I was unable to travel to the New Baptist Covenant Celebration, due to meetings I had to attend related to an opportunity to purchase land on the highway next to our church. I am sorry that I missed it.
I have grown weary of Baptist meetings that produce no fruit. I am tired of coming home and feeling guilty that I spent the church's money and came home no more spiritual or wiser from attending. I missed the one meeting that could have made a difference.
I have read blogs and articles about the meeting. The one I enjoyed the most was written by Laura Cadena at EthicsDaily.com. She spoke of the need to include Hispanics in the conversation. The article was articulate. I have never met her, but I wished she was here in Houston, helping us reach Hispanics.
As a part of my prayers Ash Wednesday, I asked God to open a door to minister to Hispanics. I was not in Atlanta to share the joy of that meeting, but maybe I could still do something that would help fulfill the call of the meeting.
I love Luke 4 because it is filled with action verbs: preach, proclaim, set free. The Message says it this way at the end of the passage: "This is God's year to act."
I like action words and turn away from cheap emotional appeals. Don't tell me how to feel. Tell me what to do. I feel that Luke 4 contains my marching orders. I asked God to put me to work.
Last week a regional coordinator with the Baptist General Convention of Texas introduced me to Pastor Luna with Iglesia Bautista Peniel. They need a pace to meet. They have outgrown their facilities and they are growing quickly. I took him to the worship center, actually nervous about what he would think.
Our worship center is a dark room with poor acoustics. From day one it was built as a transitional facility. It has served us well, but we are excited about our new worship center.
Pastor Luna stepped up to the center of the stage and closed his eyes for just a moment. He opened them and whispered: "Bueno. Bueno."
This Wednesday night we vote as a church whether we will receive this congregation into our church facilities. Why a vote? It is the Baptist way. We voted one time on whether we would receive a million dollar gift. [It was unanimous by the way.]
This vote will pass easily.
My challenge to the church will be to open our hearts, not just our doors. I pastor good people. Our church will love these people "con mucho cariño."
The New Baptist Covenant will ultimately be judged not by how we feel, but what we do.
Ed Hogan is pastor of Jersey Village Baptist Church in Houston.