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June 1998 Issue

Touching Lives, Changing Hearts

Charlotte Rubush's rendezvous with the Lord, via Ministry Evangelism, started in June 1995 when she fled to Florida with her boyfriend and two children to escape prosecution of drug-related felony charges.

However, because of continued drug use, she was arrested again, and lost custody of her children as a result. Charlotte was released in December '95 and placed on two years probation, but continued to struggle with her addiction. She and her boyfriend found themselves working day labor to pay for their motel and drugs.

"I remember crying myself to sleep every night, not wanting to go on like this, and desperately missing my children," she said.

A friend suggested she seek help from the Women's Care Center at First Baptist Church of Leesburg, but she initially rejected the idea. Yet, as her desperation grew, she found herself at the front door of WCC in May 1996.

"I will never forget the sense of...

Bob Reccord compares the North American Mission Board's (NAMB) first year to changing a tire while the car is traveling at sixty miles per hour. "It's an exciting ride, but very challenging," said the mission agency president.

"When the North American Mission Board was created last summer, there were literally thousands of ongoing activities that had to continue," Reccord explained. "We did not have the luxury of starting from scratch, to stop everything until we could develop a new direction for assisting Southern Baptists to reach North America for Jesus Christ. We had missionaries on the field to support, programs and projects already scheduled that had to be planned, and publications to be produced. All without a real sense of how we were to be different than the three predecessor agencies."

NAMB has been called the centerpiece of the Covenant for a New Century, which restructured the SBC by reducing the number of na...

I walked the streets in search of it. I sought therapists' advice on how to obtain it. I even moved across the country in quest of it. But ultimately, I didn't find peace until I stopped running from God. I resisted Him for three years before finally surrendering. It was not an easy decision; the immediate consequences were traumatic. For me, choosing Christ meant the loss of career, friends, a love relationship, and the respect of most who knew me. But I made the commitment anyway — despite the cost and, more significant, despite my negatively skewed picture of Christianity.

Westside Middle School in Jonesboro appeared to be a typical public school in a smallish city in Northeastern Arkansas. What happened on Tuesday, March 24, 1998, was anything but typical. USA Today's headline told the story:

Five Killed at Arkansas School: 4 Students, Teacher Die In Ambush; 2 Classmates Held

The premeditated ambush on classmates by two boys, eleven and thirteen years old, sent shockwaves across the nation. The very day this happened, my nine-year-old son, Josh, had accompanied me to Atlanta. While the two of us visited Zoo Atlanta, ate hot dogs at the Varsity, and shopped at the Underground, these young cousins pulled the school fire alarm at Westside, hid behind trees with rifles and, in camouflage gear, began shooting as people filed out of the building. Boys the age of my son's neighborhood buddies killed five and wounded fourteen others.

All because one of the boys was upset with his forme...

To Reach Unconventional Kids

It's been only about a year since Rick Wilson moved from Alaska to the Illinois side of the St. Louis metro area, but he's already become somewhat of a hero to more than 100 youth.

Wilson was the main person responsible for getting Towerview Baptist Church, Belleville, Ill., to start a "skateboard ministry" in May 1997. One person has already made a profession of faith as a direct result of the church's ministry.

It works like this: Towerview allows area youth to skate on the church parking lot every afternoon after school. Anywhere from twenty to forty kids show up, pull out the skateboard ramps and hang out on church property for several hours. The rules are simple: no smoking, no cussing, 9 p.m. curfew, and the skaters must clean up after themselves.

The response "has been fantastic," Wilson said, of kids showing up to skate from all over the east metro area.

Adam Focht, 15, is a high school freshman who's a regul...

What Every Pastor and Parent Should Know

Many pastors, church staff, children's leaders, and parents struggle when leading children to Christ. Since most families have only two children, parents are not typically experienced in this area. Pastors usually face the challenge of handling children and parents at this special time. Two of the difficulties they face are knowing how to talk to a child about God and knowing when a child is ready to accept Christ.

