Pastors Leave Conference ‘Equipped’
BROKEN ARROW-Pastors and other attending the state Pastors’ Conference at the Church at BattleCreek were treated to a study of 2 Tim. 3:10-17 by Oklahoma Baptist University professor Bobby Kelly and a series of powerful sermons by five pastors, Nov. 10.
The theme of the conference, which immediately preceded the Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, was “Equipped.”
“We, as Oklahoma Southern Baptists, are people of The Book,” Kelly said, beginning his four-part study. “We know God through this book. We meet Christ through this book. We see the cross and empty tomb in this book. Our faith and our love are kindled by the glorious truth that we find in this book . . . . this book is God’s inspired and infallible written revelation.
“We have so many Bibles and different translations laying around at our disposal that it breeds a certain overfamiliarity that causes us to take Scripture for granted.
“Believing that we have a living word from God is a counter-cultural, profoundly striking confession to make. We need to renew our own awe and wonder that we have such a sacred text at all.”
Mike Tignor, pastor of Midwest City, First, spoke on “Equipping by Example: How to Respond in a Godly Way to Ungodly People.”
Using Rom. 12:17-21 as his text, Tignor said, “There are a lot of mean people in the world. And God has allowed you and me to contact a few of them within the context of our ministries and, yes, even beyond. Some of them give us non-stop grief. You can’t avoid them and you can’t ignore them.
“Paul’s letter to the saints in Rome in these verses instructs them how to respond in an agape way to ungodly people.”
The question today, Tignor said, is “How does God want you to respond to this?”
“First, verse seven tells us to resist the temptation to get revenge. The obvious alternative is to do what Jesus said in Luke 6:31 and do unto others what you would have them do unto you.”
Tignor pointed out that hurting people are those who hurt people.
“Second, be the peacemaker, as it says in verse 18. Regardless of the circumstances, you must remain kind and loving. The truth is, the way you respond to an event can be just as wrong as the event itself.
“Third, let God deal with ungodly people. Give room for God’s wrath (v. 19). It’s not your place to balance the scales of justice. Yet, if God does administer his justice, don’t rejoice.
“Finally, overcome your enemies with kindness (V. 20-21) In other words, do the unexpected . . . . let others see Jesus in you.”
Robert Smith, professor in the Beeson Divinity School of Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., used Exodus 33:18-23 as his text to speak on “When God Turns His Back.”
“One of the big struggles in the church today is we’ve already had too much God; we’ve reached our saturation point,” he exclaimed. “In fact, we’ve had too much of the Gospel! We no longer enjoy God, but endure God. But, God is more than a luxury, He is a necessity!”
Smith said Christians must learn to trust God in what he called the “thin places.”
He referenced Moses in the text, who asked God to show His glory to him after he encountered God in his experience with the burning bush.
“God said, I’ll give you a glimpse of Who I am,” Smith said, then asking those present, “Can you trust Him with just a glimpse?”
David Uth, pastor of Orlando, Fla., First, exhorted those present to “not ever quit singing. Don’t let the holy become common.”
He said the first tell tale sign of that is that “your worship goes.”
He referenced Psalm 137, when the children of God had sat down by the rivers of Babylon in their captivity and had hung their harps upon the willows.
“The people were in Babylon and had lost their song,” Uth said. “How do you keep singing when you wake up in a foreign land?”
Uth said worship can’t be faked.
“I don’t know of many things harder than worshiping the Lord in the dark,” he said. “But, worship is to your soul what breathing is to your body; it’s our response to the love of God.
“The greatest reason to worship is when life isn’t good . . . we worship because God is good, not because life is good.”
Uth reminded those present that many martyrs died with a song on their lips.
“Worship changes your perspective,” he stressed. “It reminds us that God is bigger than anything we face . . . it’s a witness to the faith you proclaim.
“When God is the greatest joy in your life, you will always have a song to sing,” he concluded.
Deron Spoo, pastor of Tulsa, First, spoke on “How Do We Maintain our Passion as We Serve God?”
Admitting that after seven years in the pastorate, he had “browned out,” Spoo said God gave him one word last year-pilgrim.
“Pilgrims are on a journey for and toward God. Being a pilgrim is being open to contact with God and being willing to share stories,” Spoo said. “When we put God at the center of our life, He transforms our very life. We must do whatever it takes to stay in contact with Him.”
Spoo said being willing to share those stories and the “real stuff of life” is essential. To do so, we must be “willing to listen with undivided attention,” he said.
He reminded those present that “the journey is always forward.”
Frank Cox, pastor of Lawrenceville, Ga., North Metro First, preached on Rom. 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.”
“Film is developed in the darkroom of life,” Cox said in relating the story of his early ministry and the loss of his first wife, Debbie, to cancer at an early age and his struggles at his church early on.
“Debbie had prayed, ‘Whatever price I must pay for Frank to be Your man,’” Cox said, little knowing that she would die from the disease not long after.
“God will not use a man until he breaks him,” Cox asserted.
But, Cox shared what he called some “diamonds I’ve learned in the darkness.”
“God is sovereign. God does what He pleases, and what He does always pleases Him.”
“God is your sustainer. He will minister to you amidst your storms.”
“He is my strength. He is sensitive to everything in your life.”
“When you can’t find the hand of God, trust His heart. He’s too good to be unkind and too wise to be mistaken.”
New officers for the Pastors’ Conference include Rusty Fuller, Ada, Trinity, president; Floyd McKee, Oklahoma City, Rancho Village, president-elect; and Garry McDevitt, Prue, First, second vice president.