Help Us Help Dave Miller – GoFundMe for Medical Costs

Many of you know our fearless leader, Southern Hills pastor, SBC Voices Editor, #SBCPC17 President Dave Miller has been facing some serious health challenges this year. After getting really sick during his time doing missions work in Africa, then continuing to feel bad after the trip, Dave’s doctors realized surgery would be required. A few tests later and they figured out there was more to the story. Cancer. But praise God it was detected early. Thanks to months of feeling terrible, kidney cancer was diagnosed long before any symptoms showed up. God’s grace sometimes comes in unexpected forms.

After surgery just two months ago, Dave will again go under the knife next Tuesday, June 26. Robotic surgery to remove the cancer from his kidney. They believe they’ll be able to get it all and save the kidney too. Again, we’re tremendously thankful.

That’s not the whole story. In the midst of all this, Dave’s wife Jenni found out she needed surgery to remove a growth on her thyroid. A couple weeks ago the surgery went well. They believe they removed the entire tumor. Results come back that was cancer too. But again there is good news to go along with it – the surgery to remove the tumor is the treatment they would have prescribed. So they think and we believe that all Jenni’s cancer was removed with that initial surgery.

Scary news for both along with God’s healing providence.

Since we’re on an SBC blog, many of you are also aware that with GuideStone insurance, many of us had to step back to plans with pretty high deductibles. With three surgeries between the two of them, you can imagine Dave and Jenni will likely be at their out-of-pocket maximum for this year. Let’s help them and bless them by covering as much of that cost as we can.

Can you donate to this fundraising effort? Even more, would you be willing to share via social media? Facebook, Twitter, or email friends who you think might like to participate. The full link is below.

gofundme.com/dave-jenni-miller-medical

Dave Miller has been a blessing to so many across our convention of churches. Let’s take this opportunity to help him and Jenni overcome this obstacle and show them love in this tangible way. Thank you for giving and sharing.

 

The fundraiser will be handled through the benevolence fund of the church where I pastor, New Song Fellowship in Virginia Beach. If you prefer to send a check directly, you can mail it to New Song Fellowship, 865 Woodstock Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23464 and add “Benevolence” to the memo line. Our financial administrator will be able to manually process the donation so it will show up on the GoFundMe page. 

Mike Pence Should Not Address #SBC18

Baptist Press released news about an hour ago that U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will address the SBC Annual Meeting on Wednesday morning at 11am. My heart sank when I read the news. 

Not because I dislike Mike Pence. He’s a good man who professes faith in Christ. I understand it would be a kind of honor to have the Vice President of the United States address the convention. A kind of honor. But not the kind we should be seeking. The focus of our meeting should be brokenness and repentance. A theology of the cross – as opposed to a theology of glory. Many have called for an extended time of prayer so that we can mourn and lament. I don’t know if that will take place or not. But does a visit from the Vice President fit that spirit? How can it? How does it send any other message than, “Look at us! The power and prestige of Southern Baptists – who have the friendship of those in our nation’s highest office!”

Now I’ve heard from several friends that the Vice President’s office called us and asked us if he could address the convention – not that we contacted him and asked him to come. I believe that fact, if true, tempers some of the concerns I have, but not all. And ultimately the SBC would be better served this year by having graciously declined to have him speak. Here’s why.

The Message It Sends

One year President Bush, another year Secretary of State Condelizza Rice addressed the SBC Annual Meeting by video. There is precedent for this. But not one that should be followed. I remember back during those times some people pushed back and said we should not have those in the president’s administration address the convention. Even though I was politically supportive of both of them (Bush & Rice) I was uneasy, but not yet convinced it was the wrong decision to allow them to speak. I was wrong.

I can’t see any way for a member of a President’s administration to address the convention without our convention being seen as supportive and politically tied. When Mike Pence enters, he’ll receive a standing ovation from a (likely vast) majority of the messengers. This will alienate those in our own family who by conviction do not or cannot support this administration. Instead of standing together in unity over the gospel, our political differences will be put on display for an extended ovation.

