For Alabama Baptists not familiar with the traditional Korean side dish known as kimchi, think sauerkraut with a kick — a kick spicy enough, according to Sterling Lee, to impact the way a person smells.
Speaking during the Nov. 14 afternoon session of the 2022 Alabama Baptist Pastors Conference, Lee, pastor of First Baptist Pearl City, Hawaii, shared a story from his youth of wrestling an opponent who clearly had consumed a lot of kimchi, so much so that his sweat smelled of it.
That’s the way the Holy Spirit should be manifest in followers of Christ, Lee said during the event at Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham.
“Jesus can’t be just another member of our team,” Lee said. “He must be the driving force … so evident in and through the lives of believers that people won’t have to ask if Christ is in them.”
Speaking from John 15:1–8, Lee urged listeners to remember the True Vine — “it isn’t us,” he said — and to remain in Him.
“If we don’t remain in Him, the results are devastating.”
Lee spoke of his church’s experiences during the pandemic, when life in Hawaii, as in most of the world, stopped almost overnight.
Much of the church’s ministry and missions efforts were put on pause. Staff members had to be let go, and giving slowed, he said.
The result of that was a much-needed reset.
“Ministries and missions are important, resources are important,” he said. “But the better we got at things, the more we felt good about ourselves. … It became about us … [and] it’s hard to be filled with the Spirit of God when we’re totally consumed with ourselves.”
Believers must not lose sight of God’s goodness, of His power, he said, pointing to 1 Peter 1:3–5.
These verses contain an “awesome promise,” Lee said. “Jesus is everything we need. He’s all we need.”
Depend on the promise
If just knowing that promise was enough, churches would be thriving, and Christians would be impacting the culture in powerful ways; the Church would be taking steps to improve the health of pastors and to raise up leaders that will impact the world.
We must depend on this promise so much that we embrace the reality of it, Lee said. When that happens, “how we see and serve will change, but even more so, it will change the people we encounter.”
“That’s when we’ll see revival.”
To view more photos from Sterling Lee’s address during the 2022 Alabama Baptist Pastors Conference, click here.