The Cooperative Program and the Widow’s Mite

I made a left hand turn and proceeded down a windy one lane road that continued to narrow the further I drove. The canopy of trees overhead enveloped the road in complete shadows as I contemplated whether I had wandered on to private property.

“There is no way I will find a church down this lane,” I thought to myself. As I was about to turn around, I saw peeking through the trees a white wood frame Kentucky Baptist church.

Pulling into the parking lot gave me a greater view of this church building that is occupied by about fifteen people on Sunday mornings. Sitting behind the church is a small structure that serves as the outhouse. Yes, you read that correctly. The church has no running water.

In 2022 the church reported receiving a total of $4,550 in offerings for the entire year. Despite their obvious challenges, this is a Cooperative Program giving church.

Obviously, the money they give to support our cooperative mission efforts could be used to improve the building, increase pay to the pastor, or install running water to the property. Instead of those expenditures, the church feels it is important to partner with other Kentucky Baptist churches by giving to support missions through the Cooperative Program.

Their pastor is a good shepherd who leads them well and clearly preaches the gospel. I asked him, “Why does the church give to support the Cooperative Program?” His reply was one I wish every member of every church could hear: “Why do we even exist if we are not supporting the spread of the gospel through the Cooperative Program.”

In addition to giving to CP, this small church is engaged in a variety of local mission opportunities. They realize their size is not a deterrent in having a kingdom impact.

This church is not likely to be listed as one of the top CP giving churches in our state but their sacrifice rivals that of the largest contributors.

In Mark 12, Jesus commends a widow for her gift of two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. He reminds His disciples that it is not the size of the gift but rather the size of the sacrifice by saying, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.”(Mark 12:43-44)

If a church who has less than $5,000 in annual offerings and worships in a building without running water can impact the world by giving to the Cooperative Program, then your church can too. If you would like to learn more about how your church can truly share in the worldwide spread of the gospel through the Cooperative program, contact me at and I would be elated to help.

KBC Partners With Your Theological Education

I met with a pastor recently who shared his testimony of working as a barber when the Lord called him to ministry. He knew he needed theological education but was unsure how he would pay for it. He had just purchased a car and knew he could not afford both tuition and a car payment. Determined to receive ministerial training, he returned to the local car lot that sold him the vehicle to ask if they would consider buying the car back. Upon hearing his story, not only did the salesman allow him to return the car, but let him borrow a car to drive back and forth to school. Additionally, this generous businessman contributed money each semester to help pay for his tuition. The pastor revealed there was no way he could have attended Bible college had it not been for a faithful Christian car salesman who came alongside him to support his theological education.

Like that car salesman, the Kentucky Baptist Convention desires to come alongside current and future Kentucky Baptist ministers to help them in their pursuit of theological education. We exist to serve Kentucky Baptist churches and one way we do that is by investing in the theological education of the current and future ministers of Kentucky Baptist churches.

This year we are excited to launch the Calling Out the Called Scholarship program which will provide $100,000 a year in tuition assistance for Kentucky Baptists attending one of our great in-state institutions — Clear Creek Baptist Bible College, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College.

Since the majority of KBC churches are led by bivocational pastors, and for some of them attending college or seminary full-time is not feasible, the scholarship is open to both part-time and full-time students. This allowance is a unique blessing for part-time students who traditionally have fewer scholarship options.  

Students are eligible for up to $1,200 a year in scholarship funds that are managed by the KBC Scholarship Committee.

To qualify, applicants must be:

  • A resident of KY who is a member of a cooperating KBC church
  • Called to ministry and pursuing a ministry-based bachelor or masters degree at CCBBC, Boyce or SBTS
  • Intend to serve as a minister or missionary in an SBC context

To apply, current or future students should visit to submit an electronic application that takes just five minutes to complete.

If you are called to ministry and desire theological education, we want you to know that you are not in this journey alone. The KBC desires to invest in your development by easing some of the burden you may experience paying for Bible College or Seminary.

