Archive for the 'Southern Baptist Convention' Category

A Call to Pastors: Give Your Mornings to God

Monday

Serving as a pastor of a local church is a difficult job. Each of us need all the help we can get. No one can help us like God.

A Call to Pastors

In 1980, at an evening session of the Texas Baptist Evangelism Conference in Dallas, I heard the late and great W.A. Criswell challenge pastors to give their mornings to God. The following Sunday, I stood before the small church I pastored, the First Baptist Church of Milford, Texas, and announced my decision to give my mornings completely to God for prayer and study. All these years, I have lived by this firm commitment. I can tell you this: Nothing has ascended my spiritual life and level of leadership more than this allocated time each morning.

 

Pastors, my call to you is to give your mornings to God. Obviously, the Lord Himself must call you to do this, but I believe firmly that since Jesus rose before daybreak to be the Father, we certainly need to do so some in our lives.

My Morning Schedule

Over the years, on a typical day, my schedule has evolved into getting up at 3:00 a.m. from Sunday through Thursday. If I am traveling, especially across time zones, this schedule may be negotiated. Friday and Saturday are for family and rest, and of course, Sunday is a very different kind of day.

Sunday Morning

On Saturday night, I usually struggle going to sleep, anticipating the day ahead. My goal is to be in bed with lights off by 10:15 p.m., if possible. My alarm goes off at 3:00 a.m., and I head into my office, stopping first to prepare a cup of strong coffee or green tea, grab my iPad, (on which I keep my prayer list), my Bible, and my journal. I begin in prayer, moving into the Word, interweaving with prayer, and journaling a prayer to God — which I’ve done daily since January 1, 1990. I am a big believer in having a spiritual journal.

At 4:45 a.m., I jog on my treadmill for an hour, going over my sermon, praying through it, and talking through it aloud. This is where I move to mastering the sermon. After an hour on the treadmill, I call a prayer partner for a few minutes. I have called this man every Sunday morning since 1989, and it is a practice I strongly encourage pastors to develop. If I am not fasting, I then eat a light breakfast and head for the shower.

By 7:35 a.m. I am on my way to church. After touching base with our leaders for ten minutes, I am in my office for prayer and additional study. By 8:40 a.m., I am on my way to greet church members and guests in an informal setting and by 9:00 a.m., I walk into a prayer room with several men who lay hands on me and pray for the service and me. By 9:10 a.m., I walk into our worship center, greet more people, and begin the worship experience. At the present time, I preach two services, one at our Springdale campus and another at our Pinnacle Hills campus. After the second service, Jeana and I greet people for at least 20 minutes, and we usually leave the campus around 1:00 p.m. I may have a luncheon, but whatever the schedule, I look forward to a brief nap in the afternoon.

Monday Morning through Thursday Morning

Again, the alarm goes off at 3:00 a.m. After water goes on my face and I grab a cup of strong coffee or green tea to help me start the day, I head to my home study. The first 90 minutes of my morning are spent in prayer and the Word devotionally. I reference a long prayer list on my iPad, which continually grows and is updated. I always end with my prayer journal, writing a prayer to God daily.

By 4:45 a.m., I am totally into my sermon preparation. I take this very seriously. For a pastor, there is nothing more important than developing your personal walk, followed by preparation to teach and preach the Word of God. From 4:45 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., with the exception of one hour for exercise and personal fitness, I am in study preparation. Sometimes I will respond to emails if it fits into the moment. If not, I wait. By 10:30 a.m., I am in the shower and by 11:30 a.m., I am on my way to a lunch meeting.

Friday and Saturday Morning

I usually sleep until 6:00 a.m. on Friday and on Saturday. If I am in a writing project, I may still get up at 3:00 a.m. I always begin my day with God for at least an hour. For years, my Friday priority has been Jeana and our family. It is the rare exception that Friday is spent in work and ministry tasks. On Saturday morning, I move into sermon preparation, mainly working on memorizing the sermon. I finish around 9:00 a.m. If it is college football season, I may adjust all this to be done in time for my favorite television program, ESPN’s “College Game Day.” If I need to rest more, I will watch the first hour of their broadcast that day by DVR.

Takeaway for Pastors Today: Give Your Mornings to God!

Giving your morning to God will transform your life and ministry. Nothing, and I repeat, nothing is more important than your own personal spiritual development and walk with God. It will transform your life and ministry. So pastors, devote yourself to a deep study time, giving yourself to prayer and the study of God’s Word. You are called to lead, feed, and intercede for the people of God. Doing ministry in the power of God is imperative.

