By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
POLLOCK – The Big Creek Baptist Association of churches could spark a nationwide revival if they would develop a love for sharing the Gospel with others, Paige Patterson, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said during the association’s Evangelism Night at the First Baptist Church in Pollock, August 4.
“A revival would break out in this association and the first thing you know that revival would spread to other churches in local parishes around you and then it would spread and it would spread and it would spread,” Patterson said. “And the first thing you know the very thing that everybody considers to be impossible would happen and we would have a rebirth of the Word on God in America. It’s that easy folks. We don’t have to be destroyed. God is not through with us. And if we would begin to witness, it would make all the difference in the world.”
Patterson, who referenced 2 Kings 7:1-9, said four lepers discovered an abandoned Syrian camp fully stocked with food, water and valuables, and after eating and drinking their fill began hiding their loot. Bu they had a change of heart and felt compelled to share the good news of God’s miracle with others.
In the same way, Christ followers should not horde the Good News of Christ but be compelled to share it, Patterson said.
All that is required to share the Gospel is a love for others and a willingness to listen, he added.
“If you will learn to be a good listener and have a general conversation about who knows what with anybody you come into contact with, I will promise you that in less than five minutes they will open the door for you to share the Gospel,” he said. “All you have to do is love people and begin a conversation with them and it’s perfectly amazing what God will do.”
Patterson, who has led thousands of people to a relationship with Christ, recalled a brief time in his ministry when he was dissatisfied with his evangelistic efforts. The Holy Spirit responded by leading Patterson to develop and recite, each morning, a personal prayer that led to a restoration of his passion for sharing the Good News:
“Dear Lord, help me to have the opportunity to share my faith today. When it comes, help me to recognize it. Lord when I recognize it, give me the courage to share my faith.”
Patterson encouraged those in attendance at the Evangelism Night to recite the prayer every morning for 30 days, and then act upon the Holy Spirit’s direction.
“God will not fail to hear that prayer,” Patterson said. “Sometimes courage is gonna fail you. And you’re going to have to go home and say, Lord I blew it. Please forgive me Lord. You did exactly as you what said you did. You would bring someone to me. I know they were there. I know I should have witnessed. I didn’t do it.
“Tell God about it,” he continued. “He knows all about it already. Just tell him. Ask him to forgive you. And ask him next time help me to have courage to go ahead. And pray that way again. And then get ready for God to open the doors of unbelievable blessing.”
Patterson ended his message with a unique call God has charged each Christ follower.
“You’re the only one that God has there,” he said. “How special is your life? Can you believe that God is depending on you to be the only source of the presentation of the Good News of salvation in Christ Jesus. If you don’t do it, it won’t be done. He is depending on you to do it. What a special individual you are.
“Your name hasn’t been on the front page of any newspapers,” he said. “You’re not famous. Nobody knows about you. You are going to live and die in obscurity. But let me tell you what. Heaven knows about you. And God has chosen you for a task that nobody else in this whole world has. And if you do it you find out what life is really is all about. Will you do it?”