The Kentucky Baptist Convention celebrates the opportunity to serve churches by helping develop current and future ministers. Yet another example of why we are truly #BetterTogether.

This Thanksgiving I am Thankful for the Cooperative Program

“Before we eat our Thanksgiving meal, let’s go around the room and have everyone share something they are thankful for.”

That request is enough to test the self-control of the most disciplined of individuals. While people smile politely on the outside, many of them are groaning on the inside as they endure a level of restraint uncommon to many Americans. With a delicious meal before them, an aroma that beckons the senses, and food that looks like it came from the set of the Food Network, the last thing some hungry family members want is to undergo the “Thanksgiving Tribulation”. In an attempt to hurry it along before the gravy cools, most family members announce the first thing that comes to their mind, often repeating what the person beside them just said.

This year, however, I am prepared for that question when it comes.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the Cooperative Program.

I say that not because I am a beneficiary of it, but because my position has provided a unique vantage point of the powerful ministry that is happening because of this amazing missions collaboration. 

Here are just a few reasons why this Thanksgiving we can be thankful for what is happening because of the SBC Cooperative Program:

  • Nearly 3,600 International Mission Board missionaries reported 176,795 new believers and 22,774 new churches started in just the past year.
  • NAMB church planters have started 9,200 churches in the US and Canada since 2010.
  • Through Sunrise Children’s Services, Kentucky Baptists are caring for approximately 750 foster children and have completed 50 adoptions this year.
  • Kentucky Baptists have served more than 900 Afghan refugees who resettled across our state this year. Churches were able to utilize Global Hunger funds to provide food to more than 550 Afghans during their first three months in Kentucky.
  • Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief has served hundreds of people, provided thousands of meals, and had 486 gospel conversations with 83 professions of faith as they ministered to victims of the tornado and flood. The development of KY C.A.R.E (Churches Assisting Rebuild Efforts) has provided grants to pastors and churches affected by natural disasters.
  • Kentucky Baptist Campus Ministries have a presence on 28 campuses across the state where in the last year they have witnessed 63 professions of faith.
  • Nearly 20,000 students attended Crossings Camps where over 900 of them were saved.
  • This year our six SBC seminaries graduated 861 Master of Divinity students which will provide more missionaries, pastors, worship ministers, and other leaders sent out to serve our churches.

There are thousands of new believers all across the world worshipping Jesus today because you and your church gave through the KBC to the SBC Cooperative Program. I am thankful for the many Kentucky Baptist Churches who believe we are better together by jointly supporting mission endeavors.

With a celebration like that, there is no reason to sweat what you will say when Aunt Beverly calls on you to share a Thanksgiving praise.

A warning though… if you start sharing ALL that the Cooperative Program does, just be prepared for the mashed potatoes to get cold.

Five Takeaways From Attending The SBC Executive Committee Meeting

(Photo Credit: Baptist Press)

The SBC Executive Committee convened in Nashville this week and I was fortunate to be in attendance with two colleagues from the Kentucky Baptist Convention. This was my first full SBC Executive Committee meeting and being present to observe allowed me to gain a greater understanding of how our convention handles business, interact with convention and entity leaders, and receive information to share with Kentucky Baptist churches.

Here are five takeaways from my experience with the SBC Executive Committee:

Southern Baptist Representation

The 86 members of the Executive Committee are a representative group of Southern Baptists. Nominated by the Committee on Nominations and elected by messengers at the annual meeting, this group is diversified geographically to represent all areas of our country. Since the SBC is not just a convention of pastors, at least one-third of the Executive Committee members must be non-ministers. This means approximately 30 of the members are teachers, bankers, nurses, lawyers, and homemakers. This unique setup ensures that people in our local church pews have significant leadership within our national convention. The size of the churches they represent varies and some may be surprised to learn that neither the current SBC President nor the EC Chairperson are mega-church pastors. Additionally, 26 of the current Executive Committee members are women or minorities. The SBC has grown in its diversity over the past several years and the makeup of the Executive Committee helps represent those trends. While there are some very talented and professional people on the SBC EC, it is not a committee of “elites” but rather a collection of people to which most Southern Baptists can relate.