Pastors sometimes admit that they feel many children who join their churches are unsaved, but they just don't know what to do without upsetting everyone. Yet, we do a disservice to children if we baptize them before they grasp the essentials of salvation. There is only one way to come to Christ. There is not one set of rules for adults and a "jr. set" for children.

How do children accept Jesus as Savior? How can we make that time of commitment the most meaningful time for the child and the parent?

There appear to be four stages to a ch...

The fifteen-year-old Southern Baptist youth stood ramrod straight in his Boy Scout uniform as he challenged the library board of Camas, Wash., to consider the morality of making Internet pornography accessible to children.

High school sophomore Jake Anderson presented a petition to the library board signed by 186 students and ten teachers from Camas High School located in Portland, Ore. Anderson gathered the signatures in two days.

The petition called for removal of the suburban library's sole computer terminal from the children's section because it provides unlimited access to all Internet sites, including pornographic ones.

"This computer should not be located next to Dr. Seuss and Berenstein Bears books," Anderson said during his three-minute presentation. "We're trying to make the library a safe and comfortable environment for all people."

More than just moving the computer to a place less accessible to young childr...

A Biblical Response to Its History and Beliefs
Some facts about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, biblical responses to core beliefs, and tips for witnessing to Mormon neighbors.

Is Mormonism Christian? This question is not a new one, but one that is being asked recently from a different direction and with a different angle. Previously this query was raised principally by traditional Christians on a quest to determine whether or not Mormon doctrines and principles were indeed Christian. The answers found, often provided by outstanding evangelical scholars and apologists, demonstrated that the LDS Church does indeed believe that the Bible has been corrupted, that Joseph Smith added additional, fabricated volumes to Scripture, that God was once a man, that Jesus was "sired" by God in union with Mary, that active membership in the LDS Church is essential for the fullness of salvation, and numerous other doctrinal positions wholly incompatible with biblical, orthodox Christianity.

Today, however, the question originates with the Mormon Church and is directed to at least two audiences. The first audience is their own membership, many of whom are unset...

An educational system that has rejected the oneness of God over the last forty years is to blame for the chaotic culture of the last half of the 20th century, James T. Draper, Jr. said during a March lecture series at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.

"It cannot be denied that the national separation of education and religious faith is directly related to the radical changes that started in the 1960s in this country," said Draper, president of the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. "Since that time, to place your children in public education has been to place them on a battlefield of opinion that is very, very dangerous."

Christian teachers in the public schools are the key to turning the American educational system back to Christ, Draper said, and Christians must use every means necessary to see that Christianity is presented in its historical context in school curriculums.

Calling for an end to...

One More Convention Reorganization Assignment Completed

Less than a year after officially receiving a ministry assignment from the Southern Baptist Convention to assist churches with Christian schools, the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention has released the first of its resources for students and teachers.

Scheduled for release from April through early July are eleven new books, including Kingdom Education: God's Plan for Educating Future Generations by Glen Schultz, manager of the board's Christian school and home school section.

Included in the volume are sections on the definition, purpose, and result of kingdom education; the roles of the home, church, and school; and the future of kingdom education.

Schultz said the purpose of the book, scheduled for release June 1, is not to convince every church to start a school, but "to make every Christian aware of God's plan for training children and youth and, then, to motivate them to be sure their children are receiving such...

It's been said that every dog has his day, and certainly if any "dog" deserves his, it would be the fathers. Once again the time is drawing nigh for their special day — Father's Day — and here I sit once again, an "un-father." For me, this is truly what kids from a past generation called a "downer." You see, I've never had the privilege — and yes, I do mean privilege — of being feted on this day by one of my very own. Oh, I've tried to ingratiate myself into the lives of some youngsters, as somewhat of a "pseudo-father," but it really doesn't work. They still belong to someone else — and I'm still an outsider in the field of fatherhood.

