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May 2003 Issue

Maximizing Church-to-Church Partnerships

Participants in the annual evangelistic effort surrounding the Southern Baptist Convention this June will have opportunities to touch more than just the immediate Phoenix area with the gospel of Christ. This year the whole state is getting involved.

Crossover Arizona will bring block parties, door-to-door visits, and additional innovative evangelistic efforts to the metropolitan Phoenix area June 14 — the Saturday before the June 17-18 convention. The following weekend churches in other parts of the state will sponsor similar events.

Jerry Martin, state coordinator for Crossover Arizona and director of missions for Valley Rim Baptist Association in Mesa, said pairs of Arizona churches will partner with each other on successive weekends. Most of the national volunteers are expected for June 14, although the second weekend does give volunteers more options for both date and location.

"Here in Arizona we see it as a way to ge...

Kenneth S. Hemphill announced his retirement as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary April 8 to take a new position as national strategist for the Southern Baptist Convention's Empowering Kingdom Growth movement.

Hemphill's new work, after nine years as president of Southwestern, will be a joint venture with the SBC Executive Committee and LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tenn., to begin this summer.

Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee, and LifeWay President James T. Draper Jr. — both Southwestern graduates — expressed a mix of sadness that their alma mater was losing its leader and enthusiasm that Hemphill is joining their staffs to undergird the SBC-wide Empowering Kingdom Growth initi...

From opening remarks by Morris H. Chapman in the President's Address to the SBC Executive Committee, February 17, 2003

Empowering Kingdom Growth is not in and of itself a revival. Empowering Kingdom Growth in and of itself is not a spiritual awakening. In fact, Empowering Kingdom Growth in no way implies that we will empower ourselves or that we will empower others. Who has the power to empower God's people? Only God Himself.

Empowering Kingdom Growth has not been promoted as a program. We have called it a process, and I've discovered that it's a lot more easily understood to be a program than a process. First of all, we're accustomed to talking ...

Nobility, Courage, and Comfort in Time of War

The atmosphere tingles with anticipation. Ordnance crews on the flight deck of the USS Harry S. Truman work quickly and efficiently to load guided missiles into dozens of aircraft, including F/A-18 Hornets and F-14 Tomcats. Hours from now, under cover of darkness, fighter pilots will carry them to final destinations — targets located somewhere in western Iraq.

Below the flight deck, it looks much different than what is happening above. Sailors walk quickly through the various passages and hatches of the ship, tending to the specific jobs and duties they've been trained to do. Along the way, many of them greet a familiar and often comforting figure aboard ship, Commander Doyle W. Dunn, command chaplain for the aircraft carrier.

Dunn, a Southern Baptist and graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, oversees a staff of three junior chaplains and fifteen lay leaders through the ship's religious ministries department for the 5,000 sailors a...

I don't like fish.

My wife loves fish, but she's always a bit superstitious about cooking it. She claims that the chaplain's duty pager routinely interrupts our fish dinners.

Emerging from the house one Saturday afternoon, she interrupted my yard work by fashioning a "time-out" signal with her hand and my beeper.

"It's the base," I said reading the number. "Mortuary Affairs Office."

"Let me guess, I won't be cooking fish tonight?" she called as I ran toward the house to shower.

"Don't slice the lemon just yet!"

Thirty minutes later, I was in my dress uniform meeting with our death notification team. Composed of a lawyer, a chaplain, and a doctor, the team seemed more like the predictable beginning of a Bob Hope joke.

Only this jokeless script, delivered by our commander, read:

"Are you Mrs. John E. Jones?"

"Yes.&quo...

An Interview with Danny Akin

SBC LIFE You have a book coming out with a rather provocative title: God on Sex. Why did you write this book?

Akin We live in a sex-saturated culture. The sexual revolution that took off in the 1960s did not deliver what it promised. Rather than experiencing liberation and freedom, the actual results have been broken hearts, disappointment, and confusion. Sex was God's idea. It is a good gift from a great God. We need to get the word out that God says sex is a good thing when we follow His plan for it. The Song of Songs (also known as the Song of Solomon) beautifully addresses this. My goal is to provide a popular verse-by-verse study of this much-neglected book that would help us see what God really thinks about sex, romance, and marriage.

SBC LIFE Some people might be surprised to hear that the Bible has somet...

Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday Morning, June 17

O Worship the King
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to the God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. ~ I Timothy 1:17

8:15 Inspirational Music - Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, TX, Celebration Choir and Orchestra, R. Todd Bell, minister of music and worship

8:25 Congregational Praise and Worship - Jim Van Matre, associate pastor/minister of music and worship, FBC, Jonesboro, GA

8:30 Call to Order - Jack Graham, president, Southern Baptist Convention, pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, TX

Registration Report and Constitution of the Convention - James H. (Jim) Wells, SBC registration secretary, director of missions, Tri County Baptist Associatio...

