“Be Who you are. God wants to use people who are willing to be themselves and follow God’s principles.” ~Dr. Lou Baldwin
That phrase still echoes in my mind as I pass through the weekend and say farewell to one of my most memorable weeks thus far of the summer.
From last Sunday to Thursday, our church celebrated its 25th year of COEBA.
Conference On Evangelizing Black America seeks to reach the world for Christ by focusing on a specific people group that is often overlooked by the Gospel: Black America.
Over 15 churches from various states and countries united at Crossroads Baptist Church to encourage, exhort, and express what great things God had been working in their churches.
Churches from Arkansas, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Nevis, the Cayman Islands, and more states and countries were represented in this conference’s 25th anniversary.
The theme, “We’ve Come This Far By Faith,” was preached by the 13 represented COEBA pastors. Personally, the most memorable messages to me were from Pastor Aaron Gamble and COEBA’s founder, Dr. Lou Baldwin.
Pastor Gamble preached on Matthew 14:22-33, focusing on “The Dangers of Doubt: The Impossibility of Possibilities.”
Summed up, Pastor Gamble clearly showed how every Christian has the choice to live either in fear or faith.
I was challenged. I don’t always live in faith as often as I live in fear.
Planning is something I always find myself doing–whether or not I actually stick to the plan, I can usually rest in the assurance of knowing that there is at least a backup plan.
But as Pastor Gamble said, “The deeper the doubt, the weaker your faith; the deeper your faith, the weaker your doubt.”
I challenge you to consider your motivation as you battle the uncertainty of your future; as you question your family crises; as you ponder the impossibility of your finances; and as you despair at the pain in your life–how impossible do your circumstances look?
Is it possible you are not really trusting in Him, but in your own strength and wisdom?
How impossible do your circumstances look solely through your own eyes?
My favorite quote from Pastor Gamble: “Doubt is like going to a palm reader with both hands amputated, saying, ‘Read my palms.'”
I know I can’t give you notes on all the messages, but hopefully these little tidbits will encourage you as they have me.
Dr. Lou Baldwin’s concluding message was the climax, peeking into the past and sharing his vision for the future.
It’s amazing to see how someone who is so burdened for others and loves the Lord is still going strong after over 40 years of ministry.
As he so aptly summed up, “When you find something good, you grab it, and hold onto it.”
COEBA just ended–again–but honestly, this was only the beginning of two things. First, the countdown until our conference next year with more preaching and fellowshipping.
Second, it is the beginning of more opportunities to use the lessons and tools provided at this conference.
Why should something so great end only because hundreds of us are no longer gathered together?
Right. It shouldn’t.
These events should propel and motivate us further along in our Christian walk–eager for the next time we can unite again and share the struggles and blessings God has used to grow our lives.
Yes, the COEBA conference has ended, and I already miss the people, bustle, preaching, and activities.
But it lives on through me and the others striving to further the Gospel for the cause of Christ.
Maybe in future blogs I’ll give a greater explanation and background into the start of COEBA and Dr. Lou Baldwin’s life. For now, let’s strive to walk worthy–together.
Choose to be the best you that you can be, choosing to live in faith, instead of fear.