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June 1999 Issue

Keep It Going!

The following is the President's Report by Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee, delivered to the SBC Executive Committee on February 22, 1999.

As you are aware, the Executive Committee is working with SBC entities, state conventions, and the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, to challenge Southern Baptist churches to reach a goal of $750 million for Southern Baptist causes during the year, October 1, 2000, to September 30, 2001. The Convention will be celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Cooperative Program, a unified plan of giving adopted by Southern Baptists in 1925, the same year the Convention adopted the Baptist Faith and Message.

What is our Cooperative Program heritage? Prior to 1919, great financial confusion prevailed in Baptist life. Special fund drives were conducted in the churches twice a year - one for the Southern Baptist Convention and one for the state convention - but they were inadequate...

The Link Between Missions and Giving

I have vivid memories of my boyhood church experiences. I remember the Panamanian church building where I attended. My mother served as the church organist, and we attended almost every time the doors opened. These humble beginnings of Christian education and commitment on my part were the result of Southern Baptist mission endeavors in Central America. It was Cooperative Program gifts that provided the resources to build the church in Panama. It was Cooperative Program gifts that supplied support for missionaries to preach God's message of salvation. It was Cooperative Program gifts that proved to be the catalyst for a missionary pastor and Sunday school teacher to lead me to Jesus.

I am the result of Southern Baptists who cooperatively pray, give, and go to tell the Good News. I am thankful to God for what He has done through Southern Baptists to bring men and women and boys and girls to a saving knowledge of Jesus.

After surrendering to preach, I moved to Canada to further my...

Window to the World

An Open Window To The World - that was the title of the pageant presented at the 1925 WMU Convention in Memphis, Tenn. The program's main character watched as representatives of the millions of people throughout the world in need of Christ's salvation passed by her "window." Among those in the pageant was a mother carrying her 6-month-old son. During the Southern Baptist Convention that followed, a historic step was taken to answer the needs this pageant portrayed - the Convention adopted the Cooperative Program, May 13, 1925. I was there - my mother was the mother in that pageant and I was the baby.

Over the past seventy-five years the Cooperative Program has greatly impacted my life. My home church gave strong support to the Cooperative Program and through its organizations I learned about cooperative missions. I graduated from a Baptist university and a seminary that the Cooperative Program helped make possible. Additionally, as a ministerial student, the Cooperat...

Changing Lives Around the World

More than thirty years ago, the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board sent Jessie Green from Caulhon, Ga., as missionary to Malaysia, and I am glad they did.

With the help of local Christians, Jessie Green helped start a church. The small church was named Emmanuel Baptist Church and was built close to where I lived as a child in the small township of Petaling Jaya.

The church was very small by U.S. standards, but it was all Miss Green needed. She knew how to attract children, and every Sunday she filled the church with them.

Miss Green had a very big and loving heart indeed. She spent many years doing missionary work first in China, and then in Malaysia. The land was so far away and so different from her American home. Back then, Malaysia was not a nice place for a foreign missionary. Because Malaysia was a young developing Muslim country, Christian missionaries were not particularly welcomed. Western culture and morals were seen as corrupt, and people viewed Christianity...

More than 330,000 additional people are following Jesus Christ this year because servants of God like Little Wang and Liang were willing to die to tell them about Jesus.

That's the number of new believers - 333,034 of them to be exact - baptized around the world by Southern Baptist missionaries and their co-workers last year, according to International Mission Board statistics reported for 1998.

These include co-workers like Little Wang and Liang.

Little Wang, himself a new believer, traveled ten hours with two other Christians to preach to a people group different from his own living in an Asian region with no gospel witness. A village mob met them shouting, "The spirits of the mountains rule our land! You dogs have only been here 500 years and you know nothing. You have stolen our land and now you wish to steal our gods as well. Now you will pay for this!"

Little Wang did pay - with his life. The mob beat the three Christians with sticks and farm...

