Running the Race: 100 New Orleans Baptist Seminarians Commissioned for Summer Missions

( [email protected] ) May 13, 2004 08:18 AM EDT

Over 100 seminary students, professors and staff members of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has vowed to serve in long-and short-term mission efforts this summer, during the May 5 commissioning service at the campus.

Professor Reggie Ogea, director of the doctor of ministry program spoke at the honorary service, reminding them to endure the hardships that may come on the trip.

“Maybe you say, ‘Well I’m just going to enjoy my summer.’ Could I give you a little caution there?” he said. “Maybe this summer is the way God is going to really interrupt your life, so be careful about what you are going to go do this summer.”

Orgea also told the believers to run the race God had set before them.

“The Christian life is a marathon,” he said. “It’s not like a sprint where the fastest runner wins and the slowest runner loses ... In a marathon the emphasis is on doing whatever it takes to finish.

“Unlike a sprint, in a marathon there is plenty of opportunity and temptation to quit or to drop out of the race. That’s why the author says, ‘Don’t just run the race marked out for us, but you’ve got to be ready to run it with perseverance, with endurance, with a don’t-quit attitude.’”

“There is one sin according to the author of Hebrews that would entangle us,” he said. “I surmise that possibly what the author of Hebrews is talking about here, the sin that so easily entangles us, is the sin of unbelief, lack of faith. Whether that’s it or not, I can certainly tell you that the sin of unbelief has entangled a lot of folks.”

Those running the race must look up to Jesus, who was faithful despite all of the suffering, rejection and shame He faced, Ogea said.

“When you put that (Jesus’ suffering) in its proper context, you and I have no right to grumble and mumble and complain and gripe about anything compared to what Jesus had to endure. The cross, the shame of it all, he endured that,” Ogea said.

“I promise you something -- if you start looking at your circumstances you’ll want to quit. Fix your eyes on Jesus. If you start looking at your surroundings and your situation you might lose heart. Fix your eyes on Jesus. If you start putting too much faith in other people, you’ll be disappointed before you get too far along the way. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Look up, look up.”

Of the commissioned missionaries, eleven will serve in the International Mission Board career mission while 11 others will serve for the North American Mission Board.

Finally, the president of the New Orleans Seminary, Chuck Kelly, prayed for the missionaries in attendance.

“Make them a mighty ‘Great Commission Army’ conquering not with bullets and guns and creating death and wounds, but conquering with healing, conquering with love, conquering with joy, and bringing victory, not defeat, to lives already in the defeat of sin,” he prayed.