Sunday, January 27, 2008

IMB Meeting, Gainseville, FL, Jan. 28-30, 2008

I am flying to Gainesville, Florida from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Will Rogers World Airport this morning, Monday, January 28, 2008 at 10:30 a.m. It looks like my flight does not land in Gainseville in time to attend the trustee forum, but I will be attending the International Mission Board trustee meetings Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. I will listen carefully to all business before us and will register my votes on recommendations made during the public sessions and shall keep you informed regarding the approved actions of the board during those plenary sessions.

John Parton, one of the seventy men appointed by the US Navy to be on the original Seal Team One in the 1960's will be accompanying me to Gainesville. I had the privilege of leading John to a relationship with Jesus Christ a while back and he is a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Enid, Oklahoma. When John came home to his native California after Vietnam, he had to overcome the emotional baggage of spending several months behind enemy lines fulfilling covert missions. By John's personal estimates he killed over 1,000 people during the war with either his bare hands or his government issued knife and has lived with great guilt because of his actions. My desire for John is for him to one day accompany me back to East Asia to personally participate in leading as many people as possible to faith in Jesus Christ. This trip to Florida will enable John to understand how missions works for the Southern Baptist Convention. Fair warning: John is still a little gruff around the edges. First time he ever heard me preach a while back, he came to the front of the auditorium where I was surrounded by several of our older Women on Mission ladies. John declared quite loudly and boldly, "Man, that was one one hell of a talk." You should have seen the look on the faces of those ladies. The neat thing for me is to be able to see how God has worked in John's life over the last several months and the desire that is building in him to see people all over the world come 'to know his Lord.'

John and I have most of Tuesday free. If you are in or near Gainseville, Florida on Tuesday, January 29th, come to the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center where the IMB meeting will be held and have a cup of coffee with us in the lobby. Or, we'd love to have you join us for lunch on Tuesday. We will be in the lobby from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, lunch at 12:00 noon, and then we will be back in the lobby from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. We would love to visit with any pastors or missionaries who can make it to the Hilton. John and I will also be participating in the appointment service on Wednesday night at Westside Baptist Church at 7:30.

For those of you who cannot be in Gainseville, I will do my best to let you know what is happening at the IMB meeting. May the Lord continue to bless the work of the IMB and the SBC.

In His Grace,



Anonymous said...

Being reformed biker trash who used to fight for a living, I believe that most of us could use a little more of a "hell of a talk" and a little less "hoyty-toyty talkin'

I have had the blessing of leading many "unusual" types to the Lord including bikers and folks in the music business.

Having to many folks in 3 piece suits tends to wear a little thin now and then.

I would love to meet your friend.

May God richly bless your time in Florida. I pray the Holy Spirit sweeps down on the meeting and everyone speaks in tongues.


Marty Duren said...

John's kind of people are the best kind of people to be around.

Reminds me of the guest at the Community Church of Joy in AZ as he was milling around, ran across a biker dude just outside the auditorium. He asked, "Why do you attend this church?"

The guy responded, "Why the hell do you think? Jesus Christ."

jasonk said...

Several years ago, I was used by God to show a young lady the love of Christ. She was from Chicago, and lived in Tulsa making her living selling cocaine. I loved her "rough around the edges" way, because it reminded me of what a rut we can get ourselves into. It also reminded me of how out of touch we Christians become with the culture we are charged with reaching.
Her language was salty for a good long time, but my favorite memory of her had to do with when she was looking for a church to attend. She was a pretty independent thinker, and wouldn't go to a church just because I suggested it. She called a church that looked good in the phone book, and asked the person who answered if they believed in Jesus Christ. "Yes, we do," the person replied. As if to trap them, my friend quickly asked, "well what did He do?!" She was/is a real character.
Thanks for sharing the story. Have a great time in Florida. Being in Green Country, I won't be able to join you, but since I live two hours from you, perhaps the next time you guys are in Tulsa?

Anonymous said...

I won't be anywhere Florida but I do wish you and John a great meeting.

I will concur with the other 3 comments so far and say let John be himself. We have way to many "polished," Christians that aren't doing much for the kingdom.

God will use John as he is and will lead him to reach people that God already has prepared to be touched by John. I will pray that the day will come when you and he can go to S. East Asia to witness. May he be used to help send at least twice as many as he extinguished into eternal salvation. May the Lord give him this opportunity to share God's love in a place where he once shared his government's directives.

Anonymous said...

If time permits, please stop by the IMB sponsored SAM Summit that will be held on Thursday and Friday at Westside Baptist Church.

Lin said...

What a blessing it will be for John to someday return to SE Asia in the Name of the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Is it a coincidence that this meeting is being held at the same time as another meeting in Atlanta (Dare I say the name, New Baptist Covenant?) which SBC leaders made a point of having nothing to do with other than condemning it?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like John's a modern day Shamgar!

May God give the church more souls like him; and may the church love souls like him.

Marty & JasonK,
Isn't it great to minister to people like that? Their lack of guile is refreshing, especially when so much of it is in the church.


foxofbama said...

Ryan Hale, a signer of the Memphis Declaration has a great blog up yesterday Jan 27 on the future of Dissent within the SBC.
I hope you will conflate his thoughts there and join the substantice discussion that has evolved at in the There Will Be Blood thread on similar sentiment.
Is Ben Cole sharing his thoughts on the Huckabee candidacy in comparison to Mohler's SBC Prez bid and what it means for the heart and soul of America.
Woould love to see him engage some of the links I have posted at my blog on that matter.
Who in your MemDec group will show in Atlanta this week?

Anonymous said...


I'll be in prayer for John as he seeks to forgive himself for his past.

You might let him know that I am blogging our upcoming Mission Trip to Vietnam on Tuesdays. I'd love to hook ya'll up with our connections there, if you are interested. If not, John is welcome to come with us one day, if the Lord is willing.

Anonymous said...

are you doing market research for a possible SBC run ? said...


Nope, just being myself.



Rex Ray said...

Samson killed 1,000 in one battle, and the song said Saul had killed his thousands but David his tens of thousands.

Ah, the glory of killing? Was it Billy the Kid that had over 20 notches on his gun?

If I killed one man, I’d suffer a thousand deaths.

I’m sure John has “emotional baggage” and “guilt” about killing, but to say over 1,000, reminds be of several guys I’ve met that had stories that proved to be their imagination. said...

Rex Ray,

Maybe. Maybe not. The emphasis now is learning to how to share Christ with others.