwrites more than good deeds but, rather, hands-on Christian witness in Jesus’ name. You can donate through your church, state convention or the North American Mission Board (NAMB).
 
1 Timothy 6:18: “Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.”
 

Pray continuously.

Pray for grieving, injured, homeless, weary survivors. Pray for government officials and policemen, firemen and city workers, for teachers, for the elderly and children. Pray they’ll know God’s love. Pray for pastors and churches and for disaster relief teams and volunteers as they represent our Lord.
 
Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
 

Go and send others.

Thousands more Southern Baptists will be needed for disaster relief and recovery in the coming months and years. They will go in the name of Jesus. Whom will your church send?
 
Sign up individuals or teams to volunteer and train through the Southern Baptist Convention’s NAMB.net or your state Baptist convention. The work is hard; the needs are overwhelming. Crews will feed people, chainsaw downed trees, do mud-outs, tarp roofs. DR volunteers will do cleanup, administrative tasks, temporary child care and chaplaincy. They will show God’s love to a crying child, a discouraged stranger, a hurting church. They’ll freely share a smile, a hug, a listening ear, a prayer. Often they will say, “God loves you” and “I’m praying for you” as they engage in gospel conversations in Jesus’ name.
 
Before volunteers leave your church, offer a special commissioning prayer.
 
Hebrews 13:16: “And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.”
 

Send additional resources.

If your church, Baptist association or state convention is shipping needed items, add a witness. For example, write “Jesus loves me” on a shovel handle that may be used by a flood survivor. Put a Christian sticker on every peanut butter jar or a scripture in each box of diapers. Texas churches and others can consider preparing relief buckets (visit sbtexas.com/harvey and click on “Buckets for Harvey”) and add a personal note inside each bucket.
 
Isaiah 58:10: “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
 

Help another congregation.

A church or small group could select a specific church in one of the affected areas to help directly. Contact your state Baptist convention for a recommendation or contact a pastor directly, then sacrificially assist with their needs.
 
Galatians 6:10: “Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone – especially to those in the family of faith.”
 
What a historic opportunity to minister to others in the name of Jesus. Good deeds are good; but good deeds done in His name can truly impact eternity.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Davis is online at dianadavis.org. Her newest book, co-written with her daughter Autumn Wall, Across the Street and Around the World, New Hope Publishers, is a resource for missions ideas for churches, small groups and individuals.)
 

9/8/2017 8:25:35 AM by Diana Davis, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



John the Baptist & The Nashville Statement

September 7 2017 by Owen Strachan, Baptist Press

Just days ago, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) released, in partnership with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), “The Nashville Statement” on biblical sexuality. The document is truly a landmark in theological history.
 
In an age when there is little clarity on sexual matters, and a permissive, even pagan, ethic creeps into the church, The Nashville Statement clarifies what sexual fidelity to Christ entails.

Owen Strachan


The statement, not surprisingly, has received ferocious pushback from non-Christian voices. Even some evangelicals have raised concerns; the statement, they worry, will make it hard to build bridges to unbelievers. Better, it seems to them, to cultivate friendships, engage in conversations and avoid public statements about ethical matters – keep things personal; refrain from going public.
 
I understand this concern. There are surely matters, perhaps many, that do not merit a major declaration. But The Nashville Statement does not cover lesser matters.
 
The Nashville Statement lends invaluable biblical clarity to pastors and Christian leaders who are seeking, with great headwinds in their face, to help sinners pulled by homosexual and transgender identity to find Christ. It engages several of the most vexing and unanswered questions of our day, and it does so with grace and truth in equal measure.
 
The stance just taken by CBMW and the ERLC, in partnership with warm-hearted, Christ-loving evangelicals across the denominational spectrum, reminds me of another controversial public stance. Two millennia ago, John the Baptist came preaching Christ. His message was the Messiah; his call was to holiness. As John preached, he somehow gained the ear of Herod, a political leader. John had access to Herod, and he had the priceless opportunity to tell him of his need for spiritual salvation. Surely John spoke of these things.
 
But that was not all he said to Herod.
 
John the Baptist rebuked Herod for divorcing his wife and marrying his half-brother’s spouse, Herodias. Matthew’s Gospel gives a succinct record of John’s words to Herod: “It is not lawful for you to have her” (Matthew 14:4). We have no extended prologue, no longer record of how the conversation went. Scholar R.T. France notes that John’s comments came in the context of “public denunciation” (France, Matthew, 555). It appears that this happened repeatedly; John did not merely warn Herod once but “kept on telling” him that he was sinning, and thus in danger of spending eternity in hell.
 
