Your Voice: It’s a relationship, not a check list

Your Voice: Quotes, quips, opinions and reflections from people of faith in Alabama and beyond
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Your Voice: It’s a relationship, not a check list

“As the saying goes, ‘missions exist because worship does not.’ So we do this because there are people in our cities, in our communities, in our neighborhoods who do not worship Jesus,” said Josh Warren, BSU director of Mississippi Delta Community College, of a recent outreach effort in the Delta region.

“Adoniram [Judson’s] son Edward once said, ‘If you succeed without suffering, it’s because others suffered before you. If you suffer without succeeding, it’s so others may succeed after you,’” said Sandy Wisdom-Martin,
executive director of national WMU.

“I believe that Jesus Christ did come down and die for my sins and rose again. He’s living and sitting beside God on the throne, so I believe that. It’s not just some story, fairy-tale thing, it’s real.

“It allows me to stay level-headed and real with life and know what my purpose is, so that has allowed me to play my game, allowed me to play football at this level.”

Brock Purdy
24-year-old quarterback
San Francisco 49ers

(excerpt from Jan. 29 Baptist Press article)

It’s a relationship, not a check list

By Amy Hacker

Does your spiritual life consist of a series of check marks? Sunday School and worship, check. Bible reading and praying, check. Being nice to that “not so nice” person, check.

While those are all good things, do you find yourself wondering if “checking those boxes” is all there is to the Christian life?

Doing the right things may make us look like a good Christian, but it’s not the same thing as being in a relationship with Him.

Still, it’s by sincerely praying, worshiping and studying God’s Word that we invite Him into our every day and enjoy a deeper relationship with Him.

In case you missed these nuggets

Excerpts from the Feb. 1 edition of The Baptist Paper:

“To get through this (next election) year graciously, I need to first make the decision to address the issues at hand with humility.

“I will aim to tell my children that neither I nor the group I identify most closely with have all the answers.

“I will remind them and myself that most positions, most deeply held beliefs, have a story behind them.

“There are reasons people feel the way they do, and understanding the reasons may be the first step in walking through a contentious season like Jesus would.”

Meredith Flynn
Illinois Baptist


“We want to help [students] understand what [a call to ministry] means, what all that entails,” said Ken Hall, student ministry consultant in the Discipleship/Sunday School department of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board. “How do they know if God is really calling them to full-time vocational ministry? What are different ways that God calls? What does He call us to? What does that look like down the road?”


“If you have a church of 15 or 18 and you reach one family for Jesus, that’s a huge change in the culture of that church,” said Mark Clifton, executive director of church replanting and rural strategy for the North American Mission Board, who recently encouraged Hawaii Pacific Baptist Church pastors via Zoom. “Why? Because almost everybody [that family] knows is likely not a Christian. They can share their faith with those folks.”


Don’t miss today’s blessings for worrying about problems tomorrow might bring.

Morgan Terry
Town Creek, Alabama

“I’m thankful my mom chose life, and it gave me a shot. You can make it as hard and spiritual as you want, but I’m thankful I’m here,” said Jason Lovins, front man for the Jason Lovins Band, on how his mom decided against having an abortion after being raped at the age of 15.

“I strongly believe that it is essential for pastors to constantly seek creative methods to share the gospel with others,” said Georgia pastor David Wheeler, who draws millions of people who watch him and his family restore a variety of rusted clunkers on their YouTube program Revstoration. “We all have things that we enjoy outside the ministry. I believe there are ways we can leverage those to share the gospel.”

“We have gotten to a point that I personally believe that if the Church would just be the Church and live in holiness and reject the ways of the world … I think we would see revival,” said John Cooper, lead singer of the Christian rock band Skillet.

How should believers conduct themselves?

  1. Joyfully — “Shout to God with joy” (Ps. 47:1).
  2. Graciously — “Be kind to one another” (Eph. 4:32).
  3. Wisely — “A wise man listens” (Prov. 12:15).
  4. Steadfastly — “Your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).

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“Serving as an Acteen panelist would give me a platform to share the importance of music as a way to worship God,” said Sarah Elizabeth Shelton of First Baptist Church Columbiana, who is among three teenagers named to the 2024 National Acteens panel.

“By writing blog posts and participating in various Acteens events, I can share how God has used music to reach the most intimate parts of my heart. Music is the purest form of praise for me.”

Never lose sight of your destination. You may currently be at a rest stop or caught in traffic, but you have farther to go.

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I have been called to waiting rooms many times throughout my journey. God’s waiting rooms, I might add. Yet during those periods, the flashing red exit sign was calling my name.

At times, I had grown tired and weary in the waiting, and regretfully, I exited the waiting period way too soon.

Wait on God. Do not exit the waiting period until He tells you to. For waiting on God’s best will always profit numerous blessings, whereas jumping ahead will produce countless consequences.

O’Shea Lowery
Entrusted Hope Ministries

Never let your yesterdays keep you from your tomorrow. Learn from yesterday, just don’t live in it.

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