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November 2004 Issue

Kingdom Challenge for Evangelism

The twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City come crashing down amid a video montage of crises and catastrophes that is shown whenever Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch begins another rally for his "Everyone Can Kingdom Challenge for Evangelism."

The sight of people jumping from the burning towers on September 11, 2001, stirred him to wonder aloud, "Where will they hit?" Welch recounted during the opening session of the SBC Executive Committee's September 20-21 meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.

Then he asked, "Where will they go?" as he wondered about their souls.

And then: "I wonder if anyone talked to them about their eternal destiny before they went to work that day."

Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, repeated his thoughts to every crowd he addressed on his fifty-state evangelism campaign to raise awareness among Southern Baptists of the urgent nee...

As the Kingdom calendar counts down to the day that Christ returns, Southern Baptists must lead in awakening the church to be on mission with God for the redemption of the nations, Ken Hemphill, national strategist for the Southern Baptist Convention's Empowering Kingdom Growth emphasis, said.

"Why are we redeemed? So many Baptists, when I ask them the question, respond with one of two answers: To get out of hell or to go to heaven," Hemphill said in his address during the opening session of the Executive Committee's September 20-21 meeting. "And what we've got is an unfilled gap in the middle. Somehow they know they're out of hell and they've got a destiny for heaven, but 80 percent of our people are unengaged in the present time. About 80 percent of the people ...

We all have some idea of the power of light. As a child we may have marveled when a new restaurant or car dealer announced a grand opening with a powerful search light. If you have ever been at sea at night and witnessed the power of the strobe light pulsing from a lighthouse, you know something of both the power and importance of light.

One of my childhood memories illustrates the power of light. We lived on a small farm — outside my bedroom window, about thirty yards away, was a large weeping willow tree. My dad had mounted a security light further down the path from the tree. As I lay in bed one windy night the menacing shadows cast by that light began to creep across the walls and floor of my bedroom. As the winds began to howl those willow-tree shadows took on the shape and size of monsters! My heart...

Doing What We're Supposed to Do

Sometimes "It's a God-thing" truly is the only explanation.

Robert E. (Bob) Reccord, president of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board, heard in late June that a middle school principal in the Bronx would like classrooms painted in her 100-year-old school.

Reccord caught a vision of hundreds of Southern Baptist volunteers painting the interior of the school — which is the size of a city block and five stories high.

"Let's do it!" Reccord said to Mickey Caison and Randy Creamer of NAMB's volunteer mobilization unit, believing it would help build credibility in an area where Southern Baptists are not well known.

Though ordinarily a much smaller project would be a year or more in the planning, the Bronx school project was organized in less than a month — and completed in less than two.

New Hope New York, the Strategic Focus Cities initiative now in its implementation year, pl...

Doing What We're Supposed to Do

When the World Changers crew in Jackson, Mississippi, arrived on Monday morning at their worksite to start roofing a home, their materials had not yet arrived. But with World Changers, the unexpected doesn't always mean that God isn't working.

Rather than just sitting and waiting, the teens went to a nearby YMCA and discovered multiple opportunities for making a difference. Through the relationships they formed, by the end of the week forty children had received Christ.

While that incident was unusual, the principles it illustrates are at the heart of World Changers, which this summer involved 23,672 students and adults in eighty-seven projects in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. While serving at 1,674 separate construction sites and 154 ministry sites, students also saw 1,298 individuals make professions of faith in Jesus Christ.

World Changers is a pre-packaged mission experience sponsored by the North American Mission Board that allows stu...

Doing What We're Supposed to Do

More than 1,500 Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers from twenty-five states were cooking meals, cutting up fallen trees, and providing childcare in six states in the path of destruction left by Hurricane Ivan from the Florida Panhandle to the Midwest.

Burton said Southern Baptists were providing an average of 50,000 meals a day in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Ohio.

As of October 4, SBC volunteers, the third-largest disaster relief force in the country, had been actively responding for nearly nine weeks, providing 2.1 million meals to that point and completing more than 6,300 cleanup and recovery projects in the wake of four major hurricanes. In addition, they were asked to help both the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army staff their mobile kitchens and drive their delivery vehicles.

Disaster relief officials continue to ask Southern Baptists to pray for the victims and for the thousands of volunteers serving in ext...

Thanking Southern Baptists along with other faith-based groups such as the Salvation Army, President George W. Bush visited hurricane-stricken Florida for the fifth time in six weeks September 29-30, eyeing damage to a citrus farm in Lake Wales hit by three of four hurricanes since August 13, before visiting with a Southern Baptist disaster relief worker in Stuart.

"Despite week after week of strain, faith-based groups, like Southern Baptists and the Salvation Army, are setting up kitchens to feed the hungry," Bush acknowledged in Lake Wales September 29, while also bringing attention to the Red Cross and the National Guard for operating shelters, distributing supplies, and keeping the streets safe.

