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November 2005 Issue

While trudging through the rubble of a broken community in Gulfport, Mississippi, after Hurricane Katrina, Bobby Welch caught a glimpse of two tiny legs with blue tennis shoes and a flowery skirt lying under some debris.

"I got down on my knee and began to scratch around in the mess there, and I dug out this tiny little baby doll," Welch, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told Executive Committee members as he held up a small, dirty doll. "That thing has been through everything imaginable. I can't imagine all the junk that's in it. It's just matted.

"Here in one place it has somebody's receipt from a restaurant or gas station or something. Over here's a piece of cardboard and everything else, and the big white piece here — the largest piece &...

With the chief executives of Southern Baptists' national entities standing behind him in support, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley, September 19, thanked Southern Baptists for their "sacrificial commitment" to repairing the hurricane-ravaged campus.

Southern Baptists, he added, have a rare and unique opportunity to impact the city for Christ.

He spoke to Executive Committee members minutes after a historic vote ensured that several million dollars will assist in repairing the seminary, which was badly damaged by the flooding of Hurricane Katrina and has moved its offices temporarily to Decatur, Georgia.

"I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you have done ... in helping us climb a mountain that looks awfully high ...

SBC Entities Respond to Katrina

The chief executives of Southern Baptists' national entities stood across the stage behind New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley to show their support when he reported to Executive Committee members September 19 on the condition of the institution he leads.

The Great Commission Council, which is composed of these same entity heads, unanimously supported a recommendation by Executive Committee President Morris H. Chapman that the Executive Committee use beyond-the-budget Cooperative Program contributions for SBC national causes, received for the 2004-05 fiscal year ending September 30 and during the first quarter of the new fiscal year, to support disaster relief efforts.

The overage normally would be apportioned for each of their entities. The Executive Committee voted to ...

Aboard a private jet, a rescue helicopter, and a layman's SUV, SBC President Bobby Welch made his third visit to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast.

Accompanying Welch into New Orleans, when half the city was still under water, were David Hankins, executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention; Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans; and Stephen Trammell, pastor of Florida Boulevard Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.

Arriving by car at Williams Boulevard Baptist Church in Kenner, the visitors walked into the church's family life center to see about one hundred state troopers, city police, and other law enforcement officers from across the country being housed at the church for their post-Katrina operations.

Across the street was Troop B headquarters of t...

"Who needs Jesus? If you're lost and need Jesus, come over here."

That's what George Swaringen was saying at the end of a food line at First Baptist Church in Pascagoula, Mississippi, when Morris H. Chapman, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee and a Mississippi native, arrived at the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief feeding station there.

"I tell the people, 'You've got bread and water from the food line. But I'm passing out the Bread and Water of life,'" Swaringen, a member of Antioch Baptist Church in Woodbury, Georgia, told Chapman. Swaringen had already led several people to Christ — one while Chapman was on-site.

"George, Southern Baptists praise God for men like you," Chapman said. "We love ...

I have just completed two years of working together with Southern Baptists to discover and join God in His Kingdom activity. I have been privileged to speak to local churches, associations, state conventions, agencies, and other assembled groups about God's Kingdom. I have repeatedly indicated that I believe that the Empowering Kingdom Growth focus is one of the most significant events in our Baptist history.

I often find it hard to explain what EKG is about since it is not a program emphasis and we have been program-driven for so long it is hard to change the paradigm. I have often stated that EKG is about spiritual awakening, and thus, it is dependent on prayer and the manifest power of God. Further, I have often stated that it would be amazing to see what South...

Kenyn M. Cureton, a pastor of nearly twenty years who has been at the forefront of the voter values movement, was elected September 19 as vice president for Convention Relations for the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee.

The senior pastor of the Nashville-area First Baptist Church in Lebanon, Tennessee, told members of the Executive Committee after their unanimous vote, "I'm excited about this new phase in my service to Christ, and I look forward to sharing the good news about Southern Baptists — with Southern Baptists and the world."

