BCNN1 – Preachers at the annual African American Fellowship Conference challenged their peers to be a “living testimony in a languishing world” by accepting the challenge to share the hope of Christ with people who are spiritually lost without it.
Fellowship President Michael Bell, pastor of Greater St. Stephen First Baptist Church in Fort Worth, said many Christians have settled for living a faith that is comfortable instead of a life passionately following God.
“The problem with being comfortable in our world is it might keep us from realizing the destiny, the life God has for us,” Bell said as he preached from Deuteronomy 1:5.
“Our God is not a stagnant God. Life is not meant to continue the way it has always been. Life is meant to become the way it was meant to be.”
Comparing them to the Israelites who were content to settle east of the Jordan River, Bell urged complacent Christians to “break camp” and embark on a journey with God.
“As long as we stay there, we will never enter the promised land,” he said.
Pastors–and the congregations in which they minister–need to face the reality that ministers are more like Spider-Man than Superman, said Kevin Cosby, pastor of St. Stephen Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.
Cosby preached from Acts 14. It describes how Paul healed a crippled man, and a crowd of pagans treated him as if he and his fellow apostle Barnabas were gods. Paul protested, telling them, “We, too, are only men, human like you.”
“Every preacher ought to profess the Pauline confession,” Cosby said. “It identifies who the pastor is: We are men who have struggles–the same struggles as you, … the same frailties as you, … the same human condition as you.
“Paul says, ‘Don’t venerate us. We are the channel of the miracle, not the source of the miracle.”
Unlike Superman, a being from another planet, Cosby insisted pastors are more like Spider-Man, who acquired his powers from an outside source. Effective ministers gain their power from the Holy Spirit.
“Superman is from another planet, Krypton,” Cosby said. “Like Spider-Man, the pastor is from here. Superman is alien and has supernatural power. Spider-Man is human, but he acquired power.”
Following God’s call and living a life empowered by the Holy Spirit requires persistence and perseverance, said Jerry Dailey, pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in San Antonio.
Essential steps in the journey, Dailey said, are to believe the gospel of Christ, admit the need for him, relentlessly pursue him, expect Christ to hear pleas for help, tell Jesus what is desired and commit to follow Christ.