If our goal as Christians in a fallen world is to gain access to unbelievers and do all we can to keep it, let us be bracingly honest: John the Baptist did a poor job of it. He angered the governor, got sent to prison where he was chained to a wall, and occasioned his own beheading. Church history suggests that this was not enough for Herodias: she stabbed his tongue with her hairpin.
 
Here is the point for our considerations: It was not the announcement of the Messiah that ended John’s short life. It was the clear declaration of sexual ethics that sent him into eternity. It is a biblical curiosity, rarely preached on, but hugely important for us today in a similarly pagan context: The forerunner of Christ died because he called a wicked governor, a public figure, to repent.
 
We learn an invaluable truth through John’s martyrdom (he is after all the first martyr, killed even before Christ, showing us just how much of a forerunner he was).
 
We learn that our sexual ethics are not divorced from the gospel. They are bound up with the gospel. You could say it this way: The gospel creates sexual ethics. The Word of God has always done so. In ancient Israel, homosexuality and cross-dressing called for full repentance (see Deuteronomy 22). In the New Testament era, these same sins are condemned (see Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 11),
 
You cannot follow Christ but keep your eyes blind to your behavior, or others’. The gospel is a transforming gospel; Christ is a transforming Savior (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Sexual sin, as with unrighteousness of any kind, merits a loving response, and love of the biblical kind means not that we affirm sin but that we seek the rescue of those in danger of the righteous wrath of almighty God.
 
The Nashville Statement does not represent a nuking of existing bridges to Christ. Calling sin sinful and urging the wayward to repent and trust Christ is not problematic for Christian witness. It is Christian witness. There is no witness without it. There is no love without it. There is no hope without it. Out of such a biblical conviction, let us build friendships with unbelievers wherever we can. Let us never stop emulating John the Baptist – let us tell the truth to them, the whole truth.
 
Let us also count the cost.
 
Any stance that promotes the Word of God is going to rile the devil, as The Nashville Statement surely has. But we are not people who fear the devil or who fear the world. We love God and we love our neighbor, and so we will walk John’s path, and share John’s message, and point the lost – infinitely far from God, just as we once were – to John’s Messiah.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Owen Strachan is associate professor of Christian theology and director of the Center for Public Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., where this column first appeared at its cpt.mbts.edu website. Strachan is the author of several books, including The Colson Way, Thomas Nelson, 2015, on the life and legacy of the late Chuck Colson.)
 

9/7/2017 9:43:06 AM by Owen Strachan, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



The blind spots of slavery

September 6 2017 by Terry M. Turner, Baptist Press

A local newspaper interviewed me for a special feature several years ago, asking me, “Who is your favorite preacher of all times?”
 
Having studied church history, the names of George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards immediately came to my mind. Choosing between the two was difficult because I appreciated the theatrical delivery styles of both theologians whereby every word held a convicting punch that compelled the unchurched to find Jesus. For the newspaper article, Whitefield made the top of my list for favorite preacher of all times.

Terry M. Turner


Whitefield and Edwards, without doubt, are two of the most noted theologians in history. But it would take 25 years of formal Christian education before I would learn that these two preachers supported the enslavement of African American people.
 
Why is this a subject worth the time and effort for modern discussion when American laws no longer make slavery a legalized institution? I can propose two very important reasons: one secular and the other theological.
 
First, on the secular side, the subject of who owned slaves and how this is left out of history books should remain a subject for study. The confusion over racism in 2017 serves as an example of how the common history of whites and African Americans in this country typically has left out the historical contributions of black Americans. If American history would have honored the labor and contribution of slaves in the building of this country, it would have rewarded their descendants for the suffering endured by their ancestors, and the perception of slavery over the generations would have an entirely different outlook today.
 
In contrast, many in America have chosen to honor those who fought to keep African Americans enslaved by building statues in their honor and placing memorial inscriptions on the images such as “A Hero of the Confederacy.” These recognitions of praise are the problem, not the statues, especially when slavery and the Civil War are considered the darkest part of American history. America has historically praised its slaveholder heroes and not the economic and moral contribution of its African American slaves. Among the real heroes are the forgotten slaves, a story that is omitted with every Confederate memorial.
 
America should commit to telling the whole truth at these statues. Tearing them down does not change a single event of our troubled history, but erecting statues of the unknown accomplishments of slaves at their side could help the healing. African Americans already consider each slave ancestor a hero, and America should honor these descendants for surviving the atrocities of slavery.
 
