LOUISVILLE—“What do you do when you don’t know what to do?” asked Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.
Every person has had “those times in your life, in your ministry, where you have to make a choice, a decision, but you really don’t know what to do,” Luter, the first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told those attending the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Pastors’ Conference Nov. 13. “Who do you turn to for such a critical hour in your life?” he asked.
The Pastors’ Conference, which this year was themed “Journey Together” from 2 Thessalonians 3:13, was held Nov. 13 at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, prior to the KBC Annual Meeting. In addition to Luter’s message, featured speakers included Johnny Hunt, Todd Bryant, Dan Garland, and Herb Reavis.
“Let me suggest what Jesus did…,” Luter continued. “When Jesus had a choice to make, he always consulted with His Father.”
Luter gave four things to notice about Christ’s decision-making process.
1) The sorrow of Jesus
2) The solitude of Jesus
3) The submission of Jesus
4) The strength of Jesus
Luter explained that because Christ took on flesh, he questioned things, and some things just didn’t make sense. “Sometimes along this Christian journey, you’ll find yourself in situations where you feel like you’re all by yourself. Sometimes people don’t understand your pain … conviction … tears.”
He continued, “Even though you may feel alone, according to the word of God, you are never, ever alone.”
He said that as Christians, we must look at Jesus’ strength, courage, boldness and energy as an example.
Quoting the lyrics to “Have a Little Talk with Jesus,” he concluded, “Jesus had taken the time to spend with his father. Learn a lesson from Jesus Christ, if you need to do something and don’t know what to do, take it to God in prayer.”
Johnny Hunt, a former SBC president and pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga., spoke to Kentucky Baptists on the role of their “divine alarm system”—their conscience.
Defining the conscience as a “God-implanted knowledge of right and wrong,” he said, “The conscience is compared to a window that lets in the light. God’s law is the light. The cleaner the window, the more the light shines in.”
Hunt emphasized living a holy life and being sensitive to the conscience of others, as well. “It ain’t about you and your liberty. It’s about the people who are perishing and need the gospel,” he said.
Using the example of Herod hearing John the Baptist preach and then having him executed, he explained that Herod experienced “the death of a conscience.”
His conscience was “one that was sensitive. God was working. But instead of heeding the voice, he pushed him away, until finally he could not hear him,” Hunt said.
“That happens in our church,” Hunt cautioned listeners. “Repeated sinning hardens the conscience, so it becomes seared.”
Therefore, Christians must always beware of sin, he warned.
Todd Bryant, pastor of Grace Union Baptist Church in southern Kentucky, advocated having the “mind of scholar, the heart of child, and the hide of Rhinoceros” in ministry.
“Who am I going to come into contact with today that it’s going to make a difference?” he asked, encouraging pastors to watch for “awe-moments.”
“Stay prayed up, packed up and ready to go up,” he said, because someone’s depending on you.”
Additionally, Dan Garland, native of Somerset and director of church partnerships at LifeWay, challenged pastors to serve the Lord even in cultural storms, and Herb Revais, pastor of North Jacksonville Baptist Church in Florida, spoke about being “full of Jesus.”
“Where there’s grace, there’s going to be some godliness. Where there’s faith, there’s going to be some fruit,” Reavis said. “If you get squeezed and there’s no Jesus coming out of you, there’s no Jesus in you.”
Andrew Dyer nominated Brandt Lyon, pastor of Twelve Oaks Baptist Church in Paducah, as the 2019 Pastor’s Conference president-elect. He was elected by acclamation and will begin his term after Travis Farris serves in Pikeville in 2018. (WR)