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June 2003 Issue

If Empowering Kingdom Growth is to become more than just another of our slogans, we must be willing to grapple with the weight of this critical question: "How important is it for me, and for my church, to have Kingdom vision?"

I believe that there is nothing more important. I believe that we are at a place in history where Kingdom vision can turn the world upside down. I believe that genuine revival truly awaits us if we will unite in capturing and living out what the Bible defines as a Kingdom orientation.

So I believe the first priority of the Kingdom citizen should be, "How can I use my gifts and abilities to expand the King's rule?" Now let's be honest: Do you approach every day with this passion? Do you look at your day-planner and see "Kingdom oppo...

References to the Kingdom of God (or to the Kingdom of Heaven, or the Kingdom) are numerous in the New Testament, especially in the four Gospels.

It is a mystery why Christian teachers, preachers, scholars, and writers have devoted so little attention through the centuries to the preoccupation of the New Testament on the Kingdom of God. The question is, why have the followers of Jesus neglected to heed His prayer for the Kingdom of God to come on this earth even as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:9-13)?

For a fact, there have been those individuals over the years who have called attention to the Kingdom of God in this world, but their number has been, and continues to be, few. However, it is both encouraging and enlightening to note that references to the Kingdom of God are beginning to emerge. Let me poin...

In the Bible, the heart represents more than an organ in the body, it is a description of the whole of man. In the Holy Scripture, the heart is often used to refer to the intellectual, emotional, and volitional capacities that God uses to communicate fully with us; and these are described in reference to the center of man's being. Clearly, we can understand God intends that in our very essence we communicate completely and transparently — whole-heartedly — with Him. Empowering Kingdom Growth seeks to catalyze a movement among Southern Baptists that makes God the priority in our thoughts, our feelings, our desires, and our efforts — giving God rule and reign in our hearts.

Intellectual Heart

In Deuteronomy 6:6-7, God demands we commit Hi...

Pastors and Public Policy

Pastors have a Scriptural mandate to contend for justice and righteousness in the arena of public policy, according to Ken Connor and R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

At a time when many Christian ministers hesitate to apply the Scriptures to political issues, these two prominent evangelical leaders have devoted significant portions of their ministries to contending for Christian truth in the public square — a practice they say is demanded by the Bible.

"The Scripture tells us that we are to occupy the world and to essentially try to fashion a society that reflects the righteousness and justice of God," said Connor, who serves as president of the Family Research Council, a leading pro-family public policy organization based in Washington, D.C. "I think what has happened, sadly, in our society is through a misunderstanding of the role of church and state, too many of our pastors have bought into this notion of so-called radical separation.

"But in ...

An Effort To Save The Family

There is growing support for a Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) in which a marriage would be defined as only between a man and a woman. As cases involving the legalization of homosexual marriage crop up on the state level, proponents of the FMA are hoping to curb this trend by going straight to the Constitution, which would permanently end the assaults on marriage. The effort is led by a Virginia-based group called Alliance for Marriage, which backs the FMA. If passed, the amendment would "restrict the definition of marriage to a union between one man and one woman, and prohibit state or federal courts from forcing legislatures to award the benefits of marriage to unmarried homosexual couples," according to an April article by Focus on the Family's Citizen magazine.

Matt Daniels of the Alliance for Marriage, in the Citizen article, says that this is a key time for this amendment. "Right now, we are entering into a historic debate over the future of m...

Stark Differences Between Southern Baptists and Fred Phelps

Kansas pastor Terry Fox was in the backseat of a taxi, on his way to a Southern Baptist Convention meeting, when a group of protesters caught the cab driver's attention.

"I didn't ever think I'd see the day when Southern Baptists were called liberal," the taxi driver told Fox.

The protesters, holding large signs proclaiming "God Hates Fags," were protesting the Southern Baptist Convention. They were just a few blocks from the meeting hall, but light years from the SBC's beliefs and practices.

"I love to tell people that he's the only guy I know of that calls Southern Baptists liberal," said Fox, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Wichita, Kan.

The group of protesters was from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., a small non-Southern Baptist church headed by Fred Phelps Sr., a seventy-three-year-old man who claims he was sent by God to tell America about God's hatred of those he calls "fag...

Corruption is to be expected," journalist Roger Beaumont recently observed. "It is the inevitability of it that is so galling."

Verily. That anyone could believe in the perfectibility of man in the face of world events and everyday experience — much less build programs around it — staggers the mind.

