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May 2005 Issue

The Makings of Something Extraordinary

Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch said March 22 that he's "beginning to see the makings" of "something extraordinary" within the denomination.

Welch spoke at the Tennessee Baptist Convention church planters meeting, focusing on Welch's Everyone Can Kingdom Challenge for Evangelism.

The Everyone Can campaign "is getting the same touch, the same feel about it" of a great revival, said Welch, who moved to Nashville in February expressly to generate support for evangelistic activities related to the June 21-22 SBC annual meeting.

Welch launched the Everyone Can campaign last year via a nationwide bus tour, traversing the country and urging Southern Baptists to "Win ... Witness ... & Baptize 1 MILLION" people.

Recalling what he'd heard about the famous Shantung revival, Welch confessed to the church planters he had thought something like that may never happen a...

Empowering Kingdom Growth is our overarching passion as a denomination. We want to see God use us as an instrument to expand His Kingdom. We have regularly underscored that this is not a program but a passion. Thus, it will always be anchored in prayer and will focus on spiritual awakening. Yet, we feel it is critical that we provide resources for our churches that will assist them in developing a strategic plan for fulfilling the Acts 1:8 challenge — to reach Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the Ends of the Earth. This task, we believe, was given to the local church, and the primary role of the denomination and its entities is to assist and partner with your church to accomplish this God-given mandate.

Remember that the Acts 1:8 challenge is to be accomplished simultaneously and not sequent...

Your SBC Executive Committee

A Note from Morris H. Chapman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the SBC Executive Committee

Dear Southern Baptists:

The title in each of the articles in this four-part series has begun with the phrase: Your SBC Executive Committee. Obviously, this is by design — it reflects the reality of the mindset and heart's desire of the Executive Committee. In introducing the first article, I reminded the readers that the Executive Committee is fully aware that it does not exist to serve itself; rather, it exists to serve the Southern Baptist Convention, and is in fact, an actual committee of the SBC. The Executive Committee is authorized, instructed, and commissioned to perform a number of specific functions on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention and they are listed in SBC Bylaw 18. The Executive Committee's signal purpose is "to act for the Convention ad interim (between SBC annual meetings) in all mat...

Southern Baptists' Conventions and Associations

In 1897, while on a prolonged visit in London, Mark Twain received an unexpected visit from a reporter representing the N.Y. Journal. It seems that a report concerning the illness of Twain's cousin had been misunderstood in the States, and some had wrongly concluded that Twain himself was at death's door. On that occasion, the irrepressible author penned his now-famous response:

The report of my death was an exaggeration.

In recent days it has become somewhat chic, even among some Southern Baptists, to opine that denominationalism is dead, and therefore irrelevant. Certainly, some mainline denominations have clearly shown inarguable signs of irreversible demise, and in some cases that fate might be appropriate. When a denomination en masse jettisons its God-ordained responsibility to fulfill the assignment of Acts 1:8 — when it refuses to even acknowledge the authority and validity of the very source of that command, the Word of God &mdas...

A New Assault on Human Dignity

America has been involved in an intense and culture-shaking debate over abortion that has now lasted into its fourth decade. The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court did not settle the issue at all. Far from it. That landmark exercise in judicial activism has led to the death of millions of unborn babies and left a scar across the nation's soul that will not heal until America regains its moral sense and defends the unborn.

Few genuinely new arguments have emerged from abortion advocates. Ever since the Supreme Court gave them the Roe v. Wade decision — handing them more than they had ever dreamed could be accomplished through legislation — the abortion rights movement has been stuck in an essentially defensive posture. After all, abortion on demand is now legal in all fifty states, and the nation's highest court shows no signs of a willingness to revisit the basic assumptions of the Roe decision.

Yet something...

Thomas Jefferson never knew Terri Schiavo. But his words resonate with relevance as we reflect on the roles that the state of Florida and the government of the United States have played in trying to protect her life. "The first duty of government is the protection of life, not its destruction," declared Mr. Jefferson. "The chief purpose of government is to protect life. Abandon that and you have abandoned all."

It was Jefferson who, in penning the words of the Declaration of Independence, declared that the right to life was "unalienable" because it was "endowed" to us by our Creator. Government's role, according to this revered founding father, was to "secure" the unalienable rights conferred by the Creator on his creatures.

In the hue and cry that has surrounded the controversy concerning Terri Schiavo's court-ordered death, many seem to have forgotten the role our Founding Fathers envisioned for government. Ther...

Nashville, TN

Tuesday Morning, June 21

"Everyone Can" Learn and Train Others
And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. ~ 2 Timothy 2:2 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

8:00 Inspirational Music - Combined Choir and Orchestra, The Worship Choir of First Baptist Church, Springdale, AR, The Church at Pinnacle Hills, Rogers, AR, Celebration Choir and Orchestra of First Baptist Church Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach, FL

8:10 Congregational Praise and Worship - Buster Pray, convention music director, associate pastor of worship ministries, First Baptist Church, Springdale, AR

8:15 Call to Order - Bobby Welch, president, Southern Baptist Convention, pastor, First Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, FL

Registration R...

