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September 2002 Issue

North American Mission Board Celebrates Victories and Opportunities Since the SBC Reorganization

Expectations were high in 1997 when the North American Mission Board (NAMB) was forged out of three previous Southern Baptist entities during the ambitious Covenant for a New Century restructuring. Increased operational efficiencies from the merger were projected to allow Southern Baptists to be more effective than ever in impacting the United States and Canada with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Five years into the venture, those expectations have largely been met, according to agency leaders and others involved in the reorganization. More importantly, new initiatives in evangelism, church planting, and volunteer mobilization have resulted in thousands of transformed lives — and a basis built for continued ministry effectiveness into the future.

"What we wanted to bring to the table was a willingness to look at creative strategies that perhaps hadn't been tried before," said NAMB President Robert E. Reccord. "When opportunities came we said, &#...

Southern Baptists, never short on vision or the ability to put the hopes of our hearts into inspiring words, are taking a huge step to move the Kingdom of God forward, and the goals — at the least, the measurable results — are not even laid out in advance.

At the 2002 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, messengers embraced an initiative [don't call it a program; it is not] called Empowering Kingdom Growth. EKG is immediately recognizable to South Carolina Baptists, who a decade ago rallied behind the state's version of a strategy to help build the Kingdom of God here in South Carolina by strengthening the churches and the ministries they perform. And Southern Baptist leaders began to see that what has been good for South Carolina can be good for Southern Baptists everywhere.

At the St. Louis meeting, top leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention put their signatures on a covenant calling for an "all-out concentration ...

Testimony of John Paulk

Tons of makeup, jewelry, and a blonde wig couldn't hide the pain. There was a beautiful woman staring back at me in the mirror. But that "woman" was me — John Paulk, a man. Only I never understood what being a "man" really meant. I certainly didn't learn about it the day my father took my sister and me to a park to tell us he was divorcing Mom — and then walked out of our lives. I was only five. And I didn't learn it from the guys I grew up with, either. Around them, I felt painfully insecure, different, and rejected. Since I wasn't good in sports and was effeminate, they called me names like sissy, queer, and fag.

Those names crushed me, and as a young teen, I discovered that drinking alcohol could numb the pain. But in the midst of my hurt,...

Let us consider the cases of Professor Antonio Lasaga and Professor Michael Bellesiles. Both men are professors of renown at respected universities — Bellesiles taught history at Emory, while Lasaga taught geophysics at Yale. Both men have received the distinctive praise of their peers — Bellesiles was awarded the prestigious Bancroft Prize in 2001, and Lasaga was the Saybrook College Master. Today, both men stand guilty of two very public crimes — Bellesiles' sins are academic in nature, while Lasaga's are something far more vile.

Yet it is not the actions of these two professors that begs examination, but the subsequent reaction of the academic community.

Eighteen months ago, Bellesiles published a book (Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture) claiming that, contrary to earlier research and conventional wisdom, very few early Americans actually owned firearms. He based his findings on an examination of over 11,000 probate ...

The less accountable a Christian college is to the church and the less willing the church is to hold its schools accountable the more the trend over time is away from that church's confessional position. There is good historical research to support this claim in James Burtchaell's work The Dying of the Light: The Disengagement of Colleges and Universities from Their Christian Churches.1 His study shows how nearly every Christian college in America that breaks away from accountability to the church eventually drifts away from biblical authority and has either left or is on its way to leaving Christianity itself.

Why does this drift happen? The fundamental reason lies in the answer to a basic Bible question. Where did God place the apostles and prophets, in the college or in the local church? The answer is clear. God gave the apostles and prophets to the church. They are her foundation, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:2...

As an evangelism professor, I like to ask my students how many of them have heard a sermon on the home over the past few years. Nearly every student raises a hand — and that's good. The home is a premier subject for preachers. But when I ask a follow-up question, almost without exception no students raise a hand. The question: "How many of you have heard a message explaining either how to present the gospel to a child, or how to teach your children to witness?"

Both elements of this question are vital. As a young pastor, I taught the parents of elementary age children how to use a marked New Testament to witness to their own children. I included several do's and don'ts, particularly related to pushing children too soon without avoiding their obvious spiritual questions, as well as simple counsel on how to lead a child to Jesus Christ. Over the next year several parents had the wonderful joy of helping their own older child come to Christ!

I th...

"Someone really needs to visit a little girl's parents before she leaves our daycare today to go home," the alarmed preschool announced. "She is badly upset because she believes her parents are divorcing and one of them will be gone forever when she gets home today."

The Metropolitan Baptist Church staff in Houston immediately pulled together a three-person FAITH team who went to that home and discovered the little girl had understood the situation all too well. A moving truck was already loaded and waiting to leave. The father was standing on the front porch talking to the mother who was behind the steering wheel of her packed car, preparing to pull out the driveway. The team pulled their car into the drive, blocking the mother's car. (Such a blocking maneuver is not a part of FAITH training, but it was useful that day!)

Soon the wife, husband, and the team were having a sincere and heartfelt conversation that led the team to present the gospel...

Lifting up prayers for America, its leaders, and its youth, students throughout the U.S. will join together around their school flagpoles on Wednesday, September 18 for the thirteenth annual See You at the Pole (SYATP), a grassroots prayer event that began in Texas in 1990. Students will gather around their school flagpoles at 7:00 a.m.

During the past twelve years, millions of young people have lifted voices, bended knees, and joined hands to pray for their schools as part of See You at the Pole National Day of Student Prayer, asking God to bring moral and spiritual awakening to their campuses and their countries.

"Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down" is the 2002 See You at the Pole (SYATP) theme, quoting from Isaiah 64:1-2. The prophet's cry for God to reveal Himself and "make His name known" is echoed in the fervent spirit of many teenagers as they have gathered for See You at the Pole over the years. In 2001, barely a week ...

You are a winner! Registered Prizewinner — Charles Lowery has been named the winner of $833,377 cash and will receive a check for the entire amount via registered mail. Charles Lowery is guaranteed $833,377 if you respond to this notice! The cash is now on deposit, and we will mail a check for $833,377 to (home address) via registered mail! And because so much money is at stake, I'd advise you to follow these instructions carefully! Simply remove the Grand prize validation seal from below the list of the latest winners and affix it to the entry document enclosed. Then be sure to mail the entry in the official sweepstakes envelope at once. It's that simple! And I can assure you beyond any doubt right now that if you have the grand prize-winning entry. ... You are at the top of the list just above Bill Thompson of Maysville, KY who won $713,000."

Consumer Reports investigated a sweepstakes claim. A person had been notified that he had won a prize from a lis...

The Cost Of Faith

Ron Brown, a former candidate for the head football coaching job at Stanford University, was told that he did not get the job because of his Christian convictions.

As an assistant coach at the University of Nebraska, Brown has been open about his faith in Christ. In one interview, he recounted that he enjoys sitting on the sidelines before bowl games reading the Bible. In another instance Brown commented on his weekly radio show that Christians should shower homosexuals with love in order "to win the homosexual to Christ." He also confessed his own youthful pattern of harassment toward homosexuals and condemned that behavior. Brown continued, saying that his beliefs come from the Bible, which "clearly teaches that homosexuality is dead wrong."

Upon Stanford head coach Tyrone Willingham's departure for Notre Dame, Brow...