A lesson about life from a recent Sunday school class

On March 14, the Explore the Bible Sunday School lesson was from Exodus chapters 5-11. The point of this post can be found in Chapter 5. In that passage Moses is obedient to God really for the first time. As you will recall, Moses was quite reluctant to obey God at all. In fact in Exodus 4 he says "O Lord, please send someone else to do it." But he is eventually obedient, and we first read of that in Exodus 5.

In Chapter 5, Moses goes before the Pharaoh as God commanded. And we all know how this goes, right? Moses obeys God, everything becomes wonderful and Moses and his people prosper.

If you read the passage you see that that is not the case at all. Once Moses is obedient, everything falls apart for him and for his people. Immediately their workload is increased greatly and they are in great pain. Pain, I might add, that appears to be a direct result of Moses’ obedience to God. Maybe I should state that differently, Moses’ obedience to God brought about pain.

There is no shortage of people telling us in the U.S. that if we are faithful then God will bless us, and that those blessings will come in the form of material desires. However, this passage shows something very different.

That is not even the lesson I want to take away from this passage. Recently in my life there has been an abundance of difficulties. I am not suggesting that my difficulties are a result of my obedience to God. I am, however, suggesting that those difficulties do not mean that I am outside His will and they do not make me question his faithfulnes. When their lives became more painful, the Hebrews complained bitterly to Moses and questioned his motives. They falsely tied their ease in life to the blessing of God. Here is why this passage speaks to me; God is in control even thought the people can only see pain. In fact it appears that the pain was a part of His plan.

Sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged. I have had a lot of melancholy days lately. But the lesson I see in Exodus 5 is that even though things look bleak, God is ultimately in control.

As I write this, I cannot see his plan. But I know that He is in control.

2009 Southern Baptist Convention - Tuesday

This is a brief recap of Tuesday June 23 at the Southern Baptist Convention. I’m pretty sure that every person has a different experience there, and some things are more emphasized depending on the crowd around you, but some things are hard to ignore. Where I was, there was one major subject of conversation and controversy.  The Great Commission Resurgence right?  Nope.  Then maybe it was the IMB report and the news of what to do about the economics that have caused us to close down certain missionary efforts.  Nope.

In fact, the number one topic by a mile was Mark Driscoll.  There was a paper published by the Missouri Baptist laymen’s association, and distributed by Truett-McConnell college that was a polemic against Mark Driscoll and the Acts 29 Church Planting network.  It indicted Southeastern Seminary and Ed Stetzer and generally caused an uproar.  There were dozens of people around me reading this paper, and when time for introduction of new motions came, there were at least 5 motions taking aim at Mark Driscoll (not a Southern Baptist), Lifeway for selling his books, SEBTS, Ed Stetzer, and Alvin Reid.  I was a bit saddened by this vitriol but more than that I was surprised.  I definitely did not see this coming.  Before you judge me too harshly, I’m not saying I endorse Mark Driscoll.  In fact I have steered people away from him in the past because I know his style turns off so many.  I also am bothered by his attitude toward alcohol and I believe that overly crude language detracts from the message he is delivering about a holy God.  He is, however, orthodox, and to say Lifeway can’t sell his books because he drinks alcohol I just can’t understand.

There were some other interesting motions brought forth.  There was one wanting to rid the convention of the HCSB.  One or two aimed against president Obama on his view of abortion.  Another suggesting that Lifeway be certain that all VBS materials are made in the USA.  I found this particularly interesting in light of a question previously addressed to Thom Rainer during the Lifeway report that VBS stuff needs to be cheaper and supported for more than one year.

The Great Commission Task force was, not surprisingly, the second most significant issue of the day.  It was passed, but not before someone attempted to change it to have the NAMB and IMB do self-studies.  That amendment failed and the task-force passed overwhelmingly.  In fact I only saw 3 votes against it.

The vote to declare Broadway Baptist Church in Ft. Worth not in friendly cooperation passed virtually unanimously and without discussion.

Johnny Hunt was reelected as president by acclimation.  He will lead the GCR task force

Attendance was better than last year, no surprise.  At the time of the election of Hunt there were 8.587 messengers registered.

I also want to say something about Wade Burleson and Bart Barber, but I won’t.

Finally, it wouldn’t be the SBC without protestors.  There were a few demonstrators from PETA outside the gates.  They were dressed as animals and wearing sign that say “God loves me too.”  I think that’s what they said anyway.  It was hard to read.

Feel free to destroy me in the comments because I don’t want to tar & feather Driscoll.