It is a New Day for the Executive Committee

This group has been at the epicenter of some of the most difficult days in the history of the SBC. Much of the criticism was warranted but positive steps are being made. The comments this week were certainly sensitive to the issues Southern Baptists face as they are taking their job of sexual abuse response and financial stewardship seriously. The Abuse Response Implementation Task Force has begun its work and a new Caring Well Sunday was added to the annual SBC calendar to keep sexual abuse response forever on our minds. The meeting contained an appropriate level of remorse and resolve to keep children safe.

From all accounts I heard, the Executive Committee meeting felt different this time. There are certainly challenges before the committee, but the room contained a spirit of cooperation and hope for the future. I have been impressed with Interim President/CEO Willie McLaurin’s transparent and unifying leadership. I am thankful to have faithful Kentucky Baptists Nick Sandefur, John Lucas, Charles Frazier, and Marcella Crenshaw representing our state as important decisions are being made.

Cooperative Program Giving is Growing

Despite the painful past two years in Southern Baptist life, giving to the financial fuel for our mission work continues to grow. Nationwide SBC Cooperative Program giving for the fiscal year ending this month is projected to eclipse $200 million. This is the largest amount since 2008.

Additionally, special gifts of over $1 million were presented at the meeting. Lifeway delivered over $513,000 in mission offerings from their summer camps to support IMB and NAMB missionaries. The Southern Baptist Convention of Ohio presented the Executive Committee with a check for $500,000 for CP as proceeds from the sale of their Seneca Lake Baptist Camp.

The SBC is Becoming More Diverse

EC staff shared that 22.3% of our convention churches and 62% of churches planted during the pandemic are racially and ethnically diverse. There are presently over 3,200 Hispanic churches and 2,000 Asian churches representing 30 nationalities. Almost 1/3 of the members of the recently appointed Committee on Committees are minorities. There is hope this will strengthen diversity within our SBC leadership.

The SBC Executive Committee Needs Our Prayers

Major issues are at hand such as the search for a new SBC EC President/CEO and helping to make the SBC a place where no sex abuser can ever hide again. Making sound financial decisions, carrying out the desires of the messengers, and communicating well to churches are paramount during this time of transition.

Will you please join me in prayer for all 86 of our Executive Committee members and the 30 Executive Committee employees?

3 things that make Oneida Baptist Institute great

Last week, hundreds of elementary, middle, and high school students began a new school year at the Oneida Baptist Institute. I had the honor of preaching at the staff worship service as this team of dedicated servants prepared for the year to begin. As I participated in the service, I was reminded of three things that make Oneida Baptist Institute great.  

Oneida’s Mission Makes It Great

In 1900, James Anderson Burns opened a school in Oneida to bring Christian education to the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. The school’s mission statement later became “Education for Time and Eternity,” communicating the idea that they exist not just to educate students but to point them toward the giver of everlasting life. For over a century, OBI has taught countless numbers of boys and girls what it means to be a follower of Christ. While many students come from the local community, others are boarding students who come from across the state, nation, and world to attend Oneida Baptist Institute. These students receive a quality education, attend daily chapel services, and learn responsibility by working a job on campus. Students’ lives are being transformed because of the ministry of Oneida Baptist Institute.

Oneida’s Staff Makes It Great

The faculty and staff of Oneida Baptist Institute are truly missionaries in the mountains. A man named Ricky shared a testimony that several years ago he spent his vacation volunteering at OBI. Before the conclusion of the two weeks, the Lord called him to serve full-time at OBI. Like Ricky, every staff member has been called to this mission field. They range from long-term faithful servants like Denise Spender, who received recognition for 30 years of service to couples like Jacob and Anna who were experiencing their first day on the job. The entire staff is encouraged by the strong and humble leadership of President Larry Gritton. He is a special leader who frequently applauds the sacrifice and faithfulness of the people who make OBI a special place.

