October 24, 2002
Being in the center of God's will is not the safest place to be, as some have claimed, said Dr. Ed Tarleton to Oklahoma Baptist University students during the missions emphasis week chapel service Wednesday. But the center of God's will is the best place to be, he said.
Tarleton is a career missionary in Russia, currently serving on stateside assignment for a semester as missionary-in-residence at OBU.
He based his message on the third chapter of Daniel and encouraged students to follow through with their commitments to serve God no matter what the cost.
He told the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and their commitment to serve God. They refused to bow down to the golden idol set out by King Nebuchadnezzar even though the penalty for refusing was being cast into the fiery furnace.
The three men told the king that God could save them, but even if he didn't - they still would not worship his gods.
"I do not believe the safest place in the world to be is in the center of God's will," Tarleton said. "But I do believe the best place in the world to be is in the center of God's will."
Tarleton told students that being in God's will was not the safest place for Stephen, Jesus, Martin Luther, William Carey and Hudson Taylor. But their faithfulness to God changed history.
Tarleton referred to a "dangerous song" that students had sung earlier in the service. The song's chorus, "Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Yes, Yes Lord," requires students to make a commitment to God.
"The question is, after you sing those words, will you follow through with the commitment?" he asked.
Having worked with the International Mission Board in Russia for the past eight years with his wife, Teri, and their four children, Tarleton said that Moscow was in desperate need of salvation and of people who were willing to take it there.
"I need you to be one in a million," Tarleton said. " That is the world I live in."
Tarleton told students that no matter where they were called to serve, whether it be in foreign missions or as a public school teacher, their impact could be immeasurable.
Tarleton serves as a strategy associate with the IMB in central and eastern Europe. A Choctaw native, he is a 1982 OBU graduate. He earned a master of divinity and doctoral degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.