The Texas Baptists Hispanic family gathered Sunday night at Iglesia Bautista Maranatha in Waco to worship together, hear from pastors around the state, and encourage one another to live Compelled for Christ. The rally was one of three held on the first evening of the 2017 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting.
The first sermon of the evening focused on evangelism.
“A church in action is evangelism; a church in action is reaching the lost,” said Israel Villalobos, associate pastor of Plymouth Park Baptist Church in Irving.
If Texas Baptists want to be churches in action, Villalobos said, they need to look to Jesus’ example.
“Jesus was willing to start a conversation with anyone, regardless of race,” he said. “Jesus adjusted his route; he made it longer, so we, too, ought to go the extra mile in making conversations about God possible.”
He also pointed out that Jesus made small talk; He got to know people and their lives, and eventually conversations would flow to spiritual things.
Finally, Jesus pointed people to Himself.
You don’t need the perfect formula for evangelism, Villalobos said.
“If you have Jesus you have all you need. If you have Jesus, you’re ready to work.”
Pastor Carlos Alsina from Westside Baptist Church in Seguin preached on 2 Corinthians 5:14-15: “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
The love of Christ compels us to love others and God the Father intensely, passionately and unselfishly, he said. It doesn’t matter the cost or consequence.
Christ’s love also compels to share our personal testimony with our family and with the entire world.
“Your testimony is unique to you. No one else has it. Use the opportunity, use your voice to share your testimony,” Alsina said. “We need to remember that the most important thing is to go out and tell what Christ has done for us, at all times and places.”
He ended his talk with an encouragement to live in victory.
“We are compelled to live in victory because Christ was raised again. We are going to win, because Christ already won.”
Pastor Martin Ortega of Iglesia Emmanuel in Midland closed the evening by sharing his thoughts on how churches can develop missional Christians.
“We must renew our minds,” Ortega said. “In Ephesians 4:23-24, Paul tells of the importance of renewing our spirits and minds. Likewise, Jesus says we must put new wine in new containers.”
He encouraged Texas Baptists to leave their comfort zone, pointing to Daniel as an example of one who was chosen by God to be a leader.
“We need to be convinced of our purpose,” he said. “Daniel was taken to a different country with a different kingdom, different culture, different religion and different language. He even started doing something like washing dishes, and he eventually became the governor of that whole nation. He was placed there by God, not to be in the comfort zone, but to conquer in life.
Finally, Baptists must be willing to pay the price.
“The people of Israel were in line to conquer the land, but they weren’t able to do it. Why? Because their mentality was that it was impossible and too dangerous - there were giants in the land,” Ortega said.
“We need to not do three things that those people of Israel did: as Texas Baptists, we need to not lose perspective, not lose focus, and not lose our strength; that’s the only way we’re going to conquer the state of Texas for Jesus Christ.”