Here is Where I Stand
As I watch and listen to what is transpiring around our country and in our community it is beyond obvious that we are living amidst some heart-breaking, confusing times. There are so many voices, so many opinions vying for space in our spirit.
I am reminded of the words of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”
As the Senior Pastor of one of this region’s most healthy and Christ-centered churches, I have no margin to engage in debate or conversation that isn’t respectful of others, doesn’t acknowledge the rule of law and isn’t Christ-like in attitude and action. I have no time or patience for such intolerance and foolishness.
While I cannot speak for other ministries or pastors, I CAN clearly outline where I pledge to lead this ministry in these tumultuous days as we navigate this season of pandemic, senseless killings, episodes of ugly racism, and attacks on the rule of law.
First, I will NOT allow weariness from the current season and criticism from the uninformed, spiritually blind or even the well-meaning Christian to move me from my principled values of promoting the truth about Jesus and affirming God’s word.
I Peter 2:15 has been my life verse for over 35 years for a REASON:
For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.
Our focus will be to do good and to honor Jesus.
To my beloved Lakewood people Here is Where I Stand:
I will not cease from reminding this culture that the greatest need in the world today is for a person to know and to trust in Jesus as Savior. NO man, NO movement, NO political party, NO politician, NO philosophy, NO government program can heal our present condition. Only reconciliation with the one, true, and living God through Jesus Christ will bring reconciliation between people. We are facing a sin problem, a heart problem.
In light of current events, Lakewood will encourage people to focus on the teaching, character and truth of Jesus, call people to accept Jesus as personal Savior and Lord, affirm the truth of Scripture, and challenge people to live worthy unto Jesus. Scripture teaches, and the life and works of Jesus affirm, that all people are created in the image of God and therefore have value and dignity.
While Lakewood may not make the headlines or win the acclaim of people, our giving of 30% of the Lord’s tithe and offerings to local, national and global missions shouts our commitment to keep moving forward with ministry that matters in Jesus’ name.
Through the Power and Provisions of Jesus, the Lakewood ministry will continue to intentionally take steps to minister in ways that affirm the worth of all people and demonstrate our love for them. So:
As Lakewood gathers to worship, whether live online or in person on campus, we will make much of Jesus, calling Christ-followers to grow up in Christ and inviting people to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus.
The Lakewood Ministry will continue to further develop our comprehensive ministry to and support of foster care and adoption.
Lakewood will continue planting autonomous churches locally, nationally and globally in a diverse range of communities.
Lakewood will continue to cherish its significant ministry to special needs children and adults across this region.
Lakewood will continue a partnership with a local gospel-centered pregnancy care ministry that supports women and their families facing crisis pregnancies as well as a partnership with a local transitional workforce development center for men.
Lakewood will continue an on-going ministry to walk alongside the incarcerated and will continue to serve men and women seeking to rejoin family and re-enter society.
The Lakewood Ministry will continue to develop its newest ministry of adopting the Uyghur, an unreached people group who are a persecuted minority in their home country.
Lakewood is committed to ministry programing that seeks to raise up a Biblically literate generation of children, develop students to become the next generation of authentic Christian leaders and to help every adult Christ-follower to become a disciple who lives worthy unto Jesus.
Our heart is to take up the demand of the one true God — “See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God.” Micah 6:8
We will never forget that Jesus calls his people to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) and as we live like exiles and sojourners in this world (1 Peter 1:1, 17), our aim should be to live according to God’s Word to his exiles in the Old Testament:
Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. Jeremiah 29:7
On a personal level, as an individual follower of Jesus, I will seek to work for the good of our community. I want to see peace and prosperity in this community.
I will continue to serve, as invited, through appointment as the Hall County Board of Elections Chairman, as the Senior Chaplain for the Gainesville Police Department, even as a softball umpire for small colleges/high schools. (Who knows, I may even come out of little league basketball coaching retirement.)
To our Lakewood family, I challenge you to continue to do what I have seen you do for the past three decades: live worthy unto Christ and work for peace and prosperity locally, nationally and globally. Jesus calls us to be good and loving neighbors, and we must continue faithfully in that calling for his sake.
Here is my pastoral challenge to you:
Don’t allow the evil, foolishness, or the injustices in life to deter you from a steadfast faith in Jesus, from your pursuit of knowing the ONE TRUE GOD or from your engagement in the Lord’s local church.
These are unprecedented days in our lives and in the life of the Lakewood Ministry. Let me be clear, Lakewood will keep moving forward, making disciples of Jesus, locally, nationally and globally.
I am trusting in you for YOUR continual ministry alongside me and to sustain our agreement to honor Jesus with our time, talent and treasure, not for Lakewood’s glory or Baptist glory or a pastor’s glory, but for the GLORY of our God. I am praying that together we will protect the unity and health of the Lakewood Ministry.
We have a high-capacity staff, who loves Jesus and His Word. They are serving so admirably during this current season. They are developing NEW and exciting ministries. In addition, we have dedicated and Godly lay leaders who are gifted to serve, BUT MOST importantly, we have the One True God who will NEVER leave us or forsake us.
Keep an eye on www.lakewoodlife.org to stay current on upcoming plans, ministries and schedule. See you LIVE ONLIVE this Sunday and at “Lakewood on the Lawn” on Sunday, June 14, at 7pm.
Faith Over Fear,