Happy New Year to you all! I begin this article with a prayer that God will richly pour out His love, grace and joy upon you throughout 2017. This new year will be full of challenges that will stretch you and opportunities that will increase your faith.

We start 2017 with uncertainty and high expectations all wrapped into one. A new year means that a new president will take office. Whether one likes our new president or not, it would behoove us as a people to pray for him and all our elected leaders. We are admonished in Scripture to pray for those in authority over us. Our new president deserves the prayers of the Christians of this nation.

One of my expectations is that we will see the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice who will keep the conservative slant in the Supreme Court. I personally look forward with expectation that one of the liberal judges will retire and that the balance can shift to justices who seek to interpret the constitution without finding new and creative ways to stretch the text. I, for one, cannot wait to see a court majority that stands as constitutionalist, not revisionist. Revisionists tend to seek to legislate from the bench, but we have a Congress to do that. I wait anxiously for the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

I also hope that Congress will be restored to the place of lawmakers and that presidential orders will be limited. In recent years, presidents have used this means to make decisions that rightfully should be in the hands of legislators elected to make laws.

In the end, neither the White House nor Congress can restore spiritual vitality to our churches or bring about spiritual awakening. This challenge lies in the church house, not the White House. I do not remember meeting anyone who walks with the Lord who does not recognize the spiritual apathy that exists across this nation. This spiritual apathy is revealed through cold and lifeless worship, carnal members who do not take seriously the commands of Scripture through obedience, and a lack of serious commitment to the loving service of the Master.

As I travel across Oklahoma, I can see the spiritual anemia that grips so many churches. The greatest need of God’s people is repentance and surrender to the Lord, which results in the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Oh, how desperately we need an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our churches that results in lively worship, biblical proclamation and the obedience of His people.

Could 2017 be the year churches, one by one, come to the end of themselves and fall prostrate at the feet of the Master acknowledging sinfulness and brokenness? Oh, that with empty hands and empty hearts we cry out to God for His power to fall. Our God is as powerful as ever, and His desire to fill us is as great as on the day of Pentecost. Will we seek His face and turn to Him as the only source of spiritual awakening?

I have great hopes for 2017. I am convinced this will be an awesome year in which our Lord will be honored and glorified through His people called Oklahoma Baptists. “Lord, send a revival, and let it begin in me.”