WACO—A crowd gathered for the African American Rally at the Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church in Waco to celebrate the beginning of the 2019 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting. Kenneth O. Jackson, president of the African American Fellowship of Texas Baptists (AAFTXB) and pastor of New Light Baptist Church in Lubbock, welcomed attendees on Sunday evening.
“We are so excited for what God is going to do here tonight,” Jackson said. “Thank God for this wonderful church and pastor who have allowed us to worship here.”
Worship was led by Thomas Brooks and the Waco Community Choir.
A scripture reading and prayer was led by C.J. Oliver, pastor of Greater Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Waco. He read from Psalms 133, a passage on the beauty of unity among believers.
“God, thank you for what you are doing in the midst of your people. As we have come from the North, South, East and West, we have come to lift your name on high,” Oliver prayed. “We thank you for this great convention, for our president and for these great leaders you have pulled together for us.”
Michael A. Evans, Texas Baptists president and senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield, extended a welcome to all those who gather on behalf of Texas Baptists.
“Thank you so much. We love you, we appreciate you—now let’s have some church in here!” Evans said.
Jerry William Dailey, senior pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in San Antonio, delivered the message from Exodus 15:22-27. He recounted the story of the Israelites who were unable to drink from the bitter pools of water they encountered as they wandered through the desert. Dailey spoke on the bitter pools people encounter in life, and what they can teach Christians about life, themselves and the Lord.
Dailey explained that the Lord turned the Israelites’ bitter water into sweet water, and He is able to do the same today.
“Facts tell you to give up and throw in the towel, but faith says he who waits on the Lord shall renew their strength,” Dailey explained.
Furthermore, Dailey said, wherever God leads people, He will stay with them. God will not abandon people where He has led them, and He will take on their burdens. God did not abandon the Israelites, but stayed with them and delivered them from their hardships.
He encouraged attendees to remember that God knows everything that will happen to them. “There’s nothing in your life that takes God by surprise,” he said. “It may take you by surprise, but there’s nothing that takes God by surprise. He’s already in your tomorrow, and He knows what you’ll face when you get there.”
Oza Jones, associate Evangelism lead and African American specialist at Texas Baptists, spoke on behalf of the Office of African American Ministries. He thanked those in attendance for participating in the rally and praised the Greater Ebenezer and its pastor, Kerry Burkley, for their hospitality.