Regret eats away at my heart each year when Father's Day rolls around. I've always dreamed of sharing things like scouts, ball games, PTA (where I could expound on the inadequacies of the education being offered to my child), and arguments over th...

The head of The Disney Company tossed more barbs at Southern Baptists supporting the boycott of the entertainment giant during a news program in April.

In an interview with the co-host of NBC's morning program The Today Show, Michael Eisner said it was a "splinter group" of Southern Baptists who were withholding their financial support of Disney. In a 60 Minutes interview last November, Disney President Eisner called Southern Baptists "nuts" for approving a resolution on moral stewardship in their annual convention last June. The resolution called for economic action against Disney and other companies who were producing anti-family and anti-Christian products.

Eisner told Today Show co-host Katie Couric it was "a very small part of the Southern Baptists" who took the action during the June 1997 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas. Couric interviewed Eisner as Disney prepared to open its fourth theme park in ...

News that the Ellen program was being canceled brought cheers and tears from opposite sides of American culture.

The Disney-owned ABC Network announced in April that the series, which broke ground with its portrayal of a homosexual as its lead character, would end after a one-hour finale May 13.

The program's homosexual thrust was cited by Southern Baptists in joining in the call for economic action against The Disney Company during the SBC meeting last June in Dallas for "promoting immoral ideologies."

Whether it was the protests by those opposed to the show's content on prime time or the program's aggressive exploration of DeGenere's lesbian lifestyle, Nielsen ratings dropped steadily for the program throughout the season.

The ratings slide began almost as soon as DeGeneres announced her homosexuality, carrying the show's lead character with her, in a program April 30, 1997, watched by an estimated thirty-six mi...

Remember the '70s and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, guru to Mia Farrow, the Beatles, and a couple of million Transcendental Meditators. Well, they're Baaack! Only now, Eastern Transcendentalism is wearing a new face; all things Hindu have been swallowed up by all things Buddhist. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the Hindu high flyer, is back a little feather-draggled, having been run over by the expatriated Dalai Lama and a new crowd of glitzy navel gazers.

Time magazine not only supplied us with the title for this essay; they provided us with the following insights on the new western "stars of the Eastern Front."

Steven Segal, the ever-plumping action hero, has been hailed as the "reincarnated" Fulkie of Nyingrira (an old, old eastern hero). Tina Turner, free of her abusive Ike, chants the songs of Soka Gakkai (a Japanese Buddhist religion). Richard Gere is perhaps the most famous disciple of the Dalai Lama. Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson calls...

Fight for Life Updates

Abortion: New, Improved, More Convenient

Researchers have developed a new abortion technique that facilitates abortions as early as eight to ten days after conception.

According to reports in the (Nashville ) Tennessean, December 21, 1997, abortionists can utilize highly sensitive ultrasonic imaging technology that locates the gestational sac, permitting removal with a syringe.

The technique was developed by Dr. Jerry Edwards, the medical director at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston, Texas. Because early pregnancy tests can now detect pregnancy within eight to ten days of conception, a mother can have an abortion before missing her menstrual cycle.

Dr. Michael Burnhill, vice president for medical affairs at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, observed, "With these very early abortions, we&#...

It finally happened. I got my invitation to join the retirement association. They were a little early. I guess they were preparing me. This summer I will be fifty years old. It's the autumn of life and everything seems to be heading south. I guess it really hit me when I filled out a survey and checked the box marked 45-55, and realized I was in the next to the last box.

I can't wait to get all the cards that say things like, "It's your fiftieth birthday. Ahead of you is adventure, romance, challenge, ... and a lot of other good reading, too."

I admit things seem to be changing. My hair is starting to wrinkle on the way up and now comes out my ear instead of out of my head. There appears to be more sand in the bottom of the hourglass. My narrow waist and broad mind have started to trade places. I notice that there is usually a noisy crash when I park the car. That funny face that I used to make in the mirror when I was a kid, well, the mirror is now ...