Consider this, pastor: How much more could you get done if you got up just one hour earlier for five mornings of the week? That would be five hours of additional time to deepen your walk with God, enhance your study time for sermon preparation, or practically deal with matters that are always hanging on you. God will use it in your life.

One more time as a testimony: Nothing has ascended my spiritual life and level of leadership than this allocated time in the morning.

Now is the Time to Lead,

Ronnie W. Floyd
Senior Pastor, Cross Church

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Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the Senior Pastor of Cross Church, Immediate Past President of the Southern Baptist Convention, founder of the Cross Church School of Ministry, and host of the Ronnie Floyd on Life and Leadership Today podcast.

To request an interview with Dr. Ronnie Floyd
contact Gayla Oldham at (479) 751-4523 or email gaylao@crosschurch.com.
Visit our website at http://ronniefloyd.com

A Step Forward For Religious Liberty

StepInTheRightDirection

Last Thursday in the Rose Garden on the White House lawn, on the very same day as the National Day of Prayer, President Donald J. Trump signed the Presidential Executive Order, “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.” You can read this brief Presidential Executive Order here.

On the 107th day of his presidency, the President and his administration did more to promote religious freedom than the previous administration did in eight years. This step is a step in the right direction.

This is a Step Forward for Religious Liberty

This is a step forward for religious liberty in America. While some may be disappointed that it does not do more and go farther, please understand, at least it is a forward step. Usually, nothing is done easily or rapidly in Washington, DC. Leading people in a massive organization, government, corporation, or even church is a process.

This is a step forward in the right direction for preserving and forwarding one of our greatest freedoms, religious liberty. The President was more than clear in his speech in the Rose Garden that religious freedom comes from God, and is not granted to us by the government.

The overreach of government regarding religious liberty issues has not just been apparent, but accelerating. It has been a major and growing issue, concern, and threat for all people of faith. Therefore, I am more than hopeful that what occurred last Thursday will not be the end, but a new point of beginning for our future as a nation. At the very least, it is a reversal in our immediate past trajectory regarding the freedom of religion.

Why It Was a Personal Joy to Be Present in the Rose Garden

While in the Rose Garden experiencing this moment in American history, I was overwhelmed with personal gratitude. Why?

At one point a few years ago, I became a target because I took a stand for a biblical and Christian worldview about various moral issues. As I did then and always will in the future, I teach and lead our people to see moral issues through the lens and the authority of the Holy Scripture. That experience was a difficult and learning time for me personally and professionally.

It was also a personal joy because in the fall of 2014, I was invited to speak at a major rally in support of five pastors in Houston, Texas, whose sermons were subpoenaed by the Mayor of Houston. As I spoke that night to over 6,000 people present and to a live simulcast, it was a significant moment in my life. This overreach of government was apparent and demonstrated its acceleration in America. Since then, the acceleration has continued. I do hope these five pastors and others who have been targeted are encouraged by what occurred on Thursday.

This Presidential Executive Order is in clear support of religious liberty. It says, “It shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom.”

While some prognosticate about whether this is needed, I want to assure you, it is. Whether a pastor knew about or felt influenced by the Johnson Amendment is not the issue. The issue is having the freedom to articulate the claims of Scripture in the pulpits in America without fear or intimidation. This is America, where freedom is celebrated. Therefore, this Executive Order is welcome.

The Next Step

I am more than hopeful that what happened on Thursday was the first step of many that will forward religious freedom to every American for decades to come. Prohibiting the free exercise of religion in any way is always an overreach of government and is against on what our country was founded.

The Constitution does make this provision so that every American can live out their faith wherever they are without wondering if they will be penalized for it. Whether you are in business or healthcare, in the military or pastoring a church, in education or in retirement, the free exercise of your religion should always be permitted. Yes, even to the atheist who does not believe there is a God.

The next step I pray will be another step forward for religious liberty in America.

Now is the Time to Lead,

Ronnie W. Floyd
Senior Pastor, Cross Church

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Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the Senior Pastor of Cross Church, Immediate Past President of the Southern Baptist Convention, founder of the Cross Church School of Ministry, and host of the Ronnie Floyd on Life and Leadership Today podcast.

To request an interview with Dr. Ronnie Floyd
contact Gayla Oldham at (479) 751-4523 or email gaylao@crosschurch.com.

Visit our website at http://ronniefloyd.com
Follow Dr. Floyd on Twitter and Instagram @ronniefloyd