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August 2005 Issue

Adapted from the closing sermon at the Southern Baptist Convention, June 22, 2005

Charles McKinley certainly surprised the delivery man. In September, 2003, he shipped himself from New York City to Dallas in a wooden crate. When the crate was delivered to his parent's home, he started breaking out of the box. The crate had been carried by truck, plane, and delivery van. McKinley told officials that he was simply homesick and thought it would be cheaper to ship himself than to buy a ticket. He went across the country hiding in the stuff. He was fined $1,500 and sentenced to 120 days of house arrest. At the cost of that fine, he could have bought himself four roundtrips to see his parents. It does not pay to hide in the stuff.

Hiding in the stuff has become a hotbed of discussion among world security analysts. Shortly after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, Italian authorities found a suspected Al Qaeda operative inside a shipping container bound for Halifa...

My dad pastored smaller churches the majority of his ministry and, therefore, he never made a lot of money. Nevertheless, he taught us stewardship values such as giving, saving, and investing money. My mom died this past year at 88. Truthfully, the three of us children were somewhat shocked at the resources that Dad had provided for Mom. There was enough for her care and more! You see, Dad had practiced what he had preached.

It is easy for us to make excuses for why we are unable to save or invest. First, we can argue that we don't have enough money to worry about investing the extra. While I was president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I enjoyed telling the story of the black woman who took in washing to provide for her family. She not only provided for her own children, she managed to save...

The Southern Baptist Convention did not change its stance on homosexuality or homosexuals during its annual meeting in Nashville, SBC ethicist Richard Land said.

Some national media sources reported that Southern Baptists modified their stance on homosexuality during their June 21-22 sessions. "Baptists change approach on gays" was the headline in a front page article in the Nashville Tennessean. The article opened by suggesting the SBC "appears to have taken a step back from its hard-line stance on homosexuality."

The media speculation may have stemmed from such factors as:

• Messengers in Nashville dropping the SBC's boycott of The Disney Company, eight years after calling for the economic action in describing the entertainment conglomerate as "increasingly promoting immoral ideologies such as homosexuality, infidelity, and adultery."

• A resolution calling on parents and churches to "investiga...

Editors Note: Because of their particular timeliness and relevance, starting with this issue of SBC LIFE, and continuing in the next few issues, we will include a sampling of the resolutions passed at the Southern Baptist Convention.


WHEREAS, Children have been entrusted to parents by the Lord and represent our nation's future and our spiritual legacy; and

WHEREAS, God has given parents the responsibility for the upbringing and education of our children (Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:6-7); and

WHEREAS, Many negative influences are attempting to transform the moral foundation of the culture by reshaping the core values of our children, undermining historical truth, and promoting promiscuity, violence, and other immoral behaviors; and

WHEREAS, Children are vulnerable to marketing and entertainment campaigns that redefine truth, morality, a...

Under the banner of "Everyone Can," Southern Baptists June 22 launched an ambitious effort to baptize one million people in a year, capping an annual meeting that also saw an end to the Disney boycott, a special recognition of Billy Graham, and an address via satellite from President Bush.

It was the first time since 1914 that the meeting was held in Nashville, Tennessee, with the largest number of messengers since 2000. The 11,641 registered messengers were the most since 11,918 registered for the meeting in Orlando, Florida, five years ago.

Although messengers dealt with a handful of contentious iss...

It was an uncertainty that faces anyone with a possible call to missions. What will happen to those left back home?

As a young minister with a passion for missions who was considering the Journeyman program with the International Mission Board, Stephen Swofford faced the difficult dilemma. His father had just suffered a heart attack, and Swofford wrestled with the issues of life and death, sacrifice and family, calling and duty.

Eventually, God led Swofford in a different direction. But the current pastor of First Baptist Church in Rockwall, Texas, never lost his zeal for missions, and he has committed his ministry to preparing and providing for those on the frontlines of international missions.

Southern Baptists honored Swofford for his commitment and for exemplifying a cooperative missions s...

Integrity is the foundation of leadership. You only lead people if they trust you. If you lose people's trust, you've lost it all. That's why the right to lead is earned, and it's earned by being trustworthy. I think the most damaging sin a leader can commit is to betray the trust of his people.

Because Satan is on the attack, I want to share some biblical strategies for maintaining moral integrity in the ministry. In 2 Corinthians 1:12, Paul says, This is our boast. Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. What I like about this verse is that Paul says, "I have ministered with a clear conscience. Nobody can point a finger at me. Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves with integrity." I think this is a mark of a leader.

Titus 2:6 says that a leader must be blameless. That is the very first qualification...

Over the last few months, I've emphasized the reality that truly "Everyone Can" be a part of witnessing to, winning, and baptizing one million people in the coming year. I've also made the point that it boils down to each one of us recognizing that if it is going to get done, we can't expect others to do it — we must embrace an "I'm it!" attitude. The following is the testimony of one of our church members, Sara Cunningham, who attended the Southern Baptist Convention in June and truly caught the spirit.

My trip to the Convention in June with our choir was the first time I had attended an annual meeting of the SBC. On Tuesday, after singing, seven of us called a cab to take us to the Opryland Hotel. When we climbed in, we were all laughing and very talkative. Our driver was named Raad (pronounced "Rod"). As we began talking to him, we discovered that he had moved to Nashville from Iraq as a refugee in 1991. At one point, bet...

A harried mom with two out-of-control boys had been to psychologists and psychiatrists with no relief. In desperation she went to the preacher. Begging for help she told him that they were monsters. He wanted to see each boy one at a time, and not knowing how to help, the preacher decided to put the fear of God into these young boys. He asked, "Where is God?" and the boy just looked at him. Thinking that he had shocked him into silence, he asked again, "Young man, where is God?" The boy bolted out of the room, grabbed his brother, and said, "We are in big trouble now. God is missing, and they think we did it!"

Is God missing? I have seen a disturbing trend over the last thirty years of God missing from our family life.

A visiting dignitary to America commented about what impressed him. He responded that he was impressed about how well the parents obeyed their kids. Are we idolizing children to the point of worship and think that they are our hop...

A Liberal Alternative — To Truth
by Erin Curry

The newly formed Christian Alliance for Progress has entered the political landscape with a mission to present a biblical justification for socially liberal positions, including homosexual rights, abortion rights, and an end to war.

Since last November's election when the mainstream media and a broader scope of politicians suddenly focused more attention on the value of the evangelical vote, Democrats have been searching for ways to pull those voters over to their side. Meetings have been held in Washington to brief Democrats on what evangelical voters really want and how they can begin to find it outside the Republican Party.

Now the Christian Alliance for Progress, based in Jacksonville, Florida, and led by businessman Patrick Mrotek, is focusing on convincing Christians that the Democratic Party holds ideals that a...