Episode 104

Consider California, Cuba Church, & Trusting God

May 26, 2022

The California Southern Baptist Convention (CSBC) is asking fellow Southern Baptists to join them in Anaheim and consider taking the next step. A May 6 gas explosion devastated the historic Saratoga Hotel in Old Havana, Cuba, and also rained destruction on nearby Calvary Baptist Church. Remember the words of Isaiah 55:9: God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours.

Transcript

The California Southern Baptist Convention (CSBC) is asking fellow Southern Baptists to join them in Anaheim and consider taking the next step.

Eddie Pate, director of the Kim School of Evangelism at Gateway Seminary in Ontario, Calif., says the lostness rate is greater than 86 percent in California. This means more than 34 million Californians need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That number is equal to the combined populations of Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, according to the video.

“California has over 200 languages spoken throughout the state,” said Andrew Spradlin, pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield.

The CSBC estimates that weekly sermons in the state’s Baptist churches are preached in more than 60 languages.

“California is a mission field. The need for pastors and church planters in California is significant. We are praying God will use the SBC annual meeting being in Anaheim to call Great Commission pastors and church planters to our beautiful state,” said Pete Ramirez, CSBC’s new executive director.

The church’s 19th century dome has been ripped open into the sky. Windows are shattered; floors have collapsed. Pews, which have held generations of devout Christian families in western Cuba, are now reduced to splinters in a pile of post-explosion rubble.

A May 6 apparent gas explosion that devastated the historic Saratoga Hotel in Old Havana, Cuba, killing at least 46 people and injuring more than 90, also rained destruction on nearby Calvary Baptist Church – a church at the heart of western Cuba Baptists’ work.

Since it was purchased in 1889 by the then-Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) of the Southern Baptist Convention, the church building, located one block from Cuba’s capitol building in Old Havana, has been the “cornerstone” for the Baptist Convention of Western Cuba, said Kurt Urbanek, International Mission Board strategy leader for Cuba. The Western Baptist Convention is composed of 565 churches, 570 missions and 1,907 house churches.

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Good News for Today is made possible through our friends at The Voice of the Martyrs, a nonprofit organization that serves persecuted Christians around the world. Founded in 1967 by Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM is dedicated to inspiring believers to deepen their commitment to Christ and to fulfill His Great Commission — no matter the cost. Find out more and sign up for their free monthly magazine at vom.org/goodnews.

As a quick reminder, remember the words of Isaiah 55:9: God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours. David Jeremiah says, “That verse reminds us that God is perfect and we are not; God is all-knowing, and we are not. If God and I look at the same event, I know He will see what is really there while I may not.

So what do we do? We have to bow before Him in every situation and say, “Father, I submit my understanding to You. Please help me see as You see; let the eyes of my understanding be opened.” That’s a humbling task, I know. We like to believe we’re right – and we may be. But it is far better to hold our judgments lightly while we wait for God to clear up any spiritual optical illusion we are experiencing. Instead of trusting ourselves, let’s trust the God who sees everything as it really is!”

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