The Message He’ll Bring

The BP news release says that Pence will “express appreciation to Southern Baptists for the contributions we make to the moral fabric of our nation.” I’m sorry, Mr. Vice President, but that’s not the message our convention needs to hear right now. We have one former hero who’s accused of abusing children. Others, far too many, who have resigned in recent months because of sexual immorality. Claims are being lodged against some of our entities and state conventions about covering up the abuse of children. We don’t, at this moment, need to be congratulated for holding our culture’s moral compass.

The Better Message of Jesus

Jesus calls his followers to take up their cross and die to this world. Our pursuit of power and influence, whether in the real world or in our little Southern Baptist world has created a real mess for us right now. This year, maybe more than any other meeting ought to be a time of making it clear our hope of in Christ alone. Jesus turned down the kingdoms of this world – and in doing so won a great victory. I fear having Mike Pence address this year’s convention moves us in the opposite direction.

What to Watch: Four Questions Before #SBC18

The halls are beginning to fill in the convention center. Plenty of meetings and fellowships are already taking place. We visited some great churches this morning. Our group went to FBC Famersville and/or Cornerstone Baptist in Arlington. The Pastors’ Conference gets started in just about an hour from now. Here’s are a few things I’m looking for over the next 4 days.

Presidential Election

This week the SBC will decide who will lead the convention as president over the next two years. (Ok, technically one, but the second election is basically a formality). We’ve made no secret about our editorial views here. I and our group believe J.D. Greear is the best choice for the convention. The humility and steps he took toward unity  two years ago – as he withdrew before the third election ballot with Steve Gaines – set at tone and mindset for which the entire SBC should be grateful. J.D. is a pastor who leads his church well in evangelism, missions, baptisms, reaching & serving their community, church planting, the list goes on. I hope and anticipate the convention will elect J.D. as the next president of the SBC. Ken Hemphill is also running, a former pastor, seminary president, and denominational leader. I believe Ken is a good man and am thankful for his past service to the convention. I also believe the right leader for this time is J.D. Greear.

1st & 2nd Vice Presidential Elections

These elections have been overshadowed by the coverage of the presidential election. There are several nominations between these two offices but the two that have caught my eye are Dr. A.B. Vines, pastor of New Seasons Church in San Diego and former president of the National African American Fellowship, for 1VP and for 2VP Felix Cabrera, who pastors Iglesia Bautista Central in Oklahoma City and is the Founder of the RED 1:8 church planting network. Johnny Hunt will nominate Dr. Vines and Ed Litton will nominate Cabrera.

Resolutions Report

We know there have been a ton of resolutions submitted this year. No doubt a lot of eyes will be on the convention bulletin Tuesday morning to see which resolutions they’ve chosen to bring forward and how they’ve crafted those messages to be strong statements that Southern Baptists will be glad to adopt. I’m confident in this year’s committee, the most diverse presidential committee ever appointed in SBC life, that they’ll navigate this carefully and well. It’s likely some amendments will be attempted from the floor and I expect there will be some declined resolutions whose authors will try to bring them from the floor – which is almost sure to fail because of the 2/3 supermajority needed to bring a resolution from the floor.

The Tone & Spirit of the Meeting

I’m really thankful for several articles I’ve read over the last few days calling us to temper this meeting with humility, repentance, and brokenness. We’ve had a rough few months, which is in large measure deep problems that are only now coming to the surface. May this convention lead us back in the direction of unity, even as we realize there are many among us who are hurting and unhappy with decisions and events over the past few months. I don’t have the answers for how unity is going to happen, neither does anyone else I’ve read. But I think we can agree that the cross, resurrection, and the message of the gospel must be at the center. We come together this week because this message unites us and it should overshadow what divides us. May God make it so.

I’m heading to the first session of the Pastors’ Conference. Hope to see you there. (or online at live.sbc.net)