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Articles by Kenneth S. Hemphill

Found 49 Articles by Kenneth S. Hemphill

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If you have been involved at any level in the Southern Baptist Convention over the last decade you have, no doubt, heard about EKG, which is short for Empowering Kingdom Growth. It is an initiative undertaken by the Southern Baptist Convention in June of 2002 that challenged individuals and churches to look at themselves and ask whether they had Kingdom focus. It could be stated simply with the question — "Does my heart reflect the heart of God?"

An Historical Overview

I was the president of Southwestern Seminary when I first began to hear about Empowering Kingdom Growth early in 2002. In truth, the idea of developing a renewed passion for the King and His Kingdom had been percol...

When we think of Christmas, one of the words that naturally comes to mind is the word "gifts." People will frequently ask one another, "What gifts are you hoping to get for Christmas?" The giving and receiving of gifts is a wonderful part of the Christmas season. No doubt it reflects the presentation of the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child.

I have many wonderful memories of Christmas gifts I received as a child. My dad bought me a new football uniform virtually every year. Little wonder that I ended up playing football through college.

One of my neighbors gave me a beautiful toy truck. My brother rode his bike to retrieve the gift from the neighbor who lived about a mile away. On the way home, he dropped the present breaking the truck into small pieces. ...

When the EKG initiative was still in the dreaming and planning stage, I was privileged to be in a meeting with Dr. Morris Chapman as he presented the emphasis to several agency heads. While there was a genuine level of excitement about refocusing our denomination on the advance of God's Kingdom, there was one area of concern. No one wanted the title Empowering Kingdom Growth to suggest that any denomination could do anything to "empower" churches or individuals. Everyone agreed that the "empowering" for growth was the sovereign work of God through the Holy Spirit. Thus, this month we turn our attention to the work of the Spirit.

My focus intentionally will be somewhat narrow since other articles in this and future issues of SBC LIFE will deal with th...

I grew up near Randleman, North Carolina. That location may not ring any bells with you if you aren't a NASCAR fan, but for those who follow stock car racing, they may recognize it as the original location of Petty Enterprises — which it was during my childhood. In those days, before racing became such a big business, it was possible to go by the Petty garage and see what was going on.

If you were there at the right moment, you might see them unload a crate containing one of the powerful "hemi" engines that powered the Plymouth's that Richard Petty drove. That engine was unloaded from the crate, dismantled, tested, tweaked, and mounted in one of the Petty blue racing machines.

During his prime, Petty was the most dominating driver on the circuit. One year he created quite a sti...

Have you ever thought what it might have been like to live in the time of kings and queens and knights? We know little of what it is like to live under a monarchy or "rule of a king" except through history books, novels, and popular movies. We do know that the king was absolute ruler and that appropriate "pomp and circumstance" followed him wherever he went.

Imagine for a moment that you are living in a small village during the rule of a wise and beneficent king. One day it is announced that the king is coming to visit your small village. What preparations would need to be made? We can only imagine that all the villagers would work together to ensure that the city was spic-and-span and that everyone was prepared for a visit with royalty.

Let me bring the picture to a more recent e...

Any preacher worth his salt can preach a moving Mother's Day message; it takes a skilled expositor to move the crowd on Father's Day. I had worked hard on my Father's Day message and had illustrated it with anecdotes from my own father, who had loved me with an unconditional love. Dad was a man's man, a country preacher, and a great dad. I was proud of my effort and the members of my small seminary church were rewarding me with warm accolades as they filed by me on their way to the parking lot. I happened to notice a young teenage girl waiting in line. Her countenance told me she had not enjoyed my message. When it was her turn to speak, she sobbed, "My father left me and my stepfather hates me. Now tell me about a father's love." My stunned silence indicated I was not prepared to respond t...

I have been privileged to pastor a number of wonderful churches filled with godly men and women who love the Lord. I have learned numerous lessons from those with whom I have been privileged to serve. One evening I learned an invaluable lesson about the sufficiency of Scripture from a layman who was my visitation partner.

We were following up with a home visit to a couple who had expressed interest in joining the church. The woman and the man had filled out visitor cards with the same address but with a different last name. The gentleman was not present, and the young lady was a bit nervous during our visit. It was obvious she was concerned about her present living conditions and wanted a little free counseling. My friend indicated that we would be willing to stay as long as necessary to help her deal with is...

One of the most painful memories from my childhood was the daily ritual of "choosing up sides" for a sporting event to take place during school recess. I was a late bloomer, and my growth spurt didn't kick in until I was in junior high. The two team captains would take turns selecting either their best friend or the best athlete.

As the process continued, the pace slowed and the whispers grew louder and the anxiety mounted. No one wanted to be the last person chosen.

Do you ever feel like you have been left out when it comes to the ability to serve God's Kingdom? I have great news! Every believer is gifted and chosen by the King Himself to serve alongside Him for the advancement of the Kingdom. This article is too brief to answer all the questions you might have concerning spiritua...

For most of us in the free church tradition the idea of serving as a priest is a bit foreign to our thinking. Yet the idea of the priesthood of believers is one of the most precious and powerful images of Scripture. What then does it mean to be a priestly people? Does it mean that I have the right to interpret Scripture without any concern for the historic belief of my church or denomination? Does it mean that I can obstinately vote "however I please" with little regard for the needs of others or the interest of the church? Does it represent nothing more than my right to pray without a human intercessor? I often hear "priesthood of believers" discussed in these terms as if it is only an issue of privilege without any regard for the responsibility of priestly duty.

Let's take a closer l...