Cureton, 42, who will begin his new duties by November 1, succeeds Bill Merrell, who now serves the Executive Committee as senior executive advisor.

Executive Committee President Morris H. Chapman, in presenting Cureton, described him as "a man of high intellect ... [who] knows the Word of God ... [and has] a deep love for our Lord Jesus Christ."

Chapman also said Cureton ...

Resisting That Perilous Push

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. ~ Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

We all need to feel that we have a place of significance. But needing to have significance in God's Kingdom is not the villain that torments us — in fact, God made us with this wholesome desire for value and significance. This desire is not sinful in and of itself.

The place where we run our train off the tracks is when we assume we can orchestrate our own importance through clever management of our ministry by performance and by acquiring some degree of power.

At this point we need the words of Jeremiah. Jeremiah's counsel to Baruch is timely in our day: But as for you, do you seek great things for yourself? Stop seeking! (Jeremiah 45:5, HCSB).

Worthy Ambition

There is such a thing as honorable ambition, but honorable ambition should be r...

Editor's Note: Because of their particular timeliness and relevance, we have included a sampling of the resolutions passed at the Southern Baptist Convention.


WHEREAS, Members of the United States military and allied forces continue to be aggressively engaged in the ongoing global war on terror; and

WHEREAS, Our troops play a vital role in preserving and protecting freedom in the United States and throughout the world; and

WHEREAS, The sacrificial efforts of our military personnel have made it possible for some nations formerly ruled by dictators to hold democratic elections, ushering in a new era of freedom for the people of those nations; and

WHEREAS, The president has been forced to make difficult decisions that place our servicemen and servicewomen in harm's way; and

WHEREAS, The president has shown cou...

Someone's Eternity, Family, and Life's Calling Depends On It!

Do you ever wonder if your efforts to present the gospel are really worth it — especially, if you don't see immediate results? Well, if you've ever had doubts, just read the testimony of Eric Tichenor from Richland Creek Community Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina. It should inspire you to start searching for new opportunities.

As I step back and look at my life, I am amazed because I am living it for the Lord. That's not something I could say four years ago, but today I can say that. It started about five and a half years ago with three people knocking on my door. I didn't know the Word of God, and I didn't grow up in a Christian home. The only knowledge I had of John 3:16 was that guy with the rainbow haircut at football games. That's all. It never even crossed my mind to go look it up in the Bible. I couldn't have quoted that verse to save my life. It struck me as they shared the gospel with me that night my reaction to Christianity an...

A lady whose house was in the path of a hurricane had heard on television that God answers prayer. Although a nonbeliever, she prayed that God would spare her house. After the hurricane swept through, she found that her house had been completely destroyed. She was devastated and angry that God had not spared her home. She wrote to a newspaper that she could not understand why God had not spared her home when Christians had said, "Just pray — your prayers will be answered." She wondered where God was. The editor responded, "I am not sure where God was, but He was probably responding to His regular customers."

We laugh because we are God's regular customers. Yet the Bible teaches that even regular customers will suffer difficulties. Remember several years ago, when the Dallas Cowboys were in the Super Bowl (well, more than a couple of years), one of Dallas' linemen recovered a fumble and raced toward the end zone. Before he crossed the end zone, he star...

Small Church, Big Impact

Tumbling Creek Baptist Church may not be the largest church in the Southern Baptist Convention, but its members are making an impact on those affected by Hurricane Katrina. So far, the rural Tennessee church, which averages two hundred in worship, has given more than $20,000 to recovery efforts.

The church has sent a $10,000 check to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and another $10,000 check to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. The church also is helping a displaced family and even donated two chain saws to their association's disaster relief team.

Gene Price has been pastor of Tumbling Creek for twenty-one years — it was his first pastorate after seminary. The church, located between Gleason and McKenzie, Tennessee, had the blessing of moving into new facilities in 1994, paying off their debt a short time later. T...