This must change, and change now. We are in a defining moment. The stakes are high! It is imperative for the future of America and the future around the world, as well as our own future, that our convention in St. Louis becomes the gateway when evangelism, once again becomes the priority of our churches and our convention. Now is the time for Southern Baptists to come together, lead, and evangelize.
4. Now is the Time for Southern Baptists to Give
Thank you, Southern Baptists, for what you are doing. Our giving through the Cooperative Program has experienced an encouraging upsurge in the past two years. To the glory of God, after the first eight months of our giving through the Cooperative Program, the giving of our churches is up 2.65% from the previous year and reflects an increase of 6.13% over our projected budget for the current year. Let's continue forward, encouraging our churches to continue to evaluate their gifts through the Cooperative Program each year. Encourage them to increase their personal stewardship and challenge your church to increase their stewardship in giving more through our Cooperative Program. Our consistent growth through the Cooperative Program is the key to our Great Commission work statewide, nationally, and globally.
Thank you, Southern Baptists, for what you are giving through our mission offerings. Our churches are stepping up financially to help us push back on lostness in North America, as the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions is right now $6,052,063 ahead over last year. To God be the glory! Let's continue to finish strong this year in giving to this offering. Relating to our international missions offering, I have told people across the nation that even a carnal Southern Baptist knows there is something not right about bringing our missionaries home. All of our churches have stepped up and given the largest Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions in our 127-year history: $165.8 million, an increase of 7.6 %. To God be the glory! We can do more together!
Yet, in this critical time in America, there is one thing that must not continue to be minimized. In fact, in this day of decision for us and for America, this fifth action is absolutely imperative…
5. Now is the Time for Southern Baptists to Pray
We need to agree. We need to unite. We need to pray together. In this hour, it is our responsibility to pray extraordinarily. This is why we have allocated the entire session tonight for A National Call to Prayer for Spiritual Leadership, Revived Churches, and Nationwide & Global Awakening beginning at 6:30 p.m.
This is more important than anything else you could possibly do. How can we come to St. Louis, knowing what our nation is facing now and in the future, knowing the issues the world is facing, and knowing where our churches and pastors are, and not allocate time for serious intercessory prayer built upon the Word of God being expressed together through the people of God? In this hour and even tonight, we need to live out our spiritual leadership by leading the way and calling out to God together.
If we truly believe the Bible, we must apply the Bible. Acts 4:31,"When they had prayed, the place where they had assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak God's message with boldness."
You may have given up on America, but God hasn't. You may have given up on your church, but God hasn't. You may have given up on ministry, but God hasn't. You may have given up on yourself, but God hasn't.
Our God can do anything, anytime, anywhere, with anyone. God can do more in a moment than you could ever do in a lifetime.
You have no right to prognosticate doom about America and where we are, or doom upon the Southern Baptist Convention, or doom upon the church or doom on anyone else or even yourself, unless you are willing to humble yourself before God and pray.
We all want to bring prayer back into our public schools, but I wish we would bring prayer back into our churches. Churches give more time in their worship services promoting their next event than they give to practicing prayer in their worship services.
Prayer brings the walls down! Prayer crosses over the perceived barriers of ethnicity, race, and generations, bringing down the walls that divide us. Let the walls fall down!
Now is the time for Southern Baptists to pray.
Conclusion: Fifteen years ago this coming September 11, 2,996 people were killed in America and more than 6,000 other people were injured by the deadliest terrorist attack in world history. It was the most devastating attack on American soil since the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor seventy-five years ago, December 7, 1941.
Each of us who were alive and old enough, remember our exact location the moment we began to hear and see the unfolding live news of the 9/11 attacks on our nation. I can remember not just where I was at the time of the attacks, but almost everywhere I was and everything I did that entire day and night.
On September 11, 2016, on the 15th anniversary of 9/11, I want all of us to remember where we were on that day and what we were doing. I want to humbly request that we each prayerfully consider not only being in church that day because it is a Sunday, but on that Sunday, allocate the day to praying for our nation. America's greatest need is the next Great Spiritual Awakening. The churches of America need to pray for our country in our worship services. Not just mention it, not just pray, but pray extraordinarily. Here is a challenge each of us can do: Pastors and churches: On September 11, consider giving your entire worship service or at least eleven minutes of each service to completely focusing on praying for America.
There are so many things we could pray for our nation, from our upcoming elections, to our president, our Congress, our Supreme Court, our governors and state legislative bodies, our mayors, city councils, and school boards, our first responders, our schools and universities, our military, for the churches in America to be revived, for our own church to be revived, for America to experience Spiritual Awakening, and for the world to be reached for Christ. The possibilities are plentiful.
Southern Baptists, when will we wake up and hear what God is saying to us? Could it be that our God is calling us to repentance and calling our nation to repentance? Now is the time to return to God. We do not want to become the nation that falls into the experiences recorded in Jeremiah 7:28, "This is the nation that would not listen to the voice of the Lord their God and would not accept discipline. Truth has perished — it has disappeared from their mouths." Now is the time for us to repent, return to the Lord, plead for mercy, and call our nation back to God. The stakes couldn't be higher! But let's be clear: The church cannot call America to repent until the church repents. We need to repent of our prayerlessness. We need to repent of our unbelief. We need to pray for ourselves to get right with God and right with one another in this critical hour.
Southern Baptists, the stakes are high. America, the stakes couldn't be higher. Now is the time to pray. Beginning today. Beginning tonight. Beginning now. The Stakes Are High… Now is the Time to Pray!
Originally posted at ronniefloyd.com.