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This guest post is brought to you by Jason Gaston, our Family Ministries Pastor. Hardly anyone embodies the passion of “seeking the 1” more than Jason. Be sure to listen to the rest of Jason’s message here.

For most of us, we don’t realize the value of something until we lose it. I take my TV remote control for granted…until it goes missing. Then suddenly we have an issue. (How did people change the channel before remotes? What kind of magic was that?) Or think about wedding bands. Most of the time, you don’t even realize you’re wearing it. But I remember going to Defy Gravity—a “trampoline park”—with some buddies, and one of them realized he had lost his ring in the foam pit. Most disgusting hour of searching we had ever done. Trust me: you don’t want to know what’s at the bottom of those foam pits.

Lost. In Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep, “lost” is the only thing that separates the 1 from the 99. The shepherd goes after the one, not because he’s the VP of the sheep club or quarterback for the Durham Lamb Chops. He goes after the one sheep because that sheep is lost.

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The narrative our culture puts forward regarding homosexuality is that we have only two options—affirmation or alienation. Sadly, the church has far too often simply condemned and alienated those in the LGBT community. What greater lie could we tell about our Savior than to distance ourselves from others, especially at their moments of greatest hurt and vulnerability?

Jesus shows us that a third response—a gospel response—is possible. He shows us how to respond with grace and truth, how to hold out God’s truth and God’s love, not having to choose between the two. Truth without grace is fundamentalism. But grace without truth is vapid sentimentality. Failing in either puts us out of step with Jesus. As a church, we should be known not only for our unflinching commitment to truth, but also for our excessive love toward our neighbors. We must not only speak the truth of Christ, we must do so with the spirit of Christ.

Why Aren’t Baptists … Baptizing?

Posted by Pastor J.D. on April 25, 2016
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The past few years have been challenging for many Baptist churches. Across the Southern Baptist Convention as a whole, we’ve seen the number of baptisms steadily declining. And while there are plenty of causes for thanksgiving in the SBC, I think we, as a Convention, have to ask some tough questions our ourselves. But we do so with the confidence that Jesus has appointed us to bear “much” fruit, (John 15:8), and promised that if we follow him he will make us effective fishers of men—-so much so that we’ll like the “nets” of our boats are breaking (Matt 4:19)!

First things first: Our primary problems are spiritual. Quite simply, many of us no longer feel the urgency of the gospel message. We have grown complacent in our success, and don’t burn with the same evangelistic zeal that we once did. A recent Lifeway study revealed that nearly 90% of active, church-going evangelicals have never even shared their faith with someone outside of their family. Only 20% of churches in the US are growing, and only 1% are growing by reaching lost people.

Our goal should be that we make it as hard as possible to go to hell from our communities. Has everyone in your community heard a compelling presentation of the gospel, and been given a chance to respond? I think often of the words of Charles Spurgeon, who said,

“If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”

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