Bush also mentioned the Southern Baptist Convention's relief efforts during a September 30 appearance at the Martin County Red Cross headquarters in Stuart, battered by both hurricanes Frances and Jeanne.

According to Florida Baptist Convention Disaster R...

Read Through the Bible in One Year

Because messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Indianapolis June 15-16 voted overwhelmingly to declare 2005 as "The Year of the Bible," Broadman & Holman will distribute a special edition of their new translation of the Bible specifically geared toward reading the complete Scriptures in one calendar year.

Resolution No. 7 on the Holman Christian Standard Bible stated in part, "Southern Baptists have been historically and continually committed to the authority, sufficiency, and inerrancy of the Bible, and have upheld God's Word as 'a lamp for my feet and a light on my path' (Psalm 119:105 HCSB) and the source of revealed truth (John 17:17)."

Messengers therefore resolved in part to designate 2005 as "The Year of the Bible" and to urge every Southern Baptist to read through the Bible during that year.

To support the resolution, Broadman & Holman Publishers, the trade book division of LifeWay ...

Remembering What God Did in Wales 100 Years Ago

One hundred years after the Welsh revival of 1904 the heart-cry of millions is, "Lord, do it again!"

The eye-witness descriptions of the Welsh revival make our hearts burn as we are told how the glory of the Lord fell on church after church across the little principality of Wales. In time the revival had impacted much of the English-speaking world. The results were astonishing. The Welsh revival was to have an incredible worldwide impact.

Edwin Orr is thought by many to have the best knowledge of the history of revivals. He has written much on the subject as a recognized authority, particularly on the subject of the Welsh revival. He calls it "the worldwide awakening of the early twentieth century."

The twentieth-century started with the remarkable outpouring of the Spirit. May future generations observe that the twenty-first century started the same way! But for that to happen, we must become people of holy desperation. The warning is that li...

The Committee on Nominations does not meet until March 10-11, 2005, but its work has begun under the leadership of its chairman, Wayne Lee. Information packets have been mailed to each member from the offices of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention and committee members have begun enlisting names to consider for the trustee and committee vacancies that will occur effective at the end of the SBC annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, June 21-22, 2005.

The process required by the SBC Bylaws is as follows: 1) The president of the Southern Baptist Convention appoints the Committee on Committees, 2) The Committee on Committees nominates the Committee on Nominations [two members from each qualified state] to the messengers attending the next annual meeting of the Convention, 3) During the following year the Committee on Nominations reviews the qualification of potential nominees to fill SBC trustee and committee vacancies whose names are brought to their attention...

They say God always hears a mother's prayer. I believe that to be true. A mother knows how to pray for her kids. She is always asking the Lord to send someone to encourage them and lead them back to their faith or lead them to the Lord. So don't let up; keep on keeping on 'till Jesus returns!

My name is Greg, and I was raised in a denomination other than Baptist. In high school and through college I always had weekend jobs that kept me out of church, not that I really wanted to go anyway. My praying mother would attempt to get me back into the 'active' Christian mode, but I was just too busy for it.

Years later, after getting married and having two kids, my marriage was not what it should have been. My wife and I were missing something in our lives, despite having financial security in our jobs, a new house, and two healthy, wonderful kids. We didn't know what it was, until a friend called us one Sunday morning to invite us to church. We came...

A man joined a unique monastery in which for the first ten years he could only speak two words. For the next ten years he could only speak two more words, and so on. After his first ten years he said, "Hard bed." After the next ten years he said, "Bad food." After ten more years he said, "I quit." The rest of the monks said, "We figured that. You've been complaining ever since you got here."

In Mexico there are natural springs in which hot springs are next to cold springs. The women in the area can wash their clothes in the cold springs and rinse in the hot. One tourist remarked that Mother Nature sure is generous to provide hot and cold water, and he thought that visitors would be grateful. Villagers responded that they weren't grateful; visitors grumbled that they weren't provided with soap.

We complain and are negative in this world — and unfortunately our churches aren't much different.

A pastor w...

CP Giving Grows by 3.64 Percent, Best One-Year Gain in Four Years

Cooperative Program giving in the 2003-04 fiscal year reached a record level, increasing more than 3.64 percent, compared to a 0.48 percent increase recorded in 2002-03.

Founded in 1925, the Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists' method of supporting missions and ministry efforts of state and regional conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention.

For the fiscal year ending September 30, receipts to the Cooperative Program totaled $189,865,254.85, an increase of $6,663,560.71 over the 2002-03 amount of $183,201,694.14 and the largest increase since the 1999-2000 fiscal year. Designated giving for fiscal year 2003-04 totaled $189,010,267.59, 13.87 percent, or $23,024,301.02, above gifts of $165,985,966.57 received for 2002-03.

While Cooperative Program giving has reached record levels in recent years, it ...