Perspective June 2016

Published May 23, 2016

Transitions
find their way into all our lives at one time or another. We cannot escape
them, as we move from an information age to a digital age. I don’t know if it’s
just me, but transitions seem to come at break-neck speed these days! This is
where I find myself now.

On Friday, May 13 I
informed the California Southern Baptist Convention Executive Board of my
desire to retire March 1, 2017. I will have served 22 years with one of the
most creative, focused and loving state Baptist conventions associated with the
Southern Baptist Convention. I have shared with many that I have no regrets
about where God has led me.

Ecclesiastes records
that there is a season, a time, for everything. At this time in my life I’m
finding a season of reflection on the journey the Lord placed me on 21 years
ago.

Saying farewell to dear
friends and staff is never easy. Since my announcement my mind has been filled
with many memories, thoughts of the future for Carmen and me, and thoughts
about the future for California Southern Baptists.

My first thought is
about your state staff. I would be off target if I didn’t say that I’ve been
surrounded by an excellent staff that is diverse in philosophy and methodology
about our ministry, but always willing to work together to reach the lost and
make disciples.

One example is working
with what is known now as the healthy church group, and moving from a church
growth to a healthy church model. It was not an easy task, but for our staff it
was the right thing to do. California was the first to transition to this
model, which is now widely accepted and copied by most other Southern Baptist
bodies.

Another thought is that of serving with integrity. I have always
believed that if I couldn’t serve with integrity, no matter what position I
found myself, I shouldn’t serve at all. Integrity is one of the values of our
Convention, based on Psalm 1, which basically says blessed is the man who
follows God instead of the wicked.

Throughout my ministry
in the local church and as a denominational servant, I’ve striven to be honest
and display integrity, not for my benefit, but because it is what the Lord
expects of His servants! Throughout my years, I’ve discovered that when my eyes
are focused on the Lord, it is easy for my heart to follow the ways of the Lord.

A final thought: I
thank God for the gift of dedicated church and denominational leaders who have
supported and worked with me to reach California for Christ. Some adjectives to
describe them include loving, caring, supporting and encouraging. What I love
most about these friends is their willingness to walk alongside a brother or
sister and help carry them along.

No doubt we live in a
state that much of the time rubs against the moral fabric of our lives.
However, that should not surprise us since Jesus told us the world first hated
Him and the world would hate us as well.

So I’ve decided to
spend the remaining time of this assignment and my call from God doing what
I’ve done since the first day I was elected: sharing with men, women, boys and
girls the Good News of Jesus.