These Aren’t the Calvinists You’re Looking For

In Star Wars Episode 4, A New Hope, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi uses a Jedi mind trick on a group of stormtroopers to protect the safety of this ragtag group of heroes.  As he waves his hand upon the investigative soldiers seeking to identify if the robots in the back seat are the ones on the most-wanted list of the Empire, he changes their mind with the iconic phrase:

“These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

The stormtroopers are forced to believe him and they continue on to safety.

Sometimes, I wish I could wave my hand around and get people to think differently.  Especially, when it comes to ministry.  Let me explain.

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Who Are the Pharisees in the Southern Baptist Convention?

It is true that in any arena of life, people have the capacity to position themselves intentionally or inwardly hope that they will rise to a certain platform.  While we wish that was untrue in relation to ministry, it unfortunately exists there as well.

As a pastor, I see the attempts around me and notice the trends inside me to advance our personal agendas.  But as someone who teaches the truth for a vocation, obviously, I should beyond such trivial pursuits.  When I teach from the Bible, I should be able to come from a grounds of moral and leadership superiority and yet I often discover that quite the opposite is true.

Sometimes the religious leaders are the problem.

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The Black Eye of the Southern Baptist Convention

My denomination is caught in a divisive moment at a critical time.

In recent months scandals and controversies have swirled around certain pastors, presidents, and professors within the Southern Baptist Convention.  While some controversies have been front-page catastrophes and others have been suspiciously quiet departures, it appears as if someone is cleaning house.  Some claim that institutions are cowering before cultural pressure and others claim this to be a day of divine reckoning.

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When the Church Vote Doesn’t Go Your Way

I posted yesterday concerning the approval at the South Carolina Baptist Convention of the Great Commission Resurgence.  This approval met with a very significant majority vote (which shocked me personally).  While there are many different changes, the one that keeps me focused is that it changes the budget for more emphasis on sending more missionaries to the field.  It takes away some money from our institutions but also gives them allowance to raise money in other avenues.

The vote was a significant majority, but everyone involved are not raving fans (I know you’ve never heard of a situation like that in a church setting ;)).  I’m sympathetic to both sides.  I have dear brothers who were a part of leading the change and I have dear brothers who tried to stop it.  I see both sides, but the reality is, the change has happened now.

So, what do you do when the church vote doesn’t go your way?

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Will the Southern Baptist Convention Make It?

The Southern Baptist Convention met this week in Phoenix for their annual meeting. I was unable to go, but I tried to stay informed through Twitter and such to see what was going on.  It was the lowest attended meeting in years (possibly because Phoenix is a far way away from the Bible Belt and the economy).  SBC has had the lowest number of baptisms last year that they have had in 50 years.  Not a good sign.  Many are wondering if the SBC will make it.

I will say this.  I have never seen such a rejection of status quo in our Convention as I see right now.  When theologians who are normally stereotyped for the lack of evangelistic fervor are leading the call for a resurggence on the Great Commission, we are heading in a good place.  When young pastors are heavily involved rather than choosing to steer clear of the Convention, that is a good sign.  When a Convention fights for the nations, ethnic diversity, and a desire to trim the financial fat that has been accumulated, we are heading in a good direction.

I know there are controversies where all this is going.  Many reading may think that some things could be handled differently.  Maybe it could be led better or in a different direction, but I am at least excited about that it is going somewhere!


  • New IMB President Tom Eliff sharing heart for unreached people groups
  • New NAMB President Kevin Ezell sharing strategy for church planting
  • First non-white man elected to office, Luter will serve as VP, many already campaigning for him to serve as President next year
  • Passion to see ethnic diversity in our churches and our convention
  • Desire for a greater sense of unity throughout the convention
  • Great promotion for churches to get behind Courageous

A lot of great things took place, and one of them being David Platt’s message Wednesday morning (his message starts at about the 8th minute).  You can view that here:

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