By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
DOVER, Del.—Using language from recent politics, Loren Russell described what he called the Christian’s “audacity of hope” as found in Romans 5:1-11.
Russell, regional team leader for the Partnership Missions Mobilization Group/Cooperative Strategies Team of the North American Mission Board, was the keynote speaker for the Nov. 9 pre-Convention worship service, which preceded the annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware at the Dover Sheraton Hotel.
Delaware Association’s Mass Choir, directed by Bill Archer, provided Chorale Praise, and Tom Wojnarowski and the praise team from Greensboro Church, Greensboro, Md., led worship. Afterwards, the 200-plus attendees gathered into small groups to pray for each other, for churches and for the nation.
In his message, Russell posed the question: “What would you do if it would be impossible for you to fail?”
Acknowledging that God gives every believer the gift of the Holy Spirit’s power (the same power that raised Jesus from the dead), Russell challenged his listeners to share the hope that they have been given.
A former financial planner, Russell noted that today’s economic hard times are affecting everyone. He explained that Christians will have tribulation, but according to Romans 5:1-5, that tribulation is bound on both sides by hope.
Russell said that the Apostle Paul, a seasoned preacher at this point in his life, had been on the battlefield for a long time. Paul understood God’s righteousness and that man can’t be saved by works, but only by the grace of God.
In the first chapter of Romans, the Apostle Paul shared eight promises that equip believers to live life in hope: peace, access to God by grace, hope, joy in tribulation, God’s love, God’s Holy Spirit, salvation from God’s wrath and joy in Christ.
“There is reason to hope,” Russell continued, adding, “When this life is over, there is a place to go. I don’t have to worry about what is going on politically. It doesn’t matter what color we are, what language we speak. We will understand it all because love conquers all.”
Pointing to the recent national election, Russell added, “The election is what it is. We ought to pray for our leaders in love and righteousness. If we do that, God will speak to us as never before. America is going through a change as never before.”
Russell encouraged his leaders to remember that there is nothing Satan can throw that Christians cannot handle. Though believers suffer and redemption is often delayed, God sits on His throne and will never be dethroned, he said.
“Sin’s question has been settled and your heavenly home has been provided,” he said. “Rejoice in tribulations because God is working it out for your good. All things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to his purpose.”