Challenging Texas Baptists to change the world by looking up

by Lauren Hollon Sturdy on November 14, 2017 in Annual Meeting

Delvin Atchison closed out the 2017 Texas Baptists’ Annual Meeting Tuesday morning by calling Texas Baptists to “peer at our possibilities from God’s perspective.”

He preached from Genesis 15:1-5, a passage that deals with a conversation between Abram and God right after Abram has won a military victory. In spite of this win, Abram was grappling with his disappointment that God had not yet fulfilled His promise of providing descendents.

Atchison highlighted four statements from God to Abram that apply to Texas Baptists today.

First, He tells Abram “fear not.” Atchison points out that it’s an interesting moment for that particular message, as Abram has just defeated his foes.

“God understands that sometimes we’re not as afraid of confrontation from our enemies as much as we are a consultation with the eternal,” he said. “Sometimes it’s not our failures that frighten us; it’s the possibilities of our successes. Sometimes it’s just easier for us to say what we cannot be rather than see what God is calling us to be.

Second, He tells Abram to “come out” of his tent.  

“God leads us to unfamiliar places. You can’t go where God wants you to go and stay in the same place … We’re often tempted to stay in the tents of our familiar, to stay in the hut of the comfortable, but God says ‘come out.’ When God tells us to come out, His call to us is to leave what you’re comfortable with,” Atchison said.

That call to Texas Baptists today is to embrace a new world and new challenges in ministry, resting in the knowledge that God is leading His church.

Third, He tells Abram to “look up” at the stars.

Abram looked around and said, “I don’t have an heir.” He looked ahead to the future and said, “Everything I’ve got will go to somebody else.” He looked back at what God told him and said, “God, you didn’t keep your promise to me.”

God tells Abram to look up, instead.

“The way to handle what’s behind you, the way to handle what’s before you, the way to handle what’s around you is by understanding what’s above you,” Atchison said. “Isn’t that the great call of the Christian church?

“In the light of all that’s going on around us, before we succumb to what’s around us, look up to what’s above us. When we allow what’s above us to get in us, we can handle what’s around us. Amazing things happen when you look up.”

Finally, God tells Abram to count.

“The God who offers us unbelievable protection, and the God who invites us to unfamiliar places, and calls us to an uncomfortable posture, now shows us unlimited possibilities. He says, ‘Count the stars, and if you can count the stars, you can count your destiny.’

“We have a God that is so amazing that I challenge us not to be comfortable with changing Texas, not even with changing America, but we can change the world if we’re willing to look up.”

Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.

The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

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