SUGAR LAND – Amongst a chorus of amens, Pastor Oscar Epps of Community Missionary Baptist Church in Desoto brought a message of God's unconditional faithfulness.
The African American Fellowship Conference kicked off on July 14, with the Culp Banquet, but the following morning brought a message from the president of the African American Fellowship. Epps spoke on Daniel 3, in which Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are put in the furnace for not bowing to the king.
God is always able to meet our needs in every situation, but Epps challenged his audience to consider what happens in people's hearts and minds if it feels like He does not appear.
"But every now and then, from a humanistic perspective, there it seems that there are times that God just doesn't show up," Epps said.
But God is able, he said. If God does not show up to save the day from what people view as the end of the world, it is not because He is uninterested or incapable. His thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways not our ways (Isaiah 55:8).
Rapidly quoting scripture and seamlessly fitting it into his impassioned sermon, Epps implored his audience to know that God is still good even in the moments where He seems absent.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego told the king they believed God would come through, but even if He didn't, He was the true God, rather than the king's false idols, Epps said.
Hitting a crescendo of his sermon, Epps practically danced around the stage as the audience stood up and called for more. The truth of God being always good and faithful even in the tough times was a reality that resonated with every person in the room.
He ended the sermon by speaking on the danger of idols and how God seeks all of our affection and attention.
"Too many of us are bowing down to someone else's God," said Epps. "When you think about what God has done, that'll be enough for you to not bow. We could just think about the history, the ways He's made, the doors He's opened, the prayers He's answered. You don't need another blessing—you just need another memory."
It doesn't matter what God does, Epps said. People are in no position to question His judgment when all anyone needs to do is look at everything that He has done.
"God will take care of you," Epps said to an enthusiastic applause and joyful shouts.
Linley McCord, a student at Texas A&M University, is currently serving as a joint Communications Intern for both the Baptist Standard and the Texas Baptists.