Pastors' Conference
June 19-20, 2005
Gaylord Entertainment Center, Nashville, Tennessee

Build Up the Wall; Stand In the Gap

Sunday Evening, June 19

5:45 Worship and Praise - The Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra, Gardendale's First Baptist Church, Gardendale, AL

6:15 Welcome and Prayer - Steve Gaines, president, Pastors' Conference 2005, Gardendale's First Baptist Church

6:25 Worship and Praise - Jamie Parker, Gardendale's First Baptist Church

6:35 Message - Don Miller, Bible-Based Ministries, Fort Worth, TX

7:20 Worship and Praise - Charles Billingsley, Shadow Mountain Community Church, El Cajon, CA

7:35 Message - Voddie Baucham, Voddie Baucham Ministries, Spring, TX

8:25 Worship and Praise - Charles Billingsley

8:40 Message - Ergun Caner, Liberty ...

Stem cells are producing miraculous results without sacrificing young human beings in the process. Take Susan Fajt and Laura Dominguez, for instance.

Fajt, a paraplegic, and Dominguez, a quadriplegic, were told they would never walk again after separate debilitating automobile accidents damaged their spinal cords. However, both are beginning to do just that after transplant surgery using their own stem cells, thus adding their names to a growing list of patients being successfully treated by the cells at the center of a national debate.

Stem cells are the body's master cells that produce other cells and tissues. Their discovery has provided hope for treating a host of afflictions.

These master cells can be found in embryos and adults, as well as such sources as placentas and umbilical cord blood. Many researchers and their allies are pushing for the federal government to fund embryonic stem cell research, contending stem cells from embryos are more flexible a...

Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark" provides a glimpse of mid-19th century perfectionism. At the outset of that story, Aylmer, who has attained some stature in the scientific world, has also procured for himself a bride, Georgiana. Georgiana is an exquisitely beautiful bride — until shortly after the wedding. A tiny crimson birthmark on her face, heretofore thought "a charm," becomes for Alymer a repulsive reminder of his wife's humanity, her "liability to sin, sorrow, decay, and death ...."1 The remainder of the story concerns the impact of this perceived imperfection on first, Alymer, then Georgiana, and their relationship. Eradication of the birthmark requires a substantial price; but then, perfection always does.

Alymer and Georgiana are not alone in desiring a "higher quality of life." In 2003, the latest year for which compiled statistics are available, Americans underwent 8.3 million cosmetic pro...

We really never know how the Holy Spirit is working and what He may use to reach the soul of someone. Always have the name of Jesus on your lips and be ready to know how to share the gospel. Now may be their day of salvation. Read how the Holy Spirit took a casual statement that progressed through other events and then led to salvation of a young lady named Heather.

I can recall a startling remark that someone once said to me when I was not a Christian. At this point in my life, Jesus was little more to me than a mere story, and I did not think that the Bible was a book that people actually read anymore.

Nearly two years ago, I was at a birthday party and as one of the guests was leaving he turned to me and said, "Heather, keep your eyes focused on Jesus."

I was stunned and somewhat irritated by his bold statement, so I laughed it off and reached for another glass of wine. However, I could not stop thinking about the advice that had been given to...

Across the grasslands of East Africa live some of nature's most fascinating animals. The rhinoceros, a two-horned terror of tremendous speed, size, and agility is feared by most of the creatures of the wild. Only the buffalo bird has no fear of the rhino. These birds perch on the back of the rhino. Some even peck into the rhino's back as a woodpecker pecks on wood. Some fly around the rhino's head and others perch on its ears. The rhino doesn't attack, for he and the buffalo bird have an understanding.

Rhino's have poor eyesight and their bodies are covered with parasites which they cannot control. The flock of birds on his back does a great service by eating the parasites which are the whole of their diet. When danger is in the area the birds let out a shrill call warning the rhinos of what they cannot see. In return, they are protected from predators by one of Africa's largest mammals. That's teamwork.

During a horse-pull in Canada, one horse ...

Truth Comes Out!
Zogby Poll Counters Others, Shows Opposition to Starving Terri Schiavo

Americans apparently did not support the starvation and dehydration of Terri Schiavo after all.

A new poll by Zogby International showed the public favors protecting disabled people such as Schiavo from being denied food and water, according to The survey results contradict those of surveys conducted before Schiavo's March 31 death and commissioned by major news media organizations.

Schiavo, 41, died in a Pinellas Park, Florida, hospice thirteen days after being disconnected from a feeding tube. The severely brain-damaged woman was at the center of a battle between her husband, Michael, and parents, Bob and Mary Schindler. Her husband contended she would not have wanted to be ...