Pastors' Conference 2003
June 15-16, 2003
Phoenix Civic Plaza, Phoenix, Arizona

Building Kingdom Families

Sunday Evening, June 15
Building Kingdom Families In America

5:30 Pre-Session Praise - Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra, Chapel Choir and Orchestra, FBC, Dallas, TX

6:00 Welcome - Mac Brunson, president, Pastors' Conference 2003, FBC, Dallas, TX

6:05 Prayer - Donald Brunson, Jr.

6:10 Congregational Praise - Keith Ferguson, minister of music, FBC, Dallas, TX

6:20 Musical Worship - Wintley Phipps

6:25 Message - Hank Williams, evangelist, Hank W...

Seven Pillars of a Kingdom Family

After almost three years of study, the SBC Council on Family Life will present a standard to which they are encouraging every Southern Baptist family to aspire. The document, titled The Seven Pillars of a Kingdom Family begins by calling upon families to "glorify God by surrendering every area of life to Him." It culminates with a call for each of us to share our faith within our family, then "join with them and others in specific activities which cultivate a passion for fulfilling the Great Commission."

At the Kingdom Family Rally which will be hosted by the SBC Pastor's Conference on Monday evening prior to the annual meeting of the SBC, participants will be introduced to the "Seven Pillars" by the use of media, exciting messages and testimonies, and endorsements by individuals internationally known for their emphasis on the family. Stirring presentations will center on each of the Seven Pillars and a call for Southern Bapti...

Peggy, the lady who among a million other things arranges my travel, had already alerted me about possible trouble ahead on this trip. "Pastor, as soon as your plane lands you'll need to go as quickly as possible to a driver who will be waiting to rush you on to the conference to speak. You'll have absolutely no time to waste."

The driver's welcome was, "Hi, I'm Sam and my job is to get you to the meeting on time to preach. It's twenty-five miles away, and we're already behind schedule." Immediately I liked Sam. He was bright eyed, energetic, casually dressed, straight-forward, and an athletic looking young married man.

"Brother Bobby, I've been in FAITH Sunday School Evangelism Training for several semesters and it has changed my life!" he declared. Now, I doubly liked Sam! As we briskly exited the airport and walked toward the curb, he said, "Jump in!" My puzzled reply was, "Jump into what?" He...

Wading and fishing the rivers of my Ozark childhood, I thought I knew what it was like to wade in too deep and be swept away by the powerful current.

I didn't.

The true reality of that experience only became mine when I waded into the rivers of China's lost humanity and found myself swept into the depths of both their lostness and God's great salvation.

There are more lost people in China than in any other nation on earth: 1.2 billion. The number staggers us but not Christ and not His Church there. The Chinese church, in its many-faceted expressions is strong and fervent while at the same time harassed and oppressed. It also is humbling in its passion.

Recently, a worker sought to discover if there were any believers in an unreached Chinese mega-city. Finding a few, he offered training in evangelism and church planting. The four who showed up were dirty and scruffy. He was discouraged. At a loss as to where to start, he pulled back the cur...

Not long ago I was at a hamburger place in Wichita Falls, Texas, drinking a Diet Coke. I had a few extra minutes and was looking over my notes for a message that night. In a booth next to me were a young boy and his dad — or his stepdad — I wasn't sure which. I had the feeling that it was one of those court-ordered Sunday-afternoon-with-dad days. Things were not going well. It seemed like it was an afternoon outing and the young boy would be returned to his mom later that afternoon. Things were tense and nothing was going right.

As you can see, I was eavesdropping. He was telling his dad that he was doing well, but his dad was finding something wrong with everything. You might say that this young boy was looking to be blessed, but the dad was blasting instead. This little boy occasionally looked my way, and I smiled at him. I think he first noticed me when I closed my eyes to bless my food. The more he talked, the more he looked my way. I have noticed over the years ...

Wicca: Casting a Spell Over College Students

Fox News reported in a December 12, 2002 article that pagan and Wiccan ceremonies seem to be growing and gaining more participants among U.S university students.

Anthony Paige, a recent graduate from SUNY-Purchase, was quoted in the report as saying that Wicca appeals to some college students because "there is no sense of sin." Paige started a Wicca group on his campus. "There is a karmic law, but there's no scorn or condemnation," said Paige, who was raised a Roman Catholic and whose book Rocking the Goddess, Campus Wicca for the Student Practioner profiles college-age pagans.

The article defined Wicca as a neo-Pagan nature religion influenced by pre-Christian beliefs that affirms the existence of magic and of both gods and goddesses.

"There is a cultural shift with college students identifying the...