This post kicks off a new feature for the blog. I will begin liveblogging the chapel services at Southern Seminary. After looking at the lineup of this semester’s speakers and after being edified by all who have shared so far, I wanted to share the love with you. Enjoy!
The anticipation was noticeable as Dr. Al Mohler introduced today’s speaker, Dr. Frank Page who is current president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Mohler announced that, while this was not Page’s first time to speak at Southern, it was his first time to speak at one of the Baptist seminaries since his placement as SBC president. Mohler mentioned some of Page’s accomplishments but left others unmentioned. Mohler called on everyone there to pray for Page as he serves in this capacity.
With a quiet confidence and charismatic poise, Page called us to turn to the morning’s scripture text–Philippians 1:12-20. The focus of Page’s message was to change what can be changed. It seemed to be more than a coincidence that the focus of Page’s message would be potentially contentious to a chapel full of students and faculty operating from a theological perspective more reformed than his. It seemed that he enjoyed creating the tension. You can listen to the audio of the message here.
There are some things that are not going to change. Despair results when we feel like we cannot make a difference. But are there things we can change?
Paul was not raised to be in the position that he finds himself in as he writes to the Philippian believers from a Roman prison. He was groomed for greatness among the Jews. But Damascus changed everything for him. Now, he is in prison dealing with a situation he never imagined. What were the things Paul could control within the providence of God? His mindset. His motivation. And His methodology.
Mindset — Philippians 1:12-14
Paul always wanted to preach in Rome, but he never imagined that it would be from a prison. The chains that were designed to bind him actually set him free for ministry. Though Paul couldn’t control his circumstances, he could control his mindset. The same is true of us. Our circumstances give us a unique chance to share the gospel. We should seek the reason why God has given us this opportunity for ministry.
Paul gave others courage to more fearlessly preach Christ in everyday circumstances. Most people spend all their energy trying to change circumstances rather than focusing on how to embrace them with the right mindset. Don’t complain about where you are, but pray that you bring glory to God wherever you are.
Motivation — Philippians 1:15-18
Paul faced opposition in the midst of ministry. This passage calls us to check our motives–why are we doing what we are doing? The SBC must constantly check its motives. We do not own it and cannot control it. Many churches also have people who think they own the church. We do not own the church or the convention; Christ does. For Wesley and Whitfield, their theological differences did not prevent them from realizing they are on the same team. Though Page has some differences with Mohler, they are on the same team as well.
Southern Baptists have been known for what we are against. But we should also be known for what we are for. We are for family supporting, life transforming ministry. This is a vision Dr. Page tries to share with every press member and presidential hopeful that comes to meet with him.
Methodology — Phillipians 1:19-20
When Paul’s circumstances changed, so did his method. Your method matters. There are some methods that don’t bring glory to Christ. We need to check and purify our methodology so that everything we do is done for Christ. In the end, we must assess our mindset, motivation, and methodology to ensure that they are directed for Christ’s glory.