When I was called to a little, dying congregation in the inner city of Chicago, it seemed that all they were looking for was an ecclesiastical Dr. Kevorkian, but God had other plans," said Charles Lyons, pastor of the 2,000-member multicultural Armitage Baptist Church in Chicago.

Lyons, speaking at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in April, challenged students to get involved in what God is doing in America's urban centers, noting while God has been massing His creation at church doorsteps, churches have been going out the back door.

Using the Apostle Paul's example and experience at Ephesus as recorded in Acts 19, Lyons said, "As Paul walked down the bustling avenues of this crossroads city without a computer mailing list, a cell phone or a fax machine, he probably thought to himself, 'What's a nice Jewish boy like me doing in a place like this?'

"To answer that, we have to go back further," said Lyons, "because, before...

On a Sunday afternoon in South Central Los Angeles, three congregations joined at Faith Missionary Baptist Church for a praise service that has become an annual tradition. For well over two hours choirs sang and speakers gave exhortation through devotionals - all focused on the glory of God.

Such a service is fairly typical in the black-church tradition, but the difference in this one was in their nontraditional denominational affiliation. In the heart of a neighborhood infamous for outbreaks of racial tension, these churches are enthusiastic partners in the Southern Baptist Convention - a denomination born in 1845 in defense of the right of missionaries to own slaves.

Ten years ago this month Southern Baptists restructured their Home Mission Board to specifically target the African-American community in church starting efforts - just as they have done for years with other language and ethnic groups. The move in many respects was a sign of changes already underway. But it also has...

The summer of 1996 I took a vow never to serve again as pastor at a week-long youth camp. Not because I hate teenagers or camps - on the contrary, I love them. But at this particular camp, I ignored my age and physical shape (I should say lack of shape), and entered the mud volleyball tournament. My team - the counselors - beat the best youth team. I apparently talked too much trash, unfortunately, because after the game, I got creamed by about two hundred (okay, maybe six or seven) boys. When they got off me, I could hardly walk, but I was too proud to admit I was hurt. I think I said something like, "I have a rock in my shoe," to hide my pain. For the next three months, I hobbled around until I discovered I had a broken hip. Soon I was facing two realities. First, a major hip operation was in my near future (which will ruin your whole day!). Second, I faced the fact that youth camps are hazardous to my health.

Unfortunately, it seems that most churches have abandoned the opportun...

Question. What do koala bears, kangaroos, dingoes, the Great Barrier Reef, the Outback, and Baptists have in common?

Answer. Australia!

Wait a minute. All those mentioned are familiar to Australia, but Baptists?

Well, there are lots of Baptists in Australia and a whole lot more throughout the world. And they are all coming to Melbourne, Australia Jan. 5-9, 2000 for the 18th Baptist World Congress. Okay, maybe not all of them. But many are.

And there will be many Southern Baptists from the United States attending this once-every-five-years event in beautiful southern Australia.

The SBC Executive Committee and Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer, have joined with Wilcox World Travel and Tours to provide a special opportunity for Southern Baptists to join the world's other Baptists for the Melbourne celebration.

Five exciting tours, all escorted by SBC representatives, are planned for Southern Baptists, Chap...

"Things fall apart; the center cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned ... ."

Historians often quote these chilling lines from W.B. Yeats' poem, The Second Coming, to describe the horrific wars and revolutions of the 20th century.

A war-weary world wants to believe the "blood-dimmed tide" has receded. But if the Cold War's end - and the relative peace Americans currently enjoy - tempt you to think global tranquillity will descend like a spring rain in the new century, think again. Woodrow Wilson thought so, too - in 1918, after the "war to end all wars." The blood had barely begun to flow.

Once again blood is flowing in the heart of Europe. The 1914 assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo (now capital of Bosnia) touched off World War I. What will come of this decade's wars over Yugoslavia's corpse...

One Who Has Been There

When Ted Stone stood in Salt Lake City to make a motion calling for the formation of a drug abuse task force, his words flowed like raindrops of pain.

His question confronted every listener, "If the Christian church does not lead in this effort, who then will lead?"