The divisiveness on our American streets today is the result of a history filled with erroneous teachings about the anthropological differences between races. Philosophical teachings designed to divide the races remain a blind spot in much of America, and only those committed to finding a solution will see through the racial problem.
 
Second, for Christians this is a subject worth the time and effort for discussion because the blind spots of racism also are evident in how Christian literature typically has avoided the subject in its exploration of theology. Many of the past and present racist movements in their development called themselves Christian organizations. These groups have claimed their interpretation of scripture gives them the right to be considered Christian. While Whitefield and Edwards are two of the purest Christian thinkers in history, on the subject of slavery these spiritual giants justified their positions on Bible interpretation to keep African Americans enslaved.
 
Let's be clear, the Bible does not directly condemn slavery as sinful, but, rather, the mistreatment of slaves. Slaveholders are commanded to follow the same spiritual principles of love and kindness as those given to slaves when serving the Lord. “Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him,” the apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:9 (ESV).
 
The slavery experienced by African Americans was not the same as many who were enslaved in biblical times. The Bible never defines slavery based on race hating, and never before in world history had slavery been determined by skin color. This is the nightmare in America today. We are required to live with a history of a physical, mental, abusive racial slavery – the likes of which only Christian love can heal.
 
An understanding of history has helped me realize that theologians during slavery were subject to the influences of their day. Although Whitefield and Edwards theologically impacted American Christianity in its infancy, they failed to condemn slavery as the evil it is. To their credit, they preached that slaves should be treated with respect urging slaveholders to stop their inhumane treatment.
 
The hate movements of our day that call themselves Christian have defamed the name of Christianity. If the hateful climate in America today is to be reversed, all true Christians must become intentional and take a stand to follow the words of our Savior: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40, ESV).
 

9/6/2017 9:03:45 AM by Terry M. Turner, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Red Hair Harbor

September 1 2017 by Frankie J. Melton Jr., Baptist Press

Red Hair Harbor is a place I will never forget. I was on a mission trip in southern Taiwan in the city of Kaohsiung with a team from South Carolina. We spent our days walking the streets looking for opportunities to share the Good News about Jesus, praying earnestly for open doors to shine the light.

Frankie J. Melton Jr.


As we were meandering the streets one afternoon, we spotted two elderly men sitting under a portico. We said hello and they quickly invited us to sit down and have tea with them.
 
The green tea they had freshly brewed cast a pleasant aroma in the air. However, none more pleasant than the aroma of Christ that was to fill the place.
 
I had been doing all the sharing about Christ to that point. This time, I turned to one of our teammates on her first mission trip and said, “I’m going to let you share this time.”
 
She looked back at me in horror because she had never shared the gospel before. However, I insisted, and she did her best. She was clear and straightforward as she relayed the story of Jesus. She spoke about sin and the death of Christ on the cross. When she came to the resurrection, I looked at the two elderly men and saw that their faces were filled with childlike wonder as they sat motionless, captivated by the message of the gospel.
 
When the team member finished her presentation of the gospel, one of the men uttered a statement that still reverberates through my mind and heart. He said simply, “We’ve never heard that story before!”
 
Although I knew then and know now that many billions in the world have never heard the story of Christ, I still remember the stunning jolt his words gave me. We were surrounded by restaurants and convenience stores filled with products from all over the world, but the story of Jesus had just reached these men.
 
When we left, one of our missionaries told us the men were from Red Hair Harbor. They had lived in that seaport community most of their lives. It was called Red Hair Harbor because of the Western sailors who came to port delivering their cargo. The light hair appeared red to the locals and they began calling it Red Hair Harbor.
 
No doubt many Christian Westerners had passed through Red Hair Harbor. Perhaps they had crossed paths with these two men but had never taken the initiative to share the Good News about Christ with them.
 
The two men from Red Hair Harbor have served as a constant reminder to me. By God’s grace and our obedience, may fewer and fewer men and women ever be able to say, “I’ve never heard that story before.” Acts 1:8 is not just a command to pastors and missionaries to be Christ’s witnesses locally and globally. All believers are tasked with speeding the gospel to the darkest corners and deepest crevices of the globe. Teachers and sailors and lawyers are to proclaim Christ as well. When I am growing indifferent in evangelism, I often hear the words of the men from Red Hair Harbor echoing in my ears. I pray we will all hear them.
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Frankie J. Melton Jr. is assistant professor of Christian studies at North Greenville University in Tigerville, S.C.)
 
 

9/1/2017 7:44:09 AM by Frankie J. Melton Jr., Baptist Press | with 0 comments



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