A study from Pennsylvania State University reveals that the United States is no longer the center of power for Christians in the world, Dr. Bob R. Agee said during an Oklahoma Baptist University Founders' Day worship service Wednesday night, Feb. 10. As OBU - and all Christians - head into the future, Agee said it is vital each person decide whether he or she will approach faith casually or with a captive commitment.
Agee spoke during a service that concluded a day-long celebration of OBU's Centennial Founders' Day, which marked the day the university received its certificate of incorporation on Feb. 9, 1910. The service included remarks from Dr. Russell Cook, director of missions for the Pottawatomie-Lincoln Baptist Association, and choir anthems presented by a combined choir representing the association's churches. Dr. Bill Green, retired worship and music specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, served as music leader for the service.
Cook brought greetings on behalf of the 62 churches and three missions that comprise the Pottawatomie-Lincoln Baptist Association, representing nearly 20,000 church members in central Oklahoma. He expressed thanks that OBU has produced thousands of graduates who now minister around the world.
"We have no way of knowing how many have gone - literally - to the ends of the Earth, and for that we are thankful," Cook said.
Agee based his message on Matthew 6:33 which reads, in part, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness." Agee said Jesus' plan is that Christians would be kingdom-first people living lives from a "kingdom point of view." However, he said, the church is dramatically different today from what Jesus intended, approaching faith with a casual complacency much like the post-modernism of Europe.
"This nation doesn't have a future unless deep spiritual change takes place," Agee said.
Dr. Bob R. Agee, OBU's 13th president, shared his message during the Founders' Day worship service.
To become kingdom-first people, Agee said each person must settle "the ownership issue." Each person must realize true life is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ, and each person must give all control in life to Christ.
Agee said each person must also genuinely recognize that every area of life presents an opportunity to serve Christ. Most people serve God in a "spare time, spare change" style, he said. In reality, Agee contended, every child of God has been called into full-time Christian ministry - ministry to be acted out in whatever profession or post a person holds in life.
In seeking to be kingdom-first people, Agee said Christians must also decide whether they will listen to the voices of society clamoring for attention, or if they will allow the perspectives of Jesus Christ to take precedence over all other claims. He said Christians are like dual citizens - they have a citizenship in this world and in this country, but they also have a citizenship in the kingdom of God. When those two entities clash, Christians must be ready to decide who they will follow.
"The clamor of the world is winning in the lives of church members," Agee said, noting that is why a recent Barna survey revealed 66 percent of people who consider themselves to be Christians in America fall into a "casual Christians" category.
Agee said the final step toward being a kingdom-first person is to "take a chance" on Jesus, to run the risk that he will follow through on his claims to provide an abundant life.