Oneida’s Donors Make It Great

During their opening worship service, a designated prayer time was held for friends and donors of the school. Since Martha Hogg’s gift in 1899 of 10 acres of land to build the school upon, God has used donors to play an important role in the life of OBI. Some gifts are small. One precious lady gave multiple times over a series of years and her gifts totaled less than a dollar. Other gifts are very large, like the former student who donated millions of dollars to construct a new dormitory. Still, every donor is equally celebrated. The faithfulness of its donors has allowed OBI to remain a bright light in the darkest of times.

Oneida Baptist Institute’s largest donor is the Kentucky Baptist Convention, giving over $7.5 million in Cooperative Program dollars to OBI in the past 20 years. Generous donors like the KBC have enabled local students to pay less tuition today ($0) than they did in 1900 ($1 a month). When your Kentucky Baptist church gives to the Cooperative Program you are helping provide Christian education to mountain children and boarding students at Oneida Baptist Institute.

With a great mission, dedicated staff, and generous volunteers, the Oneida Baptist Institute is a shining star of our cooperative work as Kentucky Baptists. Thousands of students whose lives have been transformed at the Oneida Baptist Institute would testify that we are #BetterTogether.

I spent a day at Crossings: Here are 3 things that make it great

When I tell most people the name of my hometown, they give me a puzzled look. When Kentucky Baptists hear of my hometown, they respond with a grin.

Bagdad, Kentucky.

Bagdad serves as the home of the longtime Kentucky Baptist camp, Cedarmore. I grew up just a few miles from the camp and spent my childhood attending camps, retreats and other events on its campus. However, the Cedarmore of today far exceeds the Cedarmore of my youth.

At the kind invitation of Lance Howerton, I recently had the opportunity to spend an entire day at the Crossings Camp Cedarmore location. I wanted to soak in an entire day in the life of a camper, so I arrived early and stayed way past my bedtime to get that full Crossings Camp experience.

When I arrived on campus, I observed 697 campers and their chaperones busily making their way to and from breakfast. I learned this is a typical number of campers, as Crossings drew approximately 18,000 guests to their Cedarmore and Jonathan Creek locations over the course of the summer. As I drove past the church vans lining the parking areas, I noticed the diversity of the places they were from… Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan…. Panama City Beach, Florida!

What would prompt a church from Panama City Beach to drive 700 miles to Bagdad, KY, for summer camp? Furthermore, what is it that draws 18,000 campers from seventeen states to come to Crossings?

After spending a day at Crossings, I realized three important reasons people come here:

1. Servant Attitude

Crossings is the Chick-Fil-A of the summer camp world. Graciously serving others is infused into the minds of their entire staff. From the full-time, year-round staff to the summer college students, they exceed all expectations. Serving others is not just the logo on their shirt, it is the culture of the camp. The amazing summer staff work incredibly long hours, but they demonstrate joy in what they do. If your view of millennials is that they do not work hard, then you have not met the more than 50 college students serving at Crossings. They have learned well from full-time personnel like Lance Howerton, Seth York, Bert Lace and Mike Wolfzorn who find joy in meeting the needs of their guests.

2. Gospel Infusion 

Church leaders can be confident that when they bring their students to Crossings, they will repeatedly hear the gospel. The worship services, large group studies, small group studies and church connect times all work together to form a blanket of gospel saturation.

I even witnessed a summer staffer named Emma from Central Baptist in Winchester sharing the gospel as part of a cookie decorating class. The gospel is infused throughout the entire camp experience. The Lord has moved mightily in response to this focus and this summer Crossings has seen over 900 campers cross over from death to life by trusting Jesus as Savior. At least another 700 students surrendered their life to ministry. In their 23 year existence, Crossings has seen over 10,000 campers give their lives to Jesus.

