New landscapes for pastor’s preaching

Rev. James MerrittOn the final day of last month’s Flourish Conference, Rev. James Merritt, pastor of the conference’s host Cross Pointe Church, and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, took a bold step in his ministry by preaching his first sermon on the importance of creation care for Christ’s church.

By turns moving, humorous, and inspirational, Merritt’s sermon was solid, interesting, and Biblical the whole way through. It was the kind of honest and humble appeal that leaves a congregation satisfied with its leadership, but also hungry to “go and do likewise”. That’s why this article in the Associated Baptist Press, in telling the story of that sermon, can’t do much more than quote Merritt, himself:

“The average person who sits in the average chair in church, they haven’t even done Creation Care 101,” he said. “Most of them, they can’t tell recycling from revival…. They really don’t understand a lot of the issues.”

Merritt said as much as possible, “without substituting the creation for the creator and acting in a responsible way that is best for the most people possible, we ought to do everything we can to keep our air, our water, our natural resources as clean as possible.”

Merritt said he is “on a journey” in thinking about creation care. “I am really new to all of this, but I realize probably like many of you that there was a time when I didn’t really think it was a big deal,” he said.

“You don’t think about those things until you finally wake up and you go all the way back to Genesis and you say, ‘You know what, this is my Father’s world. It doesn’t belong to me. And I’m going to give an account to God for how I manage my time. I’m going to give an account to God for how I manage my use of the money that he gave me. I’ going to give an account to God for how I used my family. I am going to give an account to God as a dad, as a husband, as a son, as a Christian, as a pastor, and I’m going to give an account to God for the way I treated the world that he created and gave me to live.’”

Look for podcasts of James Merritt’s Flourish 2009 Conference address, as well as talks given by all the speakers at Flourish 2009, COMING SOON to www.flourishonline.org!

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