Violence is exploding everywhere. Organized criminal syndicates, drug cartels, and terrorists now control whole nations — or create "virtual states" to challenge actual ones. Their appetite for blood and money is rivaled only by the greed of the thugs who run many supposedly legitimate governments.

"There are twenty-seven major armed conflicts taking place in the world; 1.2 billion people are living on less than one dollar a day; 2.4 billion people have no access to basic sanitation," reports David Rieff in his book, A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis, a bleak assessment of global relief work.

...

Saying "No" To Busch

America's most famous fisherman won't be hooking any year-end honors in 2003 because he won't bend the knee to Busch.

Jimmy Houston, a deacon at First Southern Baptist Church in the eastern Oklahoma town of Keys, and host of the ESPN2 television series Jimmy Houston Outdoors, refused to wear a Busch beer apparel patch and add a Busch decal to his boat at three recent Bass Angler Sportsman Society (BASS) professional events.

Consequently, Houston has forfeited points needed to qualify for the prestigious BASS Master's Classic tournament and a potential Angler of the Year prize worth $100,000.

Of 182 BASS anglers, Houston has been the one of very few to refuse the Busch logos.

BASS signed Bus...

Christians should be "dangerous for the Lord Jesus Christ" in an age when people are increasingly hostile to the gospel, Southern Baptist Convention President Jack Graham said March 6 at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

"What is needed today is courageous Christian faith," Graham told a chapel audience at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus. "... As we live now in this 21st century in a world full of terror and turbulence, we find ourselves in the midst of a future that may include persecution as we've never known it."

Fears of persecution, however, will not deter courageous Christians, said Graham, pastor of the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church.

"Once you settle the issue of life and death, once you realize that your security is in the Lord Jesus Christ, there are things that are worse than death — and one of them is cowardice," Graham said.

"When you get into the fire, Jesus will get in...

Standing in the small jewelry store downtown, it dawned on me. This small business represents the backbone of our economy. It will never be written up in Forbes, make the Fortune 500, or be offered as a public stock. It just continues serving its local community year in and year out.

Suppose this were a religious jewelry store. I can hear the president of the local Chamber. "Two-thirds of our businesses are plateaued or declining," he would say. Building to his climax, he would thunder, "They are just doing business as usual!"

It is refreshing, on the other hand, to hear from the President of the Kingdom: The kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability .... (Matthew 25:14-15)

Was the one-talent steward less valuable to the Kingdom than the two-tale...

"We'll Be There"

As severe weather continued to move through the Midwest and South, Baptist relief workers were in place to help with clean-up efforts following one of the most destructive storm systems in recent years.

At least forty-two people have been confirmed dead after numerous tornadoes — more than eighty according to published reports — tore through Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee May 4, 5, and 6.

At first reports of the storms, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief units began mobilizing and moving into the affected areas.

"There is a tremendous need for our skills," said Gary Morrow, in charge of disaster relief for the Missouri convention. "It will take a lot of manpower to help with the recovery, and we'll be there."

President Bush expressed condolences to the victims of the tornadoes.

"The federal government will be moving as quickly as we possibly can to provide help where help is needed and where ...

NAMB Missionaries Commissioned
by James Dotson

A group of fifty-seven North American Mission Board missionaries was commissioned at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Atlanta May 4, symbolizing the prayer and financial support of both the local church and Southern Baptists across the country.

The missionaries serve in partnership with state conventions and local associations to plant churches, coordinate associational missions efforts, minister amid inner-city poverty, and otherwise work to see individuals come to faith in Christ.

Two missionaries interviewed by Bryant Wright, pastor of the north Atlanta congregation, illustrated the diversity of the group.

Britton Elliott is a missions ministry consultant with the Spartanburg (S.C.) County Baptist Network, working to mobilize churches and volunteers for joint missions efforts.

...

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary

The work of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary's Phoenix campus will be highlighted during the seminary's June 18 Alumni and Friends Luncheon.

Seminary President William O. Crews will be the featured speaker, and this year's Distinguished Alumni Award recipient will be announced.

The luncheon will be at 12 p.m. Wednesday and will be held in the Phoenix Civic Plaza's Tucson Room 36/37/38. Tickets, at $10 per person, will be available at the seminary's booth in the SBC exhibit hall.

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Baptist hospital workers William Koehn and Martha Myers, who were killed in Yemen last December, will be honored posthumously as Honorary Alumni of the Year during Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's June 18 luncheon in Phoenix. Koehn attended the Kansas City, Mo., seminary in 1974 and Myers a...

