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December 1996 Issue

Four seasoned veterans of Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board work have arrived in Bosnia and are seeking out hearts open to the gospel.

The missionary couples — with a combined 90 years' experience in cross-cultural evangelism and church planting — each volunteered to serve six months in Bosnia, where 44 months of intense ethnic warfare left people wondering what hope they have of finding peace.

"We were surprised when the war started," said Misko Horvatek, a pastor in Krapina, Croatia, and secretary of the Croatia Baptist Union. "We never thought that would happen. It shocked people and made them think.

"Now people are ripe to be harvested. We need workers to shake the tree."

More than 2 million of Bosnia's 3.6 million people were driven from their homes by the fighting, according to the United Nations. Through their "My Neig...

The Southern Baptist Convention ended the 1995-96 fiscal year with a record $148,185,076 in Cooperative Program gifts, surpassing by nearly $2.5 million the record given last year, according to Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee.

For the SBC's fiscal year, Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, the $148.2 million total for 1995-96 is 1.68 percent, or $2,445,587, above last year's record of $145,739,489.

"Through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists evangelize, send missionaries, plant churches, and educate ministers," Chapman said. "Once again, they have supported these grand efforts in historic style. For the third consecutive year, old giving records have been broken, and new ones established.

"The continued generosity of Southern Baptists bears witness to their resolute commitment to be faithful to carry out the Great Commission. This is a good report on the health of our Convention, bu...

A Forum on Spiritual Awakening

Our nation is in the throes of convulsive civilizational change. Pessimism abounds about our future as a free, secure, and virtuous society. Against this backdrop, growing attention is being focused across our Convention, indeed across the entire evangelical world, in what is variously called revival, spiritual awakening, or renewal. SBC LIFE is vitally interested in revival, and judging from our mail, so are our readers. We brought together four persons whose personal and professional experience qualifies them as authorities on the subject. John Avant is pastor of the Coggin Avenue Baptist Church of Brownwood, Texas, a church that has been especially and remarkably touched with unusual evidences of revival. Roy J. Fish has lectured on, written about, and prayed for spiritual renewal over a long academic and ministerial career. He is Distinguished Professor of Evangelism occupying the L. R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary....

By every measurement, John Redman was a prodigy. He finished high school at 16, entered medical school at 18, and earned his doctor of medicine degree at 22.

He entered the Air Force as a major at 27. By 31, at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, he was the youngest urology department chairman in any medical school in the country.

By 53, he had 240 of his medical papers published, had been president of the Southern Medical Association and had received the distinguished faculty award from his med school's alumni association.

"I had far exceeded any dreams of success that I had ever had," Redman says. "I had money, I had power, I had prestige."

He was just as pleased with his personal life, where he was known for his carousing.

"Not only did I violate God's laws, I flaunted them," Redman says. "My lifestyle even offended decent nonbelievers. Probably the most delicate way to describe my ...

B'nai B'rith has launched a campaign against the Southern Baptist Convention's 1996 resolution on Jewish evangelism and is using the campaign to raise funds.

B'nai B'rith, which describes itself as "the world's oldest and largest Jewish organization," founded 153 years ago, operates programs in "community service, public affairs, and disaster relief." The Washington-based organization has members in 56 countries.

In a national mailing, B'nai B'rith urged recipients to send an attached postcard to SBC offices in Nashville, Tenn., which declares, "The outrageous Southern Baptist Convention resolution advocating an active program of converting Jews to Christianity is both condescending and contemptuous. This profoundly disrespectful action demonstrates a basic lack of respect for Judaism as a sister religion. For men and women of the worldwide Jewish community, Jewish identity is a meaningful and joyous part of who we ar...

Helping a Jewish person to come to the Lord Jesus is a rare and wonderful experience. If God opens such a door of witness to you, the following suggestions may be of help to you:

o Openness may well depend upon your initial approach. Therefore, it is usually wisest, if possible, to build a friendship prior to communicating the Gospel. This allows your testimony to become more than a mere theological abstraction about God the Son.

The Word of God is alive and powerful. Carefully review Old Testament passages relating to the coming Messiah, particularly Isaiah 52:13-53:12, and others. Prayerfully prepare your heart to meaningfully discuss such passages, as the Lord provides opportunity.

An effective witnessing method with a Jewish person is to share your own experience of the Lord Jesus. When you are authentic, the love of Messiah can shine through and the Spiri...

