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August 2006 Issue

In a sermon focused on witnessing, baptizing, and Cooperative Program missions, Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch concluded his two years of service June 14 at the SBC's annual meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Preaching from the John 6:1-14 account of the young boy whose five loaves and two fishes ultimately fed five thousand people, Welch often repeated the word "more."

After reading the passage aloud, Welch said Jesus looked at the crowd and wanted more souls to save.

"Isn't it a wonderful thought that Jesus always has an eye for the crowd?" Welch asked. "He's looking out for the multitude."

Revealing his concern that Southern Baptists aren't looking at the multitudes of non-Christians with ...

SBC Executive Committee President and Chief Executive Officer Report to the Southern Baptist Convention, June 13, 2006

My hope for our Convention is simple. It runs upon one premise. It rides upon one purpose. It rests upon one person. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.

Our commission for sending missionaries to the ends of the earth is to scatter the seed of the Gospel. Our compulsion to scatter the seed is the transforming power of Jesus' death on the Cross.

But we have to ask ourselves, "Are we unprepared to saturate the earth with the Gospel?" Sometimes we seem better prepared to compete than to cooperate, to boast than to be brokenhearted, to stand proudly in the synagogue than to kneel at the altar, to judge than to be judged, to call for repentance than to repent.

Listen to Acts 3:19, Repent, then, and turn to God, so that yo...

June 27, 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

To be writing this letter is part of a truly overwhelming experience. Having never sought nor wanted this position, I find myself begging God for wisdom, direction, and discernment. I ask that you pray for me in the days ahead. I believe that our Convention is truly at a crossroads. While affirming biblical inerrancy and sound doctrine, we must also realize that God wants us to apply the Word that we have fought to defend. The need is great! Our Convention has fallen among dry times, and this is evidenced in many ways.

Would you pray with me this following prayer.

LORD, SEND YOUR REVIVING SPIRIT ...

... to transform churches.

We need help as churches. Let us call for God's Holy Spirit to re-energize our Sunday Schools, worship services, our ministries and programs, as well as the families within our churches.

... to energize evangelism.

How we desp...

Dear Southern Baptists! Thank you a million times a million for the unspeakable privilege of serving you the last two years as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. While I earnestly plead for your continual prayers, please, please begin now to pray long and hard for our new president, Dr. Frank Page. Recently I've been asked several questions from across the Convention which, in a fashion, summarizes these days.
U.S. Secretary of State

Editor's note: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addressed the Southern Baptist Convention on Wednesday morning, June 14. SBC LIFE had the privilege of interviewing Secretary Rice immediately prior to her address to the Convention. We are pleased to share a condensed version of that conversation with you.

SBC LIFE: Madame Secretary, Southern Baptists would love to hear about your faith in the Lord — how you came to faith, but also how your faith affects and interacts with your responsibilities as Secretary of State.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I was literally born into the church. My father and grandfather were both Presbyterian ministers, and I can honestly say I don't think I ever had a day when I d...

The ripple effect of a mission trip to Thailand could reach across the Southern Baptist Convention for years if a Greensboro pastor's idea becomes part of the annual Crossover activities in the SBC host city each year.

Pat Cronin, pastor of Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, helped with a building project at an orphanage in Chiangmai last August during a short-term mission trip, and upon his return, participated in the "clergy build" construction of a Habitat for Humanity house.

"Last year's Southern Baptist volunteer construction project in Thailand combined in my mind with the Habitat project and the SBC's upcoming annual meeting in Greensboro," Cronin said. "I thought it would be a wonderful vision f...

In an annual meeting marked by repeated calls for cooperation in evangelism and missions, Southern Baptists June 13-14 in Greensboro, North Carolina, elected a new president, stressed increased giving through the Cooperative Program, and remembered the late Adrian Rogers, whose widow urged the denomination to "graciously work for unity in the body of Christ."

The meeting marked the final one for SBC President Bobby Welch, whose "Everyone Can" emphasis set a goal of baptizing 1 million in one year. The twelve-month push began last October and runs through the final week of September, which marks the end of the SBC's church year.

For the second straight year, more than eleven thousand messengers attended the meeting. The official total of 11,639 ...

The Synoptic Gospels all conclude with an account of the resurrection of Christ, but all alike make it clear that the King's story is far from over. The disciples are told that they are now to "disciple the nations" based on the resurrection authority of Christ Himself. We often refer to this assignment as the "Great Commission." We frequently quote it from Matthew 28:19-20; but Luke, in his two-volume work, shows us how this process began and proceeded through the early church. It is instructive for us to learn from the early church so that we might be faithful in our generation to continue and perhaps complete the task of advancing God's Kingdom to the ends of the earth.

Supernatural Empowering

In the first volume (Luke 24:...

Jack and the Beanstalk tells the tale of a boy lacking understanding of relative worth playing the game of "bigger or better" and getting it all wrong. In the end, however, Jack's trade of the family cow for a few bean seeds reaps a beanstalk that reaches the clouds, and, after a hostile take-over of the cloud-dwelling ogre's castle, enough gold to "live happily ever after." Today's macabre version of the old tale could be entitled, Jill and the Egg-Stalk.

Once upon a time, young women went off to college armed with the usual warnings about staying safe, studying hard, and avoiding people and activities that might disrupt their education. Today, young women heading off to college need to be forewarned about those who would wish them to "donate" their eggs in exchange for dollars. Prices quoted in some campus newspapers could fund more than a graduate degree! The following tells the story.

When Louise Joy Brown was born ...

Doing Our Part!

Have you reached the point where you think, "Why bother? We're in a rut, nothing will change, and we might as well close the doors." Well, here's a story that should change your mind and give you new hope. Read this account from Andy Goode, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. They've decided to do MORE!

Central Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, began in 1958 and rose to approximately nine hundred members over the years. However, by 2005, Sunday School attendance had dropped below forty people. Worship never rose above eighty. The future looked dim. We had gone the route of many churches across our country.

In February 2006, I was called as the new pastor of Central. I was sold on evangelism and getting Sunday School on track. I began by taking the minister of music and a different Sunday School teacher out each week, teaching them to share their faith. I also held weekly meetings with the Sunday School leadership while plannin...

We all have different and unique personalities. As different as we all are, we either tend to be positive or negative with various degrees of a controlling factor. We all know that a glass can be half empty or half full, but have you ever thought about "Whose glass is it?" Who is in control? Who is in charge?

We try to control in many ways. One major way is by controlling how others view us — controlling the self-image. If I can control how you see me, then I can control you because I then control how you think. If you see my car parked outside of my office at 6:30 a.m. every morning, then you'll probably think what a dedicated worker I am. You then tell me how impressed you are with me that I am there so early every morning. I now have a choice: Do I tell you the truth and let you know I just left the car there overnight, or do I continue the image-making? I could lie — I'm not above lying.

You may now pat me on the back and tell me ...

More Than 800 Salvations Through Crossover Triad
by Mickey Noah

More than eight hundred people received Christ during Crossover Triad 2006 in June, but the actual details of these life-changing conversions are only beginning to filter in — true stories made possible only because hundreds of witnesses in the Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, areas shared their faith.

The salvations resulted from various coordinated Crossover events, activities, and strategies, including the concentrated efforts of the North American Mission Board's Intentional Community Evangelism (ICE) team. The ICE team was made up of fifty-five "witnessing warriors" from churches throughout the Southern Baptist Convention. Crossover preceded the SBC annual meeting in Greensboro.

"Crossover ju...