SBC LIFE

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November 2001 Issue

Like the rest of those working in Manhattan Sept. 11, the staff of the New York Baptist Association watched the unfolding horror at the World Trade Center both on television and outside their windows.

"It's a war zone," said director of missions David Dean, who with most of his staff stayed at their upper-west-side Manhattan offices throughout the first night and following day.

Dean was among several Southern Baptist leaders who described the scene in the city as well as ministry efforts set in motion the day of the attack.

Attempts to contact all of the association's churches had met with limited success, but Dean knew of at least two congregations with a total of five members still missing a day after the attack. Association staff members, meanwhile, and all North American Mission Board missionaries in the city were safe.

Coordinated ministry efforts within the association were impossible in the immediate aftermath, as churches simp...

Disaster relief workers from the Tennessee Baptist Convention earned high praise from American Red Cross officials working near the "ground zero" blast zone at the World Trade Center.

"Southern Baptists are taking care of us and we can't do it without them," said Maria Lavendeer, an instructor for the Red Cross. "I've always used the Southern Baptists as an example of well-oiled disaster relief teams, but I've never seen them in person."

Lavendeer watched as Tennessee Baptists set up cooking units and prepared food for workers digging through the ruins of the World Trade Center. The Tennessee unit was the closest such operation to the disaster site. After the food was prepared, it was then delivered by Red Cross workers to ground zero.

"This is simply unbelievable," Lavendeer said as the Baptist volunteers cooked, cleaned, and prepared beef stew, chicken and dumplings, and other hot meals for workers.

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A team of Southern Baptist chaplains from the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma ministered to firefighters, police, and rescue crews searching for survivors at "ground zero," the site where two passenger jets slammed into the World Trade Center towers Sept. 11.

The chaplains, many of whom ministered at the site of the 1995 Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City, arrived three days after the twin towers collapsed, killing more than 5,000 people.

"Only God could have pulled off getting us here to New York City," said Sam Porter, men's ministry and missions specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. "We consider it an honor to be asked to serve and minister to the men and women who are working so hard to dig through this rubble."

The Oklahoma chaplains were asked by New York officials to take charge of ministry at the site's temporary morgue, set up in the plaza of the World Financial Center, abo...

Southeastern Students Proclaim Christ

For eight Southeastern Seminary students, the tragic events from the past few weeks sparked a compulsion to put "feet to their faith" and run to the hurting souls at "ground zero," in New York City.

"We could tell God prepared our way because the first person to receive Christ was our [New York City] parking attendant," said Thomas White, a Ph.D. candidate from Honea Path, S.C.

Standing as close as they could to the actual tragedy site, the students passed out over 2,000 tracks, a multitude of Bibles, preached to the masses, prayed with those who were hurting, and saw eight people receive Christ as their Savior.

With Bibles in hand and displaying a sign that said, "We are here to pray for you," the eight young men took turns street preaching and singing praise songs.

They said they traveled to New York City because they wanted to be used by God and their desire was to see Christ glorified in this situation.

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A Summary of Disaster Relief Efforts

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers have served as the major supplier of hot meals to the American Red Cross for distribution to search and rescue workers in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Volunteer chaplains and pastoral counselors have worked alongside other Disaster Relief units and in a variety of other locations.

Here are some of the pertinent facts regarding the response as of 9 a.m., October 8:

Volunteer days: 4,678. (A "volunteer day" is defined as one volunteer working one day.)

Meals prepared: 283,086.

Locations and units that were activated:

• Pentagon parking lot, Washington, D.C. North Carolina mobile kitchen.

• New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn. Mobile kitchens from...

The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee expressed concern and prayed for relief workers and the nation in its Sept. 17 opening session. The Executive Committee members adopted a resolution addressing the national crisis that erupted from the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks. Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the Executive Committee, reflected on his and other Americans' emotions from Sept. 11: "Jet airplanes slamming into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have been forever etched into our minds, even our souls. In minutes, symbols of security for all Americans were transformed into stacks of twisted and melting steel. ... Our ears are bombarded with the anguished cries of people frantically searching for missing loved ones hoping that by some miracle they are still alive."

Preached September 13, 2001 at the Alumni Memorial Chapel at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary two days after the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Preachers are expected to speak when no one else has any idea what to say. This is not an enviable position. Standing at the graveside, the dying bedside, the scene of the accident, the preacher is supposed to know what to say, when nothing seems right to say.

Sometimes, saying nothing is best. We can be too hasty to speak, too eager to explain, too superficial in our answer, or too arrogant in our presumption. At other times, silence would be mere cowardice and the abdication of calling and responsibility. To fail to speak in these moments is to deny one's calling and to fail the supreme test of authentic ministry.

The Book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time to be silent and a time to speak (Ecclesiastes 3:7b). It is often hard to know the one from the othe...

Preached on September 16, 2001 at First Baptist Church, Snellville, Ga.

Every generation for the last sixty years has had an event occur that they will never forget. It is a bookmark on the hard drive of their memory. Those remaining from the World War II generation remember exactly where they were December 7, 1941, when they heard about Pearl Harbor.

For my generation, the boomer generation, the singular event we remember took place November 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I still remember walking back from the library to my sixth grade class when a classmate came running down the hall screaming, "President Kennedy has been shot."

The buster generation had an event seared into their memory on January 20, 1986 when the space shuttle Challenger exploded in a ball of fire before a nationwide television audience.

Now the millennial generation has their own tragic event and date which will alway...

Opportunity For Ministry
With the entire world reeling from the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, God's people have an unprecedented opportunity to help Him draw the lost to Himself, International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin told a chapel audience Sept. 12. Recalling hymns the audience had just sung, Have Faith in God and Wonderful, Wonderful Jesus, Rankin reminded the group they have a resource in times of crisis that others do not have. "There is no burden so heavy, no grief so great, that God cannot bear it," Rankin said. "How thankful we are that we know a Savior we can come to. But our hearts grieve for those who do not know him in a time such as this."

Increased Demand For God's Word

Sales of Bibles and books on prophecy are soaring in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Lifeway Christian Stores report that business was up 25 percent over the same time last year. Family Christian Stores reported a 22 percent jump in sales of Bibles for the week following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Zondervan, the world's largest Bible publisher, reported a 9 percent increase in Bible sales to retailers since Sept. 11.

AgapePress, September 28, 2001; WKRN, Nashville, September 26, 2001


Prayer Back In Public Schools

With so many students deeply affected by the attacks of Sept. 11, a high school assistant principal de...