3. Exciting Activities

Crossings has learned the balance of how to provide an abundance of gospel opportunities while facilitating many exciting activities. Students can choose from points of interest (POIs) such as zip lines, bazooka ball, archery tag, fishing, hiking and much more. The recreation lake is equipped with slides, zip lines over the water and my favorite—the blob. Campers have no shortage of activities to help make this one of the most enjoyable weeks of their year.

Kentucky Baptists can be proud of Crossings and the transformation that has occurred with Cedarmore and Jonathan Creek. When your church gives to the Cooperative Program, you help support this important ministry.

Excellent service, gospel infusion and exciting activities all add up to a camp where churches enthusiastically want to bring their students. Weeks fill up quickly and next summer may approach 20,000 campers. And it all takes place in Jonathan Creek and Bagdad, Kentucky.

Beat that, Panama City Beach.

4 reasons to take your teens to the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting

The blessing of attending this year’s SBC Annual Meeting was made even more special because I had the wonderful opportunity to attend with my wife and children. In the past, I have observed other pastors attending with their families and it encouraged us to involve our teenagers in this year’s gathering.

It was such a positive experience that I want to share four reasons why I think you should consider bringing your teens to future SBC Annual Meetings:

1. They Realize They are Not Alone. There is something about entering a convention hall with 10,000+ other Southern Baptists that helps a person realize the magnitude of being part of the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Teenagers may at times wonder if there is anyone out there who believes like them but attending the SBC Annual Meeting helps remind them there are literally millions of Christians that support evangelical Christian values.

2. They Gain a Greater Understanding of the Cooperative Program. Hearing celebrations from missionaries, seminaries, church planters, and evangelism initiatives provides the opportunity to see how we are better together when we cooperatively fund ministries. Walking around the exhibition hall allowed my teens to converse with ministry representatives. An IMB missionary talked with my daughters for 20 minutes about future missionary opportunities. Sadly, every day we bury CP champions, and we need to do all we can to raise up a future generation of CP champions.

3. They Witness the Commissioning of International Missionaries. For me, the highlight of every SBC Annual Meeting is being involved in the commissioning of international missionaries. At this year’s meeting, 52 Christians were sent out by SBC churches through the IMB to help reach people in unreached people groups in some of the world’s most hostile places. Witnessing this moving service will hopefully leave an indelible mark on the lives of teenagers.

4. They Have an Opportunity to Participate. Southern Baptist polity gives each person an equal right to speak and vote on decisions of our convention. My teenager casting their ballot to vote carries the same power as that of a seminary president casting their ballot. While that may be scary for some, it is a beautiful picture that the Southern Baptist Convention is led by equal messengers and not a hierarchy of power.

*Bonus – this is not part of my list since my teens have not participated in it, but SBC offers Youth on Mission service opportunities for teens to help the local area. Hopefully, we will be able to check out those opportunities in the future.  Next year’s convention is in New Orleans. I hope to see you— and your family— there!

5 reasons why I joined the Kentucky Baptist Convention staff

He plays with his eggs as he sits across the breakfast table from me. He is not going to eat them, but he does not know quite how to respond to the awkward silence. We have talked about sports and about our families but I know neither of those topics are what he really wanted to meet about. I can tell he wants to ask a question but is trying to determine if it is appropriate. Wanting to be gracious, I say, “I know you are wanting to ask me something so just ask.” He smiles and then blurts out a question I have heard multiple times: “So why did you leave a church you love to join the KBC?”

It is a fair question. For nearly 15 years I had the wonderful privilege of serving one of the great churches of our Kentucky Baptist Convention. The church was gracious to my family and generous in their support of me. I loved the people I served and the ministers I served with. It was exciting to see the church grow both in attendance and in their love for missions. I came to the church as an eager 27-year-old and was blessed to have a tremendous experience. Then, four months ago today, I left the pastorate to begin a new position with the KBC.

As I pondered his question, I could think of at least five reasons for why I left a wonderful church to join the Kentucky Baptist Convention staff.