History (and her own letters) hint that the great missionary loved her friend and teacher Crawford Toy. But she loved God more.

Even in this cynical age, we tend to idealize our heroes.

The media relentlessly expose the foibles of politicians and preachers. Revisionist historians attack the reputations of everyone from Christopher Columbus to Abraham Lincoln.

Weary of the negative onslaught, we cry, "Say it ain't so, Joe." Isn't there someone who merits our wholehearted admiration?

Lottie Moon does.

The legendary missionary died in 1912 after four decades of selfless service in China. But her amazing life still motivates Southern Baptists to pray for missions, support missionaries with their financial gifts, and volunteer for mission service.

"As a child in Sunbeams and later Royal Ambassadors, I was captivated by the story of Lottie Moon, told to us along with accounts of con...

Niche Marketing the Big Red Guy

Okay, Okay! It's not that I don't believe in Santa. I can overlook my previous biases against a guy who can get into apartment complexes and house trailers (sans) chimneys. I can accept that he really should work on his abs a bit more. I don't even mind admitting he has elves; everybody needs a little help and I assume they're all paid at least minimum wage.

I'll make all these concessions if you will just agree with me that Santa is so upper middle class that he is only sellable with niche marketing. As the holy season draws near, I am aware that world poverty keeps the big red guy circling mostly over North America. And I don't mind him using the 25th of December (which happens to be the birthday of my best Friend) to give even more to the American kids who already have too much.

But I'm out to give Rudolph a bigger flight plan. I want to see that big gold sleigh out there where 40,000 children a day starve to death. Most of the world's...

Evangelist Reunited With Brother After 44-Year Separation

Floyd "Lammie" Lammersfeld has seen the 1938 movie, "Boys Town," starring Spencer Tracey and Mickey Rooney, saying it is a good representation of what Father Flanagan's Boys Home in Boys Town, Neb., was like.

He knows because he lived there as a boy.

Lammersfeld, president of the Fellowship of Tennessee Evangelists and a full-time evangelist based in Gleason, Tenn., was placed at the home for boys with one of his brothers after living in several homes for orphans in Chicago.

Their mother had died of cancer at age of 32 and Lammersfeld and the boys were told their father was killed in World War II. Their stepfather did not adopt the boys and did not assume custody. Relatives discussed taking in the boys but said they would have to be separated.

The boys resisted. So the brothers, ages 11, 13 and 16, were designated as wards of the state.

John Peter, the oldest, soon struck out on his own and joined the Marines. Lammersfeld, the youngest, and Harley eventually were placed at the Boys Home, then known as Boys Town, which was much better than the other orphanages they had lived in. Harley did not...

Motoring down Highway 2 from Fairbanks, Alaska, your eyes are peeled for North Pole. You see the McDonald's arch first, then the red-and-white striped Santa Claus house and the sign, WELCOME TO NORTH POLE, ALASKA — WHERE DREAMS COME TRUE. Your tour bus driver swings down St. Nicholas Drive and pulls up beside a 20-foot Santa Claus. You pile out with your fellow passengers to buy souvenirs, then to photograph the reindeer cavorting in a pen behind the giant Santa. You hear an excited boy from another group hollering, "Which one is Rudolph? Where's the reindeer with the shiny nose?"

There is no such thing as self-control. Do you realize you can't "not" do anything? The more you try "not to do," the worse it gets. The moment I'm on a diet, I think about Twinkies and Snickers and I'm not even hungry. When I think about not eating, all I see is the food I want to eat. That's probably why the only thing I've lost on this 21-day diet is three weeks. You can't "not" do anything.

For example, just imagine that an elephant in pink pajamas and yellow roller skates is rolling along beside you right now. Picture the funny looking elephant. Can you see it? Now, get the elephant out of your mind. You don't see it any more. It's not gone. No? You still see it? The only way to remove the image of the elephant is to replace it with something else — perhaps a zebra in blue pajamas. You see, putting off (stopping) something is temporary unless you put on (start) something else.

Let's say you come to...

"Americans United" Oppose Posting of Historical Documents

In an article headlined, "American Heritage' Bill Appearing in States"1, Americans United for Separation of Church and State warned that "legislation that would permit public schools to post historical documents with religious references and passages from the Congressional Record is making headway in some states."

The bill, which has passed the House and Senate in Illinois and was pending before Gov. Jim Edgar at the time of the article's writing, would permit schools to post passages from the Mayflower Compact, proclamations of the Founding Fathers and other "historically significant" documents...