“We encourage one another to advance the Gospel.”

As Oklahoma Baptists, this is the mission that guides our work. We want every person in Oklahoma to hear the Good News of Jesus, turn from their sins and call upon His Name to be saved. We want every church to be committed to participating in advancing the Gospel to every tribe and tongue and nation. We know that we need encouragement from one another to stay focused on our great task.

Remember that “encourage” is a New Testament word that set the perfect balance of support and challenge. Sometimes the New Testament uses a word like “sympathy” or “comfort” to translate; other times we read “exhort.”

Encouragement is an arm around the shoulder, when we are disappointed, and a firm hand on the back when we lose focus or when we are tempted to quit.

Today, I want to put my hand on your back, Oklahoma Baptists. We should not allow this crazy COVID year to become an excuse for neglecting our mission.

When schools aren’t meeting, when church programs are restricted, when we are afraid or frustrated or weary—we can still find ways to advance the Gospel. Now more than ever, the people around us have ears to hear.

Let’s stop making excuses. Let’s not give into distractions. Instead, together let’s get busy in 2021 telling our family, our friends and our neighbors the Good News of Jesus Christ.

When I read the Great Commission, I realize that our Lord anticipated our excuses. He knew we would plead unusual challenges and insufficient power. So He set our marching orders between two of His most remarkable, broad claims—I have all authority and I am with you always! Everything we need is contained in those two promises.

Jesus has authority over COVID, over politics and over the economy. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, AND, He is with us in our work. Wow!

Let this sink in…

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).

Let’s advance the Gospel together—under His authority, and in His power, “Go!”