For over twenty-two years this tall, slender crusader with long, curly hair has addressed millions of listeners with frank revelations of his former involvement in the drug scene. "I have a story to tell you, " he begins. "Much of it is ugly. I share this true story with you because I don't want what happened to me to ever happen to you or to anyone whom you love."

Ted Stone grew up in a good, respectable North Carolina family. He made a public profession of faith in Jesus at age 10, accepted God's call to the ministry when a teenager, and attended Wake Forest University and Southeastern Seminary while pastoring a rural congregation.

But his overwhelming dream abou...

Seminary Luncheons

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary will host alumni and friends June 16 for the seminary's annual luncheon at the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Atlanta. The gathering will be held in the Georgia World Congress Center at noon.

Seminary president William O. Crews will give a "state of the seminary" report and present the annual Alumni Achievement Award.

Tickets may be purchased at $15 per person from Golden Gate Seminary, Office of Alumni Relations, 201 Seminary Drive, Mill Valley, CA 94941 or by calling (415)380-1496. Tickets may also be purchased on the seminary's web site at www.ggbts.edu.

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Dr. Mark Coppenger, president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, will be keynote...

Recent statistics reveal that 75 percent of Americans say religious practice has strengthened their family relationships.1 Thirty-six percent of women believe wives should submit to their husbands,2 and 64 percent of teenagers are members of an organized religious group.3 So it should be encouraging to hear Mark Zakarin, executive vice president at Showtime, speak of "the responsibility of our industry to depict the world as it is." On the contrary, of the 102 shows on NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, and the Warner Brothers network, only fifteen have fathers as regular, central characters while there are twenty-five homosexual characters in prime time shows alone.

Zakarin, who recently added two new homosexual characters to his network's lineup, says the increased presence of homosexuals on prime time is part of that "responsibility of our industry to depict the world as it is." However, Warren Littlefield, form...

You've purchased a computer and now you want to get on the Internet. Great! But which Internet Service Provider (ISP) is right for your family? Maybe you're already online. But you and your family have been surfing without safeguards. Fortunately, you haven't stumbled onto anything offensive, but you know it's there and it's too easy to find. Or maybe a friend has wandered into an area they shouldn't have. Now you want to do more to protect your family. Where do you turn?

In the last few years, a new breed of Internet Service Providers has developed. The family-friendly ISP offers a new level of protection for you and your family. These new ISPs do the work of blocking offensive sites and screening search results for you. Some even block chat and filter e-mail. Most block more than "adult" or pornographic sites, screening for sites that include: graphic violence, drug use, criminal activities, profanity, homosexuality, hate, gambling, and other dangerous content...

Pam Adams and her friends agreed. She had lived a fairytale life. Throughout her childhood, Pam can remember her mother praying and reading the Bible every night. At age 7, she received Christ into her heart. "My mom had a station wagon, and our car was always full of kids, my friends, on the way to church," she said. "I was just really on fire for the Lord."

During her sophomore year of high school, Pam committed her life to full-time Christian service. As a teenager, she worked at Missouri Baptists' Camp Windermere as a counselor, went on the Missouri Acteen Activator trip, and served on the 1981 National Acteens Panel. While staying busy at First Baptist Church, Jefferson City, Pam began dating Allen Parke during her junior year of high school. At the end of her first year of college, she and Allen married.

Pam graduated with a teaching degree, and Allen completed his undergraduate work and began law school. Meanwhile, the couple taught children's Sun...

It all began when a church friend stopped Jane Doe in a store and said, "We're praying for you and your family." Jane was taken aback, because she wasn't aware of the friend's genuine concern.

It turned out Jane's son had called the friend's daughter to tell her that he was in the homosexual lifestyle.

That was May 1998. In the months since then, Jane and John Doe (the names of the people involved have been withheld for reasons of privacy) have searched for God's help and guidance.

"When we first learned of our son's chosen lifestyle, I made the comment that nothing good could come from this. It is our family policy to find the good in any situation we face, because we have learned that where good can be found, there also is the Lord," John said.

