Recalling examples from his own life, Paul Gibson, early on realized that “we were running against” other denominations and sometimes even other Baptists, he told Fall Adult Retreat attendees Oct. 7.
Gibson, executive minister of American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers Region, preaching on “Running the Race,” saw a different example when his Baptist mother and a Catholic friend named Shirley in their community started a Bible study for Baptist and Catholic women.
They went to her pastor and Shirley’s priest to get their feedback to the idea before they started. Both clergy advised against it.
The women moved ahead with their Bible study and it was a success, Gibson said.
He said he discovered that Shirley “really loved Jesus” and continued to be an influence in his life through the years.
We’re running the race with our brothers and sisters in Christ,” he said. “We’re not running against each other.”
A strong biblical example is in the calling of Simon the Zealot and Matthew the tax collector as disciples, he said. Two men who should have been enemies “had to learn to love each other,” he said.
Similarly, God chose Paul as missionary even though he struck fear in the hearts of followers of Christ as a persecutor of Christians.
Jesus said, “That’s who I want.” Barnabas affirmed that Paul was on the side of believers.
“I remember that I am running with God’s children, and who does that not take in?” he asked.
“There is only one creator, and he is the father of all mankind. He even said, ‘I want you to love your enemies.’”
Musicians Bud and Barbara Lee were the music leaders.
Retired Pastor Greg Morrow urged attendees to “fight the good fight,” reminding them that “God fought the good fight for us.”
The retreat was jointly sponsored by The Baptist Home Foundation, Judson University, Churchnet, American Baptist Churches of Great Rivers Region, Missouri Baptist Foundation and Windermere.