Southern Baptists applied this evangelistic strategy more than 1,600 times last year in the U.S. and Canada. Thousands of IMB missionaries are using it. SEBTS President Paige Patterson keeps encouraging his students to use it in New Hampshire. Former Pastors' Conference president Johnny Hunt keeps sending his church members away to do it (locally and in Las Vegas!). What is "it?"

They planted churches. They were involved with what some church growth analysts have called "the single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven."1

Church planting is catching the attention of more and more evangelical Christians. Why? Because the need in North America is great, new churches add value to our denomination and build the Kingdom, the Bible teaches church planting, and new churches have proven to be extremely effective in fulfilling the Great commission. People are planting new churches because new churches are part of God&#...

During the National Religious Broadcaster's sixtieth annual convention, Rev. Adrian Rogers, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., was presented with NRB's highest honor — a place in the Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame induction took place on Feb. 10 in Nashville. More than 6,000 communicators and broadcasters were gathered for the ceremony. According to the NRB vice president, the award is presented to an individual who, for a significant period of time, has made an invaluable contribution to the field of Christian communication

Rogers began his broadcast ministry in 1951 in Fort Pierce, Fla. He purchased air time with his own money and preached a weekly program called The Closer Walk Hour.

In 1987, Love Worth Finding debuted on seventeen TV stations and nineteen radio stations. Today, the program is broadcast on more than 14,000 TV outlets and 2,000 radio stations across America and in 120 nations worldwide. Love Worth ...

You're going to love this story! Rev. Marshall Fagg is pastor of Forestville Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C. where FAITH Sunday School Evangelism strategy is their ministry approach. Rev. Bob Mathis of that church told me this astounding story concerning his Sunday School FAITH team.

Early in our FAITH semester our FAITH team had an assignment to visit a lady named Sadie. Sadie is the mother of one of our members and he was interested in assurance of Sadie's salvation. Sadie lived about forty-five minutes from our church and it was fall - so it took us past sundown to arrive. It looked as if no one was at home but after the long drive we were determined to knock on the door.

A teenage boy answered the door and kindly told us that he was Sadie's grandson, but she was not at home. He invited us in and after some conversation our team shared the gospel with him using the simple FAITH outline, and he prayed and asked Jesus into his heart!

The fo...

Growing up as a Southern Baptist pastor's kid, most church events were mandatory and Vacation Bible School was no exception. If the pastor's kid failed to show up for Vacation Bible School, most kids would use my absence as their excuse to pitch a wailing fit.

At the time, I remember thinking the best thing about Vacation Bible School was the "summer missionaries." Our summer missionaries were usually very pretty, soft-spoken college girls who had volunteered their summer to help.

The missionaries usually stayed with our family and, if I was lucky, they would teach my fifth-grade boys' class. Each year I became so hooked on their Southern accents, that I annually gave God my solemn vow to become a minister. What a great debt I owe to them.

My father pulled out the stops when it came to advertising, and VBS brought out the entire community. Our school was filled with kids — girls who wanted to give their hearts to Jesus and boys who wa...

A little boy and his mother went out to eat. When the waitress asked him what he wanted, he glanced at his mother and quickly said, "I want a big hamburger." His mother looked at the waitress and said, "Bring him roast beef." The waitress looked at him and said, "What do you want with your hamburger?" He said "Fries." His mother said, "Give him mashed potatoes." The waitress then said, "What would you like to drink with that hamburger and fries?" He replied, "A big coke." His mom said, "Bring him milk." A few minutes later the waitress showed up with the hamburger, fries, and coke. The boy looked at his mother and said, "She thinks I'm real." Children certainly are real. In fact, sometimes they are real bad.

You say, "Wait a minute. Jesus says we are to come into the Kingdom as little children." He was not talking about performance. A predominant fact about babies is that they are a...

Baptist Press Archived in Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has informed Baptist Press that the Southern Baptist Convention news service has been selected for an Internet archive about Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The official notification forwarded to Baptist Press from the Library of Congress stated in part:

"The United States Library of Congress preserves the Nation's cultural artifacts and provides enduring access to them. The Library's traditional functions, acquiring, cataloging, preserving, and serving collection materials of historical importance to the Congress and to the American people to foster education and scholarship, extend to digital materials, including websites. The Library has selected your site for inclusion in the historic collection of the 2003 War on Iraq Internet materials. On behalf of the Library of Congress, the Internet ...