Now, however, something good has emerged. A Love in Action seminar at First Baptist Church, Louisville, Miss., the home church of the Does, drew fifty-seven people in Febru...

Her name was Dolly, a frail child-adult of about 15. I was 19 and the pastor of a small Baptist church in Northern Arkansas. I'd finished college, and could not enroll at New Orleans Seminary until after my 20th birthday. The associational missionary, Jack Lafferty, set me up with the church as an interim pastor until the fall term began. Dolly eased up to me after a morning service. "Brother Jimmy, I need a ride to church next Sunday. Can you help me out?" "Sure," I said without thinking of what people might say. "Tell me where you live."

She did and the next Sunday I was at her house back in the woods in plenty of time to pick her up for Sunday school. Dolly needed a ride regularly after that. Every Sunday morning I'd come motoring into the church parking lot, with Dolly beaming at my side.

One morning, after she had gone to her class, Deacon Dick Tucker caught up with me. "Preacher, I see you brought Dolly again." "Yes sir, she n...

Susan Tanner thought she knew the importance of witnessing - until she had the opportunity to save someone's life, both spiritually and physically.

As part of a visitation team at the 2,500-member Leslie (Ala.) Baptist Church, she had regularly shared the gospel in many homes in the attempt to save lost souls from spiritual death.

Yet when handed the visitors' card with Maria Woods' name on it, Tanner could not have realized the part she was about to play in saving a life on the brink of physical destruction.

Woods had come to the altar for prayer the Sunday before, and when the associate pastor tried to talk to her, Woods told him that her sins were too great for God to forgive.

Because she seemed too upset to listen to his counsel, the associate pastor asked Tanner to visit her.

Tanner arrived at Woods' home later that week with another woman instead of her usual visitation partner - her husband, Richard, a deacon in the church. After...

I want to have a fresh approach in my walk with Christ. The pasty, predictable clichés many evangelicals use in talking to God have no appeal. I want to talk to Him as I generally talk to my wife - open and freely, with every word of my conversation being born spontaneously fresh, with nothing borrowed from anyone else's smaltz or saccharine.

Still, there's a simple colloquial joy in gathering around some old thumb-worn phrases that form our particular kind of Protestant Latin. I sometimes find my adoration to Christ trapped in the muck of so many inherited saws. How many times have we heard someone pray, "Lord, hide our preacher behind the cross and fill him with Your Spirit. Help him to open Your word and bring Pentecostal fire into this place. Forgive us of all our sins and shortcomings, and guard, guide, and direct us. Deliver sinners from a devil's hell. Bless all the missionaries in foreign climes and all those for whom it is our duty to pray."

...

Being a father is like playing golf. It's time consuming, expensive, frustrating, and has a lot of hazards. The Illinois Telephone Company reported last June that the number of calls made on Father's Day is growing faster than those on Mother's Day. The company apologized for the delay in compiling this statistic. Everything slowed down because of the extra billing associated with Father's Day - most of the calls were collect. That seems to be the way it works. First they call you Dada, then Daddy, then Dad, then they call you collect. Father actually comes from the Greek word, Fedoras - "one with deep pockets." Even Santa Clause gets in the house through Dad's wallet.

One way to be a good father is to affirm your children, but even that can be frustrating. A father of five came home with a new toy. He summoned his children and asked which one of them should be given the present. "Who is the most obedient and never talks back to mother and does everything he or...

A Reckless Pursuit

According to a recent report, the reckless pursuit of money can be hazardous to your health. Richard Ryan and Timothy Kasser have spent six years conducting several studies of more than 1,000 adults and college students. They found that people with extrinsic goals are more prone to behavioral problems and physical ailments. People pursuing money scored far lower on measures of vitality and self-actualization. They were also more likely to abuse drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. The report suggests that those driven by money have difficulties maintaining relationships as well.

Forbes, April 5, 1999


Normalizing Sin

An episode of The Puzzle Place, a children's program on PBS, presented typical family settings of parents reading to a little girl and sharing a mea...