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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Peg and I drove back from Huntsville ... the Alabama variety of Huntsville, not the Texas one ... yesterday afternoon. We'd driven up Monday morning to attend the Annual Meeting of the Alabama State Baptist Convention.

We had a good time. John Killian did an excellent job leading the meeting, as the State Convention President, and all the business was conducted in an orderly manner.

Everything went smoothly, without objections from the floor, with only one exception. There was also one motion from the floor, suggesting that the Annual Meeting be moved from the usual Tuesday-Wednesday timing, to Friday-Saturday; the objective was to make the meeting more easily accessible to bi-vocational pastors who must work through the week.

That motion was referred to the Time and Place Committee for their handling, as the By-Laws require that they be the ones who set the time and place for the meeting.

The exception to no objections from the floor was yours truly. One of the resolutions concerned pedophilia and child abuse; it stated that the local church should report incidents of same to the authorities in accordance with the law. I moved the same amendment I did in Houston, that they change the wording to urge all churches to report any accusations to the authorities. The church is not the appropriate body to determine whether actual abuse took place ... that's up the authorities. The Police, DHR, or a Grand Jury as the case may be.

I pointed out that, in the State of Alabama, we're required to report even the suspicion of abuse.

The Committee on Resolutions viewed that as a friendly amendment, and it passed.

The preaching was good, from State President John Killian, Executive Committee CEO Frank Page, and several others, primarily Alabama pastors, as well as Rick Lance, State Exec.

Music and worship were as good as I recall, anywhere, and Charles Billingsley plus the combined choirs of Alabama Singing Men, Alabama Singing Women, and Whitesburg Baptist Church absolutely brought the house down Tuesday evening.

One part of the meeting, though, disturbed me. It was the theme, as the picture above shows. The problem with that, is that we're not Life Changers. Only God Himself can do that.

While I can understand the thought that someone can make a difference in the lives of others, it takes the focus off what really happens. And there are some verses that support that, too.

  • From 1 Corinthians 3: "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth."

  • And from Luke 17: “Which one of you having a slave tending sheep or plowing will say to him when he comes in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? Instead, will he not tell him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, get ready, and serve me while I eat and drink; later you can eat and drink’?  Does he thank that slave because he did what was commanded?  In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, ‘We are good-for-nothing slaves; we've only done our duty.’”

I understand that people can need encouragement at times. But that should not come from the results of our efforts. Those all belong to God, just as He told us they did. Our satisfaction should come from the knowledge that we had the privilege of being obedient to our Savior, and the fact that the God of the universe chose to let us in on His actions. And those are true, regardless of outcome.


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