Kentucky Baptists Have Impacted My Life

Many of the good things in my life are because of Kentucky Baptists. My family was first invited to church by a Kentucky Baptist Sunday School teacher. I was baptized by a faithful Kentucky Baptist pastor. I fell in love with preaching at a Kentucky Baptist camp. At 15 years old I preached my first sermon in a Kentucky Baptist pulpit. My first church mission trip was with a Kentucky Baptist ministry. I attended a Kentucky Baptist college. I was an evangelist supported by many Kentucky Baptist churches. My mentor is a former Kentucky Baptist Convention president. I am a devout Kentucky Baptist because of the investment they have made in my life. When approached with the opportunity, I considered it a great privilege to serve in a role to help my beloved Kentucky Baptist Convention.

Kentucky Baptists Demonstrate We are Better Together

I have always had a high view of partnership ministry. As a result, I was very proud that our church gave 11% annually to the Cooperative Program. I am convinced that we can do things together that we could never do alone. There is not a single church that could care for 800 foster children, plant dozens of churches, lead a robust disaster relief organization, distribute gospel materials to every home in our state, or place campus ministers on every major public university campus. Our partnership through the Kentucky Baptist Convention allows us to do all of this and much more. In a recent presentation to association leaders, Dr. Todd Gray reminded me of a quote by John Maxell that says, “We can go faster alone but further together.” I want to live my life pursuing the Great Commission and I believe the only way we can reach that goal is by working TOGETHER.

Kentucky Baptists Have an Influential Voice

Kentucky Baptists are the leading anti-abortion voices in our state. The Friends of Life KY Initiative, our advocacy for a constitutional amendment supporting life, and employing a journalist who writes exclusively on sanctity of life issues are all evidence of our commitment to protecting the most vulnerable of God’s creation. Additionally, when the state government threatened religious liberty, it was faithful Kentucky Baptists who rallied to make sure ministries like Sunrise Children’s Services were protected. The Kentucky Baptist Convention provides a needed prophetic voice in our commonwealth.

Kentucky Baptists Have Unrivaled Unity

We may not agree on everything, but by and large, Kentucky Baptists have done an excellent job of avoiding the divisions that some Christian groups experience. That is a monumental celebration in a state convention with 2,300+ churches led by a diverse group of pastors. Our unity allows our convention to focus on gospel ministry instead of putting out fires.

Kentucky Baptists Love Kentucky

When Kentucky has needs, Kentucky Baptists respond. When tornadoes devastated West Kentucky, Kentucky Baptists answered the call to help their hurting neighbors in a tremendous fashion. Generators were donated, chainsaw crews enlisted, meals prepared and generous financial gifts distributed because of faithful Kentucky Baptists. Each year, hundreds of hurting foster children from broken homes are cared for by Kentucky Baptists through our Sunrise Children’s Services agency. In Clay County, local children receive free Christian education because of our partnership with the Oneida Baptist Institute. Funds are distributed to help Ministry centers throughout our state serve people with food insecurities. We are a convention of churches who love the people of our state.


I loved serving as a pastor, and I now love serving as a member of the Kentucky Baptist Convention staff. At that breakfast table, my friend asked, “If you love the church so much, why did you join the KBC?” My response was, “I joined the KBC BECAUSE I love the Church so much.” This affection is not just for one singular local church, but rather, the broader church as a whole. I desire to see the church as the worldwide followers of God be strengthen, so that together, we can fulfill the Great Commission. I am glad to serve in my new role to play a small part in helping that happen.

Worthless cards and the worthy Christ

As a 11-year-old boy, there were few things I enjoyed more than opening up a newly minted pack of baseball or football cards. I was eager to celebrate over receiving the cards of players I idolized and quickly determined which cards I could trade to my friends. I knew a guy on the 5th grade playground that would just about trade his own mother for a certain Will Clark baseball card. I would be tempted to give an equally lucrative deal for a card featuring Barry Larkin. Most of us 11-year-olds were convinced that we would be retired by 40 with houses in Paris, the Bahamas, and Australia based solely on the future value of our baseball card collections. Unfortunately, other than a Jerry Rice rookie card worth about $100, most of the cards in my collection are worth pennies. Not quite the life changing retirement money I expected to have by now.

