Dr. Tom Elliff, former president of the International Mission Board, addressed chapel service Wednesday. Elliff is on campus all week for Focus Week, an annual week focused on strengthening relationships with God and one another.
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Elliff is a leading evangelical voice on the importance of global missions and family ministry. He has pastored congregations in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Lakewood, Colorado, and served as senior pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Del City, Oklahoma, from 1985 to 2005. He previously served as chairman of the Southern Baptist Council of Family Life from 1999-2003; president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) from 1996-98; and president of the SBC Pastors' Conference in 1990. He served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board from 2011-14.
Elliff and his wife, Jeannie, served as missionaries to Zimbabwe in the early 1980s. They have been guests on such widely received programs as Family Life Today, Focus on the Family and For Faith and Family. He earned a bachelor's degree from Ouachita Baptist University, his M.Div. from Southwestern Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Southern Seminary. His books include "The Seven Pillars of a Kingdom Family" and "What Should I Say to My Friend?"
Elliff challenged the audience to embrace whatever it is that God tells them is their next step forward in their relationship with Him.
"It may have to do with a call, it may have to do with a vocation, it may have to do with a relationship, it may have to do with something in your heart, it may be a secret sin or a commitment that you need to make. It may be going, it may be letting go, it may be helping other people go, praying for people to go, it may be some spiritual discipline," he said. "That's not the issue. The issue is this. We all need to say, 'God, I will embrace whatever you show me as your next step forward in my life.'"
"God always attaches what we believe with how we behave," he said. "Faith at its heart is doing what God says. It is acting on the basis of His revealed will."
Elliff focused on 2 Timothy 1:12, reciting the verse, "It's because of these things that I suffer. Nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted unto him until that Day."
He detailed three lessons learned from the Apostle Paul through this passage. "First, Paul is saying this is not an easy path. Next, you won't be sorry you took it. And last, this is the path that will lead you into intimacy with Christ by faith."