A deacon at the church I pastored recently showed me a picture of the baseball card he most proudly possessed. It was a 1982 Topps Future Stars card featuring three baseball players. The first was Bob Bonner, a shortstop who played in 61 games where he batted .194 and had zero homeruns. The second player was Jeff Schneider, a pitcher who played just one year in the Major Leagues. He pitched in 24 innings and gave up 13 runs.

The third “Future Star” was voted an All-Star 19 times over his 21-year career. He played 3,001 games for the Baltimore Orioles and holds the record for the most consecutive games played at 2,632. He had 3,184 hits, 431 home runs and 1,695 RBI’s. He is a multiple time MVP and Golden Glove winner who was named the starting shortstop for the MLB All-Century Team. His name is Cal Ripken, Jr.

As a result of Ripken’s accomplishments, the “Future Stars” baseball card is listed for sale on Ebay for as much as $1,200.

Now imagine if you met Jeff Schneider or Bob Bonner and they bragged how their baseball card is worth over $1,000. You would laugh because you know the worth of the card has nothing to do with them. It has everything to do with who they are with.

Similarly, some people point to their good works as their statistics to say, “Look at the great things I have done.” We know that presenting a personal summary of stats to God will prove to be as worthless as my overflowing shoeboxes of baseball cards. But when you put your faith in Christ, His accomplishments are credited to us, and we become worthy. We become worthy not because of who we are but because of who we are with.

In Romans 5:19, Paul reminds us, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” How encouraging is it to know that although we frequently strikeout in our spiritual life we can be counted righteous because of the accomplishments of Christ! When we submit to following Christ, His sinlessness, obedience, death, and resurrection get credited to our righteousness. Ultimately, we are all a bunch of Bob Bonners and Jeff Schneiders who need to be reminded… it is not what we have done, but it is about who we are with!

Will God ever judge me for my sin?

In 1999, Cornelius Anderson robbed the manager of a St. Charles, Missouri, Burger King at gunpoint when he was attempting to make the restaurant’s night deposit at a nearby bank. An eyewitness reported the armed robbery to police and Cornelius was soon arrested, convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Shortly after his conviction, he was released on bail while his appeal was being considered. Cornelius lost the appeal, but because of a clerical error he was never picked up and taken to prison. Apparently, the Missouri Department of Corrections mistakenly thought he was already incarcerated. 

Over the next 13 years, Cornelius Anderson lived a normal life. He got married, started a business, voted, and renewed his driver’s license. He went on living his life as if the conviction and sentence had never happened.

In July 2013—13 years after his conviction—Cornelius Anderson was scheduled to be released from prison. It was on his discharge date when the Missouri Department of Corrections realized he had never been in prison. A warrant was promptly issued for his arrest, and he was subsequently picked up by authorities.

His lawyer said he always told Cornelius this day was coming. He knew that eventually Cornelius would have to pay the penalty for his actions.

For many of us, because we may not receive swift punishment for our sin, we may wrongly assume that there will be no penalty for our sin. Like Cornelius, we may erroneously think that life is going well and that we have escaped judgment for our actions. However, just as his lawyer reminded Cornelius, the Bible reminds us that a day of judgment is coming.

Do not be fooled — just because God may delay the judgement for our sin, it does not mean he has eliminated the judgment for our sin. Peter wrote these words to remind us of the purpose for God’s delay:

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 1 Peter 3:9-10

While God is patiently waiting for people to repent, we are still reminded that His judgment is imminent.

The good news is that there is a way for us to avoid punishment for our sin. When we trust Jesus as our Savior, the Lord accepts Christ’s atoning death on the cross as the payment for our sin. The debt accumulated for our sin is marked paid in full if we accept His redeeming work of grace.

So today, my brothers and sisters, do not keep living like the penalty our sin deserves will never be enforced. Rather, follow Christ, trust in Him for salvation from the coming judgment and encourage others to do the same!

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